Children’s birthday parties. They can be some of the most stressful events to organise. Deciding where to hold it – parties at home or elsewhere? DIY or run by someone else?

N hasn’t had a birthday party at home since he was 3 years old and we had a summer ‘birthday’ party playdate in the garden rather than holding a party at home inside in January.  The children all had a great time running all over the place, playing together (despite the bouncy castle disaster where the blower turned up but not the actual castle), and climbing all over one of the dads. We were lucky with the weather (hence having it in summer instead of near his actual birthday), and the party was kept contained to garden, kitchen and back room.

I loved the parties I had at home as a child. With classic children’s party games and food, children nowadays still love the simple parties. N’s been to some traditional parties in village halls, and the children have all loved the games and got involved.

Here’s some of the games and activities that make for good party fun, and bring some team spirit. 

Tip – if you’re picking teams, get children to either pick a team colour out of a hat, or decide on the teams beforehand, rather than letting children pick on the day. Hopefully it avoids people not being picked and it’s fairer.

kids birthday party games - Bubbablue and me

Classic party games for parties at home

Team games:

Pass the item – without using hands, the item needs to be passed along the team from front to back.  Try balloons (have spares), beach balls, tennis balls, oranges.  Usually the rules are under the chin or between the knees.

Pass the spoon – similar to above, add a long thread of cord to the end of a spoon (any size) and the team has to pass it along the line but up and down clothes, so up 1 person and down the next.

Flap the fish – cut out a large fish shape from newspaper or paper and put on the floor in front of each team. Each team member has to move the fish up to the finish using just a magazine or rolled up newspaper to bash the floor or waft behind it. Either return the fish back to the team again or provide each team member with a fish (they could decorate them in advance) until everyone has had a go. First to finish is the winning team.

Obstacle course – better outside than in, use planks, pallets, nets, and more to create a course. 

Bridge building – provide a plank for each team, buckets and other materials like bricks, and set the teams a challenge to get items from one side to the other without the items or them touching the ground. The start and finish point needs to be wider than the plank so they need to work out how to move items and people in turn. Needs quite a bit of room. Although you could have a large sheet of paper to put on the floor to replicate the plank for younger children or if you’re having the game inside.

Fun circuits course (create your own version of the Crystal Maze and rather than having circuits for exercise, use activities along a theme. Get them swirling spaghetti round a fork, building a bridge to roll a car down, Lego challenges where they build something different at each table, rolling or throwing balls into a bucket, doing knots. 

Team or individual games:

Picture quiz or scavenger hunt – send them off to find items, or set up a picture quiz of famous people if they’re older children, or parts of items for them to guess.

Fast board games, where you play one against another, e.g Staccups. Where they’re quick to finish a game, each pair from a team can play and be timed, until there’s a leaderboard table at the end.

playing staccups close up
Playing Staccups

There are so many games that can be played at parties. And if they’re really not into games, just give them a pile of balloons to play with and a few foam mats to charge around on.

What are some of the more old fashioned children’s party games that have still gone down well at parties with your children?

Try these other party posts

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kids party ideas
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