planning is always a key phrase, but aside from the more obvious areas such as
time, place, food and theme, the type of party games that are played is often paramount
to the success of a kids' birthday party.
of the best pieces of advice that I ever received when I was planning one of my
children's parties, was to take time to speak to the parents of each of the invitees
in order to identify their child's strengths and weaknesses. This means that through
party play, each child could be given a chance to demonstrate their particular
talent, whether it be memory, concentration, co-ordination, singing, counting
It also means that the number of tears shed would be minimised, that no child
would feel eliminated and that everyone would win a prize.
of the more creative kids party games I have come across
include variations of the Memory Game, Toy Walk, Through the Hole, Chain and Telephone.
selecting a theme or devising party games, it is important not only to take the
child's age into account but, where possible, to identify the dominant interests
of the invitees.
at what point in the party do you play the games? This is very much down to personal
choice, but as a general rule, it is a good idea to begin playing games after
the initial arrival and present-opening session. This means that the children
will have burnt off some energy before party food time, hopefully ensuring that
there will not be too many fidgety bottoms and hyperactivity during the eating
the party draws to a close is the time to introduce some quieter games, or even
a story time, when the party bags can be handed out and the children have time
to calm down before their parents arrive to collect them.
plan more games than you expect to use to avoid running out of activities before
the party is over and always make sure that you purchase more prizes and party
bags than you think you will need!
The Party Games:
Game: Place a number of objects on a tray (usually higher than the number
of children present) and cover with a cloth. Once all the children are sat in
a circle, remove the cloth for a period of time, say one minute, and ask the children
to try and memories all the objects on the tray. Replace the cloth and then, in
turn, ask each child to name an object on the tray within a time frame of about
10 seconds. When a child fails to name an object, they are out of the game. The
game continues until either all the objects are named or until there is one child
left in the game, if not all the objects have been named. Obviously, any children
remaining at the end of the game are winners.
Walk: Place raffle tickets on several small toys or other prizes, but keep
these hidden from the children. On large pieces of card, or thick paper, write
several numbers, including those corresponding to the raffle ticket numbers and
lay them out in a random pattern on the floor. Play some music and ask the children
to walk or dance around the numbers, taking care not to step on them. When the
music stops, each child should stand on the number closest to them. If the number
they are standing on corresponds to one of the numbers on a prize, they win that
Through the Hole: This preparation for this game can be time consuming,
but is well worth the effort. Depending on the theme of the party, cut out a head
shape (for example, Elmo). Color it as required, and then cut out a hole where its
mouth is. Using softballs, or homemade beanbags filled with pasta, the children
take turns to throw the balls/bags into the mouth. Obviously, the one who gets
most objects through the mouth is the winner. For older children, you can vary
the shape and size of the objects thrown to make it a bit more difficult.
This is a very simple game, but one that children love and which also develops
dexterity and concentration skills. Fill several containers (plastic food storage
containers are ideal) with paper clips. Put on some music and ask the children
to start making a chain each from the paper clips. When the music stops, the child
who has made the longest chain wins.
Telephone: This traditional game is fabulous for enhancing listening and verbal communication
skills. The children sit in a circle and an adult whispers a phrase or sentence
into the ear of a child, so that none of the other children can hear. That child
then whispers the phrase into the ear of the next child and so on. When the final
child in the circle has heard the phrase, he or she repeats out loud what they
have heard. This game can have hilarious consequences.
Need more ideas? The following are all available at a discounted price at www.amazon.com
Birthday Parties - The Complete Party Planner for Today's Kids by Jane Chase
Children's Party Handbook - Fantasy, Food and Fun by Alison Boteler
Birthday Parties for Kids - Creative Party ideas Your
Kids and Their Friends Will Love by Penny Warner
party Games and Activities - Hundreds of Exciting Things to Do at Parties for
Kids 2-12 by Penny Warner and Kathy Rogers
Kids' Pick-A-Party Book: 50 Fun Party Themes for Kids Ages 2-16 by Penny Warner
and Liya Lev Oertel
the Author... Jan Andersen, Swindon, Wiltshire, England www.mothersover40.com
freelance writer and mother of four children.