If you are planning a party and want to keep the kids busy so the party goes smoothly and doesn't turn into a wild free-for-all, try this. Begin with a quiet game, then play an active game or two, then calm the group down again with a last quiet game. Here are suggestions for both.
Begin with a quiet game like Switch.
- Divide the kids into two teams and take Team A into another room. Team A must switch various items of clothing or accessories with one another, then return to the game room.
- Team B must try to guess all the switches that have been made within a five-minute time period.
- Add up how many items Team B guessed correctly.
- Then let Team B have a turn to "switch" and let Team A guess the switches.
- The team with the most correct answers in the allotted time period wins a prize.
- Toilet Paper
- Crepe Paper Streamers
Price Is Right
- Divide the kids into pairs, with one the Mummy and the other the Mummy Wrapper.
- Give each wrapper a roll of toilet paper or crepe paper streamer.
- On the word "Go!" have the wrappers race to see who can wrap up their mummy first.
- The game is tricky because the faster they try to wrap, the more the tissue will tear, causing them to keep restarting!
Here's a great wind-down game that also serves as the going-away favor.
- Stuffed Animals
Strip the Present
- Buy gifts for your guests.
- Distribute paper and pencil to each player.
- Hold up one item and have the kids try to guess how much it cost.
- Reveal the price tag and award the gift to the player who guessed the closest. That player is out of the game, while the rest continue guessing the prices of the gifts, until all of them are gone.
- Wrapping Paper
- Old Newspapers
- Plastic Bags
- Tin Foil
- Wrap the gift several times with wrapping paper, old newspapers, plastic bags, tin foil and any other items to make it difficult to open.
- Have the children sit in a circle and send the present around the circle.
- As it goes from person to person, have each child unwrap one layer of paper.
- The child who unwraps the last layer to discover what the present is gets to keep it.
- Wrapping Paper
Duck Duck Goose
- Purchase age appropriate gifts for the kids.
- Wrap the gift.
- Gather the kids in a circle and give one of the children a wrapped present.
- Play music and have them pass the present around the circle.
- When the music stops, the child holding the present gets to keep it. Then they drop out of the game.
- Start another present around the circle.
This is an old favorite! And great game for all kids.
- Gather the kids in a circle, and choose one child (usually the birthday boy/girl) to be the "ducker".
- The "ducker" gets to walk around the circle, tapping (not hitting!) each child on the head, electing to say, "duck", or "goose". If the "ducker" says, "duck", then nothing happens. But if the "ducker" yells, "Goose!" then the "goosed" child gets up and runs around in an effort to tag the "ducker".
- If the child cannot catch the "ducker", then that child becomes the "ducker".
- If the "ducker" is caught, then he/she has to sit in the "soup" (the middle of the circle) until another "ducker" is caught.
- A contest to see who can keep a balloon in the air the longest using only their head.
- The person who can keep it in the air longest without using anything but their head is the winner. (This game can also be played in teams).
This is another children's favorite.
- Set up chairs in 2 rows back to back. Put out one less chair than there are children.
- Start playing music, and have the kids walk around the chairs (not touching the chairs though!) until the music stops.
- When the music stops, the kids must each sit on a chair.
- The child without a chair is "out". Then remove another chair.
- If there is ever a tie, the child with more tush on the chair wins.
- This is a great game when it is played with hats too! Pull out every winter, baseball, and cowboy hat in your house. Have enough hats for every kid except one. As the music starts, have each kid put the hat on and pass it to the right.
- Each time the music stops, the kid without a hat is out.
This game does not need much explanation.
- Put a group of kids in a room, play some music, and watch them dance.
- Then turn the music off during the song, and they must freeze in their current position.
- If they move at all, then they are "out."
- The people who are still in the game continue to dance/freeze as you control the music, until one person wins.
This game is an old favorite and everyone knows how to play.
- Have all of the kids sit in a circle.
- One child is chosen as the "leader" he or she begins passing a potato (or other object) around the circle, while the "leader" turns his/her head with eyes closed.
- Everyone must accept the potato, and may not hold it longer than a second. At any point the "leader" can yell, "Hot Potato", and whoever has the potato is out.
- Continue to play until there is only one person left, and he/she is the winner.
Name That Animal
- Purchase feathers at a local craft store.
- Give each of the kids a feather.
- When you say, "GO!" the kids have to start blowing the feather in the air. Whoever can keep the feather in the air the longest (using only his/her breath) is the winner.
- This game can also be played in teams (the team to keep the feather in the air longest using only breath wins).
Great for kids just learning about animals.
- Animal Stickers
- Stuffed Animals
- Pass out animal stickers or small stuffed animals, and have the kids imitate the animal they receive.
- Make 2 piles of the same type of clothing.
- Divide the group into teams and have the first players race to dress up in all the clothes from one pile.
- When finished, he/she must take all the clothes off and have the next player dress up.
- The team that dresses and undresses first wins the game.
Test their powers of smell!
- Paper Bags
- Coffee Beans
- Orange Peels
- Oreo Cookies
- Peanut Butter
- Fill paper bags with a variety of items that have an aroma, such as coffee beans, salami, toothpaste, orange peels, chocolate, onions, Oreo cookies, peanut butter, and so on. Be sure the smells are familiar to the age group.
- Pass the bags around and let the kids smell them without looking inside!
- Give prizes to whoever guessed them all correctly (or whoever guessed the most correctly).
Human String Relay
- Have the kids sit in a circle on the floor.
- The first player begins by whispering a phrase into the ear of the person next to him/her.
- One by one, each person repeats the whispered sentence as they hear it when it is whispered to them.
- When the last person receives the message, he/she repeats it out loud.
- It is usually completely different than the original statement.
- This game can also be played with goofy faces. The first person makes a goofy face, and then turns (with the goofy look on his/her face) to the next person.
- The goofy look is passed on until the last person and the first person compare goofy faces.
- Tie a spoon to the end of a ball of yarn.
- Line up two teams into single-file.
- When the host/hostess says, "Go," the first person from each team must put the spoon down his shirt, as well as his pants.
- When it comes out of his pant leg, he must then pass it to the next player, as it is still attached to the first player.
- When it has gone through the entire line, and everyone is attached, then the last person at the end of the line must reverse the process.
- The first person winds the string into a ball as it comes back out of each person's clothing.
- When the team finishes unwinding the string then the first person in that line needs to shout, "Done!"
- The team to finish unwinding the string first wins.
- Divide players into two teams and line them up into rows facing each other about 25 to 50 feet a part. Just make sure there is enough space for the kids to run back and forth.
- Have each team securely hold hands.
- Each side calls, “Red Rover, Red Rover, send Johnny (name) over.”
- The person that is called runs over to the other side and tries to break through the other teams joined hands.
- If the player breaks through then he/she can take an opponent back to his/her team.
- The team with the most players at the end of the game wins.
One other helpful hint for your party: Always have more games planned than you think you need! If you are looking for quiet activities, take a look at the article Top 10 ways to celebrate Reading Month
Let the Games Begin!