From age-old classics to more modern favourites, plus a few that are traditional games, with a contemporary twist.
Looking for awesome games to liven up a children’s birthday party?
You’ve certainly comes to the right place!
As one of Sydney’s top birthday party venues for children, we know what kids look for in a birthday celebration, and what kind of activities will make them go “WoW!”.
Which is why we’ve put together this list of 20 party games that kids absolutely LOVE!
(Yes, that’s right. This is a post on birthday party games, but these games can be adapted to any occasion - Halloween, Christmas, New Year, and so on)
Note: Just because you (and the other parents) are adults doesn’t mean you just have to watch from the sidelines. These games are infectiously fun, and you might find yourself raring to have a go as well.
The best games and activities for a children’s birthday party
You remember from your own days as a child of the essential art and crafts that your parents were always dying to teach you?
Like, for example, building paper aircraft?
That is what this game is all about.
Select a craft., say making paper airplanes
Ask the kids to make their own paper airplanes. And then have a competition on whose airplane flies the farthest.
For round two, you can ask the kids to build cars of lego…and then have a race.
Can the adults take part? Adults obviously can’t compete with kids on who can make better paper planes, but you can have parent-children teams…needless to say, every kid would have to be paired with an adult for an even contest.
Tip: Make sure you have plenty of craft material for the children (and adults) to use.
Buried treasure (suitable for very young children/toddlers)
The idea is for each toddler to recover treasure that is ‘buried’ in a box which is undersea (a blanket that’s being waved to mimic sea waves).
How to play
- Put some ‘treasure’ items (like soft toys, chocolate coins and so on) in a box.
- Place the box in the centre of the room.
- Get some adults to help you hold a large blanket over the box.
- Shake the blanket, like the waves of the ocean.
- Now, one by one, the toddlers run underneath the blanket, and get whatever treasure you can out of the box.
Everyone wins some treasure, making everyone a winner in this game.
Can the adults take part? Adults would have to compete separately, as the ‘waves’ would have to be adjusted considerably between adults and children.
Pro tip: Wrap the ‘treasures’ in gift paper so it’s not obvious what they are from the outside. And tell the kids that they can’t undo or tear the wrapping before they emerge from the ocean.
What’s the time, Mr Wolf?
This game will be a hit with some of the older kids, as it includes a fair amount of suspense.
How to play
- One child is selected as ‘Mr Wolf’.
- They stand at a distance from the rest of the children.
- In turns, the other children say “What’s the time, Mr Wolf?”, and start creeping towards the wolf.
- Mr Wolf replies with something like “5 o’clock”. This means the other players can move forward five steps.
- If Mr Wolf replies “Dinner time!”, it’s the cue for him/her to start chasing everybody.
- The aim is to for the other children to reach Mr Wolf.
- If the chase starts, whoever is caught will become the new Mr Wolf.
- If the children can reach Mr Wolf before he/she says “Dinner time”, the game restarts with the same Mr Wolf.
I know. You’re probably thinking Squid Game, but that’s too heavy a show to talk about with kids present, isn’t it?
Can the adults take part? Not with the kids, obviously, but you can have your own Squid Game version…for example when the children get tired and are watching a movie or something.
Wack the pinata!
Make a pinata…and make sure you fill it with plenty of birthday treats and gifts.
Then hang it up somewhere, and invite the kids to hit it with a bat or a stick, one at a time, until the pinata breaks apart and all the goodies come tumbling out!
This is another game where everybody wins! Such games are ideal for building bonds between the children.
Can the adults take part? Again, the adults can have their own pinata when the children are tired and are sleeping or watching movies or something.
Pass the parcel
An old-timers’ favourite, pass the parcel has been a staple at children’s parties the world over.
The basic idea is for a multi-layered parcel to be unwrapped bit by bit by the children till they get to the innermost layer where a prize awaits!
