Children’s Party Games For Under Fives
I confess I love children’s party games!
Entertainers can be brilliant, but in my book, nothing beats a good old game of musical statues!!
We will certainly be having a whole load of classic children’s party games at my daughter’s upcoming birthday party in January.
But how do you organise children’s party games so it doesn’t all end in tears?
Children’s Party Games Tips
From my experience of our parties and the bunch of parties we have been to in the last couple of years, the best children’s party games are those in which no-one goes out.
I am quite happy to have a winner, but as hostess, the last thing I want is upset kids running off causing havoc somewhere else because they are ‘out’.
So I liberally spray the children with stickers during the gam , show me a child doesn’t love a sticker?! .Then I give a bigger prize to the winner at the end.
I’m also less keen on children’s party games where they have to take turns, e.g. pin the tail on the donkey. In my experience you start losing children’s attention and they peel off from the group.
Once the group breaks up it’s much harder to bring it back together.
Before you dive into the list of games, I thought I’d mention my post on party planning tips, specifically focused on planning parties for young children. It’s an art. I’ve learned through trial and error the dos and don’ts, so take a peak to help with your party planning. You can find it here.
Favourite Children’s Party Games
I think, our fave party games have been Musical Bumps, Musical Animals, Duck Duck Goose, What’s the Time Mr Wolf and Pass the Parcel.
Plus Sleeping Lions , where everyone lies on there tummy and tries to be as still as possible. It is brilliant whilst you’re setting food out, with the promise of a sticker if they don’t move they really will stay still for 5 minutes!
I am also wondering whether we could get away with Pass the Balloon rather than Pass the Parcel. I don’t know why, but it does seem the most enormous faff wrapping up the parcels when you’ve got so much else to get ready.
Keen to draw up a list of game ideas for your next children’s party? Well here’s 30 super ideas to get you started.
30 Children’s Party Games
Dance to the music, when it stops sit down as quickly as possible. Last one to sit down is OUT! The last child dancing is the winner.
Soften the blow by giving each child a sweet / small token prize when they are out.
Dance to music, when it stops stand as still as possible – like a statue! Any child spotted moving is OUT!
The last child dancing is the winner.
Line up chairs, with each one facing the opposite direction.
Dance around the chairs to music, when the music stops sit on a chair immediately. The child without a chair is OUT!
Remove a chair each round, so there’s always one less chairs than the number of children.
The last child left is the winner.
You can adapt this game to play it using cushions rather than chairs.
Shout out an animal. Play music. When the music stops everyone has to pretend to be that animal.
You could give a small prize for the best animal each round.
Set out number squares – make them from paper and stick them to the floor with Bluetak. Plus also put smaller number squares into a hat or bag.
Play music, when it stops jump onto a number. The host pulls a number from the hat / bag. The child on the matching number square wins a prize or sticker.
Cover a raw potato in tinfoil and pretend it is hot!!
The children pass the ‘hot potato’ round as music plays. Whoever has it when the music stops is out.
Bottom Shuffle Race
Everyone sits on the floor at one end of the room. Set a finish line at the other end.
The host shouts ‘go’ and the kids have to shuffle along on their bottoms until they cross the finish line.
First cross the line wins!
This is the same as the bottom shuffle race but crawling!!
Mother May I?
The host or a child stands with their back to everyone at one end of the room / garden. They are ‘Mother’.
The children line up at the other end of the room. / garden.
Each child in turn asks ‘Mother May I?”
‘Mother’ gives them a command… “You may take X number of giant / regular / baby / steps… either forwards or backwards.
First child to get to ‘Mother’ and tap her on the back wins.
The host or a child stands with their back to everyone at one end of the room / garden. They are ‘Grandmother’.
The children line up at the other end of the room / garden.
All the children start to move forwards towards ‘Grandmother’.
‘Grandmother’ can turn around at any time. Any child caught moving or wobbling when she turns around has to go back to the start line and start again.
First child to get to ‘Grandmother’ without her spying them moving wins.
Egg and Spoon Race
Boil some eggs very hard.
Line the children up at one end of the room / garden.
Give each child a spoon and an egg to balance on it.
