The Complete Children's Party Survival Guide

Survival Guide for Children's Parties
Children's Party Games

 

Welcome one and all to our very own party games page. In response to the feedback received from our many visitors I am listing here a variety of games for all ages. I hope that you will find items of interest here and that they will enhance your party experience. Just click on the game name to be taken to it's description. I have also tried to give a general guide as to the age suitability of the games but you may well find that some older children enjoy the younger games and vice versa. No originality is claimed for any game except where stated.

If you would like to submit a game idea for publication here. Just use the form on our Contact page. Happy hunting.

Remember it's not what you play it's the way that you play it so check out Chapter 6 of "The Guide" for some handy hints.


Classic Party Games &
Games For Younger
Children
(Up to 7yrs)

Hunt The Thimble
Musical Bumps
Musical Statues
Musical Chairs
Pass The Parcel
Pin The Tail On The Donkey
Simon Says
Spin the Bottle


Alternative Games &
Games For Older
Children
(7yrs+)

Bingo
Disco Dice
Limbo
Memory Game
Name Game
Odds & Evens
Over & Under
Number 6
Knight Of The Castle

 

Hunt The Thimble

Despite it's rather old fashioned title, children do love to hunt for hidden prizes. Lollipops are a good substitute for thimbles and the game starts with the children hiding their eyes while the organiser hides the first item. The children are then allowed to open their eyes and search the room for the prize. Needless to say the finder keeps the prize and the children all hide their eyes again for round two. With a little ingenuity the children can be kept guessing for quite a while. It is also a good idea to hide one or two extra ones before the party starts. This way if you spot anyone peeping you can make a big show of hiding the lollipop in one location but in reality not hiding it at all. When the children do not find the prize they continue looking until they discover one of your previously hidden ones. If you are concerned about the children pulling your room to pieces in their excitement, you should lay down a few ground rules at the start such as: "no prizes will be hidden inside cupboards, priceless Ming vases" etc. You can even tell the children that there will always be a part of the prize visible so that they do not have to move or open anything. A good game for the start of the party.


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Musical Bumps

A good one for tiring the children out! The guests jump up and down or dance to a jolly piece of music until you turn it off. They then have to sit down as fast as they can with the last one down being out. The last child left in the game is the winner. Check out Chapter 6 of "The Guide" for a variation on this game which avoids the need to catch anyone out.


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Musical Statues

Once again the guests jump or dance to the music and when it is turned off they must stand as still as possible in whatever position they happen to be in. Anyone spotted moving is out and again the last child in the game wins. Make sure you keep the ones who are out occupied by sitting them down in front of you and giving them the "important" job of helping to judge the contest.


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Musical Chairs

A fun game but requiring both space and a sufficient supply of chairs. Well suited to parties in village halls or similar large rooms. Two rows of chairs are set out back to back, the total number of chairs being one less than the number of children. When the music is played the children parade around the chairs and when it stops they must try and sit down. Only one child per chair is allowed and the remaining child is out. The game continues with one chair being removed each time until a winner is found. To ensure that the ones who are out are kept occupied, sit them on the next chair to be removed so that they may watch and help to judge the contest. If space is at a premium try substituting cushions for chairs or even flat pieces of card which the children have to stand on when the music stops.


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Pass The Parcel

Perhaps the most played of all party games. Prior to the party a parcel is prepared consisting of a main prize wrapped in multiple layers of paper. Each layer of paper may also contain a smaller token prize. The children all sit in a circle on the floor and when the music is played, the parcel is passed around the circle from child to child. Each time the music stops, the child who is holding the parcel may remove one wrapper. At this point they may also be asked to perform a forfeit such as singing a song, saying a rhyme, or telling a joke. If you are feeling inventive you can come up with many other simple forfeits (forfeits are not recommended if there are a large number of wrappers). The child then claims the prize wrapped in that layer and the game continues in similar vain until the last wrapper is removed and the main prize is won. Check out Chapter 6 of "The Guide" for my own version of this game.


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Pin The Tail On The Donkey

Still much enjoyed by children of all ages. Kits for this game can be fairly easily purchased in your local party shop. All you need is a fairly large picture of the donkey minus it's tail and a separate pin on or stick on tail. The picture is fixed to a pin board or similar and the children take it in turns to be blindfolded and attempt to fix the tail in the correct place on the donkey. The winner is the one who gets the closest and runner-up prizes can be presented to the others.


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Simon Says

The children all stand facing the organiser who asks them to duplicate his or her actions by saying "Simon Says do this" followed by the action (hands in the air, stand on one leg, touch your ear, etc). Any action preceded by the words "do this" without the "Simon Says" part are not to be duplicated. Each time a child performs a "do this" action they join the panel of judges until a winner is found. Variations on this theme include using the name "O'Grady" instead of Simon and, to make it really quick fire, the name can be dispensed with altogether using "do this" for the actions to be duplicated and "do that" for the no reaction ones.


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Spin The Bottle

This is a variation on Pass The Parcel, an empty bottle being used to select children for forfeits. The guests sit in a circle and the bottle is placed on its side in the middle. The first spin is performed by the party organiser and when the bottle comes to a standstill whoever it is pointing to is asked to perform a forfeit for a prize. A good idea is to have a list of about ten forfeits which can range from simple counting exercises to song singing, etc. The children can be given a choice of number from one to ten and have to do the forfeit for that number. Spin the bottle can also be used as a great way to run an organised present opening at a birthday party, see Chapter 5 of "The Guide" for details.


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Bingo (7yrs+)

If you have never tried this game at a birthday party you will be amazed at how much the children enjoy it. Inexpensive Bingo sets are generally available in toy stores and books of Bingo tickets can usually be obtained at stationers. You will need to make sure that you have enough pencils or pens for each child to have one and away you go. Most Bingo tickets are double sided so you can play two complete games. You call out the numbers and award the prize to the first child to correctly cross off all of theirs. You can add extra excitement by choosing a winning line to try for first before going for the full card.

