There will always be a solid argument for outsourcing the entertainment portion of your child’s birthday party (entertaining little ones solo can always be a bit panic-inducing!). But with a little bit of creativity and a touch of forward planning, you can organise the same classic party games for your child’s next party that you loved as a kid.
Need some party game inspiration mama? Here’s a few ideas to get you started!
For the littlies (2 to 5 years old)
Simple, traditional games, where everyone is a winner are the best types of games for this age group. Just remember that the smallest guests might need a hand from their parents too!
Pass the Parcel
A fun and easy game that can be played anywhere!
Wrap a small gift in a layer of gift-wrap. Wrap the same gift in another layer of paper, slipping in a small treat in the second layer. Keep going until you have wrapped the gift in about 8 to 9 layers of wrapping paper, with a small treat wrapped in each layer.
Get the children to sit in a circle and put on some music. Get the children to pass the parcel around the circle, before pausing the music randomly. When the music stops, the child holding the parcel gets to unwrap one layer of paper and receive the treat. Start the music again and pass the parcel around the circle again. Keep going (making sure each child gets a turn at unwrapping a layer) until you get to the final gift.
Supplies: music, gift-wrap (remember to make the last gift stand out so you know when you’ve reached the end!), small treats for the in-between layers (chocolates, biscuits or little themed toys work well), a gift for the main prize and tape.
This game is similar to musical chairs but allows children to dance – something which most little ones love to do!
Gather the ‘party animals’ and tell them the rules of the game – when the music is on, they need to dance, but once the music stops they have to freeze and not move at all. Run a few rounds of this until you get to the last 2 to 3 children and declare them the winners.
For the children that do move, draw a line (or put tape down) and get them to dance behind the line until the music stops – they then need to make their friends who are still in the game laugh or smile. This way they are still involved in the game, but you won’t have to deal with any meltdowns (plus it’s hilarious to watch!).
Supplies: music, a big dancing space and tape.
Think Easter Egg Hunt but adapted to your party theme!
Hide sweets (or small themed items) within a certain area or room, keeping in mind the age of your little guests – you don’t want to make it too difficult for them to find the loot!
Give the children brown bags or buckets to collect their loot and set them free! The game keeps going until the last item is found. Count the loot and feel free to give out extras to even out the numbers if needed.
Supplies: Bags for the loot and items to hide (wrapped sweets, small boxes of raisins, small toys and the like).
Toilet Roll Mummy Wrap
A fun and easy to play game featuring loo paper!
Put the children into pairs and get one child to play the role of “mummy” and the other the “mummy wrapper”. Tell the little ones it is a race to see who can wrap their “mummy” in toilet paper the fastest (leave the face bare)!
If you can’t get the children to pair up, you can always get them to sit in a circle and get the birthday child to wrap all of his or her friends several times in toilet paper. Then shout MUMMY AWAKE and the first child to break free from the wrapping is the winner!
Supplies: lots of toilet rolls!
For the older kids (5 to 9 years old)
Simple to play games that include a brainteaser are always popular with older kids. It’s possible to have a single winner with this age group, but feel free to take a more inclusive approach to prize giving.
Test their memory with this simple but fun game for older ones that can be customized accordingly to your party theme!
Collect recognisable objects (think shells, blocks, a toothbrush etc) and place 7 to 10 items on a tray. Have children view the tray, then place a scarf over the tray and remove an object (without your guests seeing what it is!). Have children name the missing object. The first child who names the missing object correctly can have a turn removing the next item. Repeat until all kids have had a turn.
Supplies: items for the tray and a scarf or tea towel.
A game of skill and teamwork that will have your bigger kids giggling!
Split the players into two equal teams and get them to stand in a row. The player at the front of the line tucks a blown up balloon under his or her chin, and then passes the balloon to the next person in their team so it’s under their chin (no hands allowed!). They then pass it onto the next child and so on down the line to the end, keeping the balloon under their chins all the way.
The first team to get their balloon to the end is the winner!
If the balloons burst, they have to begin again – which is great because it might take a little longer plus you get to relax and enjoy the popping fun, mama!
Supplies: round balloons (don’t forget extras in case of casualties) or rubber balls (all of the same size).
Perfect for big kids – this game is loads of fun for a sport themed party.
Each child gets two balloons — a round one and a long one. The object of the game is to drive the round balloon into the goal (you’ll need a big box or basket for this) using the long balloon as a bat. The player whose balloon is driven into the box first is the winner. Make it easy to judge by giving each child a different coloured balloon or by writing their names on the balloons.
If you have a huge crowd for the party, then make it a team game by adding another goal on the other end of your playing space and making it a slightly drawn out lacrosse match.
Supplies: round balloons (dependant on number of players plus extras in case of balloon casualties), long balloons and a large box (or two) to use as a goal.
What’s the time Mr. Wolf?
This is a great little game to play and allows your guests the chance to practice their acting skills!
One child is chosen to be the wolf and stands at one end of the room with his or her back to the other children. The other children line up on the other side of the room and ask, “What’s the time Mr. Wolf?” The ‘wolf’ turns around and shouts out a time (eg. 1 o’clock), before turning back around and letting the other kids advance again, asking, “What’s the time Mr. Wolf?” Each time the ‘wolf’ turns around to answer, the children must freeze. When the children get close enough, the ‘wolf’ answers with, “Dinner time!” prompting the kids to run away or be caught by the wolf. The child who is caught gets to be the wolf on the next turn.
The best part here is you don’t need ANY supplies!! Just space.
The best part with these games is they are quick to set up, easy to play and lots of fun for little guests! Enjoy the party, mama!