Activities & Days Out / 20 February, 2023 / Ellie Thompson
If you’re planning a birthday party for your little one and are after some good old-fashion fun, you’ll love our round-up of traditional party games for kids. We’ve included ten of our favourites, along with brief instructions because let’s face it, it can be hard to remember exactly how to play them several decades later!
When it comes to time-honoured traditional party games for kids, the good news is you don’t need to invest too much in the way of props. You will need a bouncy ball, plenty of wrapping paper, some mini bags of Haribo, a pass the parcel prize, some chairs and, possibly most importantly, a kid-friendly soundtrack to rock the party.
Wrap up a gift with as many layers as there are children. Within each layer, it’s customary to include a little bag of sweets or a smaller gift, so each child wins something. We recommend buying a multi-pack of Haribo, which you can pick up for a quid in Poudland.
Ask the kids to sit on the floor in a circle and give the parcel to the birthday child. Start the music and ask the children to pass the parcel around the circle while the music plays. Stop the music, let the child holding the parcel unwrap one layer, and take the treat underneath. The game continues until the prize is won. Some say it’s tradition to let the birthday girl or boy win the main prize, but that’s up to you!
Set out a circle of chairs. If there are ten guests, set out nine. Start the music and ask the children to walk around the perimeter of chairs. Each child should immediately find a chair to sit in when the music stops. The one person left standing is ‘out’. Remove a chair and play the music again until only one person is left.
Musical Bumps is an easier alternative to Musical Chairs, especially if you don’t have enough chairs to play the game! Instead of kids sitting down in chairs when the music stops, they have to sit down on the floor.
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Kids dance when the music plays, freeze when the music stops, and dance again when the music resumes. Whoever moves when there’s no music playing is out of the game. The game continues until there’s a winner.
Choose one child to be the ‘hunter’ and have the other children lie down on the floor in sleeping positions. Once they’re in position, they cannot move. The hunter’s job is to walk around the room and try to make the sleeping lions move by making them laugh and telling them jokes. Those who move are out. The game continues until there’s only one lion left sleeping – the winner!
One child is chosen to be ‘Mr. Wolf’, and they must stand with their back to the other players. The other plays stand a little way back in a line and call out “What’s the time, Mister Wolf?” Mr. Wolf replies randomly, with, for instance, “four o’clock!”, and the players have to take four steps forward.
At any given point, Mr. Wolf can decide to answer the question “What’s the time, Mister Wolf?” with “DINNER TIME!” and turn around to chase after the fleeing players. The first player caught takes their turn to be Mr. Wolf.
A much-loved family favourite, Simon Says is a great party game.
Somebody is chosen to be ‘Simon’, and the players must obey every instruction that begins with the words “Simon Says”.
For instance, if Simon says “Simon says put your hands on your head”, all players must put their hands on their heads. If Simon says “touch your nose” without saying “Simon says” first, the players must not obey, and if they do, they’re out.
Everybody sits in a circle. The adult goes around the circle naming players Pip, Squeak and Wilfred in order.
When you call “Pip” (for example), all the Pips have to stand up and walk clockwise around the circle. When you call “Home” all the Pips have to run IN THE SAME DIRECTION back to their original place. The last person back to their seated position is out.
Times have changed, and on the assumption that not too many family homes will own a thimble these days, you’ll need to get creative and decide the small item you want to hide.
The rules are simple. Start with the birthday boy or girl, and ask them to hide the thimble in the room you’re all in (aka the object of your choice). All the other children leave the room while the thimble is being hidden and are invited back in for a race to be the first to find it. Whoever finds the thimble first gets to hide it next, and the game continues.
Another take on Hunt the Thimble, but with words!
Hide your chosen object somewhere in the room and let players try to find it.
When they move closer to the hidden object, tell them they’re ‘getting warm… getting hotter… very hot,’ etc., and when they move away from the object tell them they’re getting “colder, really cold, freezing…”
The Yoto Player doesn’t just play hundreds of incredible kids’ stories, oh no! There’s a whole host of musical content ideal for children’s birthday parties.
The Yoto Player is brilliant for party games, especially when it comes to starting and stopping the music. All you have to do is take the Yoto card out of the audio player and pop it back in when the game resumes, making it the perfect companion to Musical Statues, Bumps and Chairs, and Pass The Parcel.