When planning a child birthday party, just a little bit of organisation will go a long way. A good selection of child party games will keep the group interested and the party running smoothly. Always keep in mind that during the course of the day the weather may turn against you so be prepared to move the party (and games) indoors if necessary!
Have an idea of how you would like the party to flow- a typical choice would be: some games or a party craft to start, a break for food and cake, and then some more games or free play to wind up the party. Depending on the location for your party it may be only indoor games or outdoor games that you need to focus on. Either way a mix of games with present opening and food dispersed between should maintain a good flow.
In selecting the child party games it is wise to have a few more games prepared than you think you will need. Some games may finish quickly or if the children are not showing interest, a couple of back-ups can save you from any embarrassment. Prepare all of the music, props and prizes before the party and make sure that you are clear on the rules. If you do not want to give out prizes after every game then choose games that do not have clear ‘winner’ and are less competitive.
A mix of active games, those that allow the children to wind-down, and perhaps a craft activity should be plenty for a party that is lasting roughly two hours. Two hours is generally long enough for kids aged from between 3 and 6 years old.
A party craft is often a good way to start a party, allowing the kids to mingle with each other while making a party hat, loot bag or something similar. Active games give them a chance to burn off some of that party excitement and some quieter, cool-down games can help to settle kids who might have had a bit much red cordial!
Utilise other parents or older kids to help out with games if required. If younger children are attending then many of their parents will stay anyway and won’t mind acting as timekeeper or judge for a game. If you are preparing food and drinks and trying to run the games all on your own then you are going to be stretched to the limit, so ask for help if you feel you need it.
When selecting the actual party games keep in mind the ages of the children attending. Younger children prefer simple, short games, nothing that requires too much explaining or has numerous rules. Think of the games that you enjoyed at parties that you attended as a child. Traditional games like Pass the Parcel, Musical Chairs or quieter games like Charades or Dead Lions are all favourites that most kids understand and have played before. Many of these games can be renamed to suit the particular theme of your party, don’t feel like you have to reinvent the wheel
For older children you can be more adventurous with games and the party child will no doubt aid you in selecting games that he/she feels are appropriate to the theme of the party. If you have a mix of ages present be sure that the younger children are not being caught up in the boisterous activity of older children.
Whatever games you choose be flexible, and willing to improvise. Allow the children to set the pace in regards to the length of the games. If they are all enjoying a game then let it continue, if not move on. Remember that FUN is the aim of the day, if the kids see you relaxed and having fun then they will too!