We love having company over. Our house is usually full of kids. Birthday parties all fall keep me on my toes. One of our favorite things to do for the girls is to have a birthday carnival. Here are some games we have found or come up with.
Bucket Head: 2+ people - Hold a plastic bucket on the top of your head. Catch three balls in the bucket while keeping it on top of your head.
Defying Gravity: 2+ people - Keep two balloons in the air for as long as possible. First one to drop their balloon does not win
Breakfast Scramble: Assemble the front of a cereal box that has been cut into eight pieces. You win if you get it put together in under a specified amount of time.
Dizzy Mummy: 4+ people - Unroll a small roll of toilet paper with 360 degree spins of the arm and wrap your partner. (You may need to unravel some first to make it an attainable task.) Winner is the first to run out of paper
Elephant March: 2+ people Knock over bottles using a baseball hanging from panty hose worn on the head. winner is the first to knock over all their bottles.
Tissue Toss:2+ people - Using both hands, empty a tissue box. Winner is the first to empty their box
Play it By Ear: Place five cans with varying quantities of pennies in the correct order. (With a sharpie, place the numbers on the bottom.) Winner is the one who guesses the most correctly
Separation Anxiety: Separate a pile of 25 multicolored chocolate candies into five separate containers in a set color order. Winner is the one who can do it fastest
Candelier: Stack four layers of cans, with paper plates in between. Winner is the one who can do it fastest
Tweeze Me: Players use tweezers to relocate five Tic Tacs from one bowl to another. Winner is the one who can do it fastest
Duck, Duck, Goose: 4+ people - Have the kids form a circle sitting on the floor. One child walks around the circle tapping each child on the head and reciting the work “Duck” as they do so. When they tap the child they wish to select, they say/yell “Goose.” That child then has to get up and chase the child who selected them (the “tapper”) around the circle. The tapper tries to get back to the spot vacated by the Goose before the Goose catches and tags them. The Goose becomes the tapper for the second round.
Keep Away: 3+ people - Have the kids stand in a circle. Select one, or a small group of kids, to be in the middle of the circle. The kids on the outside throw a ball to other kids in the circle trying to keep the kid(s) in the middle from intercepting the ball. If a child in the middle of the circle does get the ball, they trade places with whoever threw the ball.
Hot Potato: 2+ people - Have the kids stand/sit in a circle. They pass/throw an object (with a large enough group you can use more than one) around the circle as music plays. Whoever has the object when the music stops is out.
Red Light, Green Light: 3+ people - All students line up against one wall. The leader/student “caller” stands at the opposite wall facing away from the large group. When the caller calls “Green Light” the kids from the group move towards the caller. If the caller turns and yells “Red Light,” those approaching the caller must stop immediately. Anyone who makes any additional motion after “Red Light”
Simon Says: 2+ people - Kids line up in lines facing the leader in the front of the room. The leader tells kids to do things (jumping jacks, turn around, touch nose, touch elbow, quack like a duck, whatever you can think of). If the leader says “Simon Says” before the instruction (as in “Simon says quack like a duck”), the kids do the activity. If the leader does not say “Simon Says,” then the kids should not do as instructed. For example, if the leader says “Simon says spin in circles,” kids should spin in circles. When the leader instructs “Stop,” the kids should not stop because the leader did not give the command “Simon Says Stop!”
Follow the Leader: 2+ people - This is a simple and fun game. Have the kids line up single file. The leader (first kid in line) make outrageous motions, etc. as he walks around the room. The kids behind must follow the lead of the person in front. For a competitive game, set up two lines and take players out as you notice them not following the leader.
Parachute Game: 5+ people - I am always amazed by how even older elementary aged kids love this simple game. This one requires a little more preparation because you’ll need one of those cloth multi-colored parachutes and some balls. Just have the kids circle around the parachute, throw the balls in, and you can have all kinds of fun. Have them try to keep multiple balls airborne. Try to hit the ceiling. Try to have the kids roll the balls off one side of the parachute. The possibilities are endless.
