Looking for birthday party games for kids that are simple to play, need little in the way of items to play and that are sure to generate lots of fun and laughter with your guests – whatever their age??? Then look no further! This great big list of 45 fabulous birthday party games has something for everyone!
45 Fabulously Fun Birthday Party Games for Kids
This list is part of our Ultimate Kids Party Games collection that also includes ideas for sleepover party games, party games for tweens and tween and family party game suggestions.
1. Balloon Race #1: Line competitors up along a starting line. Place an inflated balloon between the knees of each player. On ‘Go’ competitors must race to the finish line, keeping the balloon between their knees and not touching it with their hands. If you have a large group, this race can also be played relay style. Hot tip: Jumping works best!
2. Balloon Race #2: Divide competitors into pairs. Each pair must place a balloon between their chests or backs and race to the finish line without losing their balloon on the way – no hands allowed!
3. Glow Balloon Races: Fun for nighttime parties, glow races simply require you to crack glow sticks, placing one inside each balloon before inflating. Then use the balloons for either of the Balloon Race suggestions above.
4. Balloon Volleyball: Divide players into two teams with one team standing on each side of a ribbon strung across the room to represent a volleyball net. The balloon may be hit three times by members of a team before it must go over the net to the other team’s side. Should a team fail to hit the balloon over the net in three hits a point is scored for the other team. Should the balloon hit the floor at any time a point is scored for the other team. First team to an agreed number of points wins. Hot tip: Make the winning number a small amount, like 5, and mix up the teams between each round to keep things moving.
5. Seated Balloon Volleyball: This version is played the same as regular balloon volleyball above except the children are all sitting on the floor and the ‘net’ is lowered to compensate for the ‘shorter’ players.
6. Balloon Stomp: Use a short length of string to tie one balloon to an ankle of each player. When the music starts or ‘Go’ is called, all players must attempt to stomp on the balloons of the other competitors to pop them. Last player with an unpopped balloon is the winner.
7. Keep It Up: Divide players into teams of five or six. Team members must hold hands and keep holding hands throughout play. Each team is given a balloon. On ‘Go’ the team must keep their balloon off the ground for as long as possible – no hands allowed. Players will need to get creative with heads, shoulders, knees, feet, even backs!
8. The Ground is Lava!: Divide children into small groups of four or five and give each group an inflated balloon. The children must hit the balloon to each other, trying not to let it touch the ground. If the balloon does hit the ground, the group is out and must sit down. Last group standing wins.
9. Water Balloon Pinata: Fill several balloons with water and hang them from a tree or clothesline. Blindfold a player, spin her around within reach of the balloons and hand her a plastic bat. Let the player swing in an attempt to connect with a balloon.
Just for Fun Party Games
10. Guess the Jellybeans: Before the party fill a large glass jar or clear plastic container with jellybeans or other small sweet, counting the number of sweets as you add them to the jar. Each party guest can make a guess as to how many jellybeans are in the jar – include a simple record sheet for guests to write their guesses on. The guest with the closest guess wins the jar of sweets! Hot tip: Choose a colour or type of sweet/lolly that complements your party theme!
11. Hoop Pass: You will need two hula hoops for this game. Divide party guests into two teams, each with an equal number of players. Teams stand with team members lined up side by side, holding hands. Give the team member at the start of each line a hula hoop to hold in their free hand. On ‘Go’ team members must pass the hoop over their bodies and along the line, without dropping hands (ie. the need to step through the hoop and pass it along to the next team member). The first team to get their hoop to the end is the winning team!
12. Four Corners: Number each corner of the playing space with a number 1 through to 4. One player is selected as the caller and stands at the front of the playing space, looking away from the group of players. The players are given a countdown from five to move to a corner. The caller calls out a corner number and any child standing in that corner is out and must sit out from the game. The countdown begins again and the remaining children again choose a corner. The caller calls out a corner number and again, anyone standing in that corner is now out. Play continues in this manner until one person is left. That person is the winner and becomes the next caller.
13. Indoor Basketball: For this game you’ll need a bucket and a rolled up sock. Players take turns throwing the sock into the bucket. When a player scores, he or she takes a step back and throws again, repeating this action until they miss the bucket. The player who successfully shoots the sock into the bucket from farthest away is the winner.
