Whatever age your child, their birthday is a milestone that is greeted with both joy and dread. Yes, your child is another year older, hopefully, another year wiser, with the potential for better behavior! However, you also have the joys of organizing your child’s birthday party. You start worrying about trying to plan a kids birthday party. You worry about the food. You worry about the entertainment. What are the good toys and games to play at kids birthday parties? Whether your child is two or ten, you want your child’s birthday party to be special.
Children’s parties are not as easy to organize as they used to be. Your child will be worried as they want their party to be a success. The parents will be worried as they want the party to be a success. There has always been peer pressure surrounding the best parties, but social media has taken this to a new level. Your child shows you pictures of the last birthday party they attended with expensive venues, professional entertainers, and a huge cake. How do you compete? How can you afford it?
Plan Your Kids Birthday Party.
As a parent, you realise that everything is easier when planned. Whether it is the morning routine before school or an outing to the park. Birthday parties are no exception and are much easier and less stressful if planned. You may have more than one child, so there is potential to plan many parties over the years. Create yourself a party plan so you have an outline to make the planning easier and you just change the content. This can be adapted as your children get older. Things that you may want to detail on your plan include:
- Timeline – when do you start planning, book venue, send out invitations etc.
- Venue – at home or elsewhere?
- Theme – keep a list of themes to fall back on.
- Guest List.
- Entertainment – keep a list of party games or toys to play with.
- Volunteers to help.
- Party Gifts.
The above will help with your planning, just remember to improve your list each year with things that went well, and not so well, at this year’s birthday party.
Should You Choose a Theme?
Themed parties can be popular with children especially if the theme is very current. Themes can be very unpopular with parents especially if there is a cost involved in dressing up a visiting child. Try and keep costs down for parents who may be struggling. However, themes will make it easier for you to coordinate invitations, decorations, food, and games.
Involve Your Child.
It is easy to become so engrossed in planning every detail of your kid’s birthday party that you start acting like you are planning a military operation. Don’t forget whose day it is. Ask your child what they would like. They may actually enjoy helping you plan their party.
Kids enjoy a birthday party for the food and the drink but it is often the activities they do that provide the best memories. Whatever the age group, both the kids and the adult ‘helpers’ enjoy playing with toys and playing organized games. Yes, people organize children’s parties at parks, play areas, and bowling alleys, or organize professional entertainers. But sometimes the best fun is playing games as a group.
Depending on the age of the children, you may like to prepare between ten and fifteen games. You will find that the children play the games quicker than you anticipated, or that they don’t like a certain game. You may be planning an outside party, but prepare some indoor games and toys in case of bad weather.
If you are going to need adults to supervise, or referee, ensure you enlist volunteers before the party. You don’t want to be organizing games and pouring drinks at the same time. If there are older brothers or sisters, enlist their help too. If the children are still quite young, ensure you have a structure and someone who will organize the kids.
Creative Party Games.
Warm Up Activity. A first activity together can be a great icebreaker, especially for young kids. Set out coloring pencils and pens, paints, stickers etc. Encourage the children to decorate a ‘happy birthday’ sign, paper tablecloths, masks, or their own birthday hat.
Paint The Child. Face painting is always a popular activity. It works well if you have a friend who is good at it who can set up a little stall. If not, decorate the children with washable tattoos. If you are hosting an all girls party, nail painting is always popular.
Balloon Decoration. Give each child a balloon and set the table with paint or marker pens and crafty items such as glitter, stickers, and ribbons. Let them decorate their own balloon. Ensure you have spare balloons!
Birthday Cake Game. If you don’t mind the mess, the birthday cake itself can be a great game. Have a tray of individual cupcakes with one per child (and adult!). These can be iced or frosted, or plain depending on the age of the child. Set out bowls of sprinkles, food glitter, even colored icing, and let the children decorate their own cake. Messy, rowdy, and fun.
Eat The Jelly. Before the party, make small bowls of jelly with something at the bottom like a small plastic toy. The children must retrieve the toy using only their mouths. Messy but fun! – Make sure the child is of an age where they understand not to eat the toy.
Indoor Party Games.
Pass The Parcel. For very young children, this is a great game but takes some planning to ensure different children win!
What’s In The Bag? Place everyday objects into a bag. Pass the bag to the first child who dips their hand in and tries to guess the object before taking it out. Then pass the bag to the next child. Ensure there are more objects than children!
Balloon Games. There are many games that can be played with balloons and you can have the children blow up the balloons first to take some of the work off you! Line teams of children up with the first child having a balloon between their knees, and have them pass the balloon down the line, knees to knees. If a team pops the balloon, they must start from the beginning. You can play the same game using chin to chin.
Outdoor Party Games.
Treasure Hunt/Scavenger Hunt. This can work indoors too, if you don’t mind a herd of children marauding through your house. However, it works great outside. You can make it seasonal so searching for eggs at Easter and pumpkins at fall. You can set the hunt so the children are finding things for a later game like balls, bricks, parts of a kit for them to build. This is an activity that is fun at any age, just change the level of difficulty.
Obstacle Course. Again this can be done indoors if you have a very large room or have hired an external venue. The level of difficulty can match the age of the child.
Obstacle Guide. Split the party into teams of two. Blindfold one of the pairs. The other child has to instruct the child that is blindfolded around the course.
Sports Day Games. Take inspiration from school sports days and plan a variety of races including egg relay race, three-legged race, wheelbarrow race.
Dress Up Race. This is fun as both an adult and a child! Ensure you have suitable piles of clothes including skirt, blouse, jacket, gloves, hat, jewelry, scarf. The more mismatched, the better.
Bubbles. Bubbles are an old favorite whether you hire a bubble machine or have the kids blowing their own bubbles. Definitely best done outside.
Bino Walk. Set out a course using string or tape. Have the child walk along the course looking through the wrong end of a pair of binoculars.
Keep a list of these old favorites if you need extra games. These can be rebranded if you have a party theme.
- Hide and Seek.
- Musical Statues.
- Musical Chairs.
- Musical Bumps (great for very young kids).
- Book Reading. Again, good for young kids especially if the book has noises and interactions.
- Simon Says.
- Follow the Leader.
- Pin the tail on the donkey.
Great Toys For Party Play.
Play Dough. A table set with play dough is great, especially for young, shy, kids. It can be a way of breaking the ice before they join in with organized games.
Skittles. A perfect lawn game for all ages. Use real skittles or homemade ones using painted plastic drinks bottles and softballs.
Bouncy castle. These can be purchased or hired. Loved by children of all ages but does require careful supervision.
Don’t allow yourself to get carried away when you plan your child’s birthday party. It is easy to lose track of what is actually important here. It is your child’s day. Allow them to take center stage for the day and enjoy it. Don’t ruin it for them with your stress. Give them the gift of a great day, and they can start to look forward to their next birthday.