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If you’re planning your toddler’s birthday party it will be the first party they’ve had where you can include some fun party games for them and their friends to enjoy. So here is a collection of the best game, tried and tested classics and more recent popular games, that can always be relied upon to entertain toddlers.
The big thing to remember when planning the entertainment is that toddlers typically have short attention spans (around 4-6 minutes) and don’t understand winning and losing. So stick to simple games with few rules that involve all the kids and where everyone is a winner.
12 BEST TODDLER PARTY GAMES
The games on the list work equally well indoors and outdoors, I’ve noted how to play each game and any props that are needed.
1. MUSICAL STATUES
Musical Statues is a truly classic party game. This version is adapted to make sure that it is easy and fun for toddlers to play and enjoy.
- The toddlers (and their parents!) dance to some fun music. When the music stops, everyone has to stand as still as possible… like a statue!
- The first toddler to stop and stand still each time wins a small prize and then moves to the side.
- The game continues until everyone has won a little prize.
2. PARACHUTE GAMES
There are so many different parachute games. I’ve listed three that work particularly well for toddler parties.
All three games are non-competitive, which will foster a sense of inclusivity for even the most shy toddlers.
You don’t have to buy a parachute; a big bed sheet will do equally well.
However, parachutes come in useful for all sorts of toddler fun. So here are my recommendations.
1. Treasure Under The Sea Parachute Game
Treasure Under The Sea is a game of retrieval.
- Toddler toys to be used as treasure. For example, soft toys, wooden blocks, Lego Duplo. Plus a box to put the treasure in.
- Put a few items of treasure into the box and put it in the centre under the parachute.
- Then get parents and toddlers to hold the edge of the parachute and make waves like the sea.
- Each toddler is given a turn to run underneath the ‘sea’ to retrieve a piece of treasure.
2. Parachute Tag
Parachute Tag is a game to be played purely for fun; it doesn’t need prizes.
- Get parents and toddlers to sit in a circle and ask the parents to hold the parachute up high.
- Then, challenge each toddler to run, crawl or shuffle on their bottom under the parachute, from one side to the other, before the parachute comes down and tags them.
3. Parachute Merry-Go-Round
Parachute Merry-Go-Round is another fun game that is purely for fun. It is great for getting toddlers to burn a little energy, and it is also great for getting them to focus on something together at the same time.
- Ask all the toddlers to take hold of the edge of the parachute with one hand, facing the same way as each other. Play some fun nursery rhymes and have everyone move the parachute around like it’s a merry-go-round.
3. BOTTOM SHUFFLE RACE
Toddler Bottom Shuffle Races are the funniest party game. They are as fun for parents to watch as for toddlers to take part in.
- Ask all the toddlers to sit on the floor at one end of the room and set a finish line at the other end of the room.
- When you shout ‘GO’, the toddlers have to shuffle along on their bottoms until they cross the finish line.
- Make sure to cheer for every child crossing the line and then give out celebratory treats to everyone.
4. MUSICAL ANIMALS
Musical Animals is a simple party game, but it is huge fun for toddlers. It makes for great photo and video opportunities.
- Play some music, then shout out an animal when you stop the music. All the toddlers have to pretend to be that animal.
- You can give a small prize to the best animal, as long as everyone gets a prize by the end of the game!!
5. PASS THE BALLOON/BALL
Although Pass The Parcel is an absolute classic party game, it can be SUCH A BORE when played with toddlers. So, a great alternative for toddlers is to use a balloon or ball to pass around.
- Balloons. Small prizes (edible prizes work very well!).
- Get all the toddlers to sit in a circle. Give the birthday boy or girl a balloon or ball to hold.
- Start playing music and ask the child to pass the balloon/ball to the person sitting next to them.
- Stop the music intermittently. Every time the music stops, the toddler holding the balloon/ball gets a small prize/treat.
6. WALK THE PLANK
Walk The Plank is a challenge game that is great for developing toddler concentration and balance.
