Growing up, the majority of our birthday parties were spent at home playing traditional party games surrounded by family and friends. The celebrations were full of laughter and good old fashioned fun! A lot of these games are still very popular today, require little planning and they are easy on the budget too.
Here are a few of my old time favorites:
Pass The Parcel
This classic party game can be played indoors or out and can be adapted to fit any party theme. All you need is a pre-wrapped gift in layers of wrapping paper or tissue paper with a small treat in each layer.
The rules of the game are simple, the children sit in a circle, and pass the parcel as the music plays–they continue to pass it around until the music stops. At this time, the person holding the parcel removes one layer of wrapping and gets that treat. Repeat until the last layer of wrapping has been removed, restarting and stopping the music each time. You can use different treats for each layer to add a bit of mystery and keep the children interested longer.
Growing up my mum called this “Dead Fish” but the name Sleeping Lions seems more appropriate. You can really tailor this party to any theme–sleeping fairies, superheroes! This was my parents favorite game and acted as a great wind down at the end of the party. The rules of the game are simple– children lie down on the floor and pretend to be sleepy lions and are instructed not to move. The parent walks around the room, talking to the children, trying to make them laugh and move. The last child left sleeping is the winner.
Musical Statues, Bumps and Chairs
Put on a great CD and your kids will be up on their feet in no time. For musical statues, get the children to dance around and when the music stops they have to stand as still as possible. The one who moves the most is out. The game continues until you have one man standing. Musical bumps is a similar game–children dance around to the music and when the music stops they have to sit down. The last one to sit on the floor is out. Another fun game is musical chairs. Players dance around the chairs and when the music stops, they find the nearest chair to sit on. Make sure that there is always one less chair than players. The winner is the person in the final chair at the end of the game.
The Chocolate Game
This was an all time party favorite.. can you guess why!
All the kids form a circle around a large unwrapped bar of chocolate, knife and fork, hat, scarf, a jacket or large shirt, a pair of gloves and a die. Each party guest take turns throwing a dice. When someone throws a six, they have to put the clothes on as fast as they can, then use the knife and fork to start chopping the bar of chocolate and eating it square by square with the fork as fast as they can. As soon as the next person throws a six, they have to stop eating and take the clothes off. The game continues until all the chocolate is finished.
Pin The Tail on The Donkey
Buy a prepared kit or draw an outline of a donkey on a large sheet of cardboard and attach it to the wall. Mark a spot on the donkey where the children need to aim. On a separate piece of card, draw a tail and place a pin at the top of the tail. Make enough tails for each child and write their names on them. Each child is blindfolded and has a turn one-at-a-time to place the tail where they think it should be. The closest to the actual spot is the winner!!
Pinatas can be purchased or made cheaply by layering strips of newspaper glued together with a flour and water paste onto a balloon, dried and then painted. Leave a space at the top large enough to fill with treats and then hang on a tree or stand with a thick string. Each child takes turn hitting the pinata with a stick or bat until all the treats fall out. This activity needs a lot of adult supervision to make sure that the other children are far enough away from the hitter. For the younger age group a pull string piñata is the way to go!