14. Indoor Bowling: Line up six empty, plastic water or soda bottles in a 3/2/1 arrangement (3 bottles at the back, two in front of them and one at the very front). Lining players up behind a starting point, let them each have a turn to use a small to medium sized indoor ball to knock down as many bottles as they can. Hot tip: Add a little water to each bottle to stabilise it.
15. String Treasure Hunt: Divide party guests into three or four teams. You’ll need a different coloured yarn or string for each team. Before play begins, wind each string all over the party space (this one is often best played outside) – over and under things, around trees, across the lawn, etc. At the end of each string place a small treasure for the team. Teams must start at the beginning of their coloured string/yarn and follow it along, rolling the string as they go, before finding the treasure at the end.
16. Puzzle Hunt: Divide party guests into teams of four or five players. You will need a simple, cardboard interlocking jigsaw puzzle (8-10 pieces at most) for each team. Each puzzle must have the same number of pieces. To help discern the different puzzle sets it can be helpful to draw a different distinguishing shape (or colour) on the back of each piece of each set. Before the hunt begins, hide the puzzle pieces all around your party space. Teams must hunt for all of their team’s puzzle pieces and assemble the jigsaw. First done wins!
17. Hot Potato: Players sit in a circle with one player starting off holding a small object, like a bean bag or uncooked potato. When the music starts players must pass the object clockwise around the circle as quickly as they can. The person holding the object when the music stops is out of the game. Last person standing is the winner.
18. Hide and Seek: Although not a game with one clear winner, kids love spending time playing games with their friends – and there is no better time then their birthday party! A classic game of hide and seek is sure to be a hit with children in the early primary/elementary school years. To play, one person is chosen as the seeker. He must close his eyes and count to 20. As the seeker counts, the other players run away to hide. Once he is done counting, the seeker opens his eyes and searches for the hidden players. The last person found is the winner of the round and becomes the next seeker.
19. Sardines: Sardines is a little like a reverse hide and seek! To play, one person is chosen to go and hide while the other players close their eyes and count to 20. When a person finds the hider, they join them in the hiding spot. Last person to find the ‘sardines’ is the loser of the round. Hot tip: Playing in the dark makes this one extra fun for bigger kids.
20. Jailbreak: Played just like hide and seek, this version works best in a large playing area with lots of hiding spaces. In this version a player who has been found by the seeker must go to a pre-agreed space that has been allocated as the ‘jail.’ The seeker attempts to put everyone in jail, however players who have not been found yet can sneak to the jail and free the ones already caught (but only if they are not seen/tagged by the seeker). Those who have been freed can hide again.
For more ‘Just For Fun!’ birthday party games ideas, check out our list of Classic Kids Party Games.
Races & Relays
21. Wheelbarrow Race: Divide competitors into pairs. Line the pairs along a starting line. One member of the pair – the wheelbarrow – gets into a push-up position, the other member of the pair lifts the ‘wheelbarrow’s’ legs by holding their ankles or lower legs, one leg in each hand. On ‘Go’ the wheelbarrow walks his arms along the ground to move forward, with the second team member walking behind and continuing to support the wheelbarrow’s legs. Once the team reaches an agreed turning point, they turn around and switch positions, then race back towards the starting line. The first team to cross the line is the winner.
22. Egg and Spoon Race: Grab some fresh eggs (or stick with hard boiled if you are more mess-averse) and soup spoons for a traditional egg and spoon dash across the yard. For larger groups form relay teams and really get the party goers working together.
23. Sack Race: You will need a hessian/burlap sack or a large pillowcase for each racer (you can also play in relay teams to minimise the number of sacks you need). To race, guests must stand with their feet inside the sack and on ‘Go’ race to the finish line (or to their teammate if you’re playing relay style). The first player to cross the finish line or first team to have all members jump home is the winner.
24. Three Legged Race: Divide competitors into pairs. Have players in each pair stand side by side and use a piece of ladies pantyhose or a ladies neck scarf to tie the inside ankles of each player together. On ‘Go’ pairs must race to the finish line. First over the line wins.
