How To Play Children's Party Games

Colored party balloons

You probably have vague memories of playing kids' party games in your youth. However, when you go to set some up for your own children's birthday parties, can you really remember the rules? Never fear. We're here with all the basics you need to organize and play kids' party games. In addition, we provide the rules for four classic party games.

  1. Know your audience. When you are planning your kids party games, first consider the age of the children who will be playing. You want to make sure it is age-appropriate; if you have a wide range of ages attending your party, make sure even the youngest kids will be able to participate. Also take into account the number of children who will be at the party; with a small group, you can play almost anything. If you have a large party, games that everyone can play at the same time are better than those where kids have to take turns. Consider musical chairs, relay races, treasure hunts or other active games like balloon stomp. Older kids can be sent on scavenger hunts and can play dance move games.
  2. Plan games that fit your venue. If you need to have your party in a small area or indoors, consider party games where the children are seated, such as bingo or where they take turns such as pin the tail on the donkey. If your party is outdoors, you will not have to worry as much about making noise or messes. Playing outside on a hot summer day? Plan games that use water, such as sprinkler limbo or ice such as carrying ice cubes on spoons for a relay race.
  3. Pin the tail on the... Okay, the classic may have been a donkey, but today you can pin a tail--or a hat, flower or other accessory--on virtually anything to match your party's theme. For the sake of describing the rules, we'll use the classic donkey. Hang a poster with a picture of a donkey without a tail on the wall. Provide each player with a paper cutout of a tail, marked with his or her name, backed with a rolled piece of tape or other adhesive. Yes, they used to really use pins. In turn, blindfold each player, spin him or her around a couple times and aim toward the donkey. The player places the tail. When everyone has played, the one who has pinned the tail closest to the appropriate spot on the donkey is the winner.
  4. Musical Chairs. Collect enough chairs for all but one party guest to have a place to sit. You will also need a music source that you can easily start and stop. Arrange them in a circle with the seats facing outward, or in two rows back to back. Have everyone stand around the chairs. Once the music starts, the players should walk around the chairs; when you stop the music, each player should try to sit in a chair. Since there are more players than chairs, someone will be left standing (or sitting on the floor). That person is "out." Remove another chair and start again. Eventually, you will be down to two people and one chair. The person who manages to sit in that chair first is the game's winner.
  5. Balloon Stomp. Older children will enjoy this active game. Blow up balloons and use ribbon or string to tie balloons to each child's ankles. The object of this game is to stomp on other people's balloons and pop them, while protecting one's own balloons. The last person with an unpopped ankle balloon is the winner.
  6. Donut Chomp. For this game, you will need one long piece of string (about 10 feet) and several shorter pieces of string of equal length (about 2 feet long); you will need enough to have one short piece for each player. You will also need a package of miniature donuts. To set up the game, hang a string horizontally from one side of the room to another (outdoors, you can string it between two trees or fences). Tie a donut to the end of each of the shorter string lengths and then tie the shorter strings to the horizontal length so that the donuts dangle. Line the kids so that each one is in front of a donut. The object is to be the first player to eat your donut--without using your hands! This game is guaranteed hilarious and delicious.


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