FUN PARTY GAMES
No one should go home feeling like a loser! Avoid tears by selecting games that allow every child to succeed. Play at least one cooperative game where everyone works as a team and wins together.
Games and Activities for Children 1 through 10
- This is a great game to build with your child a couple weeks before the party. Collect a bunch of old magazines or colouring books and cut out pictures of different animals. You may want to glue them to notebook cards to make them sturdier. The game goes like this. Each guest will get a picture of a different animal pinned with safety pins to the back of their shirt. Make sure you let all the kids know first though that they are not to tell each other what animal is pinned to the back of each other’s shirt. The child then ask inquiry question like, “Do I have four legs?” or “Do I have a tail?” until they can guess what animal they are. This is a great time to have a grab bag handy. (That will be covered more in Chapter 8) When they guess which animal they are, they get to take one item out of the grab bag… no peeking though!
- Design your own Name Tag Activity When guest arrive have a craft table set up to where they can design their own nametag. Have markers, stickers, glitter, and whatnots available for them to use their artistic abilities. If they are smaller children, you can help them by writing their name yet allow them to decorate as they wish.
- Butterfly Crafts Activity For this activity, you will need coffee filters, pipe cleaners, a spray bottle, and some magnets. Let the kids color the coffee filters with markers. When they have finished, spray them with water and the marker will run giving it a tied-dyed look. Allow the coffee filter to dry completely and then gather in the middle. Use the pipe cleaner to wrap around the center making its body and then a shorter piece slid under the body to make the antennas. Glue a magnet to the back and the children have a gift to bring home to their parents.
- Bob the Builder Activity This activity is perfect for the Bob the Builder party theme. For this activity, you will need enough unfinished birdhouses for each guest to have one and a couple spares, paint, and paint brushes. You can get small birdhouses from many craft stores however if you are handy, rather then purchasing small unfinished birdhouses you can make some out of basal wood. To bring the theme to life you can make Bob the Builder work aprons. Have the workstation set up and allow the kids to paint their birdhouse in their own special design. Yet another gift you child can bring home to their parents or keep as a party favor.
- The Toothpick Marshmallow Tower Game This is a cheap game for your young ones to play. All you need is some toothpicks, and large and miniature marshmallows. It is probably not a wise game to play with real young children, but if well supervised 5 and up should be fine. The object of the game is to see who can build the biggest tower. You can set a timer on it if you choose. So everyone can win you can do this game in sets of three children. For each set, there are three winners: one with the biggest tower, one with the most creativity, and one with the smallest tower. That way each round no one loses.
- Musical Chairs Another freebie! All you need for this game is chairs (enough for all guest or play it in rounds), music, and someone to operate the music. This game has been around forever and is always a winner with the little ones. You play the music as the kids circle around the chairs you remove one chair and when the music stops whoever remains standing is out. You can either choose to give prizes with this game or not. If you choose to give prizes you can have some set up for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. out rewards. It can be something as simple as stickers! Kids love stickers.
- Boat Race Game This game is great for little ones. All you need is a couple roasting pans or deep cake pans, water, straws, and a few small bathtub toy boats. Give the kids a straw and let them pick their boat and time how long it takes them to blow their boat to the other end of the container. If they are too young to blow yet real well, have them try to get their boat to the other side only using the straw.
- The Mining Game This game is great for the entire age group and is cheap. Fill a cardboard box with popped popcorn and depending on the theme hide theme based party favors or candy in the popcorn. You can do it like dunking for apples, blindfolded, or with one arm tied behind the back; however you choose. They get to mine until they pull out one item. Every one wins.
- Spoon Walk Another cheap game that is tons of fun. You can use practically anything but I do not recommend using raw eggs especially if indoors. Golf balls or ping-pong balls work great with this game as well. The object of the game is getting the ball to the other side of the room without dropping it off the spoon. If you want to make it a bit tougher for the older kids, have them carry he spoon handle in their mouth.
- Sock Game Games do not need to cost money to be a riot and the sock game is proof of that. I am not sure about other parents, but I have never had much luck getting little ones to put their socks on themselves. Well with this game, they will not only put them on themselves, they will love doing it as well! Get a mess load of socks, it does not matter if they match or not. The object of the game is to see who can put the most socks on the fastest. Set a timer (age appropriately, more time for little ones, less time the older they get) and have them go at it. You can make up categories so everyone wins such as most socks on one foot, most on two feet, most colorful socks used, shortest socks, you get the idea.
- Balloon Burst All kids love balloons and this is a great activity you can have done up well before the party. Place inside each balloon a slip of paper stating what they have won; it can be a sticker, piece of gum, candy, or a grab out of the grab bag. Blow the balloons up and tie them off. Depending on the age of the children will determine what is used to burst the balloons to see what prize they have won. Little ones you can have them sit on them or help them burst the balloon they chose.
- Balloon Relay Race: You need 2 teams in single file lines. Place a balloon between the knees of the first child in each line. When the race starts, the first child on each team turns to face the next child in line. The second child must grasp the balloon with his/her knees and turn to pass it to the next child and so on. If the balloon falls to the ground, the team must start over. The first team to successfully pass the balloon to the last child in line wins.
- There’s a Bug on my Back: Place a sticker of a bug (or another picture) on the back of each child. Have the children ask only “yes” or “no” questions to the other children to try to figure out what pictures are on their backs. (“Do I have wings?”, “Am I green?” etc).
- Floating Balloons: Every child receives a large inflated balloon. The object of the game is to throw the balloon up into the air and keep it afloat by tapping it up. The person that can keep his/her balloon afloat longest wins.
- Bobbing for Donuts: The preparation for this game requires tying a string through a small donut (one donut per child). Hang the donuts from a tree or something in your home. The donuts should be hung so they are at the levels of the children’s mouths. The goal is to eat the entire donut without using their hands. This game is a great photo opportunity.
- Balloon Wrestling: Preparation requires putting a small party favor inside a balloon, then blowing it up. You need one balloon per child. Use these balloons as decorations for the party. At the end of the party, give each child a balloon. Tell the children to wrestle the balloon (by sitting on it, jumping on it, squeezing it) until it pops. Don’t tell them there is a surprise inside and watch their expressions when they discover the secret prize inside the balloon.
- Pin the Something on the Something: traditionally pin the tail on the donkey, but this game can be changed to fit any theme.
- Go On a Treasure Hunt: Scatter coins or small prizes in the yard and have the kids hunt for them. You can also do a paper clue based hunt with two or three small groups.
- Guess How Many: Fill a jar with candy, marbles, etc.
Games and Activities for Children 11 and Up
- Mystery & Murder Mystery Games The internet has made this game free to anyone. A Google search with “Free Mystery and Murder Mystery Games” will bring a ton up for you to choose. You can also purchase more advance versions of this type of game online. This would be a great task for the birthday child to get ready. All Instructions are included and they are great fun for this age group.
- Indoor Golf Ball Croquet Game This game makes for some hysterical pictures. Each guest will need one pair of panty hose and two golf balls. Place the one golf ball in each leg of the panty hose. Tie the pantyhose around the waist with the long ends of the legs hanging down in front of the guest. The guest will then take turns trying to make a golf ball that is place on the ground into designated targets. You can use duct tape as targets or pieces of paper.
- Karaoke Contest For the brave teens, a karaoke contest can be a blast. They can pretend like they are the next up and coming American Idol and other guest can play the roles of the judges.