The children race to the finish line, each time they drop the egg they have to go back to the start and start again.
What’s the time Mr Wolf?
The host or a child is ‘My Wolf’. They stand at one end of the room / garden.
The children line up at the other end of the room / garden.
Mr Wolf turns his back.
The children call out “What’s the time Mr Wolf?”.
Mr Wolf calls out a time… e.g. “It’s 3 o clock”.
The children move forwards the number of steps that relates to the time.
At any point when asked, Mr Wolf can answer “It’s dinner time”, at which point Mr Wolf turns and chases all the children back to the start line. The first child caught becomes ‘Mr Wolf’.
Duck, Duck, Goose
Sit in a circle. One child walks round outside saying duck, duck, duck and then pats someone on the head and says goose. The goose has to jump up and try and catch the child who has just goosed them.
Pass the Parcel
Have a main prize, then wrap multiple layers of wrapping paper / newspaper / recycled paper around it.
Everyone sits in a circle. Pass the parcel to the music, when the music stops, the child holding the parcel unwraps a layer.
Now with a small group of children this game is fine as is. But it can be interminable for larger groups. So you can opt to have more than one parcel going around.
Another little extra is to add a sweet or small token prize in each layer.
Pass the Balloon
This follows the same principle as Pass the Parcel, but saves you the faff of wrapping up loads of presents.
Every time a child lands up with the balloon they get a small prize token.
Food on a string
Thread a lot of Polos or Hula Hoops or Cheerieos onto two or more long pieces of string.
The host and a couple of other adults hold the strings up at child height.
Divide the children up into teams.
The children take turns at putting their hands behind their back and trying to eat until the string is empty. The first team to finish is the winner.
Pin the Tail on the Donkey
Draw a donkey on a large piece of paper. Make a tail from a separate piece of card. Have a blindfold / scarf ready.
Blindfold each child and get them to attach the tail with Bluetak or a pin. Write the child’s name in the spot where they pin the tail.
The child who gets closest to where the tail should be is the winner.
We’ve done variations on this game for parties… we did a joint party where my clever artist friend blew up pictures of the girls and then created big paper accessories for the kids to stick onto them. It was less competitive, but made for lots of laughing.
Fishing for presents
Make a big box full of small wrapped gifts with a magnetic washer attached to each of them. Everyone fishes for presents in the box with rods make from sticks, string & magnets.
Walk the Plank
Create a balancing plank – a simple plank of wood on the floor is fine, safety first!!
Every child that can get to the end without falling off wins – though of course you can enrol all the other children in pulling faces and causing general distractions to cause them to fall off.
The host is ‘Simon’. Simon tells the children what they must do.
If the host says ‘Simon says….” ahead of telling them what to do next, the children MUST do what they’ve been told.
If Simon doesn’t say “Simon says…’ ahead of telling them what to do next, the children MUST NOT do it.
“Simon says jump up and down”
The kids all jump up and down.
“Wave your arms”
The children should stay doing the previous activity.
There are so many different pinatas to choose from. You can also by them ready filled of empty, so that you can choose what goes into them – which can be great for ensuring there is plenty for every child.
Hide & seek
One person – this can be the host or a child – is the seeker and hides their eyes whilst counting to 100 (or whatever number is suitable).
Everyone else hides.
The seeker seeks out everyone until they are all found. The last person to be found becomes the next seeker.
This can be great played in a house or outside, just make sure to have boundaries if outside isn’t a garden.
One person is ‘It’
Everyone runs around. The person who is ‘It’ has to ‘tag’ someone. The person is tagged then becomes ‘It’. Rinse and repeat.
Stuck in the Mud
This is a variation on tag. When someone is ‘tagged’ they have to stand still with their arms and legs out ‘stuck in the mud’ until they are untagged.
They can be untagged by someone else in the game going under their arms or through their legs.
Everyone lies on the floor.
There are two ways to play this…. either a child is out if they move
…or each child who is really super still gets a sticker.
This game is brilliant when you want the children to calm down before they sit down for birthday party food.
So there you have it. A whole bunch of supper fun party games to keep your five year old and their friends happy for the duration of a whole birthday party!!