Got a bunch of kids on your hands but don’t want to shell out for a lavish birthday party? Our favourite FREE birthday party games will keep ’em occupied!
Hosting a birthday party can be so stressful, but it doesn’t have to be, mamas! We’ve put our heads together and picked our all-time favorite, top 10 birthday party games to keep little ones entertained. Many of these are simple enough that kiddos as young as 2 or 3 can grasp the rules, and we guarantee you’ll all be cracking up at one point or another. You can always check YouTube or Pinterest for all manner of variations on these games, but we’ve laid out the basics. Just add cupcakes and punch, and you’re good to go, mama!
Sit everyone in a circle and appoint someone to remain standing and call out “Blow wind blow!” to which the rest have to reply, “Blow what?”
Then the one standing has to make a conditional statement like “those wearing glasses” or “everyone wearing pink” and everyone who fits in that category has to stand up and switch seats (giving the initial person standing a chance to steal a seat as well). There will be one person left standing and the process repeats. Kids have to be creative in coming up with the conditions, and work on their quick reaction times!
This is the classic game where one person silently acts out a clue for a partner or teammates. For little kids it can have a theme like “Animals”, or try something like “Disney movies” for slightly older kids.
Before playing, first print off a page of animal pictures or Disney movies. Cut out each individual animal/movie, fold each in half, and put them in a bucket. Begin the game by having the first child choose a piece of paper. The child then needs to act out the animal or Disney movie silently, and all other children need to try to guess what it is. Once guessed, choose another child who has not had a turn.
This is such a fun one for kids from about age 3 onwards. Sit everyone around in a circle and have one person be “It” and go around the circle tapping people on the head or shoulder one-by-one, and with each tap say “Duck”. At random, choose someone and say “Goose!” The person who’s been tapped has to chase the person who’s “It” around the circle. If the person who’s It gets back to their place in the circle, then the “Goose” becomes “It”. If the Goose catches them, they stay It.
Kids as young as 2 LOVE this one: Start with two lines of chairs set up for as many kids as there are at the party. Play music and encourage them to slowly walk around the chairs. When the music stops, everyone has to find a seat. Remove one chair, then play the music again, so that when it next stops, someone won’t be able to grab a seat. That person is then “out”. One by one, keep eliminating seats until you’re left with a winner.
Wrap a little gift in multiple layers of paper. Kids sit down in a circle and pass a present around while music is playing. When the music stops, whoever has the present in their hands removes one layer of wrapping. Whoever unwraps the last layer gets to keep the gift!
Print out a picture of a donkey (or any other animal) and give kids a “tail” attached to a loop of tape. Then blindfold them, spin them around, and watch them attempt to stick the “tail” onto the proper place on the donkey. For some reason kids find the erroneous placements hilarious!
Relays are a super fun way to boost teamwork and get kids hyped up (I’d definitely suggest doing them outside). You can either set teams up in two lines facing each other, or have single lines and send kids out and back around cones or some other obstacle. Some of my favorite objects to use are an egg on a spoon (kids have to very carefully pass them off to each other), or filled-up water balloons that are prone to pop.
You’ll need a big field or chunk of outdoor space for this one.
In Statues (via Wikipedia):
- A person starts out as the “Curator” and stands at the end of a field. Everyone else playing stands at the far end (distance depends upon playing area selected). The object of the game is for a “Statue” to tag the Curator, thereby becoming the Curator and resetting the game.
- The Curator turns their back to the field, and the “Statues” attempt to race across and tag the Curator.
- Whenever the Curator turns around, the Statues must freeze in position and hold that for as long as the Curator looks at them. The Curator can even walk around the Statues, examining them. However, the Curator needs to be careful – whenever his back is turned, Statues are free to move.
- If a Statue is caught moving, they are sent back to the starting line to begin again (or thrown out of that round, whichever way is preferred.) Usually, the honesty of the Curator is not enforced, since being a Statue is more desirable.
In Red Light-Green Light, the person who is “It” will stand at one end of the field, while everyone else lines up on the other end. The person who’s “It” will start with their back to the group and call out “Green Light!”, at which point everyone can start running toward them. The person who’s “It” can turn around at any point and yell “Red Light!”, at which point everyone has to stop. Anyone who’s caught moving is either out, or has to return to the start point. The object of the game is to be the first to reach the person who’s “It”.
In a scavenger hunt, prepare a list of things to collect and split the kids into teams to go find them. The race is to find everything on the list. This game can be done inside or outside, making use of things lying around the house like LEGO, socks, marbles and pens, or nature hunts looking for a big leaf, brown leaf and a smooth leaf.
In a treasure hunt, kids usually compete as individuals and look for fun little objects hidden around (such as an Easter Egg hunt), including toys, candy, or anything else in keeping with your party theme.
For this memory game lay out 5- 10 different items (more for older kids) on a tray; for example a fork, brush, car toy, pencil, hat, banana. Give each child a pencil and paper. Let them look at the tray for a minute, then cover it with a tea towel and get the kids to write down what was on the tray; the one with the most right answers is the winner.
Duck Duck Goose image sourced via kidspot
Musical Chairs image by Getty sourced via Nuhitz Radio
Pass the Parcel image by Corrie Barklimore
Relay Race image by Airman st Class Zade C. Vadnais via Kadena Air Base
Statues/Red Light-Green Light image by iStock Photo sourced via Today’s Parent
All other images sourced via Getty