While these are classic, simple games, they almost make party planning for a pre-schooler too fun and simple!
Because these game ideas will help you save time, money and probably mental stress, they also ensure that your party goers will have lots of fun.
Duck, Duck, Goose
How to play the game: Children sit in a circle on the floor. Choose one child to be “it.” This person could be the birthday child or picked through another way you choose. The child is the “Goose.” Other children are the “Ducks.” Then the “Goose” walks around the circle, patting each child on the head and at the same time says “Duck.” At the “Goose’s” discretion, the child puts their hand on one of the children in the circle and says, says “Goose.” The “tagged child now becomes the “It.” Then the tagged child gets up and chases the Goose around the circle.
The “Goose” must run around the circle and sit in the empty spot of the child they tagged. If the “Goose” is successful, the new “It” becomes the new “Goose.” The process continues. If the first “Goose” gets tagged by the “it,” that child then sits in the center of the circle, and the game continues. As the activity continues, the circle gets smaller and smaller. The winner is the last person standing.
Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes:
How to play the game: Non-competitive. While the group of children sings the song, they point to the body parts as they are named.:
If the children are enjoying it, you can make it a bit more challenging by substituting other body parts: eyes, tummies,
Additional verses are sung by omitting the first word sung in the previous verse, and, instead, touching their body parts, without saying the word:
The children continue to play until there are no more words. Often the verses are sung faster and faster as words the game continues.
How to play: Create a list of songs that the children enjoy. Ask the children to dance and enjoy the music. When the music stops, the children must “freeze” or stop and “freeze” in that position, and must remain in that position until the music restarts. Start over—the kids love this as they see the goofy “freeze” poses.
Variation: Ask the children to freeze in specific themes: animals, stand on one leg, or designate a “look-out” to find the goofiest pose.
This game is a lot of fun, and everyone stays busy—toddlers also love this game.
Hide and Seek—a classic
How to play: One child covers his/her eyes and counts to a certain number (10, 20, etc.) When the number is reached, “It” starts looking for the other children. The last person found becomes the next “it.” And play starts over.
Variation: “It” uses a flashlight to “spot” the children they find.
For other variations check out Fun Hide and Seek Games for Parties and Play!
Hot Potato-another classic
How to play: Children sit on the floor in a circle. Turn on some music (use party theme music if possible). Ask them to pass around a bean-bag or softball as fast as they can, until the music stops. When the music stops, the child holding the ball or bean-bag (potato) leaves the circle. The last child in the circle – wins.
How to play: Ask children to stand in a circle or line. To begin playing the game, choose one person (an adult or party helper) to be “Simon,” and stand in front of the children. “Simon” calls out actions, saying, “Simon says, … touch your nose.” The children follow the example. If “Simon” says to do an action, they are to do it.
When “Simon,” says an action, without beginning with, “Simon says,” the children who complete that are “out.” “Simon’s” goal is to get as many people out as possible. “Simon” can complete an action without saying anything and if the players follow him, they are out. Play continues until there is one player left. That player becomes the new “Simon.”
How to play: Bubbles are always fun. Give each child Bubbles and a Bubble Wand to blow bubbles. See who can blow the biggest bubble, longest lasting bubble, or whatever category you create. Blowing bubbles is a fun activity itself.
Don’t Touch the Ground!
How to play: Designate a start line and a finish line. Give each child a blown-up balloon. An adult or game supervisor says, “GO” and the players must hit their balloon into the air as they walk to the finish line. If the balloon touches the ground, that child must start over at the “start” line. The first child to get to the finish line wins.
Variation: To make the game more difficult for older players, the players hop on either one or two feet, crab-walk, or bump the balloon to the finish line with their heads, etc.
How to play: Place several stuffed animals in a container such as a pillowcase or other container where children cannot see the contents. Have children close their eyes, while one child picks an animal from the container. Once the child identifies the animal, they return the animal to the container. Have the child act out the animal and the other children try to guess what the animal is. Whoever guesses correctly, gets to choose the next animal.
Blind Man’s Bluff (a variation of Tag and dates to ancient Greece and in Tudor England)
How to play: One player is designated as “It.” “It” is blindfolded and searches for other players with their arms stretched out attempting to touch the other players without being able to see them. The other players scatter to avoid the person who is “It.” When a player is tagged they are out of the game. The last player tagged is the new “Blind Man.”
Play Blind Man’s Bluff in an area free of dangerous obstructions. This avoids having the “It” player injure gameplayers from tripping over or hitting something.
These tried and true children’s games are classics because they continue to provide lots of fun with little preparation, supplies, and effort.
Keeping it Simple!!!!!