Throwing a kids’ birthday party? We’ve rounded up some classic kids party games and given them a twist to make them even more fun!
Kids party game trends come and go, but if you ask us, the traditional ones never go out of style. Whether it’s running around outside playing sardines, bashing a piñata to reveal the stash of Haribo hidden inside, or dressing up in costumes and singing their heart out on a couple of plastic microphones, we defy you to find any kids that won’t get on board with at least a handful of these activities.
All of these game ideas require minimal set up, and you won’t have to break the bank to buy expensive prizes or treats. There’s something for all ages – we’ve road-tested these on quite a few mini masterminds, and found that most of them go down just as well with 13 years olds as they do with 3 year olds too!
And the best thing? You probably played these kids party games as a child, so after a quick jog of the memory, you’ll be fully equipped to lead a round of musical bumps and bob for apples with the best of them. Who knows, maybe the other mums and dads will even join in and wander down memory lane as well?
Here are 25 of the best cheap, easy and fun kids party game options we know… now the only decision will be whittling it down to your favourites!
Which party games do your children love the most? Let us know by leaving a comment in the box below.
What: Balloons don't have to be just for decoration - you can use them to play a fun game like this.
a balloon to play with. The kids must then place the balloon under
their chin and pass it to each other using only their necks.
Top tip: Use two balloons and line up the kids in two lines and get them to race to add a competitive element.
What: What's the time Mr Wolf? gets the kids excited with a bit of suspense.
one kid to be Mr Wolf who stands with their back to the rest of the
kids. The kids then shout 'What's the time Mr Wolf?' and creep towards
Mr Wolf. Mr Wolf answers each question with a different time. The aim of
the game is to reach Mr Wolf before they respond 'dinner time' - when
this is called Mr Wolf turns around and chases the kids. Whoever they
catch is the new Mr Wolf.
Top tip: Make Mr Wolf wear a wolf mask to make the game more fun - guaranteed shrieks from all the children!
What: Bingo isn't just for adults, test the kids' number skills with a simple game.
can buy a pre-made set or make your own. Each kid has a card with a
selection of numbers on. You call out numbers and the child marks their
card if the number appears. The first child with all numbers crossed out
in a row wins.
Top tip: You don't have to just use numbers, you can make your own cartoon character or animal bingo.
What: Find your partner is a great way of breaking the ice at the start of the party, as it gets nervous kids talking to one another.
down the names of famous pairs (Mickey & Minnie Mouse, Tom &
Jerry etc) on individual stickers and hand them out the the children.
Then instruct them to find their 'other half' whoever finds their
partner fastest is the winner.
Top tip: To
make it more interesting, stick the stickers to the kids' backs and get
others to describe their character to them. They then have to guess who
their character is.
What: Squeal piggy, squeal is a fun-filled game for all ages.
the kids in a circle and pick one child to play. The child is then
blindfolded and placed within the middle of the circle. They then must
sit on another kid's lap and say 'Squeal piggy, squeal', that kid must
then make a pig's squealing sound. If the blindfolded kid can guess who
they are sitting on, that person replaces them, if not they must
Top tip: You can use any animal and sound effect for this game.
What: Simon says is a simple game that needs no preparation.
one child to be the leader - or 'Simon' - and get them to stand in
front of the rest of the children. The child must then call out actions
(raise your hand, sit down etc) for the children to copy, saying 'Simon
says...' before hand. Once they say an action without saying 'Simon
says...' first, the children must not copy the action, anyone who does
Top tip: Change the game from 'Simon says' and replace with the birthday girl or boys' name - it'll make them feel extra special!
What: Put your kids' problem-solving skills to the test with a mysterious treasure hunt.
How: Hide presents or treats around the house and write clues for the kids to find them.
Top tip: Get inventive with your clues, use rhymes or riddles to make the clues more fun.
What: It's not just for sports days, egg and spoon races are easy to do at home.
Get a large spoon and a pack of eggs (make sure the eggs rest
comfortably on the spoons). Then get the children to race while holding
the egg on the spoon. The first child to make it over the finish line
without dropping their egg is the winner.
Top top: Hard boil the eggs first to save on mess and get the kids to decorate them with felt tips before the race.
What: Red, blue, green is a great way to get the kids moving.
means fast, blue is normal speed and green is slow motion. Call out
actions for the kids to copy (skipping, jumping etc) then call out a
colour to dictate the speed. Anyone doing the wrong speed is eliminated.
Top tip: The colours don't have to equal speeds, you can mix it up and make the colours different actions.
What: A three-legged race is a great way of getting kids to understand teamwork.
How: Pair up the kids and tie one leg of one to the other. Then get the kids to race.
Top tip: Always
use soft material to tie the legs together and make sure you don't tie
it too tight. Always race on soft ground as they may fall over during
What: Musical chairs is a great way to keep overactive kids happy.
