Planning a birthday party? Looking for the fun birthday games? You've come to the right place! After planning and hosting 14 children's birthday parties, all with varying degrees of success, it's time to share with my readers what I've learned how to plan games and good games to play.
Should I Plan Birthday Party Games?
|Frog Beanbag Toss|
Birthday party games can be a fun way to incorporate the theme of the birthday party. Remember, children have very active imaginations. They love to hear stories that tie the game into the theme of the party. Children are very willing to accept that a ball is a bird or a bean bag is a cookie. Feel free to use your imagination when creating games and create opportunities for children to use their imaginations when playing the game.
|Colored by a 2 & 5 yr old|
The most fun games at birthday parties are cooperative games. Games that are competitive and have clear winners and losers are bound to leave a few guests in tears. Emotions run high at birthday parties; it is not the ideal time for competitive games. For the happiness of all, focus on games that are cooperative. Many traditional competitive games can be turned into cooperative games with a small twist in the way they are played.
If you really want to give out prizes, try working the prize into an aspect of the game. Consider giving all participants something for playing, placing an emphasis on playing the game and not winning or losing the game.
|Birthday Craft...Make a Hat!|
Who’s turn is it away? The child that pushes to the front? The quiet child in the back? A friend taught me early on the perfect way to skip this dilemma. Before the party starts, number slips of paper from 1 to how every many guest you will have at the party. Keep a few extra slips of paper on had just in case you have extra guests. Place the papers in a hat or basket and have each child draw a number before the game begins. Instruct the children to line up in order. Older children can be particularly helpful with getting everyone in order.
Tried and True Games:Quest Games:
Gathering children together for a group “quest” can be as elaborate or as simple as time and energy allow. Here are two examples, one very elaborate set-up with a small number of children (7), and very simple set-up with a large number of children (15).
For a knight birthday party my husband drew a map of the yard, around the yard where several different scenarios for the children to encounter. The map was then cut into a number of pieces. Once each part of the quest had been successfully fulfilled the children were given the next piece of the map and had to figure out where to go. Different stops along the way included, an encounter with the Green Man (who became the guide), a stop where all on the quest received a shield (the birthday boy helped make out of cardboard), a stop where all the children were given a tunic (simple tunics I made from thrift-store sheets), a slime pit (swimming pool full of homemade slime), climbing an erupting volcano (a slide and a rope), and pushing boulders (rolling giant balls across the yard). At the final stop the Green Man knighted each of the participants and gave them their own sword (balloon sword). The game lasted a very long time and was tons of fun for all involved.
A simpler version, but the same concept, is more along the lines of an elaborate game of follow the leader. This was used most recently at a Little Red Riding Hood themed party. Children started at Little Red’s house and followed the hunter to Grandma’s house. They wove in and out of trees at the park, down slides, and in and out of cut out houses. In the end they came to Grandma’s house. My mother was perched in a little play house dressed Little Red’s Grandma. Grandma gave each of the children a little package containing a special treat. My daughter says it was her FAVORITE game!
An Adaption of Musical Chairs:
A traditional game of Musical Chairs will almost always end in tears. No one wants their chair to be taken away. However, with a very simple adaptation this can be a fun game for all. For example, at my son’s 6th birthday party we played Musical Lily Pads. Everyone started on their own lily pad (cut-up old towels I found at a thrift store…later used as cleaning rags), when the music began the children walked (OK, they ran) around when the music stopped one lily pad was missing…the difference was instead of being “out” if you couldn’t find your own lily pad you had to share a lily pad with a friend. In the end there was only one lily pad left and the children had to figure out how everyone would fit on one lily pad. It all ended in laughter and was one of the most success games of the party. This idea can be adapted to any birthday party theme.
Tossing a bean bag is great fun for all ages of children and this is a game that can be adapted for the youngest to the oldest participant. Beanbag toss is a great way to incorporate games into part of the theme decorations. A large cardboard box with a hole cut out can be decorated into just about anything imaginable. Here a few examples,
feed the frog a fly, fly the bird to the nest, and fill the Wolf’s Belly. Once everyone has had a turn leave the game up. Allow anyone who wants to continue playing to do so while you set up the next game. Some children really, really love to play beanbag toss, others are satisfied with just one turn.
Search and Find:
This is a variation on the traditional egg hunt. Children love search and find games. This can be as simple as using the little plastic eggs you can find at Easter, or as elaborate as hiding a birthday themed object. For example, use plastic eggs filled with candies or stickers to hide dragon eggs, or for woodland parties to return bird eggs to a nest. One of my all-time search and find games was for a Super Dinosaur party. We hid giant eggs in the sandbox. The eggs were wrapped in aluminum foil and contained Super Dinosaur capes. The children were given little shovels and told they were on an archaeological dig to discover Super Dinosaur eggs.
Pin the Tail on the Donkey:
This birthday party favorite is highly adaptable to any birthday party theme. For example, instead of Pin the Tail on the Donkey, play Pin the Kiss on the Frog for a princess birthday, Pin the Tail on the Squirrel for a woodland birthday, Pin the hat on the Lego guy for a Lego birthday, or Pin the Tail on the Cat for a cat birthday. A word or caution, young children do not like to be blind folded…be flexible!
Though not a game, having a planned craft for children is a wonderful birthday activity. This can be as simple as a party themed coloring sheet or as elaborate as decorating a crown. A simple craft is a great activity for children to do as they arrive. It gives them a structured activity to do while they wait for others to arrive and while they wait for other planned activities. Crafts are also an excellent way to incorporate the birthday theme.
Be creative and allow the guest of honor to help and be creative too. Keep games cooperate. Remember it is a party, it should be fun for everyone!