Try these party games: some need a little preparation to be really successful.
This is a good way to keep kids busy until everyone has arrived.
You’ll need: Thin card, and a table ready with stick- on stars, paper shapes, crayons, and sparkly bits and pieces. A couple of glue-sticks. A stapler.
Preparation: for each guest, cut out the shape of a cardboard hat. For girls, a tiara, or for boys, a crown or a pirate hat. For themed parties, a band with Mickey Mouse ears stuck onto it, or a picture of Postman Pat stuck in the centre of the hat, and ask them to decorate around it. When the hats are done, staple to fit each head.
Small children don’t need competitive games. They just need to have fun. EVERYONE gets a prize.
Musical cushions for younger children
You’ll need: A cushion for each child . A music player of some sort. Gold wrapped chocolate coins, one bigger than the other. (Or any other small prizes)
Preparation: Write numbers 1-10 ( or however many children) on slips of paper and put them in a jar. Write them again, and pin a number underneath each cushion where the children can’t see them
Place the cushions in a double row and a child next to each. Tell them there is a magic cushion somewhere there. Start the music and the children skip around the cushions. When the music stops, they sit on the nearest cushion. Repeat this several times and then ask the birthday child to come up and pick a number from the jar. The child with this number under her cushion wins the big gold coin but they all get a smaller one as well.
Old MacDonald’s Farm – (great for On the Farm theme party!)
The children sit in a circle and tell each child which animal they will represent. For example, pig, dog, cat, cow, sheep, rooster, cock, snake, donkey, etc. Ask them to make the noise of their animal. Everyone then starts to sing Old Macdonald Had a Farm, and when it comes to the animal, for example the pig, then the child who is the pig has to make the right noise.
Hot or Cold
You’ll need: Small, wrapped prizes for each child, hidden away in pairs. Coloured paper. Check our our party bag fillers page for great budget ideas and tissue paper page to wrap the presents.
Preparation. Hide these prizes in easy to find places. For 12 guests, cut 6 pieces of coloured paper in half, and give each child half a piece. They must then find the child with the matching colour. Now they’re a team, with a partner and they’re ready to look for the prizes together.
Announce there are prizes hidden away. Let the children search for these in pairs, calling “Cold” if they are far from a prize, “Warmer” if they go in the right direction, and when they’re almost touching them, “Nearly burning your fingers.”
When they have found one each, it’s the turn of the next pair.
Have two hidden together so one child doesn’t find both. Having all the kids searching at the same time can get chaotic. .
Pass the Parcel
Wrap a box containing a small prize in some paper. Then add another layer of paper and in this layer put a sweet or a small prize. Wrap the parcel in as many layers as there are kids, each one containing a surprise, so that each child gets something. Check our our party bag fillers page for great budget ideas and tissue paper page to wrap the presents.
You need: A music player
The children sit in a circle. When you play music, the parcel is passed from hand to and when the music stops the child holding the parcel unwraps one layer to find his or her surprise, until the last prize is found in the box.
Ages 7- 10
At this age, kids love physical, fun games.
Preparation: Find some clever riddles. Write the question on one piece of paper and the answer on another.
You’ll need: Safety pins
When the children come in, pin either a question or an answer to their backs. Then ask them to find the match to their piece of the riddle. Someone else will have to read it out to them and that way, they’ll get to meet everyone.
Preparation. For a couple of weeks before, collect empty soda cans. Arrange them in a pyramid on a table, with one can on top.
The kids stand behind a line at least ten feet away and try to knock as many of them down as they can, using a tennis ball. The one who knocks the most in one go, wins. Let each child have at least three turns. This is a noisy game!
A quieter version is Skittles, with sand-filled cool drink bottles arranged in a triangle somewhere level outside.
Back to Back
Ask the kids to choose a partner and sit on the floor back-to-back.. They must link elbows and bend their knees. On the count of three they try to stand up. It may take a few tries before they are successful!
Next have them sit four together and do it again. Its get more difficult each time..
Preparation: Decide if the hunt will take place only in your garden or if the children are old enough to go further afield. Then make a list of fairly difficult things for them to find and bring back: a feather, a red or yellow leaf, a twig shaped like a Y, a flower, an old bottle, etc You might need to hide a few objects like a photograph, a bone, a plastic toy to make it more difficult.
Have the children work in pairs for this, and the first pair to collect everything wins a prize.
Chin to Chin
You’ll need: two oranges
Divide the kids into teams, in two lines, with the kid at the end having an orange tucked under his or her chin. The object is to pass the orange to the end of the line by using only your neck and chin. If anyone drops the orange, the team has to start at the beginning again.
You’ll need:One pair of old tights and two oranges per child. If you haven’t any tights, a plastic shopping bag and piece of string will do.
Place one orange into one leg of the pantyhose and then tie the pantyhose around the waist of the child. Or if you’re using a plastic bag, put the orange in the bag and tie the string through the handles and around the waist. The orange should hang down towards the ground and swing between their legs. Using the swinging orange, kids tap the second orange on the floor in front of them and race to the finish line. The first player and orange to cross the finish line wins.
Treasure Hunt (this is a good way to end the party)
Divide kids into pairs. Make up clues and scatter them all over the house (and outside, too, if weather permits). Each clue leads to the next and at the end of the trail the couple will find their treasure of a small prize. Check our our party bag fillers page for great budget ideas and tissue paper page to wrap the presents. Depending on the age, clues can be easy or difficult to work out.
Give each pair a colour to look for, so they only find and read their own clues.
Time the hunt and see which team gets done first.