So once you've found a perfect invitation and theme, you need something to do with all those kids! Here is a list of party games that all ages can enjoy.
With a little creativity you can adapt any of the party games below to fit your theme. If your theme is based on a TV show or movie be sure to read through the story for ideas. Blue loves to find clues. The traditional Scavenger Hunt becomes Blue's Treasure Hunt. You might also want to play theme music at the party, read a short version of the original story, and carry your theme through to your decorations, partyware, and other party supplies.
Most of these games are good for almost any party with kids - they're not just for birthdays!
I will be adding new games often so be sure to check back soon.
This is a game that requires room and good supervision - the children are blindfolded (or not, if they are young or don't want to be) and they take a stick and try to break a hanging container that has candies and other small goodies in it. (not just candy, everything from Colorful Band-Aids to stickers were popular here!). To make one, you can do something as simple as decorating a paper grocery bag with paints or crepe paper and then gluing and taping the top shut once the treats are inside. Run a string along the top edge before shutting the bag. You can also make a fancier one using a balloon and paper mache. The fun thing is that these can be decorated to match any theme. Alternatively, you can purchase a pinata at most grocery stores and party stores.
Pin the (fill in the blank) on the (fill in the blank)
Traditionally Pin the Tail on the Donkey, this game can be changed to fit any theme. In this game, blindfolded guests try to stick a paper 'tail' onto a poster of a donkey. You can take a piece of poster board and draw anything with something missing - a nose on a clown or animal, the TY heart on a beanie baby, a spaceship in an outer space scene, and one year we gave Yoda (Star Wars) his staff. Just be sure to include an outline of where the object needs to land.
Bean Bag Toss
You can make an easy Bean Bag Toss using a double layer of poster board glued together and a large box. Use the large box as a base, and attach the poster board to one side of it. Before attaching the poster board, paint a design on it, allowing for one or more holes. We never kept score, but the kids had a lot of fun throwing those bean bags. One year we even gave bean bags as party favors - they're easy to make from fabric scraps if you sew, and are available at party stores. You can also purchase the entire game at Oriental Trading for $14.95.
Go on a Treasure Hunt
These are some treasure hunt ideas: You can scatter real coins, plastic coins or candy coins in the lawn and let the kids hunt for them, much like an Easter egg hunt. This game is best for young children. You can also hide each child's goodie bag and then give that child a piece of paper with a hint for finding it - it could be a simple map drawing for a young child, a word or two, or a riddle for older children. You can also let the children do a paper clue based hunt as a group - with the goodie bag for the youngest being the first found, along with the clue to the next goodie bag, and so on. I have done many treasure hunts, and they are always a big hit with the kids. Please contact me if you would like to custom coordinate your treasure hunt “clues” with your pirate invitations!
Make a Bracelet/Necklace
This activity can be an activity the children can go to between other activities, or the main focus. A big bag of pony beads, some elastic cord, scissors and an adult to help when needed, and they can make their own jewelry. Or, purchase a bead kit that compliments your chosen theme, such as an animal bead bracelet kit for an animal-themed party or a heart bead jewelry kit for a Valentine’s party. Be sure to supervise this one, so that necklaces and bracelets are not made too tight.
Guess How Many
Fill a jar with candy. Have children write their name on a small piece of paper and their guess as to how many candies are in the jar. The child who guesses the right number, or comes closest, gets a sucker. The candy in the jar is then divided among the children. A variation would be that the winner takes the jar of candy home to share with their family. For added fun, fill the jar with themed candy, such as mini dog bone candies. You can also create a large lollipop bouquet with flower-shaped lollipops, and let your guests guess how many lollipops you’ve included.
Use our birthday clip art to make matching cards to fit your birthday theme. Two of each picture mounted on sturdy cardstock and laminated, if desired. Or, purchase a memory game to compliment your chosen theme, such as a car- and truck-themed memory game or a magic-themed memory game. I find that this game works best with small groups, so if you are having a large party, be sure to have several games going at once.
Who Am I?
When the children come through the door tape a farm animal or item/object to their backs. Through the course of the party they may ask each other yes and no questions about what they are. Explain that the first question they may want to ask is "Am I an animal or an object?" At the end of the party each child takes a turn saying what they think they are. Suggestions: cow, pig, sheep...pitchfork, saddle, horseshoe, hay, milk, barn, tractor, etc..
