Kids' Party Games Without The Tears
Forward 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
Some 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.
When 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.
So, 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 period!
As 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.
Finally, 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!
Memory 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
Chain: 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
Kid-Tastic Birthday Parties - The Complete Party Planner for Today's Kids by Jane Chase
Children's Party Handbook - Fantasy, Food and Fun by Alison Boteler
Kids' party Games and Activities - Hundreds of Exciting Things to Do at Parties for Kids 2-12 by Penny Warner and Kathy Rogers
The Kids' Pick-A-Party Book: 50 Fun Party Themes for Kids Ages 2-16 by Penny Warner and Liya Lev Oertel