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Easy Kid's Party Games
To continue the topic of cheap birthday parties, I thought I’d write about some cheap (or free), and easy party games for kids. You’ve likely heard of some of them, but maybe forgotten about them. Having some great games will help the kids burn energy, reduce your need to do a lot of crowd control, and give the kids a great time.
Duck, Duck, Goose!
This staple of games is best for fairly young children. Have the kids sit in a circle and pick someone to be ‘it’. This person should walk around the outside of the circle, tapping each player gently on the head while saying “Duck”. After as many “Duck” head taps as they desire, they touch someone and say “Goose”. The goose must stand up and chase the ‘it’ player. The goal is for the ‘it’ person to sit in the ‘Goose’s’ spot before they are tagged. At this point, the goose is ‘it’. If the goose catches the ‘it’ player, they get to sit down and the ‘it’, stays ‘it’. This game can have some great variations since you can say whatever you want. If it’s a little boy’s party, perhaps “Frog,” “Frog”, “Snake” is more appropriate.
Hit the Pie Plate
For this game, you will need an aluminum pie plate and a wooden spoon, or something similar. Blindfold a participant and have them kneel on the floor near the pie plate. You will need an adult or other player involved at this point as well. Have the other players sit or stand a safe distance away from the player. The goal is for the player to hit the pie plate with the wooden spoon. The tricky part is, that the adult will move the pie plate in various directions to try to confuse the player. The other players should yell out ‘Hot’ or ‘Cold’ as the case may be. Depending on the age of the participant, the pie plate can be moved very slowly, or quickly. Remember, with kids games, you want to be challenging, but not frustrate them to no end. When they hit the plate, switch to a new player.
Red Light/Green Light
Ahead of time, cut two red, and two green construction paper circles. Glue them on either side to a popsicle stick. This will give you a red and green traffic signal sign. If you want to make it even simpler, make a traffic sign that is red on one side and green on the other. Give the traffic signs to one player and have them stand with their back to the group. Line the rest of the kids up a good distance away (the further the better). Announce how fast the kids are to travel (walk, run, hop, crawl, etc). When the leader holds up the green sign, the kids are to travel at the specified speed toward the finish line. When they switch to the red sign, the kids must stop. The winner is the person who crosses the finish line first.
You are probably very familiar with this traditional game. Set up chairs in any shape you want, but make sure there is one chair less than the number of players. Have the players walk around the chairs while some music plays. When it ends, they need to sit on a chair. The player without a chair is out. Remove one chair and begin again until only one player is left.
Be sure to lay some ground rules so no one gets hurt. Don’t let kids run, don’t let them sit on other players and expect them to stay an arm’s length away from the chairs while they are walking around.
If you want to play this game indoors and are concerned about your floors, go to the dollar store and buy several placemats, or hand towels. Lay these out on the floor. When the music stops, have the kids sit down on a mat.
What Time is it Mr. Wolf
Have one child be the ‘Wolf’ or whatever animal you want it to be. Have the rest of the kids line up behind a starting line some distance away. The players should yell ‘What time is it Mr. Wolf?’. The wolf should reply with ‘3:00’, or whatever suits them. The players then need to take the appropriate number of steps (3 steps in this case). The goal is to get to the wolf and tag them. When asked what time it is, the wolf has the option to say ‘Lunchtime!’. When this happens, the players need to run back to the starting line. If the wolf tags one of them, they are the new wolf.
Another game that is lots of fun for players and bystanders. Assemble a pile of random clothing. If you can’t find items in your own closet, hit the thrift store and find some wacky outfits. Probably avoid hats if you are at all worried about head lice. Give each team of kids a bag of clothing. The object of the game is to put on all the clothing and run to a finish point before you opponent does. Decide ahead of time how picky you will be with regard to how the clothing is put on (i.e. do button up shirts need to be buttoned?).
Easy and fun game as long as you have lots of space (outside is best!). Have the kids line up at a starting line. One at a time, have them take off one shoe. Have them put their toe back into the shoe and kick it as far as they can. Farthest shoe is the winner.
As a variation, you can also play this game having the kids throw Frisbees (with their hands obviously).
This one is great for young and old alike. Get a pail and fill it with golf balls, or ping pong balls. Have the kids line up a distance away from you. All of a sudden, dump the pail of balls onto the ground and have the kids scramble to pick them up. Individual or team with the most at the end wins. Remind the kids to be aware of their surroundings so they don’t bang heads with another player as they dive for the balls. As a variation, add a few balls of different colors and make them worth more points at the end of the game. I usually add a yellow ball and say it’s worth 5 points.