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Fun Summer Game Ideas for Children's Parties (Ages 4-10)

Updated on October 12, 2016
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Planning a children's party can be stressful, but it's a lot of fun to see your children having a great time and playing together. Aside from the balloons, the cake and the music, planning ways to keep the kids entertained can sometimes be a challenge, especially if you have a lot of children or a wide age range. Here are some simple, fun games that you can play at childrens' parties within the ages of 4 and 10 (although children slightly outside this age range may enjoy them too). This article also includes the best kind of setting to play these games, what you'll need and how to prepare them.

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Make sure you have a CD player with decent speakers for this game
Make sure you have a CD player with decent speakers for this game | Source
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Gift ideas for inside the package
Gift ideas for inside the package | Source

Pass the Parcel

You will need
A lot of old newspaper
Several small gifts (anything from small packets of sweets to bigger things like packets of pencils or toys)
A music player (a CD player is good).

Preparation
Get several of the presents, the biggest first. Make sure you have nearly as many gifts as children who will be playing the game.
Wrap up the biggest gift in a layer of newspaper. Make it so it holds, but it will be easy to tear off.
Wrap many layers around the parcel, occasionally hiding a gift inside the layer so it will fall out when the layer is ripped off. You can do it in every layer, or every two or three.

How to play
Get the children to sit in a circle.
Explain to them that they have to quickly pass the parcel to each other as the music is playing, and when the music stops, stop passing it. The child holding the package can unwrap one layer.
Emphasise that the child must only take one layer off.
Play the music, making sure the package gets all around the circle at least once before pausing it.
Depending on what you prefer, you can either make sure everyone gets a turn at unwrapping the package (if there are enough children), or you can have the 'music stopper' hiding his eyes from the game.
When the last layer is off and the child wins the prize in the middle, the game is over.

Children find this game very exciting, but it can be risky if you have any sensitive kids who might get upset if they don't win. If you're worried about fairness, put identical packets of sweets in each layer, and make sure everyone gets at least one. It might also be a good idea to have treats such as ice pops for everyone at the end, where 'losing' children get the first pick of the treats.

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Nature Walk

You will need
To be in a place where a nature walk would be possible (e.g. a park, although a large back garden might work)
Several pieces of paper with identical lists on them (prepare these beforehand)
Enough adults to supervise 2-5 teams of children

How to play
Divide the children into teams (it's fun to give their teams names, maybe after colours or insects) with at least one adult or older kid supervising each team. Give each of them the list, which could look something like this:

ANT
ROCK
SOIL
DRAGONFLY
BUTTERFLY
FROG
STICK

The idea is that the teams have to find all of the things on the list and have their picture taken with them. This is incredibly fun for children who enjoy the outdoors, and they can work together to find the things on the list. Offer a prize for the first team to find them all and have pictures with them.

Tips
Add a difficult item or two if you want to stretch out the time. Dragonflies, ladybirds and frogs are going to be harder to find than sticks and soil.

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Musical Statues

You will need
A music player (a CD player with decent speakers is a good choice)
A simple dance routine (Youtube has some Just Kids on Wii videos with some simple routines)

How to play
Teach the children the dance routine. This isn't a mandatory step, but it can help children who would otherwise be shy about dancing.
As the music plays, the kids dance.
Pause the music, and the children have to stay still, like statues. Anyone who moves is 'out'.

Tips
To avoid anyone getting upset for being 'out', you could get the child to join your judging team instead of just being kicked out of the game.
Have adults join the game too, and purposefully make them 'out' first.

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Musical Chairs

You will need
Several small chairs. Make sure you know how many children are playing and have as many chairs, minus one. For example, if there are ten children, make sure there are nine chairs.
A music player.

How to play
Set out the chairs in a line, half facing one way and the other half facing the other way so they're back-to-back (like in this picture).
Have the children stand around the chairs, ready to walk around them.
When the music plays, have the kids walk around the chairs along with the music.
When the music pauses, the chidlren all have to sit on a seat. The last child left standing is 'out'.
Continue with this until there is just one chair and one child left. They are the winner.

It is more difficult to cheat fairly in this game, and would be more appropriate for slightly older children. Think of Musical Statues as the 'baby version' of Musical Chairs.

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Water Race

You will need
Two or three large bottles (depending on the number of teams. About five children per team is about right).
Food colouring (one colour per team) (you can buy food colouring here).
A bucket of water.
Several spoons.

Preparation
This game is better to play outside, preferably on grass.
Fill the bucket full of water.
Put a colour of food dye into each of the large bottles. Assign a spoon for each team (having the same colour spoon as dye so the teams can be named after the colour can be fun, but it's not essential).
Make sure the bottles are all the same distance away from the bucket.
It would be good to have an adult hold the bottle so it isn't knocked over during the game.

How to play
Divide the children into teams. Try and make sure there's a mix of ages on each team.
Explain the rules - one at a time, a child from each team must run to the bucket of water and collect some water in the spoon. They have to come back, put the water in the bottle and pass the spoon to the next child.
Continue for around five minutes, then blow the whistle to stop the game.
The team with the most water inside is the winning team.

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Water Balloon Challenge

Preparation
Ahead of time, fill some small balloons with water and have them sit in a bucket. Around fifty or more should be sufficient.
Make sure you play this game outside, perhaps on grass. Concrete is fine too.

How to play
Have your children line up in two lines facing each other. The child they are facing is their teammate.
Hand the children on the left row a water balloon, but ask them not to do anything with it yet.
When all the kids are ready, explain to them that they must throw the water balloon to their partner. Emphasise that they should throw it underarm, not overarm.
Explain that after throwing the balloon, the lines of children must take one step back, keeping the lines equal. It might be a good idea to get several adults to help out with this game.
The idea is for all the kids to throw the balloons at the same time and be the same distance away from each other as the rest of the teams.
Depending on their age and skill, you can hand them a new balloon if one bursts. You could have one or two rounds where the last team with a balloon is the winner.
If there are still balloons left after several rounds, you could hand a balloon to each kid and let them have a 'free shot' at their parents!

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This article deliberately left out more rigorous games such as the Three-Legged Race, Wheelbarrow Race and Egg-and-Spoon race, as the rules can get a little complicated for smaller children. A summer party for kids is always a lot of fun, and often unforgettable. Enjoy! Got any more children's party game ideas? Comment below.

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    • bigj1969 profile image

      John Marshall 2 years ago from glasgow

      Wonderful hub,I have five girls ,all pretty much grown up now.your hub brings back teriffic memories.