How To Play Children's Party Games

Party games are a wonderful part of any children's celebration. If it's been a while since you have thrown or attended a children's party, here are some tips on how to play children's party games:

  1. Play age-appropriate games. It is important that you consider the age group of the children that will be at the party and plan age-appropriate games. If the party guests range in ages, plan a few activities for each group or just do middle of the road games (not too easy, not too hard) that everyone will enjoy.
  2. Pin the tail. The classic party game Pin the Tail on the Donkey is just as beloved as ever. The object of the game is to pin a tail on to the appropriate spot on the donkey, while blindfolded. Whoever pins their tail closest to the right spot is the winner. You can buy ready-made Pin the Tail on the Donkey games that come complete with a donkey poster, tails and a blindfold or you can make a homemade version of your own using poster board or printables from the Internet. You can also adapt this game to fit the theme of your party. For instance, a princess-themed party could have a "Pin the Crown on the Princess" game.
  3. Musical Chairs. This game requires a few items--some chairs or mats and some music. Music is played while the players walk in a circle around a number of chairs or mats. Once the music stops playing, the players must race to sit on an available chair or mat (there should always be one less chair or mat than there are players). Whoever ends up without a chair is out. For each round, another chair is removed and play continues until there is only one player left. When playing this game, it's fun to use music that that ties in with your party theme--so if your theme is baseball, play "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" or another baseball-themed tune.
  4. Hot Potato. This is another simple game involving music. Simply sit the party guests in a circle and have them pass a potato around while music is playing. Once the music stops, whoever is stuck holding the potato is out.
  5. Scavenger Hunt. Older kids love this game. If you have a large group, divide the children into two teams. For smaller groups, the children can play this game individually. Give each child or team leader a list of items that they must find either around the house or outside. Whoever brings all of the items back to you first wins. Some suggestions for scavenger hunt items include a penny, a book, a ball, car keys, a certain color sock or clothing item, a leaf, a stone, a flower or a newspaper. Once again you can adapt this game to fit your party theme. For example, for a pirate themed party, have your scavenger hunt items be items that could be found in a treasure chest--gold coins, jewels, etc.
  6. Dancing games. Dancing games like The Chicken Dance and The Limbo are always fun to do at parties. The Chicken Dance is simply a game of dancing like a chicken--and young children will get a kick out of doing their own version. For The Limbo you will need a long stick and two people to hold either end of it. Players dance under the stick without touching it and the stick is lowered for each additional round. You can also incorporate a dance contest into your party, with a prize for the best dancer.
  7. Outdoor games. If you're lucky enough to hold your party outdoors, you can play some great outdoor games. Divide the guests into two teams and have an Egg-Spoon race. Each player on the team has to run to the finish line while holding an egg on a spoon. If the egg drops off the spoon, the person must go back and start over again. You can also play other team games like Three-Legged Race (guests each take a partner and try to "walk" while their legs are tied together) and a Balloon Toss game (partners toss water filled balloons back and forth--players are out when their balloon breaks).

When you are playing party games, especially with young children, try to make sure that everyone is a winner by handing out prizes or goody bags to everyone at the end of the party. Most young children don't understand the concept of having one winner, so it's best to play it safe by having enough prizes for all of your party guests.


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