It’s a day out from your celebration and you think you have everything under control. Food and drinks, decorations and the cake, then it dawns on you….what about children’s party games?? There are so many questions. Are they worth the hassle? How old do kids need to be to enjoy party games? What’s the protocol around prizes – should everyone get one?? Here at Hooray Day, we’re all about helping you get the most out of your precious time. We love to share all kinds of tips, tricks and hacks so that you can say Hooray to your special day! Check out our 10 Dos and Don’ts of children’s party games.
Do – Consider the ages of your little guests. Children under three are generally too young for organised games, although if you have some older children in the mix who can lead by example, it could work! If your little ones are three and under, think about setting up play areas and stations instead of games. Great ideas include cubbies or teepees with toys inside, sand or ball pits made from plastic paddling pools and craft stations (more advice on this last one below.)
Don’t – over plan or put too much effort into activities or games. A bunch of excited little ones + sugar = chaos! Avoid disappointment and wasted time/money by keeping your activities really simple. Games that are quick and don’t require too many props are great. Choose things that you’re sure little ones will actually enjoy, such as bouncy castles and slides. Pinterest is bursting with ideas for beautiful looking, insta worthy party games, but if littlies aren’t going to enjoy them, what’s the point?
Do – get crafty! A craft station can be a great alternative to organised party games, and suits a wide range of ages. A big advantage is that you can prepare everything in advance, and it’ll keep little ones amused throughout the party. Make yours simple by setting out some crayons or pencils and some printed pictures (which you can tie into your party theme) for colouring in, or let your guests get creative and give them some masks or hats to decorate with various bits and pieces.
Do – put your little one’s precious things out of harm’s way. No matter how much effort you put into games and activities, little guests will inevitably make their own fun and be drawn to the one thing you’d rather they didn’t play with! Leaving a few toys out is a great idea, but make sure they’re not things that your birthday boy or girl might react badly to having to share.
Do – think back to your own childhood! Which games did you love when you were little? Don’t worry about getting too fancy, sometimes the simple things in life are the best. Think Musical Statues or Chairs, Pass the Parcel or Pin the Tail on the Donkey.
Do – download some great music to play during your games. Little ones love music, and some familiar tunes (think Wiggles, Frozen, Sing, Trolls etc.) can really add to the excitement. Music is also a fantastic opportunity to theme your game e.g. Old Macdonald for your Farm party or some catchy sea chanties for your Pirate bash.
Don’t – choose prizes that are likely to cause arguments or tears! The key here is to keep them nice and small. Things like little whistles, yoyos, bouncy balls, bottles of bubbles etc. are ideal. You may also like to think about making sure that each little participant wins something. (Yes, we all know that we’re supposed to be fostering resilience and teaching little ones that it’s okay to lose sometimes – whether you want your celebration to be that sort of learning opportunity is up to you!)
Do – work your theme into your activities! Pirate party? Bury some ‘treasure’ in your sandpit. Vintage party? Pop a basket of ‘old fashioned’ dress up items out for little guests to help themselves to (bonus points for creating some great photo opportunities!)
Do – think about when and where you want any organised games to happen and any props you need. Have all your bits and pieces ready to go to avoid any last minute hassles. Think about nominating an outgoing friend or relative as MC for games if you don’t fancy trying to herd and direct a group of excitable little ones. At the very least make sure you have an assistant to help you with any music etc!
Don’t – stress out too much. Celebrations for little ones and chaos go hand in hand! The younger your little guests, the more likely they are to totally disregard any rules of play or instructions. As long as they’re having fun, that’s all that matters.
A ‘Prepare to Celebrate’ guide comes with every Hooray Day Party Kit. It’s crammed full of tips and tricks on everything you need to know about children party games, plus loads more, including food and decorating inspiration. It’s like having a party planner in your pocket!
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