Party games for kids: Child playing in inflatable tent

One of the most fun things about party planning is deciding which games and activities to include. Whether you’re hosting a small get-together at home or putting on a neighborhood celebration, the right games can transform the atmosphere. This is especially true when your guest list includes lots of little ones. Make your youngest guests feel right at home and take your event to the next level with these fun party games for kids. Expect classic games but with a new twist, and plenty of ideas on how to style these games around your party. There’s something for children of all ages — and plenty for those who are “kids at heart.”

1. Treasure Hunt

Party games for kids: Treasure Hunt

Design: Shiny Penny Studio

There’s nothing more exciting than a treasure hunt for kids. Set your clues, hide the prize, and watch as youngsters guess their way towards its location. Whether you go for the traditional hidden treasure and pirates theme or create something unique, it’s a great way to get everyone involved.

First, decide on a theme. There’s lots of space here to let your imagination run wild. Lead your adventurers on a quest to find a dragon’s hidden gold, or send them on a journey to uncover a mysterious magic box. What’s great about treasure hunts is that they’re easy to tailor to your party guests’ ages, abilities, and interests. Plus, you can start the game early by hiding your first clue within your digital invitations.

2. Duck Duck Goose

Duck duck goose is one of the most-loved birthday party games for kids. Ask your little guests to sit in a circle facing inwards, then assign one of them to be “it.” They then run around and call each guest they pass a “duck” until one is a “goose.” The goose then chases the person who is “it” as they try to take their place in the circle. The process then repeats until the fun stops.

This is a fun game for younger kids, but it’s also one that adults can join. For a more creative twist, customize it and swap “duck” and “goose” for words that fit your party theme — like “knight” and “dragon”, or “fairy” and “unicorn.”

3. Pin the Tail on the Donkey (With a Twist)

This is one kids’ party game that isn’t going away anytime soon. Pin the tail on the donkey is a party classic that’s both simple and challenging at the same time. Break from tradition and transform the traditional donkey into a unicorn and ask guests to pin the horn. Or, you can pin the tail on the lion for a safari-themed birthday bash. Either way, you can’t go wrong with this familiar favorite.

4. Musical Chairs

Party games for kids: Musical Chairs

Design: LNZart

We bet this is one of those party games you remember from childhood. Encourage your younger guests to dance away, then challenge them to find a seat when the music stops — if they don’t, it’s game over. Remove chairs as the rounds go by, so there’s always one fewer chair than dancers. The last person left is the winner.

Musical chairs is a fun way to get your guests moving and expend some energy. It’s a great game to play while you’re waiting for food to be ready or before you all wind down for cake time. Add a disco ball, gold fringe curtains, and plenty of showstopping tunes for the perfect musical game.

5. Pass the Parcel

Before the party starts, find a small gift and wrap it in layers of paper, with pieces of candy hidden in the layers between. Gather your party guests and ask them to sit in one big circle. Starting with one person, pass the parcel around the circle until the music stops. Whoever is holding the parcel at that moment gets to unwrap a layer and keep the candy. Keep passing the parcel until there are no more layers left, and the winner ends up with a prize to keep.

For a more eco-friendly take on this classic game, swap the paper layers with reusable fabric instead. Guests can then enjoy the sweet treat and take home the fabric that they can use as a cape for a small toy figurine or a flag for a castle.

6. Simon Says

Simon Says is the ultimate copycat party game for kids. Assign one person to be “Simon.” They’ll then give instructions that the others should follow — but only if they follow the words “Simon says.” Fun instructions include “touch your toes,” laugh,” and “dance on the spot.”

Have some fun with this and use it as an easy way to get your youngest guests moving and enjoying themselves. Call “game over” for anyone who does the wrong action and keep going until you have one person left.

7. Tug of War

If you have enough space indoors or you’re throwing an outdoor party, this is a great way to get your party guests laughing and engaging in a little competitive fun.

Make the tug of war easy for a younger crowd, or ramp up the difficulty for older kids. You could even invite grown-ups to join in, or make it a family versus family team game. Keep it simple or theme your tug of war to match your party decor by dyeing the rope or asking your guests to wear funny hats. Don’t be afraid of a pun or two either — who doesn’t love a “tug of rawr” for a dino-themed party?

