Following my previous post about decorations for N’s upcoming ‘non-birthday’ party, I thought I’d share the preschool party activities I had planned for it (plus a couple of others).
So much is dependent on the weather for parties in the UK. Our party was held at N’s nursery tree house in their forest school, and with the children only being 3, I expected them to merely run around like pre-schoolers are wont to do, playing on the trampoline, climbing frame and pirate ship. But I did arrange a couple of ideas if they got bored of running amok or in case of rain.
1. Scavenger hunt
Scavenger or treasure hunts can be great for any age, and they’re really versatile so you can make them harder for older children or adults. For N’s party, I’ve done some sheets with simple, obvious natural items that should be (hopefully) found in forest school.
If you don’t put wildflowers or animals on there you can ask them to bring the items back to you, or adults can tick off what they find. An alternative would be to put out pictures of the item in the area they can be found – eg a pine cone picture next to lots of pine cones, and they could each take a copy of the picture once they find the item and the picture.
There’re plenty of resources online for the different types of scavenger hunts you can do or you can download/print my scavenger hunt.
2. Parachute games
Playing parachute games takes me back to my youth when I was in Woodcraft Folk. I think nowadays they’re a lot more prevalent in toddler groups and schools, as they’re great for listening, teamwork, and just having fun. I found some great reminders of games online, but I planned to do a simple ‘mushroom’ up and down lifting of the parachute, and the ‘popcorn’ game where the children bounce toys or balls on the parachute, trying to bounce them off.
There’s also a game where they have to roll a ball (or two), round the edge of the parachute, like a Mexican wave, but that’s better for older children.
3. Pass the parcel
A party isn’t a party without pass the parcel. When we were children there was just the one prize, but at this age it’s handy to have something small inside each layer like some sweets and let each child open a layer. This was the one game we played at the party. My tip is to blend your music in, or plan a stop when the track ends. N had chosen The Sugababes instead of nursery rhymes (he turned down S Club 7!), but they got a bit confused when the track finished! Ooops.
It’s quite hard to get little ones to stay sitting down once they’ve opened their layer, but the 3 year olds did really well, all sitting down quietly…maybe knowing that lunch was on its way.
4. Colouring in/activity sheets
Now, N isn’t usually that keen on drawing or colouring, but he’s just go into learning to write ‘N’. I thought some of the children might have wanted to sit down for a bit, so I printed out some colouring in sheets, provided some pens. I didn’t think they would use them, but after wondering where N and a couple of the others were, I went to the treehouse to find the three of them had got out the paper and pens and were drawing and colouring. Well, N was writing Ns all over a couple of the scavenger hunt pages, but it was sweet to see.
N does love to dance, but it’s very much on his terms, so I’m not sure whether he would dance at a party if there was music on. Given he was fussy about the music I used for pass the parcel, I dread to think how stubborn he’d be about dancing music. But some pre-schoolers love to dance and will quite happily jump around and wiggle if there’s music on. I think it’s worth taking along a music player and a party playlist in case of a) rain and you find everyone having to come indoors, or b) they need some calming down, and musical statues might be an alternative.
In the end we didn’t really need many specific party activities as the children enjoyed playing outside with the play equipment that was around them.
What are your tips for preschool party activities?