- Something to make a plank from. You could use a plank of wood or simply mark out a plank shape with masking tape. If you do use a plank of wood, make sure you don’t have it too high off the ground.
- Ask each child to try walking the plank without falling off.
- Everyone else can stand around the plank clapping in encouragement or pulling faces and making distractions, depending on the vibe of the party guests.
- Every successful participant gets a small prize.
7. WHAT’S THE TIME, MR WOLF?
What’s The Time, Mr Wolf? is a complete giggle-inducer and an absolute classic kids’ party game! This version is a slight riff on the classic version because toddlers won’t necessarily take kindly to being ‘caught’ and having to take a turn as the wolf.
- Ask a willing adult to be ‘The Wolf’. Get them to stand at one end of the party room or garden with their back turned to everyone.
- Get the toddlers to line up at the other end of the room.
- Ask the toddlers to call out, “What’s the time, Mr Wolf?”.
- Mr Wolf calls out a time… e.g. “It’s 3 o’clock”.
- The toddlers move forward by the number of steps that relate 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. Then the game starts over.
8. HOT POTATO
Hot Potato is a classic children’s game where players pass a small object around a circle while music plays, and whoever is holding the object when the music stops is given a small prize and then leaves the game.
- You can use an actual potato or buy a Hot Potato game. The game includes a potato with a cute face that plays music when squeezed. The music will stop at random points and can then be started up again by squeezing.
- Sit all the toddlers in a circle on the floor. Give the birthday girl or boy the ‘hot potato’ to hold.
- Play some music and start the object being passed around the circle. When the music stops, the toddler left holding the object gets a small prize and leaves the game.
9. SLEEPING LIONS
Sleeping Lions is a great game to use to calm over-excited or tired children down before they have their party food or sing Happy Birthday and watch the birthday cake being cut.
- Ask all the toddlers to lie on the floor as still as they can be.
- You can either give a small prize to every child who stays super still or a child is out if they move, at which point they can have a small prize for trying hard!
10. ACTION SONG SING-A-LONG
Action Song Sing-A-Longs make a great party activity for toddlers and their parents.
Toddlers might not be able to sing an entire song, but they love joining in and having fun singing along to the music, especially if the song has actions to accompany the lyrics.
- Keep the songs simple and make sure everyone knows the actions before you start a song by doing a quick demonstration first – which is sure to get everyone giggling!
- Here is a list of brilliant action songs to sing-along to:
- The wheels on the bus
- Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
- If you’re Happy and You Know It!
- Here we go round the mulberry bush
- A ring a ring of roses
- Five little monkeys
- I’m a little teapot
- Miss Polly had a dolly
- Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall
- Row row row your boat
11. BUBBLE CHASE AND POP
It can be mesmerising watching toddlers chasing and popping bubbles. It’s a great game for outdoor summer birthday parties.
- You can either arm all the parents with bubble mixture to blow bubbles with. Or you can use a bubble machine like this one, that can make more than 5,000 bubbles per minute.
- Blow some bubbles and challenge the toddlers to chase, catch, or pop them.
- Create an element of competition for who can burst the most bubbles if you want to spice things up a little!
12. TODDLER DANCE CONTEST
How cute are Toddler Dance Contests?! This is a game set to amuse parents as much as it will entertain energetic toddlers.
Toddlers love moving around and have endless energy, so give them a chance to show off their finest dance moves.
- Play some fun party music and get the toddlers dancing. You can then shout out dance move instructions.
- For example, ask them to see who can be the:
- fastest dancer
- slowest dancer
- bounciest dancer
- funkiest dancer
- Then, award prizes. It is important to make sure every child wins a little prize at some point in the dance contest.
Before you go…
Hello, I’m Luci, founder of Mums Make Lists (Est. 2011). Over the last decade or so, I have combined my experience as a mum, journalist and shopping editor to create useful guides and lists of ideas and inspiration to make it easier for busy parents to plan and host kids’ parties and find great gifts. Plus I create beautiful party printables, from invites to party games. Read more.