How to play
- Build a parcel with multiple layers. The innermost layer contains a small prize. What the prize, and the outer layers can be…I’ll come to that in a moment.
- Make the children sit in a circle, and give the parcel to any of the children.
- Start some music.
- As long as the music is playing, the children have to keep passing the parcel on.
- Once the music stops, the child who has the parcel can unwrap one layer of wrapping.
- And then the music (and the passing of the parcel) starts again.
- This goes on till the innermost layer is reached, revealing the prize. Whoever unwraps that, keeps the prize.
This is a game that teaches the children about fair play, and accepting rules. Even though each child would prefer to just keep the parcel with them, they can’t, as per the rules.
Can the adults take part? Sure. BUT if an adult wins the prize, who do you think should keep it?
What are there in the different layers? You can have a small prize in each layer, so more than one child wins a prize. Or, you can have only one prize - in the innermost layer.
What to have as a central/final prize? I’d suggest a good book. Excitement will be high in this one, and it’s an ideal way to build a love for books in the children.
Bingo, for kids (and adults, as well!)
Traditional representations don’t do Bingo justice. It’s not just for people who stay in retirement homes.
In fact, it can be a great hit at children’s parties!
You can buy a bingo set…but I think you’ll have more fun making the cards yourself. Get one or two other parents to help you along, if you need to.
If you don’t know, a bingo card has a grid (set the grid size according to the number of party guests) and is filled with numbers.
And then…you know how it goes.
You call out numbers, and each player strikes out the number if it appears on their card.
The first player with all the numbers in a row, or a column, or across a diagonal, wins.
Can the adults take part? I don’t see why not!
Pro tip: Replace the cards with superheroes and supervillains. Might prove an even bigger hit than numbers…including among adults 🙂
You must have heard of this…or been able to guess what it is, because you’ve seen videos on YouTube.
Anyway, let me give you the lowdown on how this game works.
Each kid gets an oreo cookie placed on their forehead.
And now they have to move it to their mouth without using their hands.
Can the adults take part? Sure, why not? In fact, this might be one game where adults can directly compete against the children.
Pro tip: It’s tempting to declare that the first player to get the cookie to their mouth wins, but everyone will be having so much fun, declaring a winner is completely unnecessary…and might even spoil it for the others.
Squeal, piggy, squeal!
An exciting game for most ages, not just for kids. The basic objective is to identify people by their voice.
How to play
- Select a player at random, and blindfold them.
- Then ask the others to sit around the kid, keeping quiet.
- The blindfolded player must go up to another kid (sit in their lap, if you feel like it), and say: “Squeal, piggy, squeal!”. That kid has to make a squealing noise.
- If the blindfolded kid can correctly guess who they’re sitting on, the other person becomes the player to be blindfolded.
- If not, they must go for another round.
This game will get the children excited about knowing more about their friends.
Can the adults take part? Would be awkward as hell, wouldn’t it?
Shake ‘em off!
This is a fun, active game that children above 6 should enjoy a lot!
The idea is to get players to shake balls out of a box that’s tied to them, without using their hands.
How to play
- Get some small boxes (like tissue boxes).
- Fill each box up with ping pong balls (the same number in each box).
- Tie each box around the waist of a player.
- Without using their hands, the players must shake the balls out of their box.
- You can keep going till everybody empties their box, or the player with the fewest balls remaining after one minute can be declared the winner.
This is a great game for teaching the young partygoers about body coordination.
Can the adults take part? I wouldn’t recommend it, as the adults could easily crash into the children players in the excitement. Adults can play separately, though.
Pin the donkey's tail
A fun, competitive game that people of all ages will love!
How to play
- Make a picture of a donkey without its tail. Make a separate tail out of a piece of cardboard.
- Put up the donkey in a prominent place.
- In turns, the kids get blindfolded and try their best to place the tail where it belongs. Mark each kid’s placement with a pin.
- The player that gets the tail the closest to where it should be, wins!
