Well-planned games appropriate to the age of party guests can make a party a memorable event. The object of a good party game is to provide pure fun for the players, so games selected for a party should be those that take little explanation and that most kids would feel comfortable playing. It’s also a good idea to include both a quiet and an active game as part of a party’s agenda.
Kids love all kinds of relays, the crazier the better. Divide kids into teams and have them race to the finish line carrying eggs on spoons, putting on silly hats, walking backward, holding balloons between their legs, or racing blindfolded. Before the party, run your relay race ideas by your kids for their input. Vary the relays, including about a half-dozen; vary the teams as well, giving kids a chance to interact with different groups.
Arrange the kids in a circle and have them count off by fours. The host stands in the center and calls out any number from one to four; everyone whose number is called steps back and runs around the outside of the circle clockwise, trying to tag the person in front of him. The host blows a whistle which signals that everyone returns to his place, except for anyone who’s been tagged; those players are out. The game continues until one player tags everyone with the same number.
An all-time favorite, the game of charades takes on a modern slant when the slips of paper players choose from all give names of up-to-date items. For example use names of current TV shows, computer games, popular movies, or song titles. Divide kids into two teams and have players try to get their team to guess the phrase or title first. You might want to give kids a flash course in some basic gestures used for charades (see Resource below).
Buy two identical brightly colored postcards for each guest. Before the party, cut one card from each pair into seven or eight irregular pieces and hide all the pieces throughout the party area. Give party guests each an intact postcard; explain that they are to find all the pieces of the postcard’s match. Encourage kids to make calculated trades with other players who find pieces that don’t belong to their puzzles.
Place 20 common objects in a box with a lid; use articles such as a pencil, an apple, a calendar, a dime, a book and other items. Divide party guests into two teams, and then dump the objects onto a table where everyone can see them. Explain that they will have 30 seconds to stare at the objects, after which, send each team to a separate room with pencil and paper and ask them to list all 20 items. Bring the groups together and then, alternating teams, ask them to announce 10 items on the list one at a time. Teams can then add items to their own list that they’ve forgotten, but they can also try to bluff the other team by naming objects that were not actually in the box. The team with the most complete and accurate list is the winner.