When planning a birthday party for your toddler, it is smart to think of a few games that the children can play during the game. This can help them keep their energy focused on something other than destroying your play room. For best results, choose games that are age-appropriate and try to be flexible–toddlers are notorious for not doing the things you want them to do.
Birthday games for toddlers can be competitive or cooperative. You can design games where each child competes against all the other children, with the winner getting a prize. Pin the Tail on the Donkey is an example of a competitive game. In a cooperative game, children all play together, with no clear winner, such as in Duck, Duck, Goose or Follow the Leader (when you change leaders). Team games, such as a relay race, mix both cooperative and competitive elements.
Plan how long you will play games at the party by scheduling all the activities of your party. For example, if the party is two hours long, you may want to schedule 15 minutes for opening presents, 15 minutes for eating cake and 30 minutes of free play as all of the children are arriving. This will leave you one hour in which to play games. Depending on the games that you choose, you can plan four games that take 15 minutes each or five games that take 20 minutes each.
If you don’t play games at the party, the children will turn to the toys in your house, which can create a big mess and cause a lot of noise. Playing games at a toddler birthday party can keep the kids focused and active. You will not have to worry about the children getting into things that they shouldn’t.
The primary concern with toddler birthday games is choosing games that the children will be able to do. There is a big range of ability levels between 2- and 3-year olds, for example. Some toddlers may not be able to catch a ball or may feel too nervous to walk with a blindfold. You should also consider the amount of space you have in which to play games and whether you have all the necessary props. If you are allowing parents to stay for the party–which you may want to do at a toddler party–think about games that can include the parent.
A toddler can have a melt down quickly when things don’t go her way. It would be smart to choose games that aren’t competitive or in which all children receive the same prize, regardless of whether they won or lost the game. You’ll also need to watch the game carefully to make sure that children are playing fairly.
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