Birthday parties are all about food, fun and presents. The latter is especially important if the party is for a child. For everyone else, games are often the highlight of a birthday party, especially if they are creative, exciting or just plain fun. There’s a birthday party game that’s just right for your party, whether it’s a sophisticated affair, a noisy event full of teenagers or a large family barbecue.
The ages of the birthday party guests are the first thing to consider when planning party games. Young children cannot understand complicated game rules, nor can they sit still for long, according to the University of Illinois. Instead, plan simple, short games for preschoolers. Older children and teens will enjoy complicated, active games that are creative, funny, or challenging. Adults often prefer games that have an element of strategy or puzzle-solving.
The number of participants is key when planning which birthday party games to play. Large groups of people usually necessitate games where teams can be created, such as is the case with charades, relays or scavenger hunts. Smaller, more intimate birthday parties can accommodate games that allow each participant to play individually.
Be sure to consider ahead of time if you want to hand out prizes to the winners of the birthday party games. Nothing is more awkward than a winner who expects a prize, only to find out there isn’t one. Keep in mind that younger children may not be able to handle losing gracefully, so you might want to play games where everyone can win a prize. Older children can handle and enjoy competition for prizes. Adults often appreciate games that hand out a “booby” or “white elephant” prize, which is usually a joke prize.
Games for Children
Games for children should allow everyone to participate and have an equal chance of winning. The games should be fairly active and not require that anyone wait a long time for a turn to play. Very young children, such as toddlers, enjoy games that are familiar to them. For these kids, playing simple games such as Duck Duck Goose or Hot Potato may be the best way to go. Change the wording slightly to reflect the theme of the party, such as Princess Princess Queen. Elementary-age children can play more traditional party games, such as relay races or dress-up games, where teams dress-up one of the birthday guests according to a theme, using items such as toilet paper, stickers and paper cups.
Games for Teens and Adults
Plan more elaborate, challenging birthday games for teens and adults. These birthday guests will enjoy outsmarting or outwitting their peers. Or, choose games that will allow the guests to get to know each other better. The lie detector game, for example, allows guests to find out things about each other–perhaps even about people they’ve known for a long time. In this game, each guest takes a turn stating three things about themselves. Two statements are lies; one is the truth. Then, the other guests vote on which statement is the true one. The person who fools the most people wins a prize. Adults and teens also love the challenge of a scavenger hunt. Divide the guests into teams and have them collect items listed on a piece of paper, or take digital photos of the items. Choose items that relate in some way to the birthday person. The first team to collect all the items wins a prize.
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