What is a children's party without a party game or ten?
I am in awe of Professional Party Entertainers, they are super-talented people who can keep a room full of sugar-infused children entertained for hours! However, when you don't have a party professional on hand and there are a bunch of children who need to be entertained my Number One Top Tip is have some party games up your sleeve. Even if it's not a party but you've found yourself at a picnic/beach trip/airport lounge/anywhere with a bunch of kids and needing to fill some time, it is always a good time to play a party game.
Here are my personal top ten fun-filled party games that children will love you for (in no particular order)
1: The Bean Game
A personal favourite of my daughter and perfect for younger children. This game requires no music and no props but plenty of space and is really high energy! It sounds a little odd, but trust me this is a true 'crowd pleaser'!
The children begin by walking around the room in any direction, on your command they need to carry out the following 'bean' actions:
Jumping Bean - Jump around the room
Runner Bean - Run on the spot
Broad Bean - Jump in a star shape
Baked Bean - Lie on the floor in a foetal position
Jelly Bean - Wobble around the room like a jelly
String Bean - Stand on the spot reach for the sky becoming as tall as possible
French Bean - Hand on hip, strike a pose and shout 'Ooh La La'
You can get your group of kids to think up other bean poses that you wish to throw in eg. Magic Bean, Beans on Toast, Tinned Bean, Mr Bean etc.
There is no winner in this game, it is a fun and fabulous warm up to the party or could be used filling in the time when the parents are arriving to collect the children.
2: Scavenger Hunt or Treasure Hunt
This is definitely a game for outdoors! A Scavenger Hunt is where a list of items is given to the children for them to run off and collect the list of items in bags and bring back to be checked off, this is great for younger children. You can easily theme these hunts to match in with your particular party. Here is a beautiful Scavenger list and collecting bag from a Woodland Fairy Party by Thecul-de-sac BlogSpot.
Treasure Hunts generally follow clues (great for slightly older children). For a recent Rainbow themed party I rolled up clues in scrolls of paper and hid them around the garden, each scroll gave a clue that lead the children to the next and finally ending up at a Rainbow (I couldn't manage a real Rainbow but they seemed happy with a tissue paper one) and at its end a crock of Gold.
I love hunts like these and so do the children, It is also a perfect time filler whilst you prepare the party food. You can make your hunt as short and easy or long as you wish it could even become the main event of your party.
It is no secret that in our house we LOVE pinata's. It is not unusual to come to our house and find one at Easter, Halloween, Christmas or simply just 'because'!
The smashing of a Pinata excites children like no other party game I know. This activity does need parental supervision, I recommend making a line with some tape and ensuring that all the children (other than the child who's turn it is) stay beyond the line. Once the pinata has burst open we let the children dive in and gather the contents but ask them all to put their bounty of sweets into one bucket, we then divide the sweets among the children or add them their party bags.
We have a great range of Party Pinatas available here.
4: The Pirate Ship
Along a similar vein to the Bean Game is The Pirate Ship, Obviously perfect for Pirate themed parties! The children stand in a line facing the adult 'Captain' and obey the Captains commands, A great way for the adults to get in role!
Whenever you call 'Maindeck' - the children run back to the line
Scrub the decks - Children crouch and mimic scrubbing the floor
Climb the rigging - Children mimic climbing a rope ladder
Man over board - Children run and jump
Walk the Plank - Children have to walk one foot in front of the other with their arms outstretched
Captains Coming - Children salute and shout 'Aye Aye Captain!'
Port - Run to the left
Starboard - Run to the right
Captains Wife - Everyone courtseys! (causing lots of laughter, especially from the boys)
Hit the Deck - Everyone sits down (and like in musical bumps the last to sit down is out of the game)
Once the children have mastered the commands you can shout them out at some speed, throwing in 'Hit the Deck' to try and catch them all out!
Charades is played very little these days by Children but it can be a superb party game for smaller groups and ideal for children aged over Six. If you are hosting a Childs Movie Night, Picnic or Sleepover a game of Charades is sure to result in squeals and giggles a-plenty. It's a very simple game to teach the children and once they start it will keep everyone entertained for hours. You could make you own charade cards using simple films, TV shows, books, or words.
6: Musical Statues
A classic! Children can dance their hearts out and when the music stops they have to hold their pose like a statue. The first to move is out! Make it a bit harder for older children by making them stand on one leg when the music stops! Tip: to stop the children getting bored when they are 'out' let them help by being your referees!
7: Balloon Pinata
Pop little wrapped sweets inside big 3ft balloons (you could also add tissue paper confetti). Place the balloons around the room and the children can chase them around, sit on them, squash them until they burst releasing there sweeties. A great pinata alternative for young children.
8: Musical Islands
Musical Islands or Musical Pumpkins/Toadstalls/Teddy Bears/Bunnies etc. This game is based on musical chairs, I often have more children to cater for than I have chairs! Using A4 or larger paper or card cut out shapes to suit your party. (I last did this for a Halloween party and made orange pumkins). Make the same number shapes as children and spread them out onto the floor. When the game starts the music will play and when it stops playing the children need to find an island/pumpkin to stand on. Each time the music stops take away a pumpkin this will leave one child with no island, that child is out of the game, repeat until there is only one island left. Tip: if you have a large amount of children take away two or more islands at a time or this game may go on a bit too long!
9: Pass the Parcel
Children have come to expect pass the parcel at parties, and it is as popular as ever. In recent years it has become the norm to put a prize in every layer and this has the added complication that you have to remember which children have and have not had a prize yet! If you choose to do it this way a solution is to put a badge, sticker or bracelet in each layer as a little prize and ask the children to put them on (indicating to you who has yet to win one), I have also seen pass the parcels containing paper hats and sunglasses which can work in the same way! Tip: pass the parcel can become a little boring when there are more than about 10 children, so get the children to form two or more pass the parcel circles and prepare more than one parcel, it will help if you get an extra adult or older sibling to help you with each circle.
We have lots of little toys etc that make fabulous party prizes and parcel fillers.
Limbo is still a much loved party game for boys and girls (and adults!). You can create a simple limbo game by getting two adults to hold the Limbo stick,or get a bit more creative and build one out of some bamboo, tape and string, add some coloured tissue paper and voila! It's so simple, the children take turns under the Limbo stick, with every round the stick is lowered and if they knock the stick they are out of the game. Tip - proper limbo-ing is difficult for younger children and they end up bending or crawling under, make things a little more interesting for the younger children by making them go under the Limbo; really quickly, with their eyes closed, holding hands with a partner, wiggling, whilst singing etc etc. There really doesn't have to be a winner, the children won't mind at all because they will be having so much Fun!