Musical Chairs: 3+ people - Set up a number of chairs less than the number of kids playing (For small groups use one less chair. For larger groups you might want to consider two or three less chairs). As you play music, the kids walk around the chairs. When the music stops, the kids scramble to find an empty seat and sit down. Any child left standing is out. Remove another set of chairs and start the second round with the remaining players until only one seat is left.
Roll Up: 6+ people - This game is a play on the old “Over and Under” balloon game. Divide your teams into two groups. Select ten kids at random to represent your two teams or pull ten from the boys and ten from the girls. Girls against boys pair offs are always a popular competition. Line up the kids so that they stand in front of one another in the same direction. Hand the first person in the line a roll of toilet paper. Tell the leaders that when you give the signal they should loosen paper from the roll and carefully pass it to the person behind them. Each team member should alternate passing it over their heads and under their bodies. When the roll gets to the end of the line, the person on the end wraps it around his waist and passes it back. This should continue a pre set number of times or let them use the whole roll. Use a whistle or start festive music to signal the start of your game. With the cost being two rolls of toilet paper, this is definitely a low budget VBS game idea.
Beach Ball Bounce: 6+ people - All you need for this game is two beach balls. Each ball should be different colors or look different some way. Blow up the beach balls and show them to the children. Show which ball represents the girls team and which the boys team. Tell kids the object is to see who can keep their ball from touching the ground longest while standing in one spot. Kids cannot move other than their hands. Kids can only touch the ball belonging to their team. There is no real way to declare a winner or even oversee this game but kids find it hysterical. Play this game outdoors.
Goliath’s Hungry: 6+ people - No supplies are needed for this game. Choose a child to be Goliath. Divide the kids into two teams. The teams need to be spaced about ten to twenty feet apart with Goliath standing in the middle. When Goliath shouts, “I’m hungry!” All the kids run to the opposite side. Anyone Goliath touches joins the giant in the middle. Together, they hold a hand and grab for more kids as they run through again. Every time Goliath should shout “I’m hungry!” until all the kids are caught. This is also an excellent game for outside.
Scavenger Hunts: 3+ people - Hide a group prize in the room before the party begins. Draw a map or give clues to the group and encourage children to work together. Get real interaction by giving them clues that must be solved together. Give each child a letter of a special world and have the children unscramble the word or phrase to locate the treasure.
Charades: 4+ people -Before the party begins, write several animal names or Bible characters on slips of paper. Kids get to randomly select and act out what’s written on the paper. For fun, have kids work together in pairs to act out their characters.
Icebreakers: 6+ people - These games are good for building stronger groups. There are lots of different icebreakers you can use but this one is my favorite. Start with a large ball of yarn. Hold the end string of the yarn and toss the ball to another person. Before you toss the ball, ask a question like “What’s your middle name?” Questions are asked, the ball is tossed and pretty soon there’s yarn everywhere!
Hula Hoop Game: 4+ people - You’ll need four or five large Hula Hoops to start this game. When the game starts have all the children gather together inside the Hula Hoops. Do this while the music plays. Remove the hoop and tell kids they have to squeeze into the other hoops or at least hold on to one. Keep going until you have one hoop and all your class inside and outside. Kids will work together to include everyone.
Catch the Mouse: 4+ people - Other non-competitive games like Catch the Mouse won’t have kids crying. You’ll need two balls for this games, a small one and a large one. Have kids sit on the floor, they will use their feet and legs to move the small ball or “mouse” around the circle. Once the mouse makes it back home, to the original person, introduce the “cat.” The cat is the larger ball. The mouse has to move around the circle without being passed by the cat. Kids laugh and have fun playing this silly game.
