It’s simple to answer “yes” when you are asked, “Can I have a party?” but much more challenging to keep a group of overexcited, rambunctious kids happy and entertained for a few hours.
Fear not. The team here at Mom Loves Best has got together to compile a list of 48 classic party games for kids of all ages, interests, and temperaments.
We’ve got indoor and outdoor games, competitive and cooperative games, and games for every age group, from toddlers to tweens. Trust us — you’ll find something here to make your party memorable — in a good way, of course.
Classic Indoor Party Games for Kids
These games will keep the kids engaged when partying inside.
Follow My Leader
Choose one person to be the leader. The leader moves around, making different gestures and movements while other players copy. If somebody makes the wrong gesture, refuses to follow, or is simply lagging too far behind, they are out.
The last person out gets to be the next leader.
Hunt the Thimble
An adult shows the players a small item before going into another room to hide it.
The kids have to find the object, and the person who does wins a small prize. If everyone enjoys this game, the finder can become the hider, and you can go for several rounds.
One person hides while the other players count to 50. The players then split up to try to find the hider. When a player finds the hider, they don’t shout out to anyone else. Instead, they must quietly get into the hiding place with the hider.
The funniest part of this game is everyone attempting to squeeze into the same hiding spot and trying their hardest not to giggle and give the hiding place away.
Set out one fewer chair than there are players. Turn on some music, and have the players dance around the outside of the chairs. Stop the music suddenly, and when the music goes off, players must each sit on a chair. The person left standing is out.
Remove a chair and begin again. The person on the last chair wins.
Have the person in charge of the music stand with their back to the chairs. That way, the players won’t notice their movements before they turn off the music and gain an advantage over other players.
Players sit in a circle with one person holding a ball — the “potato.” Play some music and have the players pass the ball to the person on their right as quickly as possible. If a player drops the ball or is the person holding the ball when the music stops, they’re out.
You can also have an adult judge watching the players, and if anyone holds on to the ball for too long, they are out.
Take several small pieces of paper and write the title of a different book, song, movie, TV show, animal, character, etc., on each. Fold the pieces, and put them in a bowl.
One player takes a piece of paper and acts out what is written on it while the other players try to guess what is on their paper. The person who’s “it” cannot speak or make sounds as they act. The first person to guess correctly wins a prize and/or becomes “it.”
Pass the parcel
Wrap a small party prize in some paper. Add additional layers, one by one, until you have a larger gift. You can hide a small gift or a candy between each layer.
Players sit in a circle, passing the gift to the person on their left while an adult plays music. When the music stops, the person holding the parcel can remove one layer. The game continues until someone unwraps the last layer and wins the prize.
Everyone dances in the center of the room and must stand still when the music is turned off. If anyone moves while the music is off, they are out. The last player left standing wins.
Greetings, Oh Great One
Have the players stand in a circle. One person is “it” and stands blindfolded in the middle of the circle. This player spins around a few times, then points their finger. The person they point to goes up to the player in the middle of the circle, and they shake hands.
The “it” player says, “Greetings, oh Great One. How are you?” The other player has to reply while trying to disguise their voice. If the “it” player guesses the player correctly, they swap places, and the game begins again. If they guess incorrectly, the person they chose still becomes “it,” but the first guesser is out.
Classic Outdoor Party Games for Kids
These classic party games will provide plenty of entertainment outside.
Set up a start and finish line and have the kids line up while standing inside burlap sacks or pillowcases. They must then jump their way to the finish line without getting out the sack or falling over. The first player to the finish line is the winner.
Put the kids into pairs, being careful to ensure both are roughly the same size and weight.
The pairs line up behind the start line, and one person puts their hands down on the grass. The second person picks up the first player’s legs, and someone shouts, “Go!” Player one then “walks” on their hands to the finish line, with player two holding their legs up like a wheelbarrow. The first team across the finish line wins the race.
Egg and Spoon Race
Each child has a spoon and an egg to balance on it. They have to race from start to finish without dropping their egg. If someone does drop their egg, they must go back to the beginning and start again.
Pair the kids up, and have them stand next to each other. Tie the right leg of one child to the left leg of the other, and have the teams race to the finish. The closer to the ankle you tie the children together, the more difficult it is to run.
Set up two chairs with their backs facing each other, and balance a mop or broom across the top. Kids bend backward with their faces upward to walk under the broomstick. If anyone touches or knocks the stick down, they are out.
Set the broom handle lower for each round, and the last person to touch it or knock it down wins.
