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If you want to make sure kids have lots of fun playing party games but want to keep things simple for yourself, here’s a list of the best easy kids party games to organise and play.
KEEP KIDS PARTY GAMES EASY!
Much as kids love party games, kids from toddler to ten years old don’t have the attention span for more than few party games.
With this in mind and also taking into account that it is best to keep kids parties to just a couple of hours for kids up to the age of ten, it is a good idea to aim for playing no more than three party games to entertain kids at your party.
If you want to keep things really simple, stick to easy party games that take little or no preparation time, don’t involve complicated rules and don’t need you to buy props.
To help you plan the games for your next kids’ party, I’ve put together a list of easy party games that have worked really well at kids parties I have either hosted or my daughter has been a guest at over the years.
All these games work well for kids of all ages, from toddlers up to tweens and teens. They can also be easily adapted to work for small and large numbers of party guests.
Choose three games from this list and then you can tick ‘party games’ off your party planning checklist. Speaking of which, you can download my free kid party planning checklist to help you plan every aspect of the next party you’re planning to host.
10 BEST EASY KIDS PARTY GAMES
1. MUSICAL ANIMALS
This game is so easy to play, but often leads to much laughter from the kids playing it – and from the parents watching from the sidelines.
To play: Play music. Stop the music intermittently and shout out an animal. Each child has to pretend to be that animal. Pick a winner each time.
2. MUSICAL STATUES
This is another classic kids party game and for good reason.
To play: Play music for all the kids to dance to. Stop the music intermittently. When the music stops all the kids have to stand as still as they can. You can either reward the first child to stop or you can eliminate kids who don’t manage to stay still as statues.
Here is a video that demonstrates musical statues.
3. PASS THE BALLOON/BALL
Pass the balloon/ball is the clever way to avoid having to play pass the parcel!! This is particularly useful for playing with really little kids, like toddlers, for whom pass the parcel can be overwhelming (or totally boring because they don’t understand the concept of waiting!)
This is also a great game to use if you want to avoid having to spend ages wrapping layers and layers of parcel.
To play: Play music. Stop the music intermittently. Each time the music stops the child holding the balloon or ball wins a small prize (a sweet?)
4. WHAT’S THE TIME MR WOLF?
Another absolutely classic but easy kids party game. Here are details for two versions of the game. One for toddlers and one for older kids, who understand the concept of taking turns as the wolf.
To play for toddlers: Have an adult who is the wolf. The wolf stands at one end of the room with their back turned away from everyone. The toddlers (and their parents if need be) line up at the other end of the room.
The toddlers call out ‘what’s the time Mr Wolf?’ The wolf calls out a time. For example, ‘it’s 4 o clock’. The toddlers then have to move four steps towards the wolf.
The fun element is that the wolf can turn around at any point during the game and when this happens, the wolf chases all the toddlers back to the start line
To play for older kids:
Set up the game in the same way as for the toddler version, but this time the aim of the game is to reach the wolf. The first child to reach the wolf without being caught becomes the next wolf.
Here is a really useful video that demostrates how to play the game.
5. SLEEPING LIONS
I love sleeping lions because it is a silence-invoking game!! It’s very useful for calming kids down ahead of letting them loose on the party food or to let them gather themselves ahead of watching the birthday cake being cut.
To play: Ask the kids to lie on the floor as still as they can possibly be. They must also do their best to stay silent. You can either reward all the kids for staying still and silent for a certain period of time or you can eliminate kids as they move or make a noise.
6. SIMON SAYS
Simon Says is a slightly more involved party game, but ultimately, you don’t need to provide prizes for it and it’s really engaging, so can usually played for several rounds before kids lose interest.
To play: ‘Simon’ (usually the host or a nominated adult) is in charge of telling the kids what they must do. The thing the kids have to watch out for is whether Simon says ‘Simon says’ ahead of the instruction. If the instruction does start with ‘Simon says’ the kids must do it. If the instruction doesn’t start with ‘Simon says’ the kids should NOT follow the instruction. Any kids that do follow the instruction at the wrong time are eliminated.
Here’s a video you can use that plays Simon Says music and a voice-over does all the commands.
7. MUSICAL BUMPS
This is such an easy kids party game, it just involves music.
To play: Play some music. The kids dance to the music. When the music stops the kids have to sit down as quickly as possible. The last child to sit down each time is eliminated. The last child left is the winner.
8. FOLLOW THE LEADER
This is a game that is super simple but often leads to huge amounts of giggles and laughter. This is a great party game to play outdoors in a big space.
To play: Line all the kids up with the birthday child as the leader of the line. The kids have to follow the leader around the room or party venue. You can get the birthday child to do silly moves that the other kids have to follow or you can create a fun route for the leader to go around. There are no prizes, but the fun is in the taking part.
9. GRANDMOTHER’S FOOTSTEPS
Grandmother’s footsteps is a slightly harder version of what’s the time Mr Wolf, as it involves a degree of strategy from the kids playing. It’s great for slightly older kids, say 5 years plus.
To play: A nominated adult or one of the kids stands with their back to everyone else in the room. They are ‘Grandmother’. Everyone else lines up several metres away from Grandmother. The kids all start moving towards Grandmother. Grandmother can turn around at ANY time. Any child spied as wobbling or moving by Granmother has to go back to the start of the line. The first child to reach Grandmother wins.
This video talks you through how to play grandmother’s footsteps.
10. BALLOON RELAY RACE
Now this game does involve props, but it’s just balloons and containers for the balloons. Balloon relay race is a really great game for getting kids interacting and having fun together at the party.
To play: You need a container to hold several balloons (bin bags work well if you can have adult volunteers to hold them). Blow up a number of balloons for each container. You will need to have enough balloons for each child at the party to have a turn at the race. Divide the kids into teams.
You will need to have two (or enough for however many teams you plan to have) baskets or containers to put an equal number of blown up balloons in.
A child from each team has to run from a starting point to their team’s basket and grab a balloon. They then have to sit on the balloon until it pops, at which point they run back to their team and the next child sets off. The first team to pop all their balloons wins.
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Luci is the founder of Mums Make Lists. She has written about all aspects of organising family life for ten years. Her main areas of expertise are family finance and budgeting, simplifying housekeeping and family admin and kids’ party planning. Read more.