You’re probably familiar with most of these games, but perhaps you need a little refresher!
|Pass the Balloon
Split the players in to 2 equal teams, the player at the front holds a blown up balloon under their chin, no hands allowed, they then have to pass the balloon to the next in their team so it's under their chin, and so on down the line to the end, keeping the balloon under their chins as they pass it along. The first to the end is the winner, or last player to the front and repeat until the first player is at the start again.
Can be played indoors or out. Can be tailored to a party theme. Hide different things or objects, the players have to either collect a set number or find a list of things, the first to complete is the winner. Objects can range from pieces of silver foil, chocolate coins, potatoes, pieces of a picture, hats, gloves, socks. This game can be played individually or in teams of players, but make sure that you have more than enough treasure so everyone can find something.
|Pin the Tail on the Donkey
Draw or paint a picture of the back of a donkey without the tail on a big piece of paper or card draw on a big "x" where the tail should be, also paint a separate tail that will be pinned on or use "sticky stuff". Each guest is blindfolded in turn and lead to the donkey, spin them round 3 times, then they have to "pin the tail on the donkey". The one who has put their tail closest to the "x" is the winner. Either make different tails for each guest or mark the spot with their name.
Get the children to dance to the music. When the music stops, all the children have to sit down as quickly as possible. The last one to sit is out. The last child left dancing is the winner. With young children you can turn this around and simply try and spot the one to sit down first each time.
The children dance around to music. When the music stops they have to stand absolutely still, like a statue. If anyone moves, they are out. You can vary this game by getting the children to dance like individual animals (you pick the animal first, then the children take it in turns to pick one – you can also make it even more varied by giving them an adjective – like posh horse, mad monkey, sneaky cat). When they make a statue, it has to look like a pose of that particular animal.
Put out one less chairs than there are children (or cushions, if they’re very young). The children have to dance around the chairs and when the music stops, sit on a chair immediately. The last one left without a chair has to sit out. The last child left in is the winner. Again, you don’t necessarily have to chuck a child out each time; you can just simply play a few rounds and leave it at that.
|Pass the Parcel
Make a parcel by wrapping up a prize in several layers of paper (one for each child, plus an extra one). Sit the children in a circle, give one of them the parcel and when the music starts, get them to hand it to the next child, who hands it on, and on. When the music stops, the child who is holding the parcel opens the first layer. Then when the music starts again, they hand it on to the next child, and so on. Wrap the final present in something obvious so that you know which is the final round. You can put a sweet or a little something in each layer of wrapping. Then the last one with the prize in can be well and truly random.
A good one for young children (2-4) when things are getting out of control. Get everyone to lie down and pretend to be sleepy lions. They musn’t make a move. You then walk around and try and disturb them by talking, or very gentle tickling (very gently you don’t want them to be out too quickly). Anyone who moves is out. They can also then help wake up the other lions.
|Eat the Jelly
Make individual bowls of jelly with an animal inside. Then make each child put their hands behind their backs, and get the animal out of the jelly. The first one to produce their animal is the winner. Best left to the end of the party.
|Food on a String
Put loads of hula hoops (or whatever you like) on two long pieces of string. Either get adults to hold them up, or suspend them somehow. Divide the children into two teams. With their hands behind their backs, they’ve got to eat all the hula hoops. The first team to finish is the winner.
|What’s On the Tray
Put some disparate and obvious items on a tray. Give each child a pen and piece of paper. Let them look at the tray for a minute, then take the tray away. The children have to write down what was on the tray. The one with the most right answers is the winner. Variations: simply take one thing away at a time, show the tray to the group, and let them call out what's missing.
|Touch and Feel
Take a box, and put a different item in it each time. Ask the children to put their hand in the box and guess what it is. Suggestions; an orange; cotton wool; shoelace; piece of lego; a hairbrush; etc.
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