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The 23 Best Party Games for Kids

Looking for a list of the best party games for kids of all ages? Read our comprehensive suggestions here to get the party started!

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Kids of all ages enjoy birthday party games; you just need to consider the age groups you’re entertaining to pick the best party games for kids at your event. From toddlers to teenagers, we’ve compiled a list of the best party games for kids to help you plan your next event. Pair these with good food, drinks, and definitely dessert, and you’ll be able to throw together a memorable day. 

Make family fun a priority!

Quality time with the family should always be a priority. Whether you’re planning a birthday party or just looking to pencil in some fun with the fam, let Adventures from Scratch: Family Edition help you connect with your family. The book has dozens of unique activities the whole family will love. Each item has a few small symbols that help you narrow down the options to fit your situation best, then invite the kids to scratch off the activity and reveal the surprise. This is a great gift for anyone in your family, and you’ll all enjoy the fun together.

The Eight Best Party Games for Younger Children

Fun party games for preschool-aged kids involve simple rules and fun surprises to keep them engaged. They typically have shorter attention spans, so you want to keep things fun and fast-moving. These are a few classic options to help you start planning.

1. Treasure Hunt 

An easy outdoor or indoor party game is a treasure hunt. Make a stack of printable maps (there are great DIY options online.) Challenge the kids to solve clues and search for hidden treasures. Hide small prizes throughout the hunt, or have them find one large treasure at the end. This is a great activity to do in teams as well. 

2. Sack Races

Sack races are a popular activity at field days, so many kids have had to chance to participate in these before. You need some burlap sacks (or very old pillowcases you don’t mind getting damaged.) Pair kids up into teams. The first player gets into the sack and jumps from the starting line down to the far end of the track. They switch with their teammate who hops back. The first team to cross the finish line wins. Depending on the number of sacks, you can host a tournament style where the winning team moves on. This may sound like a simple game, but hopping in a sack can be a challenge and wear everyone out. 

3. Pinata

It’s easy to find a pinata to go along with almost any themed party. Party stores carry a huge variety of characters and items. Once you find the right one, you can use the pre-cut flap to fill it with candy or party favors. Then you string it up outside. Kids take turns hitting it with a bat and trying to break it open. With older kids, you can make it more challenging by making them wear a blindfold. 

4. Musical Chairs

There are plenty of ways to play musical chairs or variations of a game that require everyone to do something when the music stops. Classic musical chairs are played by walking around a circle with one less chair than the number of people playing. When the music stops, you must sit down and the last person left without a chair is out. 

Hot Potato and Pass the Parcel are similar games, but instead of trying to sit down, you are trying to pass the item that’s going around so you aren’t the one holding it when the music stops. The last person to touch it is out. This version takes a little less space and can be done while sitting down if you want. 

5. Simon Says

One of the most simple games for a party filled with young children is Simon Says. It’s a great way to get the attention of the whole group. An adult (or a child) calls out different actions and movements after saying, “Simon says.” After a while, say something without those two words in front of it and see who does it. Those people will be out. You only do something if Simon says to do it. 

6. Duck, Duck, Goose

Duck, Duck, Goose (or Duck, Duck, Grey Duck as it’s known in Minnesota) involves everyone sitting in a circle. One person will start and move around the outside, touching each person’s head and calling them “duck.” At some point, they will select someone and call them a goose. That person stands up and chases the other person around the circle. If the first player gets to the tagged player’s spot and sits down, the game continues with someone new. It’s a fun way to get up and move around a little bit and the rules are simple enough for younger children to understand. 

7. Hide and Seek

Hide and Seek is a classic party game that can be played anywhere. Choose one player to be “it” and they close their eyes and count down giving the rest of the players a chance to hide. Once they are starting to seek, they yell, “Ready or not, here I come.” One by one, they work to locate all the players hiding. 

Another version of this game is called Sardines. This is the reverse game where only one person hides and everyone else splits up to find them. Once you find them, you join them in their hiding space. Each person packs in, like a can of sardines, until there’s only one person remaining. This is a fun way to switch it up a bit.

8. Pin the Tail on the Donkey

This classic party game for kids is still popular because it’s fun, easy, and fits into any theme you have for your party. While a donkey is the original animal that goes on the wall, you can use your child’s favorite character instead. Pick a significant characteristic for that character, like the tail on the donkey or the nose of a clown, and find stickers or cutouts with tape. Blindfold each child and spin them around a few times before challenging them to place the sticker on the poster in the right spot. Give the person with the closest guess a prize. 

The Six Best Party Games for Elementary-Aged Children

Party games for kids in elementary school might involve a little more reading or coordination as they develop. 

9. Water Balloon Toss

Summer parties are the perfect situation for water balloons. You can incorporate them into your party in many ways, but if you want a structured game, try Water Balloon Pop. You give everyone a few water balloons in this game and partner them up. Start just a few feet apart and challenge them to toss their balloons to their partner without popping them. After a few rounds, tell everyone to take a few steps back. Once a team pops a balloon, they’ll end up cooling off from the water, but they will also be out. The last team standing wins the game. 

