Party Games for Younger Children


Below are some tried and true party games that young children have loved to play for generations.  Remember, you can change the name of a game to fit your event theme.

Keep in mind that younger children are just learning to play games, and haven’t had a lot of experience at winning and losing.   While playing a sport is a great way to learn these valuable lessons, a birthday party or special event is not the day to try and teach them.

If you want to give out prizes, make sure you have enough prizes for every player to win something.  You don’t have to spend a lot of money, inexpensive items like stickers, small toys, individual-sized candy or home baked and individually-wrapped goodies all make great prizes 😊

Lastly, never try to force a child to play a game.  Have a coloring activity or play area set up for children that don’t want to play.  Again, the object is for all of your guests to have fun.  And not all children like to play games.  They may join in after a few rounds of watching.

Pin the Tail on the Donkey

You will need:

*Picture of a donkey without a tail

*Paper tail for each child with their name written on it

*Tape (no pins needed)


Before the party:

*Tape the donkey picture to a wall and place the rest of your supplies nearby

*Place a piece of tape at your designated starting point

  1. At game time, have the children line up behind the starting point.
  2. Place a piece of tape on the top of the tail with the name of the first person in line.  Give them the tape side of their tail and tell them they will have to tape the tail as close to the back-end of the donkey as possible.  Point out where they want to aim for on the picture.
  3. Blindfold this first person and slowly turn him or her 3 times.
  4. On the final turn, point them towards the donkey and say “go!”
  5. Once the first player is done, take off the blindfold and let them see where their tail ended up!
  6. Repeat with each child.
  7. The tail closest to the target wins!

GAME ALTERNATES:  This game can be used for any theme.  Just use a picture of an animal, person or object related to your theme, and leave out some part of it to use as the marker piece.  For example, “Stick the Nose on the Clown” or “Place the Crown on the Princess”.

Catch That Balloon!

You will need:

*A balloon

  1. Have the children gather around you in a circle.
  2. Toss the balloon into the air and call one child’s name.
  3. That child tries to catch the balloon before it touches the ground.
  4. If the child succeeds, he or she gets to toss the balloon and call the next name.

important Safety Tip: Always remember to pick up every piece of balloon as they pop.  Do not wait, this is an extreme choking hazard for extra little children.

Feed the Monster

You will need:

*A monster poster (or any party theme related poster)

*Large Poster Board

*Glue or tape

*A blade or knife to cut through poster board/cardboard

*3 items to simulate Food for the Monster.   They can be Beanbags, cloth balls or any theme related, small object.  Small children have great imaginations, just tell them it’s food for the monster and they’ll go along with it

*Small prizes

Before the party:

*Glue or tape the monster poster to the poster board.

*Carefully cut out the mouth, or something on your poster the children can aim for that is large enough for their “food” to go through without too much effort

*Lean the monster poster against a wall or the back of a chair.

When you’re ready to play the game:

  1. Have the children line up and one at a time, take a turn tossing three items of “food” into the monster’s mouth.
  2. After each child’s turn retrieve the “food” and hand it to the next child.
  3. Every time a child “feeds” the monster, he gets a prize, for example put a sticker on his shirt.

Draw-A-Face Relay

You will need:

*One large sheet of paper per team

*One large piece 36″ x 48″ poster board per team

*One markers or crayon per team

*Masking tape

Before the party:

*Draw an oval for a face on each of the large sheets of paper.

*Tape the face paper to a large piece of poster board and tape it to a wall  with a large area in front of it so the players can run from a distance to the poster board and back to their starting point.  If you’re playing indoors, you may need to move some furniture around.

*Place a marker or crayon under each one poster board

When you’re ready to play the game:

  1. Have the children split into equal teams of 5, if you have enough players.  If not, split them up into an equal amount of players one team per poster board on the wall (so if you have 4 poster boards on the wall you split the group into 4 equal teams.) Have each team stand in line across the room from the papers.
  2. On the word “Go”, the first child on each team must walk to a paper and draw the eyes on the face.
  3. When she is finished, she walks back to her team.
  4. The next child walks to the paper and draws a nose.
  5. Team members continue walking and drawing the mouth, ears, and hair.
  6. The first team to have eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and hair wins.
  7. If you have more than 5 players on a team, just add something that one group has to go draw on the face, maybe a bow in the hair?  You decide!


