Games are a great way to keep your party flowing but, unfortunately, they can often increase your expenses or require elaborate planning. Here are five easy games you can play at your child’s next party that won’t break the bank.
You’ve sent the invitations, ordered the cake and bought a few party favors, but how can you keep young party guests entertained?
1. Nature Scavenger Hunt – “This type of scavenger hunt is the perfect way to get your kids connected to the natural world,” writes Jennifer Ward in her book, Let’s Go Outside: Outdoor Activities and Projects to Get You and Your Kids Closer to Nature. All you will need is your backyard, a list of items for kids to find and paper/cloth bags for the kids to use as they collect items. Kids can work alone, in teams or with a partner. You can structure this game however you think would work best for the guests’ ages. The person who collects the most items in 15 minutes is the winner, or the first one to finish is the winner.
Here are a few suggestions on items to find from Ward’s book:
• Find something a bird would use in a nest.
• Find something a squirrel might like for lunch.
• Find a rough rock.
• Find a smooth pebble.
• Find a leaf that isn’t green.
• Find something that would feel nice to walk on with bare feet.
• Find something that would be uncomfortable to walk on with bare feet.
• Find something larger than your thumb.
• Find something larger than your thumbnail.
• Find a multicolored rock.
• Find an animal’s track; note what it was and where you saw it.
After the game has ended, Ward suggests letting the kids compare the items that were found. “As an added challenge, encourage teams to return each item to the location where they discovered it.”
2. Pass the Parcel – Pass the Parcel is a twist on the classic kids’ game of musical chairs. You will need wrapping paper, a small prize and music to play. “Wrap your prize in a box and in as many layers of gift wrap as you have kids attending,” says Lisa Kothari, the creator of the party-planning website Peppers and Pollywogs (pepperspollywogs.com). “Have the children pass the parcel around to one another while music plays. When the music stops, the child holding the parcel must unwrap one layer. The game continues until the last child unwraps the final layer and wins.”
3. Sock ‘Em – Sock ‘Em is also a great twist on musical chairs. “Make a huge pile of socks, perhaps 10 times as many as the number of kids attending the party. Play music and have the guests try to put on as many socks as possible while it is on,” says Kothari. “When you turn the music off, whoever has the most socks on wins the prize.”
4. Bucket of Pennies – This game works best with two teams. Place two empty coffee cans at opposite ends of the room for each group. Give each group a large cup full of pennies. One at a time, have a child place a penny between his or her knees and walk across the room to his or her team’s can and drop it in without touching it with hands. The team that gets the most pennies in the can in 10 minutes wins.
5. Pass the Orange – This game works best with at least 10 young party guests. Divide guests into two teams. Teams stand in line, one person behind the other. First person in each line takes an orange and places it under his or her chin. The first player then passes the orange to the next person, who will also place it under the chin. Hands are not allowed during the transfer. If a player drops an orange, then the team must start from the beginning again. The team that gets the orange to the end of the line first wins.
Myra is a freelance writer and mother of three.
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