Set up chairs in a circle and play music. While the music is playing
get the children to circle the chairs, as soon as you stop the music the
children must find a chair to sit on. Each time you stop the music
remove one chair. If a child is not on a chair when the music stops,
that child is out.
Create two circles of chairs so the kids have to do a figure of eight
round them. The added dimension (and possibility for collision) will up
the excitement levels!
What: Sardines is like hide and seek - with an added twist!
one child to hide. The others then must go find them. If they find the
person hiding they must join them in their hiding place. The aim is to
get as many kids as possible in the space leaving one or two children
Top tip: Play in
one large room and turn the lights off to make the game harder - make
sure any obstacles are removed and hard edges covered.
What: Row the boat tests kids' imagination.
children into pairs and sit them on the floor facing each other, with
legs outstretched, holding hands. Get them to rock back and forth while
you play the song Row The Boat.
Top tip: Get inventive with the scenario and add props to make the scene more interesting e.g. stuffed toys and toy boats.
What: Bobbing for apples doesn't have to be restricted to Halloween.
a large bucket and fill it with water then add apples - simple!
Blindfold the kids and get them to try to pick up the apples using only
Top tip: Add other (large) objects to the bucket of water to make it more challenging.
What: Skittles is small scale bowling - perfect for at-home fun.
How: You can pick up skittle sets in most kids' stores. Set up a bowling alley-style space and get playing!
Top tip: Make your own skittles using old plastic drink bottles.
What: Pin the tail on the donkey is a simple game that will keep the kids entertained for hours.
You can buy a ready made set or get creative and make your own. You
blindfold one child at a time and get them to place a cut-out tail onto a
picture of a (tail-less) donkey. After every child goes, the closest
Top tip: Who said
it has to be a donkey? Use any picture of an animal or even choose your
child's favourite cartoon character and remove its prize possession -
like Woody's hat from Toy Story.
What: Duck, duck, goose is a school-playground favourite.
the kids to sit in a circle and pick one child to start. They then walk
round the circle tapping every kids' head saying 'Duck'. When they tap a
child's head and say 'Goose' the chosen child must chase the other
round the circle and back to their spare space in the circle. Whoever
doesn't make it to the space must then continue with the tapping.
Top tip: You
don't have to stick to ducks and geese, mix it up with some new
characters and include sound effects to get everyone giggling - how
about oink, oink moo?
What: Piñata is a Mexican treat that includes kids' two favourite things: chocolate and games.
can buy pre-made piñatas or you can make your own. They are
traditionally filled with sweets and chocolates. The children are then
blindfolded (one by one) and take turns hitting the piñata with a stick.
When it breaks the kids are showered in sweet treats.
Top tip: If
you're making your own piñata make sure you fill it with small soft
things as they may hit the kids on the head on their way down.
What: British bulldog gets the kids exercising.
one kid to be the bulldog. Find a large open space and get the kids to
stand at one end. They the must take it in turns to cross the space to
the other side without being tagged (touched) by the bulldog. If they
are tagged, they join the bulldog in trying to tag the remaining kids.
The winner is the last kid to be tagged.
Top tip: Tuck
strips of material onto the kids' waists to be removed by the bulldog
instead of tagging to avoid the risk of things getting too rough!
What: Kids love performing and what better way than karaoke?
How: There are many karaoke consoles on the market from Singstar to iSing. Hook them up to your TV and get singing.
Top tip: You don't have to splash out to do karaoke. Print off the lyrics to your favourite songs and sing along to the CD.
See our favourite at-home karaoke games
What: All you need is a clear space and some music to make musical statues work.
all the kids onto your makeshift dance floor. Turn on the music to get
the kids dancing. As soon as you stop the music the kids must freeze
into a statue position. Each time you stop the music the last child to
finish moving is out.
Top tip: Make
it trickier by shouting out different actions for the kids to do to the
music before freezing. Trying to stay still mid-hop will create hours
What: It's not just girls who like dressing up.
How: Create a pile of dressing up clothes and get the kids to rummage to create their own outfit. Give prizes for the best costume.
Top tip: Charity shops and jumble sales are a great place to pick up clothes for a dressing up selection.
What: Score a goal is a house-friendly game of football or rounders.
one balloon to act as a ball and use either your foot/hand or another
balloon as a bat to get the balloon into a designated goal.
Top tip: Make sure the balloons aren't filled with helium as they will float away.
What: Another musical treat - this time with a little added bump.
game follows the same principles as the other musical games. Once the
music stops they must fall to the floor and curl up in a ball. The last
to make it to the floor is out.
Top tip: Bring your mattresses downstairs to make the bumps a little more comfortable.
What: Pass the parcel is a classic kids' game.
a present in several layers, sit the kids in a circle, play some music
and get the kids to pass the parcel. When you stop the music, the child
holding the package removes one layer. Repeat until the present is
Top tip: Tape mini
presents, such as sweets or chocolate, to each layer so every child is a
winner and shout out rules throughout the game like 'change direction'
or 'across the circle' to mix things up a bit.