You will need:

*A long pole, mop, or broomstick

*Tape player or radio (Caribbean music, if possible)

  1. Have two adults or teens hold the pole at child height.
  2. Start the music. Children must walk under the pole without touching it.
  3. After each round, the adults lower the pole an inch or two.
  4. When the pole gets very low, children may bend backward and shimmy under, or they may crawl.
  5. If a player touches the pole, they are out.
  6. The last person standing wins!

Do the Conga!  

You will need:

*A music playing device  – any song that gets the kids hopping and having fun will work

  1. Have everyone forms a line and place their hands on the hips of the person in front of them.
  2. Start the music, and lead the way shuffling around the room conga style.  The common Conga dance move is a Triple Step, take two quick steps and one slow, then a low kick “quick-quick-slow-kick, quick-quick-slow-kick”
  3. If the kids know the song they can sing along, and follow the leader to wherever they take them.
  4. Switch leaders and start again

Musical Chairs

You will need:

*Straight chairs (one less than the number of children)

*Music player that can be stopped and started

  1. Set up chairs in a circle, with the chairs facing with the backs on the inside of the circle.
  2. When the music starts, the children walk around the chairs in a circle.
  3. When the music stops, the children sit down. One child will be left standing.
  4. Start the music and the game again – with everybody playing!

For older children:  Take away one chair after each round.  The players who are out move to the side.  The child who gets the last chair is the winner!

Follow the Leader

  1. At game time choose a leader.  If this is a birthday party, the child gets to be the leader. Everyone forms a line behind the leader.
  2. The children follow the leader and imitate their moves such as marching, hopping, skipping…etc.
  3. When the adult signals (by ringing a bell or calling out “Switch!”), the leader goes to the end of the line, and the next child becomes the leader.
  4. Repeat until everyone has had a turn to be the leader.

Simon Says

  1. Children stand in a group facing the leader.
  2. The leader says, “Simon says, ‘Do this’” as he taps her head, claps her hands, turns around, etc.
  3. The children must follow the leader’s actions, but only if she begins with “Simon says…”
  4. If the leader just says “Do this,” the children must do nothing.

For older children:  If a child makes a mistake, he is out.  The last child “in” is the winner.

Mother May I?

In this game have an adult or teen be “Mother”.  Mother will stand a good distance away from the players and give a command to one player at a time, telling them how many “steps” they are allowed to take towards her. After the command the player must say “Mother May I?”.  If they forget, they lose their turn.  The first player to reach Mother wins the game.

Before the game begins, describe the different types of steps to the players:

  • Baby Step or Fairy Step – the player takes a tiny step by planting their left foot in their current place, then placing the heel of their right foot to the toe of their left foot.  Their right foot is now their new location.
  • Small Steps – the player takes one regular-sized step forward
  • Giant Step – the player takes one giant step as far forward as they can
  • Banana Slip Step – the player slides forward on one foot as far as they can without falling, and stands where they reach
  • Hop – the player stands with both feet together and hops as far as they can, where there back foot lands is their new location
  1. Have the children stand in a row at one end of a large play area, outdoors preferred.
  2. “Mother” stands at the other end of the play area with her back to the players.  “Mother” then calls a player’s name and tells them to take a certain type, and number, of steps
  3. The player called must respond, “Mother may I?”, before moving forward.  If the player forgets to say “Mother may I?”, and takes the commanded steps forward, their turn is over and they must return to the starting point.
  4. If the player answers “Mother may I?” before moving forward, “Mother” then has the choice of letting them take the commanded steps by saying, “Yes, you may”.  The player then takes the steps forward the commanded amount of steps.
  5. But, “Mother” may choose to say, “No, you may not”,  the player must then stay put, or “No, you may not, but you may take two giant steps (for example)”
  6. The first child to reach the Mother wins, and the game starts over!