Going on a Trip: 2+ people - The first child says, “I am going on a trip and I am taking an (child inserts an item that begins with the letter A).” The next child says, “I am going on a trip and I am taking an (inserts the A item) and a (child inserts an item that begins with the letter B).” The third child says, “I am going on a trip and I am taking an (inserts the name of the A item), a (inserts the name of the B item), and a (child inserts an item that begins with the letter C).” This pattern continues around the room until the group of children has exhausted the entire alphabet.
I Spy: 2+ people - One child stands and silently chooses an object they can see in the room. The child then whispers the name of the object in the teacher’s ear, so the teacher can assist in the game as needed. The child then declares, “I spy something that is (the color of the item).” The rest of the children then take turns guessing what the object is until the class has identified the item the child was spying. Whoever guesses the item correctly gets to choose the item for the next round.
Four Corners: 4+ people - Someone assigns a number to each corner of the room, so there is corner number one, corner number two, etc. The children divide up and stand at a chosen corner. One child is chosen to be “it” and stands in the center of the room with their eyes closed. When “it” yells, “Go!” the other children proceed to walk about the perimeter of the room moving from corner to corner. When “it” yells, “Stop!” the children must go to the nearest corner and wait. While keeping their eyes closed the child in the center of the room will call out one corner number. The children standing in that corner are then out of the game for that round. This procedure continues until there is only one child remaining. That child will then become the next “it” and play continues with another round.
Heads Up 7 Up: 4+ people -
Seven children are chosen to stand in at the front of the room. The rest of the children close their eyes and lower their heads with one thumb held up in the air. Next, the seven children silently walk about the room looking for someone to choose. They each choose one seated child by touching their raised thumb. When a child’s thumb has been touched they will lower their hand into their lap. After all seven children have made a choice, the children return to stand at the front of the room. The teacher calls out, “Heads up, seven up!” The children whose thumbs’ got touched stand up and make a guess at who from the front of the room picked them. If their guess is correct, they will switch places with the child in the front of the room. If their guess is incorrect, they will sit back down. Play continues like this for as many rounds as you desire.
Drop off: 4+ people - We had two or three teams (depending on the number of teams we had) line up on one side of the auditorium. Each team was given a bowl, a plastic spoon, and a scooter board (we use the ones sold through Awana, but you can find them elsewhere if you search for term “scooter board” on Google). On the other end of the auditorium, we placed several bowls of M&M’s. The point of the game is for one team member to go from one end of the auditorium to the other while sitting on the scooter board, pick up one of the M&M’s on their spoon (without using their hands) and scoot back to the other end of the auditorium without dropping the M&M.
Here’s the catch! Standing on the sidelines are all the players from the teams not running the race. Their role is to throw balls at the contestants on the scooter boards to try to knock the M&M’s off of their spoons. This is the gauntlet part of the game! If the player drops their M&M before they get back and place it in their team’s bowl, they pick up their scooter, run back to the start line, and give another player on their team a chance to go retrieve an M&M. The first team to accumulate a predetermined number of M&M’s wins the round.
We had a lot of fun playing this game and the kids almost universally asked to play it again. Here are a couple of things I learned while playing. One, make sure you use soft cushy balls rather than the hard rubber balls for this game. Given that the kids are sitting on the scooter boards, there is a high probability that they will get hit in the head. The softer balls mean a lot fewer injuries. Secondly, don’t utilize too many balls in the game. We started with twelve balls and only two teams on scooters. This meant six balls flying at each contestant at any given time. That made it virtually impossible for them to get back with an M&M. I would suggest no more than three balls for each team on a scooter (two may actually be better). This gives the teams on the scooters a fighting chance.
This basic concept could also easily be adapted for other situations. I think it would be fun to try the game with marbles instead of M&M’s or use M&M’s but give the kids a plastic knife or a ruler rather than a plastic spoon. I also think this would make a great outdoor water game if you used wet super soaker balls rather than the soft foam balls. We also tried the game with one person riding the scooter and another pushing. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.
Photos are just misc photos found with fun ideas. Not my kids or party (for privacy purposes)