Is similar to Who Am I?, but this time you whisper in each childs ear a name of a farm animal. Tell them that there is at least one other person that is the same animal as they are. Throughout the party they may ask each other yes and no questions to try to figure out who their "Farm Buddy" is. At the end of the party tell everyone to go sit by who they think their buddy is. Go over the clues with the kids until they figure it out and everyone is sitting next to the correct buddy. This works across other themes as well, such as “Space Buddies” (each child is the name of a planet) or “Princess Buddies”.
Players sit in a circle. The first player starts by saying, "At my birthday dinner I like to eat hamburgers". The next player must repeat "At my birthday dinner I like to eat hamburger..." and add another dish. This continues all the way around the circle with each player reciting the dishes in the exact order they have been given and then adding a new one. If a player makes a mistake they slide out of the circle and the game continues. The person left who can perfectly recite the birthday dinner menu wins.
Put chairs in a circle with one less chair than there are players. One person says, "I'm grateful for people with blue eyes". Everyone with blue eyes stands up and changes places. While everyone's scurrying for a chair a parent takes one away. The person left standing is out and the last person to sit down goes next..."I'm grateful for everyone who's wearing tennis shoes". Repeat.
Button, Button, Who's got the Button
A child is chosen to be "it" and hides her eyes as a button is given to a child to hide in his lap or behind his back. "It" then has three chances to guess which child has the item. (All children hide their hands in their laps/behind their backs like they have it.) For animal themes, select an item that goes with the animal, such as an animal figure. If you're doing a character theme like Cinderella it would be "Slipper, Slipper, Who's got the Slipper".
Scavenger hunts are a fun way to entertain kids at birthday parties. Rather than encouraging competitiveness between teams, have children work together to find all the items. Hide items in yard or designated rooms.
Divide players into two teams. Each team forms a line by holding hands and stretching themselves out. The two teams face each other and should be about 25 feet apart or more. Each side takes turns calling, "Red Rover, Red Rover, send (name) right over." At that signal, the player called, runs from his line and tries to break through the line of his/her opponents. If he breaks through, he can take one opponent back with him to his team. If he does not break through, he joins the other team. The team to add the most players wins.
Have one child come up to the front of the group and whisper the name of an animal, or something to do with your theme, to them. They then act out what the animal does. The rest of the kids try to guess the name of the animal.
Water Balloon Volleyball
You'll need lots of water balloons stored in a bucket full of water and towels for each pair of children. Divide children into two groups. Pair them off and give each pair a beach towel. One side begins by placing a water balloon in the center of their towel. Each child holds onto one two corners of the towel in their hands. The object is to toss the water balloon over the net with the opposing side catching the balloon in their towel. The volley continues until one side misses and the balloon breaks giving the other team a point. First team to 15 wins. If you do not own a volleyball net (or your children are too small to throw the balloons over a net), put tape down to serve as a visiual barrier and have them volley back and forth over it.
Variation for young children: Instead of beach towels use two large blankets. Divide into teams, each team member holds a part of the blanket. Toss the balloon back and forth between teams. Not too tough with a bit of team work. Make sure to carefully clean up the balloon remains as they are choke hazards for young children.
Begin by playing music, everyone moves and dances until the music stops then they must "freeze" in whatever position they happen to be in.
For character themes based on movies or T.V. shows play music from the program and tape characters on each chair. You can also use themed wall cutout for basic themes, such as farm animals or cars and trucks.
All the children gather in a circle, holding hands. Everyone moves into the center and on the birthday child's mark begins blowing. The circle expands getting larger and larger until you can no longer hold hands and "POP" everyone falls down laughing. Toddlers and young children love it!
Balloon Bust Relay
Purchase large balloons, stuff with a prize such as a whistle, then inflate and tie. You will need one balloon for each guest. Divide children into two teams and place each team behind the start line. At the other end of the room are the balloons. On your mark a child from each team runs to the other end of the room, grabs a balloon and sits on it, bounces on it, lays on it, anything they can do to make it pop.
When the balloon pops they collect their prize and run back to their teammates. The game continues until every child has retrieved their prize. If one team falls behind parents are allowed to help. Make sure you've got the movie camera rolling, you won't want to miss the action or the expressions. If you don't have time for a relay yell, "GO" and let every child grab a balloon at the same time and try to pop it.
Make sure to carefully clean up the balloon remains, as they are choke hazards for young children.
Be sure to check out our party crafts and favors for a variety of fun ideas. Other fun crafts are decorating t-shirts or plastic visors, or making various craft kit items, such as tissue paper flowers or jewelry