You will need:

*Paper badges with the numerals 1 and 2

*Tape to stick badges on children’s shirts

  1. Have the children sit on the floor in a circle.  Tell them they are each going to pretend to be a jack-in-the-box.
  2. Go around the circle and tape a #1 badge on the first children, a #2 badge on the second child and continue to tape a #1 then #2, #1 then #2, until each child has a number.  Tell them they need to remember their number.
  3. Have a leader (adult or teen) stand in middle of the circle.
  4. The leader will then clap either once or twice.
  5. When the leader claps once, all of the 1’s must jump up.
  6. When the leader claps twice, all of the 2’s jump up.
  7. When the leader claps three times, all the children jump up.
  8. Whoever jumps up on the wrong number has to stand on one leg and hop in place while turning around before sitting down again.

Peanut Hunt

You will need:

*Peanuts (in their shells)

*Paper bags

Before the party:

***MAKE SURE NONE OF YOUR LITTLE GUESTS HAS A PEANUT ALLERGY!***  if even one child has a peanut allergy, DO NOT play this game at your event/party

*Hide peanuts all around the room.

  1. At game time give each child a bag.
  2. Explain to the kids that the object of this game is to find the most peanuts!
  3. Then give the signal , “Ready, Set…..Go!”
  4. On Go! the children run to find as many peanuts as they can.
  5. When there are no more to be found, have them lay out their peanuts and count how many they’ve found.  The highest count wins!

Pass the Package

This is a fun game where everyone is a winner!   And it’s easy to play.  Have the kids sit in a circle, start up some fun music, and pass around a package.  The package is wrapped in layers with a prize in every layer!    When the music stops the person holding the package unwraps one layer of wrapping to claim their prize.  They then sit out the next round and the music starts again.  Keep playing until every player wins a prize.

You will need:

*Small theme related toys and/or candies

*Gift wrap



*Music player with some fun music to play

Before the party:

*Wrap one of the theme related toys or candies.  Do not use it a box, just wrap the one item with wrapping paper and tape sealed.   Don’t over-tape, because you want the kids to be able to easily remove only one layer at a time.  Then take another toy or trinket, place it on top of the wrapped package, and wrap with another layer of wrapping paper, tape closed.  Continue to wrap one layer at a time, with one toy or candy item in each layer.  Make sure you have one layer for every player.  It’s always a good idea to add a few extra layers in case you get any last minute players.

  1. Have the players sit in a circle.  Start the music and have them pass the package around the circle until you stop the music.
  2. Stop the music. The player that is holding the package gets to unwraps one layer and keep the prize they unwrap.  Then they are out of the game, but get to cheer on the other players as the game continues.
  3. Start and stop the music until each of the players wins a prize!


  1. Have the children sit in a circle.
  2. Have an adult whisper a phrase or sentence into one child’s ear.
  3. That child then turns to the person on their right, and whispers what he or she heard into the next child’s ear.
  4. That child whispers what was heard to the child to their right…and so on until the last child says out loud what he or she hears.
  5. The adult confirms what was originally said, and it is usually quite different from how it ended up!

Ha! Ha! Ha!

  1. At game time, have everyone sit in a circle.  Tell the players the object of the game is to keep a straight face.
  2. Start with one child saying, “Ha!”
  3. The next child adds a second “Ha!” saying, “Ha! Ha!”
  4. The third child adds another “Ha!” saying, “Ha! Ha! Ha!”… and so on.
  5. When someone laughs, the game starts over again.

Duck, Duck, Goose!

  1. Have the children sit in a circle. One child is “It” and walks around the outside of the circle.
  2. “It” taps each child lightly on the head and says, “Duck…“ each time they touch the next person’s head
  3. At any time, “It” may tap a child and call out “Goose” instead of “Duck”. The “Goose” jumps up and chases “It” around the circle.
  4. “Goose” must try to tag “It” before “It” sits in “Goose’s” empty place. If “It” is tagged, he or she is “It” again.  If “It” is not tagged, then “Goose” becomes “It”.

Red Light, Green Light

This game is fun for 4 or more players.

  1. Have the children stand in a row at one end of a large play area, outdoors preferred.
  2. Have an adult or teen act as the “Traffic Light” and stand on the opposite end of the play area with their back to the players.
  3. The “Traffic Light” then calls out “Green Light!” and everyone moves towards the “Traffic Light”.
  4. The “Traffic Light” then calls out “Red Light!” and spins around.  If anyone is seen by the “Traffic Light” still moving they must go back to the starting point.
  5. The first player to reach the “Traffic Light” is the winner!  And the game starts again.