10. Scavenger Hunt 

Some pre-organized scavenger hunts are available if you want to take the party on the road. Let’s Roam creates scavenger hunts for parties that will bring your group to fun attractions and through some wacky challenges. You can also put together a customized scavenger hunt in your yard or neighborhood if you are hosting the party at your home. Use a printable checklist with all the items you want the kids to find and set them loose. Put together some simple prizes for the kids who finish finding everything on the list first.

11. Obstacle Course

Obstacle courses can be made using anything you have in your playroom or garage. The idea is to create a course with some physical or mental challenges where kids can race and see how quickly they can work through the course. Items like hula hoops, batons, balls, slides, tables, and chairs can be set up with unique challenges for each one. If you’re having a themed birthday party, you can also incorporate that into the obstacle course. 

12. Tug of War

The most challenging part of this game is finding a rope that will work for the group of children you have. But if you’re lucky enough to have something strong, split up the kids into two teams. Try to keep it as fair as possible. Lay the rope out with a clearly marked center line. Have each team grab an end of the rope and start tugging. The winning team will be the ones that pull the other team over the center line. 

13. Egg and Spoon Race

Popular in many field days, the egg and spoon race is fun and simple to set up. You need a carton of eggs and a collection of spoons. Designate a starting line and a finish line. Give each child a spoon and an egg to balance on the spoon. They must race from the starting line to the finish line without dropping the egg. The first child to cross the finish line is the winner. 

Make this game even more challenging by telling them they have to carry the spoon in their mouth or turn it into a relay race where they have to successfully pass off the egg to another child using only their spoons. It requires balance and careful movements. 

14. Red Rover

A great game if you’ve got a rambunctious group of kids is Red Rover. Split the kids into two evenly numbered teams. Have them line up facing each other with some space in between. Teams should hold hands and stand in a straight line. Whichever team goes first will shout, “Red Rover, Red Rover, send (insert kid’s name here) right over.” The children who were called out had to run towards the other team and attempt to break the handhold of two of the teammates with their bodies. If they are successful, they take one of the teammates back to their team. If they fail, they have to join the opposing team. The game continues until one team completely absorbs the other. There’s the potential for injuries playing this game, especially if the kids are of all different ages, sizes, and strength levels, so be careful.

The Nine Best Party Games for Kids in Middle School and Teenagers

Older kids can handle more complicated games, so while the previous games would work fine for middle school and high school kids, they might want a bit more of a challenge. This next list includes some great party games for kids and adults that everyone will have some laughs and enjoy. 

15. Charades

Charades is a classic party game where teams take turns acting out clues without using any sounds to get their team to guess. Ask each person to throw an idea or two in a bowl and then mix it all up. Set a timer and let a performer see how many they can get the group to guess in their timeframe. This game can be a quick or lengthy game and fits groups of all sizes, so it’s a perfect party game. 

16. Minute to Win It Games

Minute to Win It was an American game show on TV back in 2010. While it was only mildly popular on the air, it has inspired a selection of party games. Choose from the list of challenges (as many as you want), set up a timer and the supplies for each one, and see how many people can complete these challenges in 60 seconds. Use these ideas to get started or create your own games.

  • Work to move an Oreo from your forehead into your mouth without touching it with your hands.
  • Take a bowl of M&Ms and see how many you can move to an empty bowl using a straw and sucking in the air to pick them up.
  • Defy gravity by working to keep the balloons up in the air for a full minute. This game is extremely difficult outside if any breeze or wind is blowing.
  • Using just two chopsticks, challenge them to stack items on top of each other and see who can make the tallest tower.
  • Using an uncooked spaghetti noodle, work to pick up six penne noodles without using your hands and only using the uncooked noodle. 

17. Limbo

If you are entertaining a party of tweens who feel like they are too cool for everything, try a round of limbo and see if that can help lighten things up a bit and get everyone moving. Turn on some fun and upbeat music. Grab any kind of stick and have two people hold it up at shoulder height. One by one, everyone should try and dance or shimmy under the stick without touching it. Each round, lower the bar a little bit at a time. Once someone falls over or touches the bar, they are out. Play until just one person is standing and they are the winner. It’s a fun party game that requires very few supplies and is super easy to learn.

18. Capture the Flag

Capture the Flag is a classic game that is often played at summer camps. Bring it home to your party as long as you have a good amount of space outside. Divide the group into two teams and rope off the parameter of the game with a center line down the middle. Each team will have a side with a flag that they need to protect. At the same time, they are protecting their flag and trying to capture the other team’s flag. When running across the center line, you can be tagged by the other team, and then you have to go to jail. The only way out of “jail” is for one of your teammates to break you out by tagging you. 

One team wins when they are able to successfully grab the other team’s flag and get back to their own side of the line without being tagged or captured. This is perfect for those outside parties with space to run around and play with a larger area with hiding places and some ways to sneak around a bit. 