8. Ring Toss

Ring Toss Invitation

Design: Mint Parcel

Get everyone lined up to play a few rounds of ring toss in this easy outdoor party game for kids. Challenge your guests to throw hoops onto stakes to win points. At the end of the game, the player or team with the most points wins.

Ring toss is one of those games that is super easy to fit into your party theme. Swap the usual stakes for flamingos, or style them up as mountains, swords, or the masts of a boat.

9. Egg and Spoon Race

Bring back a classic party game with a sweet and simple egg and spoon race. Gather a crowd and ask your guests to team up or go it solo to see who can make it to the finish line with their egg intact.

If you’re worried about a mess, swap real eggs for plastic or playdough versions. Amp up the fun factor by making the eggs and spoons comically large, or swap the egg for something that’s tied to your party theme. Reimagine this with a pretend diamond for a princess party, or a wheel for a car-themed celebration. If the birthday kid is a Lego fan, combine this with a mini engineering challenge to see who can build the best spoon from building blocks.

10. Musical Statues

This one’s great for all those kids who love to get up and dance. Fill the dancefloor and challenge your party guests to a game of musical statues. Play some music and ask your guests to freeze when the music stops. Anyone left dancing (or giggling!) is out of the game. Keep going until there’s only one person left standing.

Musical statues is one of those effortless games that will always have a home at kids’ parties. It’s easy to set up, so you can make it work with only the most basic of equipment. All you need is a music player and space for people to dance.

11. Piñata

Colorful Piñata Invitation

Design: Becky Nimoy Stationery

Find another use for your blindfold with a spirited game of piñata. Line up your party guests and watch as they take it in turns to hit the piñata, hoping to break it and claim the candy that falls down.

This is a party activity that’s fun for any age, so it works for young kids, big kids, and the young at heart. (Just make sure you have adult supervision at all times.) Find or make a piñata that matches your party theme perfectly, and fill it with candy or small treats that everyone can enjoy.

12. Hot Potato

Break out your music player and treat your party guests to a game of hot potato. For this game, you’ll need a beanbag or small throwable toy, which guests will throw or pass between themselves while the music plays. When it stops, the person left holding the “hot potato” is eliminated. Keep the game going until there’s one winner left.

While potatoes are a little heavy to throw, there’s nothing stopping you from giving it a fresh twist. For summer parties, swap the beanbag or ball for a water balloon and add an extra layer of fun to the mix. This is an activity that works best in a circle, so consider pairing it with a game of pass the parcel or duck duck goose while your guests are seated.

13. Three-Legged Race

Recreate the field day experience by bringing the three-legged race to your next outdoor get-together. This is a lot of fun for guests of all ages, so don’t feel like you have to limit it to kids only.

Pair up your party guests and use a rope or material to bind two of their legs together. The first pair over the finish line is crowned the winner. It’s tricky to run while you’re stuck to another person, so younger kids might find this challenging. Keep up the encouragement with a lively and supportive crowd, and a fun prize for the winning team.

14. Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger Hunt Invitation

Design: Paper Raven Co.

Engage all your party guests with a fun, themed scavenger hunt. Create a checklist of items guests need to find (or locations to visit) before collecting a prize.

Scavenger hunts make for great party games for kids because they’re so versatile. Challenge your guests to find acorns, flowers, and garlands at a fairy-themed kids birthday party. Hide toy animals around your backyard and get your guests to round them up for a zoo- or safari-themed celebration. For neighborhood BBQs and get-togethers, you can even ask friends and families to group together and explore the wider area as they search for clues.

15. Obstacle Course

Last but not least, we’re rounding out this list with one of the most exciting party games for kids. If you have plenty of space, an obstacle course is a surefire way to bring out the smiles.

Hire in an obstacle course from an events supplier, or get creative and make a DIY version. Mix hurdles with water challenges, and add in plenty of balloons and inflatables to make the course even more fun. There’s a lot of room here to create something memorable for your guests, and you can even reuse your homemade obstacles for future parties.

Party Games for Kids That Everyone Can Enjoy

The best birthday parties are full of fun and laughter, and games play a big role in making sure everyone has a good time. Create the kind of party you and your guests will love — whether it’s an outdoor fiesta with a piñata and obstacle course or a relaxed garden party with a magical treasure hunt. With these fun party games, you can’t go wrong. For more inspiration, don’t miss this list of creative birthday party ideas that will wow your guests at any age.