Perfect Party Games and Activities
Face it, no one likes to lose so first and foremost, before picking any games to play at your birthday boy or girl’s party make sure they are age appropriate and have enough prizes for everyone, win or lose. I could have written a whole e-book full of different games that can be played at birthday parties, actually any kind of party. There are so many one can choose. However, for space purposes I have been forced to limit my selection.
However, you can choose to use any of the games listed or make your own variations of them. Once you start reading some of these chosen birthday party games I am sure your creative mind will kick in and you will think of a few fun ones of your own as well.
For children under the age of one as I mentioned in Chapter 5 do not require much. A few balls, maybe some finger-paints and they are happy. However, a section below includes games that could easily fall under any age group. Depending on your toddler, one of them may also work well with your group. Children over the age of three to the age 10 are quite a bit more active and need to stay busy to be happy for the most part. Face it, this age group is a blast to play games with, and they get the rules; for the most part anyways. This age group thrives on interaction.
It gets a bit trickier when you are dealing with 11 to 13 year olds; they bore quickly and they are trying out their “images.” If the game appears even the slightest bit babyish, they will bulk at participating. So be a bit choosey when picking out games for this age group, they have their “cool factor” to protect. Talk to your child and run all games by them first if they think their friends would enjoy playing any of them. It may end up being a movie/pizza party is all this age group will partake in or a sleep over.
Thankfully this stage passes. By 14 years of age and up, your young teen have become more comfortable with who they are and will even laugh and enjoy some more immature games that at 11 through 13 they would have not dreamed being caught participating in. However, still make sure the majority of the games you choose are in the appropriate age category.
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 coloring 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Some other good stand bys are Pin the Tail on the Donkey, coloring books and crayons, and face painting.
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.
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.
Other great standbys are treasure hunts, board games, or letting each guest make their very own personal pan pizza. It can be a pizza bake off plus double as their snack.
Games and Activities for all Age Groups
Dressed for Work Game
You already have everything you need for this game. Supply the guest with enough adult clothes and a timer and see who can get dressed over their existing clothing for work on time. Longer time is allowed for younger children but speed up the time for older children and see who ends up half dressed come time to “go to work.”
Pass the Orange or Tennis Ball
Make a relay with the guest having to go from one end of the room to the next holding either an orange or tennis ball under their chin and pass it on to the next person on their team. The first team to have all their players finish, wins. If the ball or orange is dropped, they can only pick it up with their neck. For younger children you can modify the rules some to make it easier for them.
Bubble Gum Game
This is another relatively cheap game that only requires paper plates, whipped cream, and bubble gum balls. This is another great game for picture perfect moments so have your camera ready. Here is how it is played. Put a couple gumballs on a paper plate and bury tem with whip cream. The guest has to dive in and find the gumballs! Messy, but hilarious!
Build your own Maze Activity
Hit your nearest appliance stores and department stores for this game in a hunt for as many extra large boxes as you can find. This activity involves letting the kids take the boxes and make mazes they can crawl throughout them. Do not forget to recycle when you are done.