Whether you will have your child’s birthday at home or at an off-site location, birthday party games make the event more festive. Long after the party ends, children will have forgotten the decorations, menu and even the prizes, but they will remember the fun they had playing with the other guests. Plan a mix of children’s party games as well as less-structured activities, so that everyone finds something to enjoy!
Go classic or creative!
Traditional party games include Pin the Tail on the Donkey, relay races, the Hokey Pokey, Musical Chairs, Red Rover and Telephone. Rowdier outdoor games and sports, such as volleyball, tag, badminton, Frisbee, croquet and dodgeball, keep party guests active. Add some creative or dramatic games to the mix with the limbo or Baby I Love You, in which a leader tries to make a player smile or laugh, and the player must respond, "Baby, I love you, but you just can’t make me smile."
Make Sure Everyone Plays
Many children’s birthday party games have winners and losers as well as prizes, although ever player should eventually receive a prize during the course of the celebration. In addition to competitions like bean bag tosses and kickball, mix in games where winning and keeping score are less important. For example, in Hot Lava, players jump from base to base without touching the ground. In People to People, a leader calls out two body parts, such as "nose to knee" and partners must touch the two parts. When the leader calls "people to people," everyone must find a new partner, including the leader. The person left alone assumes the role of leader.
Make it Whimsical
Fun party games often have an element of surprise or whimsy. Host a monster makeover contest where partners beat the clock to paint each others’ faces like monsters. Stage a treasure hunt with rhyming clues that have guests running throughout the party area, ending at a treasure, such as a watermelon filled with whipped cream or an ice chest filled with Popsicles. Hold a dance contest and have the kids bust a move. Keep baskets of costumes nearby so performers can dress the part! The kids will have a ball being able to put together funky outfits!
Keep it Short
Party games tend to have a short life span. Guests typically do not have the concentration for longer, more complicated role-playing games, unless everyone invited shares a strong interest. Instead, expect most games to last about 10 or 15 minutes!
Have a Backup Plan!
Emotions run high at sugar-fueled events like birthday parties. Keep the games upbeat and short, and be prepared to shift to a new activity when the mood goes sour. Quick fill-in games that get everyone participating and cheerful include lightning-fast rounds of Simon Says, tossing water balloons at a target or at one another, Cartoon Tag and Hide and Seek!