25. Leapfrog Race: Divide party guests into pairs. Members of each pair should be similar heights/ages for this game to be fair. Pairs line up behind a starting line, one team member standing in front of the other. On ‘Go,’ the first team member squats down or bends forward (bracing themselves with their hands on their knees), tucking their chin in to their chest so their back forms a flat base. The second player leaps over the person by placing their hands on their partner’s back and spreading their legs wide as the jump forward. Once they’ve landed, the second player assumes the squatting position and the first player leaps over their back. Teams continue to move forward by taking turns to leap over each other’s back. First team across the finish line wins.
26. Space Hopper Relay: Divide party guests into equal teams of four or five players. Each team will require a space hopper toy. Divide the team players into two lines, facing each other across a short ‘hopping’ distance. On ‘Go’ the first team member must hop across the playing space to their next team member, who then hops back to the next awaiting team member. The relay continues until all team members have had a turn to hop. First team with their final team member across the finish line is the winner.
27. Dress Up Relay: Divide party guests into equal teams of four or five players. Each team will require a set of large sized ‘dress ups’ that are easy to put on and take off, such as an oversided shirt or nightgown, a neck scarf or lei, hat and sunglasses. Divide the team players into two lines, facing each other across a short running distance. Place the pile of dress ups in front of the first team member for each team. On ‘Go’ the first team member must put on all of the dress up clothes and then race to their next team member, taking off the dress up clothes once there for the next player to put on. The race continues until all team members have had a turn to dress up and run. First team with their final team member across the finish line is the winner.
28. Jump Rope Relay: Divide party guests into equal teams of four or five players. Each team will require a skipping rope. Divide the team players into two lines, facing each other across a short ‘skipping’ distance. On ‘Go’ the first team member must skip across the playing space to their next team member, who takes the skipping rope and skips back to the next awaiting team member. The relay continues until all team members have had a turn to skip. First team with their final team member across the finish line is the winner.
29. Water Sponge Relay Race: Divide party guests into equal teams of four or five players. Each team will need two buckets, one half filled with water, and a large, car washing sponge. Line team members up and place the empty bucket (with the sponge in it) directly in front of the first team member. Place the water-filled bucket a short distance away. On ‘Go’ the first team member picks up the sponge, races to the water-filled bucket, dunks the sponge to fill it with water, races back to their team at the empty bucket and squeezes the water out of the sponge into the empty bucket. They then pass the sponge to the next team member who repeats the sequence. The race continues with team members taking turns to move the water with the sponge until the original water-filled bucket is empty. First team to empty their initial bucket wins.
30. Hoop Relay: Divide party guests into equal teams of four or five players. Each team will need a large hula hoop. Line the players of each team up at the starting line. Give the first team member the hoop to stand inside, holding the hoop at waist level with their hands. On ‘Go’ the first member of each team runs to a marker placed a short distance away from the starting line and then runs back to their team. The second player then joins the first inside the hoop and together they run to the marker and back, repeat, adding one team member each time the hooped runners return to the starting line. The first team to cross the finish line with all of their team having run to the marker and back in the hoop is the winning team.
Fun Tag Games
31. Centipede Tag: Players are divided into two teams. The teams each form a line, holding the player in front’s waist. The person at the front of each line is the head of the centipede, the player last in line is the tail. Peg a sock or handerjerchief to the waistband of each tail. On ‘go’ the head of each centipede must attempt to pull the sock from the other centipede- being mindful to protect his own tail at the same time. Mix up the teams between rounds for lots of wriggly fun.
32. Toilet Tag: it is the plumber in this fun chasey game. If tagged by the plumber the other player must kneel on one knee with one arm held out to the side. Tagged players must stay frozen in this position as a toilet until another free player comes and sits on his knee and pushes down on his arm to flush the loo! The flushing unfreezes the toilet player to rejoin the game. The player flushing cannot be tagged while ‘sitting’ on a toilet. Play until all players are frozen or until time is called and then a new plumber can be nominated. Very large groups may wish to start each round with two or even three plumbers.
33. Paper, Scissors, Rock, Run!: For this game, start out by dividing players into two teams. Line the two teams up facing each other a good distance apart. For each round, each team must secretly decide whether they will be Paper, Scissors or Rocks (the entire team must choose just one). The teams meet in the middle and count 1,2,3 before showing the hand gesture for their team’s choice (paper = flat hand, scissors = index and middle fingers extended in a scissor shape, rock = fist). The losing team (paper beats rock, rock beats scissors, scissors beats paper) must race back to their home base line with the team members from the winning team trying to catch them. Anyone caught must join the opposition team for the next round.