Hang one food item for each player from a piece of string. Have the players line up with their hands behind their backs.
When you shout “Go,” the kids must eat the food item without touching it. The first person to finish their food wins.
This game is not suitable for younger children who may be in danger of choking.
Give each child an inflated balloon. They must keep the balloon in the air without using their hands. If the balloon touches the floor, they are out. The last person out is the winner.
The person who’s “it” stands at the center of a circle consisting of the other kids. “It” throws the ball in the air and shouts a name. That person must catch the ball while everyone else runs away.
When they catch the ball, the child shouts “SPUD!” and everyone stops running. The child then throws the ball and tries to hit someone. If the thrower misses that person, they are out. If they hit the person they were aiming for, that person is out.
Split kids into equal teams.
Players line up, and the person at the front throws a beanbag toward a bucket. If they get the beanbag in the bucket, they run to the back of the line. The next person in line takes their turn. Anyone who misses must keep trying until they score a “goal.”
The team that gets the first person to the front again wins.
Classic Party Games for 5-Year-Olds
These are the best classic party games for five-year-olds.
Create a set of hidden clues, with each clue leading to the next. Start the hunt off by sharing the first clue with everyone.
Hide a prize everyone can share at the end of the hunt.
Choose one child to be “Grandma,” and have them stand at one end of the area with their back to everyone else. Everyone else lines up at the other end and moves forward slowly, trying not to make any noise.
Either when they hear a noise, or randomly, “Grandma” turns around, and the players freeze. If “Grandma” catches anyone moving, they are out. The winner is the last player still in or the first player to touch “Grandma.”
One player is “it,” and the others are lions. The lions lay on the floor, and the “it” player moves among the lions, looking for someone moving. The person who is “it” has to try to make the lions move but cannot touch them. If they see a lion move, the lion is out. The last lion remaining is the winner.
Lay several small objects on a table, and place a cloth on top of them. Gather the kids around the table, remove the fabric, and give them one minute to look at the objects before replacing the fabric.
Give each child a pencil and paper to write down as many items as they can remember. If you have younger children, pair them up with someone older who can write for them.
The winner is the player or team with the most correct items.
Purchase a piñata, or create your own using paper mache, a balloon, a large hollow plastic egg, or another similar hollow container that can be destroyed with a little force. Fill it with candy or small toys, and hang it from a tree. Have the children take turns hitting it with a stick until it bursts. The kids can then scramble to collect as much candy as they can until it’s all gone.
Stick the Tail on the Donkey
Hang a picture of a donkey on the wall. Blindfold a player, and hand them the donkey’s tail with some Blu Tac attached to the end. Ask them to pin the tail on the donkey, and mark where they stick the tail with a sticker. When everyone has had a turn, the winner is the person whose sticker is closest to where the tail should be.
In Plain Sight
Place a small, simple item like a dime, a dice, or a button in plain sight. Tell everyone what item is hidden in the room, and have them search to find it. The person who finds it is the winner.
This is way more fun than it sounds because it’s deceptively difficult to find an object in plain sight.
What Animal Am I?
Write the names of different animals on slips of paper, fold them up, and drop them into a bowl. Kids take turns selecting a piece of paper and acting out their animal for other people to guess. However, they mustn’t make a sound. When someone guesses the animal, they take a turn.
If not all of the kids can read, draw the animals on the paper instead.
Tie The String
Cut five pieces of string for each player, but make them all random lengths. Hide the pieces, leaving a little piece of the string visible, so it’s not too difficult.
Players hunt for the string, tie all the pieces they find together, and the player with the longest piece of yarn at the end wins.
Hide a prize, and have the kids find it while telling them “hotter” or “colder” to indicate how close they are. When someone wins, they keep the prize and get to hide the next one.
Party Games for Tweens
Tweens adore these classic party games.
Everyone sits in a circle, and the first player whispers the name of a book, movie, or song to the person on their right. That person whispers it to the next player, and so on, until it gets to the last player, who says the word or phrase out loud.
There are no winners, and it’s fun to hear how the secret phrase sounds at the end.
Find Your Partner
Write the names of famous pairs on Post-It notes, one name per note. Depending on your tween’s interests, these could be things like Lilo and Stitch, Batman and Robin, or Beyoncé and Jay-Z.
Stick a note on the forehead of each player, and send them out to find their partner. Players can’t read names out loud, but they can speak.
Squeak Piggy Squeak
Almost everyone sits in a circle. One person is blindfolded, spun around in the center of the circle, then sits on a player’s knee and says, “Squeak Piggy Squeak.” That person has to squeak like a pig but not give away who they are.
