Do you remember when birthday parties were held at home? There were no indoor playgrounds, dress-up characters or clowns. Just a good old money cake and some party games to keep the kids entertained.
I fear the classic games of my own youth might soon disappear, which is why I’m on a mission to bring them back before they’re gone forever. Below are a few of my personal favourites, and not only do they work for a birthday celebration, but they’re also great fun when boredom sets in on playdate.
What You Need: Eggs or water balloons.
How to Play: Divide the players into pairs. Each pair receives an egg. Have partners stand 1 metre away from each other and across the distance one player throws their egg gently’to be caught by the other. If it breaks or touches the ground the pair goes out. If it doesn’t, they take a few steps further from each other and repeat the process. The team that manages to keep their egg intact for longest wins.
What You Need: A large open space and music.
How to Play: Kids stand in the designated area and wait for the music to start. When it does, the players dance in a wacky and spirited fashion. A parent stops the music at some random point and the players freeze in position. The parent/judge walks around to see who is moving (or laughing) and those people are called out of the game. It continues until there is one person left (the winner).
Pass the Parcel
What You Need: A prize wrapped up in as many layers as there are kids in attendance. (It’s a good idea to wrap each layer in a different colour or pattern to help the kids distinguish them.). You also need music.
How to Play: Players sit in a circle and a parent starts the music. Kids take turns passing that parcel to one another until the music stops. When it does, the player holding the present peels off a layer of wrapping. The music starts again and play continues until every layer is removed and the prize is claimed. If you’re concerned about everyone not getting a gift, you can fill the box with a little something for everyone.
The Memory Game
What You Need: A tray, scarf, some household items or trinkets that match the theme of the party.
How to Play: Collect familiar objects and place eight to 10 on a tray (or six items for children under the age of 5). Have children observe the objects for 30 seconds. Cover the tray with the scarf and remove an object. Have the children guess what’s missing. The child who guesses correctly gets to remove the next item from the tray. Repeat until all of the children have had a turn.
What You Need: Large open space (outdoors), inflated balloons and string.
How to Play: Tie a balloon to each child’s leg with a length of string, leaving about 30 centimetres between the player’s leg and the balloon. Have players spread out before the play begins. On ‘Go,’ the kids try to stomp on other players’ balloons and pop them, while protecting their own balloons from being burst. The last player to have an unpopped balloon wins.
What You Need: Sheets of newspaper and music.
How to Play: Give players a sheet of newspaper and ask them to put their paper down on the ground. Turn on some music and get the players to dance around the room, taking care not to step on the paper. When the music stops, players must find a newspaper island to stand on. Remove a piece of newspaper and continue playing. Islands can only hold one child at a time; so the next time the music stops there will be a dash for safety. Repeat play until you have a winner.
Tell me, do you have any favourite party games from when you were a kid? Do you like to organize games for your own kids today?