19. Telestrations

If you want fun indoor games for your party, consider picking up Telestrations. It mixed Pictionary with the game of Telephone in a clever way. Each person starts with a small booklet and a clue. They write their clue on the first page and then flip the book over to draw that clue. Once the timer dings, pass the booklet to the next person, and they have to guess what the drawing is and write their answer down on the next page. In the next round, the person takes that guess and draws it. 

Each round is only able to see the written answer or drawing of the person next to them. Once the booklet gets back to its original person, it’s time to check and see if the message is consistent around the table. If the final response matches the original, it’s worth a point. You’ll likely remember the ones that don’t match because sometimes the interpretations can be hilarious.

20. Celebrity

Celebrity is a great party game for kids if you’re looking for a fun game that takes charades to a new level. Each game is completely different because you rely on the people playing to submit the clues that will be guessed throughout the game so they can change it up each round. 

Split the group into two teams with equal numbers and then sit in a circle, alternating teams with each person so you’re sitting next to opposite team players. Each person gets a few pieces of paper and a pen to write down the ideas that they want to add to gameplay. Usually, the submissions are celebrities, but you can set whatever guidelines you want. Use movie characters, cartoons, or other items in popular culture that most of the group will be familiar with. Add all the submissions to a bowl and mix them up. 

There are three rounds of gameplay. In the first round, players get one minute to get their teams to accurately guess the clue on the paper by describing it in any way they want. The only rule is that they can’t say any words written on the paper. Once a minute is up, pass the bowl to the person sitting next to you on the other team. Continue passing around until all the clues have been guessed.

The second round uses the same clues, but players can only use one word to describe the clue on the card. It requires using memory a little since everyone has already heard these clues once before. Once all the clues have been guessed and scores have been recorded, the third round is the same except in a charades method—no words, only actions. The winning team guessed the most amount of clues accurately in the three rounds. Play again using new clues if you want. 

21. Beanbags

Beanbags is one of the most popular outdoor party games, it’s also commonly known as corn hole. It’s a simple game to learn. You need two boards with a hole in their center to set up. Many Etsy shops offer custom-made boards, or you can follow this DIY tutorial to make your own. Set them up about 30 feet apart. Divide into two teams of two and stand opposite your teammate. You take turns tossing your team’s color bags to the opposite board to try and land them in the hole. The scoring is one point for each bag on the board and three points for each bag that goes through the hole. The game goes on until one team receives 21 points. 

22. Giant Jenga

Jenga is a classic party game, but it’s even more fun when it’s the giant version. It’s perfect for an outdoor patio area. You can make your own or order one from another creator. You just need 54 blocks of wood that are the same size. Stack them in a tower and challenge the players to pull one plank from the tower and reset it on top. Game play continues until the entire tower collapses, and that person loses. The game gets loud and suspenseful, which makes it even more exciting. Plus, there’s no limit to how many people can play, especially with the large version, so pile in all your friends around the tower and see who is the unlucky loser.

23. Junk in the Trunk

If you want a game that will have you laughing nonstop, incorporate Junk in the Trunk into your party itinerary. All you need are two empty Kleenex boxes, a collection of ping pong balls, and two belts. Ahead of time, you’ll fasten the empty Kleenex boxes to belts using tape or by cutting slots in the box and looping the belt through the box. 

When you’re ready to play the game, fasten the belts on two competitors and spin the Kleenex boxes to their lower back. Fill the box with the same number of ping pong balls and then yell, “Start.” The two players have to shake their bodies and move in any way they can to get the ping pong balls out of the Kleenex box attached to them, but they cannot use their hands. What you’ll get is two kids doing some hilarious dance moves. Whoever is able to clear the ping pong balls from their box first is the winner. 

Final Thoughts on the Best Party Games for Kids

These party games are a lot of fun, and you can’t go wrong with adding a few planned activities to any kids’ party. Games like these can help bust through any shyness and help everyone get to know each other. Try a few of these games out at your next party, and you might even be ready to plan an adult gathering to test them out on your friends. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Where are the best places to get supplies for kids’ parties?

Shop for supplies and the best party games for kids at your local toy stores, like Target, Walmart, or small game stores. You can also find great options online on Amazon or other major retailers, plus virtual downloads on Etsy.

What are the best kids’ party games for preschoolers?

The best party games for kids under the age of five are games that allow them to use up some energy. Scavenger hunts, musical chairs, and pinatas are really fun for younger kids because they are simple but great.  

What are fun ways to spend more time together as a family?

Spending family time together is important. Try some new things with the Adventures from Scratch book, which features dozens of activities that will allow you to try new things together. From game nights to adventures, it offers a good variety. 

Which party games are best for teenagers?

The best party games for kids in their teenage years are the ones that will make them laugh and encourage participation. Charades and Telestrations allow them to flex their creative muscles, and Capture the Flag or Limbo will get them up and moving around. 

How can I easily entertain kids at a birthday party?

The best party games for kids include treasure hunts, pin the tail on the donkey, and musical chairs. These classic games have hundreds of variations to make them fit into any party theme.

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