Six-year-olds are usually active and have slightly longer attention spans than 4- or 5-year-olds. They can understand simple rules and follow directions, as well as enjoy friendly competition, because 6-year-olds typically understand winning and losing. Try to include games that allow for a winner and that can be played multiple times to get different kids to win. You could also plan games that allow everyone to win in one way or another.
Six-year-olds typically enjoy solving puzzles or mysteries, so put together a mystery or scavenger hunt for them. Give the kids simple clues on where to find the next clue. Choose a final clue that leads the children to a package of goodies that they can all share. The clues can be worded to fit any theme, such as private detective or pirate theme. A simple treasure hunt is another option.
Put a twist on the common game of tag for the 6-year-olds. A slumber party can include flashlight tag after dark. Have “it” grow as he runs around and tags others. Once a child is tagged, they must hold hands with “it” until someone else is tagged. The new person joins the chain and so forth, until there is only one kid left to tag. The last person becomes the new “it.”
A different twist is to play blind man’s bluff, which is a dry version of the popular pool game Marco Polo. The person who is “it” must close their eyes–blindfolds are helpful–and spin around. The other kids can run around and be silly. “It” would then say, “Blind man’s” and the other kids say, “Bluff,” until he can locate and tag one of them.
Put your child’s little guests’ imaginations to good use by playing creative games. Drama in a Bag is a game in which a few random items are put into bags and given to small groups of kids. The kids must use all the objects in a skit and perform it for the other kids.
Play Mummy Wrap where the kids are split into teams with rolls of toilet paper. One member of each team must be a mummy who gets wrapped up with the toilet paper. The team who wraps the best mummy wins.
Tape large papers along a single wall with a simple oval shape drawn on each, and place markers on the ground in front of them. Split the kids into teams to combine this drawing game with a relay race. Each team member can draw a part of a face on the picture, then run back to the starting line to pass the marker. Eyes, a nose, mouth, ears and hair should all be included.
Six-year-olds typically get antsy if they have to sit still for too long, so plan active games that allow them to move around and expel some energy. Relay races, such as three-legged races, carrying eggs on spoons or dress-up relays that complement the party theme, will likely get giggles, and keep the kids occupied. Put together a themed obstacle course, such as saving civilians for a superhero theme or escaping a dragon for a princess theme. Freeze dance is another high-energy game appropriate for 6-year-olds. Consider renaming the game something that fits in with the party, such as “Dancing Dragons” for a dragon-themed party.
Calm the kids down toward the end of the party with a quieter game where they all sit in a circle. Play the classic Telephone game with simple phrases, and see how much they change by the time the last kid hears the phrase.
Another simple game to play in a circle is Pass the Parcel. Wrap a package in a box that has enough small treats, chocolates or cookies for each kid. Write out a silly task, such as, “Make someone laugh without speaking or tickling.” Wrap another layer of wrapping over that with another command. The object is for the kids to pass the package in a circle to music and whoever has the package when the music stops must unwrap the next layer. Once the final task is fulfilled, the package can be opened and enjoyed.