34. Blob Tag: Players scatter around the playing area with two players chosen to be ‘It.’ The It players hold hands and remain holding hands as they chase the others together. Everyone who is tagged must join hands on one end of The Blob! Eventually you will end up with a big group of kids chasing down just a few.
35. Stuck in the Mud: In this version of tag, children who have been tagged must stand still with their legs apart – like they’re stuck in the mud! They can become unstuck and re-joing the game when another free player scoots under their legs. The free player cannot be tagged while they are under a stuck player. Play until all players are stuck in the mud or until time is called and a new It can be chosen. Very large groups may wish to start each round with two or even three nominated to start as It.
36. Scarecrow Tag: The instructions for this classic tagging game that works well with larger groups can be found here – How to Play Scarecrow Tag.
37. Tails: Another fun tagging game, find the instructions for play here – How to Play Tails.
38. What’s the Time, Mr Wolf?: Children from preschool age up, love this classic game. Find instructions for play here – How to Play What’s the Time, Mr Wolf?
Birthday Party Games for Bigger Kids
39. Balloon Dare: Pre-prepare a collection of inflated balloons, each with a small piece of paper with a dare written on it. Players take turns to choose a balloon, pop it and complete the dare. Some dare suggestions: Sing “I’m a Little Teapot” with all the actions, bite into a lemon slice, peel a banana with your feet, do a crab walk across the room, cartwheel 3 times, try not to laugh for one whole minute (while everyone else tries to make you laugh), sing “Humpty Dumpty” with a mouth full of marshmallows, act out a scene from your favourite movie.
40. In or Out?: Divide party guests into teams of four or five. Each team will need a large hula hoop. All team members stand inside the hoop, holding the hoop at waist level without using their hands. On ‘Go’ the teams must work out how to all team members outside of the hoop without it touching the ground, and without using their hands. Should the hoop touch the ground, the team must start again from the starting position. First team to successfully complete the challenge are the winners.
41. Crab Soccer: For this game you’ll need a soccer sized ball and something to act as a goal at each end of the playing space. Divide players into two teams. Players assume the crab position 0n all fours with stomachs facing upwards. Spread players out across the playing area. Place a ball in the middle of playing area with a member of each team facing off against each other. Team members must stay in the crab position and work together to try to score a goal for their team – no hands allowed! Once a goal is scored the ball returns to the centre kick off position.
42. Bubblegum Bubble Blowing Competition: Give each participant a piece of your favourite bubblegum and award prizes for the biggest bubbles blown within a given time limit.
43. Human Tic Tac Toe: Draw a large Tic Tac Toe board on the pavement with chalk. Divide players into two teams. Each team will need three scarves, t-shirts or pieces of fabric of the same colour, with a different colour for each team (e.g. team one = yellow, team two = blue). Line teams up a short distance away from the Tic Tac Toe board. Give each of the first three players a scarf in their team’s colour. On ‘Go’ the first two players race to the board and choose a square in the grid to place their scarf into, they then race back to their team and tag the next player who runs to the board and drops their fabric into a square on the board. This continues with the third player. Subsequent players can run to the board and move one scarf in their team’s colour before returning to tag the next team member. As with regular Tic Tac Toe, the aim is to claim three squares in a row – horizontally, vertically or diagonally. First team to do so wins the round.
44. Wink Assassin: Everybody sits in a circle. One person is nominated to be It and moves away from the circle while everyone else decides who the ‘murderer’ will be. ‘It’ is called back to stand in the circle. The ‘murderer’ winks at one person in the circle at a time (trying to do it without ‘It’ seeing). When someone has been winked at, they pretend to die dramatically! ‘It’ has to try to deduce who the murderer is. Once they guess, the murderer becomes the next ‘It’ and the game starts over
45. Heads or Tails: Everyone stands up and put their hands on either their head or their backside. Flip a coin. If it lands on heads, everyone with their hands on their head is out. If it lands on tails, everyone with their hands on their backside is out. The remaining players again choose heads or tails. Play continues until one winner is left.
For even more birthday party games for bigger kids, check out our list of Classic Party Games for Tweens and Teens.