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Party Theme Ideas

Games

Party games and activities are one of the best things about a birthday party. We suggest you plan five or six games to keep children busy and give you some variety in case one does not quite go to plan and you need to quickly move on!

We have included tips on how to simplify the games for young children, or how to make the game more challenging for older children. You can, of course, tailor the ideas to suit your particular party.

Balloon Volleyball
Chocolate Game
Freeze
Hot Air Balloons
Knock Kneed Balloon Race
Musical Chairs
Pass the Parcel
Traffic Lights
Skittles Race

Balloon Volleyball

Props: 1 balloon, a broom and two chairs.

Instructions: Rest the broom across the top of two chairs to create a 'volleyball net' and split the children into two teams, one on each side of the 'court'. Children then tap the balloon over the broom with their hands to each other, trying to keep the balloon off the floor.

Winner: Winning team is the one who keeps the balloon off the ground without knocking over the broom or popping it.

Tips: You might like to play several 'rounds', for example best out of five rounds wins.

Younger children might be allowed to let the balloon hit the ground once each turn.

For older children, you can specify how many team members need to touch the balloon before it can be returned to the other team.

Chocolate Game

Props: A block of chocolate, a plate, a knife, a fork, dice and some dress up items (e.g. scarf and beanie).

Instructions: Place the chocolate on plate with knife and fork, positioning it in the middle of the circle of children. The dress up clothes are to be placed beside the plate.

Children take it in turns to roll the dice. If they throw a six, they must put on the dress up clothes and begin eating the block of chocolate by cutting one piece at a time using only the utensils.

The child keeps going until the next child throws a six, at which point they must immediately take off the dress ups and pass them on.

Continue until the block of chocolate is finished.

Tips: If it's taking too long for sixes to be thrown, you can add another 'winning' number (e.g. three) to keep the game moving.

Have a spare block of chocolate or two on hand in case you have some proficient eaters!

You might also like to give each child their own fork if you are concerned about hygiene.

Freeze

Props: Music.

Instructions: While music plays, children dance around the room. When the music stops, they all must freeze like statues. If any child moves, they sit down or help judge. Keep playing the music and stopping until you only have one child left.

Winner: The last child left in the game is the winner.

Hot Air Balloons

Props: 8 balloons (one for each child).

Instructions: Get each child to blow up a balloon (or have them already inflated for younger children). Each child has to keep his or her balloon in the air without touching the ground for the longest.

Winner: Person whose balloon is in the air the longest is the winner

Tips: To engage older children you could get them to play with one hand behind their backs, or play with both hands behind their backs, only using their heads to keep their balloon in the air.

Knock Kneed Balloon Race

Props: 8 balloons (one for each child).

Instructions: Mark out a race course that children can run. Give each child a balloon (partially blown up) which they have to hold between their knees as they run the race. If the balloon falls to the ground or they touch it with their hands, they return to the start line.

Winner: First person to finish with the balloon still between their knees is the winner.

Tips: Younger children might find it easier to use one or both hands to keep the balloon in place. Older children might need to walk backwards or go through an obstacle course to increase difficulty.

Musical Chairs

Props: A chair for each child (can be different types and sizes); music.

Instructions: Place one chair for each child in a circle facing outwards. While music plays, children walk or dance around the outside of the chairs. When you stop the music, they have to find a chair to sit on. After round one, take a chair away in each round so there is always one less chair than children still left playing.

Winner: Last person to still be sitting on a chair when the music stops.

Tips: To make the game more interesting for older children, you might like to get them to walk backwards or hop as they circle the chairs.

Pass The Parcel

Props: Small prize (such as a deck of cards or bottle of nail polish); newspapers for wrapping the gift; music.

Instructions: A small gift is wrapped in multiple layers of newspaper (add one layer for each child playing). Children sit in a circle and while music plays they pass the gift around the circle. When the music stops the child who is holding the gift gets to unwrap one layer. Once a layer is opened the music begins again and continues until just one layer is left.

Winner: The winner is the child who opens the final layer to reveal the main prize.

Tips: We recommend you have at least one layer per child so that everyone gets a chance to unwrap a layer.

You can keep your local paper the week before the party so you have it on hand to wrap your parcel.

For older children it can be fun to include a small 'dare' between each layer so as each layer is unwrapped the child also has to complete the dare they discover. It might be to make animal noises, do a dance or sing a nursery rhyme. You can write these on small pieces of paper and include them when wrapping.

Traffic Lights

Instructions: Children spread out in an area with room to move. When you call out ‘green’ they have to run around/ move fast, when you call out ‘amber' or 'yellow’ they have to move in slow motion and when you call out ‘red’ the children have to freeze.

Winner: If a child moves while in ‘red’ they sit out so the last person left is the winner. Or, you can play as long as you like without anyone going out, just have fun, let them burn some energy and work on their listening skills and gross motor skills.

Tips: If they are finding it too easy, try changing colours quickly. You can increase difficultly by adding an extra task to each colour – “red is freeze on one leg” “yellow is move slowly with hands above your head” “green is run quickly/ move fast while whistling”.

Skittles Race

Props: A big bag of skittles (or M&M's, smarties), 8 drinking straws, 8 containers or cups, 1 large bowl.

Instructions: Pour the bag of skittles into the large bowl and place in the middle of the circle of children. Give each child a straw and a small container or cup.

The children need to retrieve as many skittles as they can in three minutes by sucking the skittles onto their straws and dropping it back into their cup.

Winner: The child that collects the most in the allocated time. Everyone gets to eat the skittles that they collect.

Tips: For a large group of children, you could choose to play this game in teams with one container/ cup per team. To prevent too much crowding of the bowl you could play this like a relay; once one team member returns with a skittle the next team member can race to the bowl.

To increase difficulty you might like to use chopsticks instead of straws.

You might also like to give each team a colour, and they are only allowed to retrieve their team's colour from the main bowl.

With 3 young children, I find party planning can be time-consuming and stressful. But Party In The Box makes it so easy! Just one box takes care of all the little things, and all I need to think about is the fun stuff like the birthday cake and games!

Kate E, Blackburn North