An interesting variation on this is Reverse Bingo. Here the children are each given a Bingo ticket. They all stand up while numbers are called out. If one of their numbers is called they must sit down and the last one standing is the winner.


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Disco Dice (7yrs+)
With thanks to Jay Grigor for the original concept

As they grow older children very quickly become interested in the current music charts. A great way of using this at a party is to play the Disco Dice game. You will need some tapes or CDs handy and before the party make sure you know which tracks you will use. The children sit in a circle and are handed a dice. The larger the dice the better. Educational suppliers and some toy stores sell giant foam dice which are ideal but a large regular dice is just as good. The children take it in turns to roll the dice calling out the numbers as it goes around the circle. The first child to throw the number "1" is asked to stand and listen to one of your selected songs. They have to try and guess either who is singing on the recording or what it is called. Giving the child two options will assist their chances of getting the right answer. The rest of the children will want to call out the answer if they know it but you should ask them not to do this. Instead they can put up their hand if they think they know. If after a while the selected child does not come up with the answer, you can assist them with clues. The dice then continues round the circle being thrown by each child in turn until the number "2" is thrown. The song guessing is then repeated with a new tune and so the game goes on until all six numbers have been thrown in order and hopefully you have six winners. In the event that the same child throws the correct number more than once they may pass their go on to a friend of their choice.


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Limbo (7yrs+)

In it's simplest form this game could be played by suspending a broomhandle between two chairs. The children take turns in trying to get under the bar without dislodging it or touching the floor with anything other than their feet. The problem with this simple method is that varying the height of the bar is quite tricky, unless you pile books of equal height on both chairs at the start and remove them gradually as you go along. A broomhandle is also quite heavy and might fall on an unsuspecting child so use bamboo cane such as is available at garden centres. If you want to go the whole hog and are handy at D.I.Y. you can fairly quickly knock up two wooden posts that will stand upright. Add some nails at regular intervals to support the stick and mark each position with coloured tape or paint for easy location. Allow the children to have a few practice goes with the bar at different heights and then line them up for the Limbo contest. Each time a round is completed the stick comes down a notch until you start to catch people out. These children then sit in front of the Limbo set to act as judges until a winner is found. If you get down to only a few children and on the next go they are all caught then the competition is a draw.


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Memory Game (7yrs+)

This is a game which could be played in teams but is probably more fun on an individual basis. Prior to the party find about twenty suitable items which will fit on a large tray. The children sit on the floor or round a table and the tray is placed in front of them. They are aloud to view the contents for a minute or two and then the tray is removed. Each child is given a piece of paper and something to write with. They have to put their name at the top and write down as many of the items as they can remember from the tray inside a given time span. When the time is up the papers are collected in and checked against the tray. The winner is the one who remembered the most items. If you wish you can let the children mark each others papers.


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Name Game (7yrs+)

At the start of the party the children are given a piece of paper and a pencil or pen. On the word "go" they have to try and collect the signatures of every child present including their own signature. This is not as easy as it sounds as they will need to constantly check their lists to see who they have or haven't got yet. The winner is the first one up to the organiser with a full list and you can also give prizes for second and third. It is a good idea to prepare a checklist of names before the party.


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Odds & Evens

The children dance or jump around to music and when it stops they have to choose a side of the room to stand on. Let's say the left hand side is designated the "odd" side and the right hand side "even". Once they have made up their minds a dice is thrown. If it lands on an odd number all the "odds" are out and if it is an even number the "evens" are out. The remainder of the children play on, choosing odds or evens each time the music stops, until a winner is found.


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Over and Under (team game)

The children are divided into two or more teams depending on numbers. The team members stand behind each other and each leader is given a balloon. The balloon must be passed down the line by going over the leaders head to the next child who passes it through their legs to the next one who in turn passes it over their head. In this way the balloon travels down the line to the last child who runs round to the front and starts again. This continues until the team leader is back at the front with the winning team being the first ones to finish.


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Number 6

Required are 6 sheets of A4 paper with the number 1 - 6 written large, music and a large Dice. Place the sheets round the room allowing enough room for children to stand near them. Play the music for 10-15 seconds during which time the kids should choose a number and stand by it. They are not allowed to chose number 6. Once the music has stopped and all children are by a number, throw the dice. Anyone on that number is out and goes to the number 6. If 6 is thrown then everyone is back in the game. If no one is on the thrown number just carry on. A small prize for the winners goes down well.
(Sent in by Kevin Otton U.K.)


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Knight Of The Castle

Required are 1 blinfold, 2 chairs and an inflatable hammer or similar ("sword"). Place 1 child in the centre of the two chairs. Explain the chairs are the gate to a castle and your bold knight is the guardian of the gate. He/she (birthday girl/boy to start) has to stop anyone getting through by touching them with the "sword". Give them the "sword", and then blindfold them. Everyone sits down in front of the chairs and the knight and only go when told to. This stops the wild stampede. One at a time they try to pass the knight and anyone touched by the "sword" has to go back and try again. Once through they sit down on the other side. When finished let the knight pick the next guardian. The game can be made easier and harder by increasing or decreasing the space between the chairs.
(Sent in by Kevin Otton U.K.)


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Disclaimer: All games are played at your own risk. The author and publisher  of this website disclaim any warranties (express or implied), merchantability, or fitness for any particular purpose. The author and publisher shall in no event be held liable to any party for any direct, indirect, punitive, special, incidental or other consequential damages arising directly or indirectly from any use of this material, which is provided “as is”, and without warranties.