Can the adults take part? Sure!
Pro tip: Instead of a donkey, you can make it some other character, for example a princess without a crown…where the challenge will be to place the crown where it belongs (on her head).
Another classic games for children and adults alike.
One of the kids, chosen to be Simon, describes various actions (anything from put up your right hand to sit down on the floor).
- If they say “Simon says…”, the others have to follow.
- If they don’t start with “Simon says”, the others must do nothing.
A great game to teach young children about alertness.
Can the adults take part? I don’t see why not!
Which kid won’t love this game? The main idea is to earn the right to have some chocolate by rolling a die.
How to play
- Place a suitably large piece of chocolate, a scarf, a hat, a pair of sunglasses, and a knife and fork on a table.
- Make sure the chocolate is not so hard that it can’t be eaten with a knife and fork.
- Also place a die on the table.
- GIve each player a chance to roll the die.
- The player rolling a six gets the chance to put on the hat, scarf and glasses, and start eating the chocolate using the knife and fork.
- The other players keep rolling.
- The moment another player rolls a six, THEY get the chance to put on hat, scarf and glasses and eat some chocolate.
- Continue till all the chocolate is eaten.
This is a great game to teach the children the value of patience and waiting for their turn.
Can the adults take part? Otherwise OK, but the children might feel you would eat a lot more of the chocolate when it’s your turn.
Tip: You can replace the chocolate with any other food (noodles comes to mind) that you wish.
You know what this is, but I’m still mentioning it, as it might not come to mind when you’re actually planning the party (like so many otherwise obvious things don’t come to mind when it matters!).
Place chairs (1 fewer than the number of players) in a circle, and play some music. When the music stops, players must rush to sit in a chair. Whoever can’t get seated is out.
And after each round, one chair is removed.
Can the adults take part? They will need to be careful to not crash into children but apart from that adults CAN take part.
Pro tip: Rather than one circle of chairs, make it two circles in a figure of eight.
A real hoot of a game!
Put some prizes (anything from chocolate coins to animal jell-o’s) inside balloons before blowing them up. Keep the balloons inside a basket till it’s game time.
Release the balloons, and ask each player to grab a balloon and try to get to the prize inside.
Here’s the catch - they can use ANYTHING except for their hands.
Can the adults take part? I’d suggest not, as it might prove difficult to avoid colliding with the children.
This is another game that teaches the children about coordinating different parts of their body.
The basic objective is to eat as much of a hanging doughnut as possible before it slips and falls to the floor.
How to play
- Tie string to all the doughnuts.
- Hang a washing line across the room.
- Hang all the doughnuts (by their strings) from the washing line.
- Each player is assigned a doughnut.
- The challenge is for each player to eat as much of their doughnut as possible…
- Without using their hands, and
- Before it drops to the floor.
Can the adults take part? There’d be huge logistical problems, don’t you think?
Pro tip: Keep extra doughnuts on hand as every player will be disappointed when their doughnut falls…
BONUS - Hosting the children’s birthday party here at Entermission Sydney
If you want to get in on the excitement of organizing all the games yourself, go nuts!
If however, you want to avoid having to do everything yourself, you can get in touch with us. Like I said before, we are one of Sydney’s best kids’ birthday party venues.
An Entermission Birthday Party will see your children shout and fist pump with excitement as they take part in VR escape games (with controllers and haptics making for a lifelike gaming experience), arcade games, and the birthday cake and snacks - over 2 hours of festivities.
Celebrating your children’s birthday
A birthday party is a very special occasion, and it should be celebrated with gusto!
If you’re specifically looking to organize an ACTIVE Birthday Party, here are some active birthday party ideas for kids that you can draw ideas from.
If you’re thinking of hosting the party at home, refer to this guide to hosting a kids’ birthday party at home.
Which of these games did you choose for the party? Let us know in a comment below!
Featured image by hossein azarbad on Unsplash.