Kids love party games. And these 7 games are classics.
They’re classics because they’re easy to understand, they don’t take a ton of preparation and they’re dependably fun for both participants and observers.
My guess is you’ve played every one of them at a birthday party at some point. But we thought it might be fun to include some options, to make things a little more difficult or to make them just a bit more interesting.
So here are some super fun twists to classic games you already know and love.
1. Sack Races
This one’s a classic and all you’ll need is a burlap sack or a large pillowcase for each racer. If you’ve got several participants, you can play in teams and do relays.
To play, each racer stands inside their sack, and when the leader says “Go” hops as fast as they can to the end. The first person or team to cross the finish line is the winner.
FUN TWISTS: You can make the game more interesting by adding obstacles. Maybe a curve in the track or hula hoops that each racer has to hop through or a short wall of pool noodles that they have to get over. A summersault station? Or maybe the adults could create a little more chaos with beach balls bouncing through the field or a gauntlet of Nerf footballs flying though.
Lots of fun and laughs guaranteed.
2. Wheelbarrow Races
Wheelbarrow races are a great game for pairs of players and it gives your little ones an upper body workout without it seeming like work. Best of all you don’t need real wheelbarrows! In every pair, one player is the pusher and the other is the wheelbarrow.
The player that will be the wheelbarrow stands with their hands on the ground and the other player holds their ankles. The team moves as a pair all the way to the finish line. But be careful. If the pusher runs too quickly the wheelbarrow will end up face-first on the floor. Slow and steady is the way to win here. And playing on grass is probably the best way to avoid scuffs and scrapes.
FUN TWISTS: Make the game more fun by having the pusher and wheelbarrow switch positions partway through. Or play with kids as the pushers and a parent as the wheelbarrow. Kids will love the chance to literally push their parents around and for the parents, it’s a fun way to get a little exercise with their kiddos.
3. Egg in a spoon Race
I think everyone’s probably seen this game. Players take an egg, a ping pong ball, or a golf ball, put it on a plastic spoon, hold the spoon with one hand and race to the finish line.
FUN TWISTS: It’s surprising how light ping pong balls are and how far they can sometimes bounce but if you’d like to make this game a bit more challenging how about some custom eyewear. Maybe those googley glasses or your old prescription reading glasses. Dad’s safety goggles with a little mud smeared on them? Scuba mask? Bifocals?
Players still moving too fast? How about kids wear Dad’s work boots? Or that crazy pair of thrift store heals? Or a set of swim fins?
One kid comfortable in heals? Maybe mix up the footwear so that none of the pairs match. Now it’s impossibly fair for everyone!
4. Musical chairs
This is one of the games that has stood the test of time. The cool thing about this game is that adults can join in too if they’re up for it.
Make a circle of chairs facing outward, one fewer chair than the number of players. Get the music playing as the players walk, or skip or spin around the circle. When you stop the music every player has to sit in a chair as quickly as possible. The player without a chair is out. Continue removing chairs, one at a time, until only one chair and two players remain. The player who gets the last chair when the music stops is the winner.
FUN TWISTS: You could make this one a little more interesting by substituting pillows or couch cushions instead of chairs. Maybe even the burlap sacks from the sack races! And nothing says that the chairs or pillows have to be next to one another. Make getting from one to the other a little more exciting by putting them further from one another. Or occasionally put a water balloon to one of the chairs. See how competitive your kids really are. Are they willing to get wet to win?
5. Escape the monster (Infection)
If you need the kids to expend some energy this is the game for you. The great thing about it is that everyone plays until the end of the game.
You’ll need a lot of space for this one, so playing outside is probably the way to go. Choose one of the kids to play the monster as the others try to escape the monster. When the monster catches a player they turn into monsters too and now try to catch the other players.
Continue like this until all the kids have turned into monsters. In this game, no one’s really the loser, everybody’s a little monster-y winner.
FUN TWISTS: This one could easily be renamed Lions v Gazelles or Outrun the Zombies. Maybe your gazelles ought to hop the way some gazelles do. Or maybe you could have the lions or zombies make appropriate noises. But zombies biting other players, that may be a little too far. Let’s stay away from that!
6. Balloon Bursts
Credit for the balloon burst idea goes entirely to the folks at Kids Party Entertainment. They’re pros at entertaining your guests so that you can enjoy your party as much as everyone else does. The kids will have a great time and the adults get to relax and enjoy all the silliness without any of the stress.
To play this game, write a variety of challenges on pieces of paper then insert the challenges into balloons and inflate the balloons. Be creative with your challenges. They might be things like doing a crazy dance, skipping rope, singing a goofy song or any other activity that’s fun for kids.
Get the kids together, turn on the music and throw a balloon in the crowd. Explain that the kids are responsible for keeping the balloon in the air so long as the music is playing. When the music stops, the last kid to touch the balloon has to pop it by sitting on it and then performs the challenge inside.
FUN TWISTS: You could play that if a balloon touches the ground, you stop the music,they as a group have failed. You now pop the balloon and all the kids have to perform the task.
If the kids can go for 2 minutes without a balloon touching the ground maybe you have to perform a task that the kids choose.
I can see the funny dance, crazy accents, and robot imitations from here.
7. Pin the Tail on the Donkey
In this game, the kids get blindfolded and try to attach a tail on a donkey poster.
FUN TWISTS: Pin the tail on the donkey may be a classic but you can find a “Pin The….” game for any party theme. For our French party, I made a pin the mustache on the French guy game that matched the theme perfectly. You can pin the horn on the unicorn, the tail on the mermaid, etc…
Kids’ parties are a wonderful opportunity for your children to have fun with their friends and siblings. And these games can be part of what makes your party one of the most memorable that your guests will attend in a long, long time.
If you’re looking for more games, you can find some fun ones in my pineapple party and my pool party posts. And if you’re a game playing family don’t forget to check out my 11 fun games to play in the car and my board games for family night recommendations.