If the blindfolded person guesses correctly, they swap places; if not, they go back to the center and try again.
One person goes out of the room, and the other players decide on an item or physical attribute. It could be hair, shoes, earrings, anything that all players have.
The player comes back in and starts asking people, “How’s yours?” Players answer with things like “short and brown,” “canvas,” “dangly,” or something similar to describe “theirs.” The player has to guess what everyone is talking about.
Answers must be accurate but do not have to be obvious. If they guess correctly after an answer, that player becomes “it” and goes outside while everyone chooses something else.
One player is the Joker and must make the others laugh without touching them. If you laugh, you are out. The last person with a straight face is the winner.
Most Likely To
Ask questions like “Who is most likely to become famous?” and have everyone write down the name of a player in the room who best fits the question. After each question, tally up the votes. Whoever gets the most votes is “the person most likely to.” Everyone who voted for that person gets a point.
The person with the most points wins.
Cut the Chocolate
Place a large, unwrapped chocolate bar, a knife and fork, and a blindfold on a tray. Players take turns rolling the dice, and when someone gets a six, they put on the blindfold and start eating the chocolate with the knife and fork.
Other players keep rolling the dice until someone else gets a six, then they become the chocolate eater. Play until either the chocolate is all gone or everyone has had a turn.
Minute to Win It
Choose a variety of our Minute to Win It games, and hold a Minute to Win It Olympics with prizes for the winners of each game.
Marshmallow Move It
Set out two bowls, and fill one with marshmallows. Players put on a blindfold and move marshmallows from one bowl to the other using a spoon. If players touch the marshmallow with anything other than the spoon, they are out.
The person with the most (or any!) marshmallows in the second bowl wins.
In round one, each player puts a marshmallow in their mouth and says, “Fluffy bunnies.” For round two, they add another marshmallow and repeat it. Players must not eat their marshmallows, and if they do, or if a marshmallow drops out of their mouth, they are out.
The last person to be able to say “Fluffy bunnies” intelligibly wins.
Classic Party Games for Large Groups
Turn-taking games can become tedious for large groups. These games are ideal alternatives.
Blind Man’s Bluff
One player is blindfolded and has to catch one of the others. When a player is caught, they become the person with the blindfold.
Capture the Flag
Place a line down the center of the game area. Split players into two teams, and give each group one half of the game area and a flag. Teams hide their flag in their area.
To win, players must capture the opposing team’s flag while preventing their own from being stolen.
Take a long rope and tie a flag halfway along its length. Split the players into two teams, and designate a starting point for each. The first team to pull the flag toward them and over their starting point wins.
One player is “Simon,” and they make gestures and give instructions like “Raise your hands in the air.” If the player starts an instruction with “Simon Says,” the other players must do it. If the player doesn’t start with “Simon Says,” the other players must not do it.
If a player does something when they shouldn’t or doesn’t when they should, they’re out. The last player remaining is the winner.
Hide and Seek
One person counts. Everyone else hides. Counter finds hiders!
Make a list of items for players to find. The player who finds all of the hidden items first, or the most items in the time allowed, wins.
What’s the Time, Mr.Wolf?
Select a player to be “Mr.Wolf,” and have them stand with their back to the other players. The other players call out, “What’s the time, Mister Wolf?” Mr. Wolf calls out a time such as five o’clock. Players take as many steps forward as hours in the time, so it would be five steps in this example.
On an occasion of Mr. Wolf’s choosing, instead of giving a time, Mr. Wolf shouts “Dinner Time,” then turns around and chases after the fleeing players. The first player to be caught becomes the next Mr. Wolf.
Define a start point and endpoint, and choose three players to be the bulldogs. The bulldogs stand in the middle of the game area with the other players at one end. When someone shouts “GO!” the players must make it from one end of the area to the other without being tagged by a bulldog.
If you’re tagged, you’re out, and the last person in wins.
Split the players into teams, and have each group form a line. Put a bucket with water and a sponge at the front of each team. When you call “GO!” the first person in the line picks up a sponge and passes it over their head to the person behind them.
The sponge goes all the way to the back of the line. When it reaches the last player, they run to the front, soak their sponge in water, and start again. The first team to get the first person back to the front of the line wins.
Play some fun music, and have everyone dance. Cut the music suddenly. When the music stops, everyone has to sit on the floor. The last person to sit on the floor is out. The last person in is the winner.