The decorations, balloons, and cake are all set. But what about the children for the next two or three hours? Many party games are too complicated for children aged 2-4. The games we have gathered here are fun and classic for toddlers and preschoolers. Most of them are also great for children up to age 6. Grapevine provides a variety of Treasure hunts. There really is something for everybody! There are treasure hunts that children will enjoy and quizzes and murder mysteries for adults. We also have products to celebrate holidays like Halloween, Christmas, Easter, or Summer.
These are the best games for toddlers and preschoolers. It’s all about having fun.
The traditional musical chair game sees children sitting out when they can’t find chairs. This sillier, just-as-fun version wins for everyone.
Start the music by setting out chairs, or cushions, placemats, or paper plates for outside. To help children learn the game, we recommend that they start with the same number as their parents. Children must locate a chair when the music stops. The music will resume after the second round. The music stops and the kids race to find the chairs. A child who cannot find a chair will find another child’s seat.
Bean Bag Toss
You can use it again and again for parties and picnics. You can go all out and create a sturdy wooden version for your children to pass on to their own kids. Or you can use the Mother Huddle’s instructions and make simple, no-sew beanbags out of colourful socks.
This classic game is especially enjoyable for younger children. You can give instructions like “Simon Says touch you nose!” or “Simon Says hop up and down!”
The traditional version has you giving instructions without “Simon says” preceding them. Children are expelled if they don’t comply with the instructions. We think the game can be fun enough for children if you slow down the instructions and ask them to act silly like a duck or a robot.
Duck Goose, Duck Goose
This is how we all know how to play it, right? The “it” child walks around the circle, taping each child on the head with “Duck”, Duck, Duck , and then “Goose!” After the Goose is tagged, the Goose chases the Goose around the circle, trying to tag the Goose before he/she can take Goose’s place. The Goose will tag the child and the first child is “it”. The Goose is “it” if the Goose tags the child safely.
Duck, Duck Goose is a great game because no one loses. They just swap roles chasing. Preschoolers will find it most useful, as they may not be able understand the idea of running around the circle in order to find Goose’s spot.
Pass the Parcel
Wrap a small gift several times before the party. You can either wrap it in multiple layers of wrapping papers or one box inside the other. This may be easier for small children’s not-so-nimble hands. Layers are more important than children.
Place children in a circle around one another. Play the music. Children pass the parcels to each other until the music stops. The music stops and the child with the parcel opens the box or unwraps the layer of wrapping.
Sharing a gift is good: small toys or candies are great options. The child who finds the gift layer will be thrilled to get to open it, choose the candy or toy of their choice and win a prize.
Head and Shoulders; Knees and toes
Sing the song and point to your head, shoulders, knees, feet, and ears. To make it more difficult, speed it up and add different body parts (eyes, elbows mouths and nose) to spice it up. You can also leave one body part out to test if children are paying attention.
Pin the Tail on the Donkey
This game is great for children of all ages. This is a great way tie your party game to your theme. Pin the tiara on a princess, the pirate’s leg, or Thomas’s funnel smoke, and you’re done! Krissy from B-Inspired Mama created a pin-the-tiara on-the-princess game by using a life-size photo of her daughter as the princess.
Treasure hunts are a fun game that all players can win. Children love to look for small toys and candy in plastic eggs around the house. This is essentially an Easter egg hunt!
Wrap small gifts, or hide chocolate coins. The party favor can be a cool bag to keep them safe or a treasure chest for guests to find.
There is a difference between treasure hunting and scavenger hunting. In a treasure hunt, the kids have the “treasure”, while in a scavenger search it’s all about finding the thrill! Although there are thousands of scavenger hunting ideas for children, many of them can only be used by older kids or those who are able to read.
Give the younger ones a sheet with photos of what they are looking for. It’s possible to stage the event. You could hide objects (or leave them in plain sight if you prefer) or have kids use items they can see outside for an outdoor party. These printable picture scavenger hunt card templates by Gina Bell of East Coast Mommy are a great choice for preschoolers and school-age children.