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party games for 4yr olds

(30 Posts)
Katherine Wed 03-Mar-04 13:32:48

Suddenly realised DD's birthday is only 2 weeks away. Have hurridly booked the village hall and need to get the invites out. There will be 20-25 kids from 2.5 to 5 (mostly 3-4). Trying to think about what to do with them for 2 hours. Don't want the expense of an entertainer etc. Have come up with pass the parcel and musical hats (plus the usual variations) - anyone got any other suggestions for this age group or I'm going to be wrapping a lot of parcels!

jimmychoos Wed 03-Mar-04 13:35:15

What's musical hats?
I'm in the same situation! We are planning a treasure hunt, musical bumps/statues and p-t-p, plus pin the treasure on the treasure map (bit of a pirate theme....)
But I'll watch this thread for better ideas.

Katherine Wed 03-Mar-04 13:38:52

Musical hats - always find that musical chairs can get a bit violent ( ). My kids always love hats so we have loads so I thought I'd play it iwth a big pile of hats instead! Treasure hunt is a good idea but not enough room in our hall. Did think about pin tail ont eh donkey thing (like your treasure thing) - though might try to get a white board and do it with a magnet or something similar.

momof2 Wed 03-Mar-04 13:41:34

What about musical statues with no overall winner - so the person that gets the prise each round(like a lollypop) is the person who does the best statue. ie on the next round when the music stops the person who is the best Cat statue gets the prise.
This way no one sits out and nearly everyone gets a little prise.

jimmychoos Wed 03-Mar-04 13:45:37

Musical hats - fantastic idea! How funny!

Lara2 Wed 03-Mar-04 20:09:37

Pass the parcel? When DS2 has a Hallowe'en party, I typed party games into Google and came up with some fab ideas! Best one was the Mummy game - wrapping your friend in a roll of loo paper!! Not for 4 year olds probably, but such a laugh!

Posey Wed 03-Mar-04 20:54:56

We did a very simple treasure hunt. Basically wrapped a small gift for everone (notebook, pencils...something like that) then drew a picture for each one (simple things like a rainbow, sunshine, flower). Stick the picture on the present. Now do another picture exactly the same. Each child picks a picture out of the hat and has to find the present with the corresponding picture hidden in the room. We did this for dd's 4th birthday and when she had her 5th the same girls that came were desperate to do it again!

If it all gets a bit rowdy and you need some winding down time, how about sleeping lions (as dd and friends call it. We called it dead fish )Anyway everyone lies down and the person who can stay still longest wins.

Or how about a team game. You can adapt this one depending on how able you think they are, but say 8 people in each team. Have to pass something from one end of the line to the other without using hands. We did oranges, held under the chin, but we were older.

Will keep thinking.

Janh Wed 03-Mar-04 21:03:35

Corners game is good - label each corner somehow (we did a "circus" party once and our corners were big pics of ringmaster, lion, elephant and something else) - they choose a corner to run to, someone (not looking) says one of the labels and those kids are out. Repeat until you have 4 kids or less left, then the corner named is the winner.

You could have different teletubbies or fimbles or whoever else they like as your labels.

lucysmum Wed 03-Mar-04 21:09:05

Not sure if you get snails in the garden this time of year but my DD (3) went to a party where they did snail races - snails had coloured dots on them to identify them and they put them in the middle of a tray with some water on and saw which one got to the edge first. Kids loved it. Also at same party - hanging biscuits or hula hoops on string which they had to eat without hands.

binkie Thu 04-Mar-04 10:15:46

I am going to nick all these ideas for ds's 5th soon, thank you for starting this Katherine.

Feeble question: dh and I are really useless at directing party games. Any ideas for how can I go about finding a jolly drama student or similar to do that for us? I don't want an "entertainer" - it would be for only an hour & we're fine on ideas, just rubbish at executing. (We're in London.)

Sheila Thu 04-Mar-04 12:43:04

I have to say that the best kids parties I've been to have had entertainers. I've found that excited 4 year olds in large numbers (25 is a lot to get organised!), boys particularly, can't really cope with games and will just run round in a frenzy - may be fun for them but is v. stressful for the adults.

If you can afford it at all I'd get an entertainer.

Just my view tho'- I know others manage it. See the other threads on this subject (sorry can't do link)

Good luck!!

PipBeckett Thu 04-Mar-04 13:04:16

I've got a fifth birthday party coming up for my son. It's going to be at the church hall and there will be about 25 kids. I know I must be mad.

We plan on having organised games but also some let of steam time on a bouncy castle. The church hall is large enough for both and the bouncy castle only costs £30. Money well spent.

I do like the idea of the picture treasure hunt. I've already got together presents for in their party bags so I could just wrap those up and hide them. It will be fun and they get the present they would have got anyway so it's inexpensive.

Wonderwoman Thu 04-Mar-04 20:50:05

Balloons! Fill them with water, tinsle, glitter, chocolate anything! Kids of all ages love playing with them, and the bolder ones love trying to burst them!

Couldn't see if nyone had mentioned musical squares (variation of musical chairs). Get dd to help you make paper squares for the party, great fun.

Last year for ds 4th I hired a bouncy castle with a slide. As ds bday is in Jan, I got it at an off peak price for £35 for the day, and that was a good return for 25 4 year olds!!!!

helenmc Thu 04-Mar-04 22:17:25

Last year's party we did lots of games and the prizes went into their party bag. We started off with name labels which the kids had to find and then claim a party bag by sticking the label on it.

For games we did things like...
sticky dots - get loads and loads of little coloured circles labels and stick them all over the hall. the kids run around peeling them off (no mess left over) and the one with the most dots wins. For pirate could hide chocolate gold coins, making sure those kids who didn't find many get an extra sweetie in their party bag

split them into smaller groups to do games like
flower pots and ping pong balls,( try to get them to bounce the balls into the pots).

what about play ground games like bulldog and what's the time Mr wolf, if you've got a large hall to run around in.

have fun - I'm off to bed now- its been a long day

Wills Thu 04-Mar-04 22:19:37

Hi Katherine. DD1's birthday party is this weekend. Am writing a description of all the games and the order that we'll attempt them for my helpers tonight/tomorrow - will post the list later.


How you doing?

ponygirl Thu 04-Mar-04 22:34:11

For pass the parcel put a simple task on a piece of paper, ie hop, pretend to be a frog, moo like a cow etc. Drags it out! I started a thread on this in December and there was another one about the same time that came up with lots of ideas. Good luck!

sassy Sat 06-Mar-04 10:45:31

How about Islands? You need a sheet of tabloid sized newspaper per child, then they dance round until music stops and then have to find an island to stand on. Take a sheet away each go, like muscial chairs, but not so aggressive! Would fit in very well with jimmy's pirate theme.

Mummysurfer Sat 06-Mar-04 12:10:38

black bin bag of odd clothes. eg. funny hat, bib, daddy's swimming trunks etc. Pass bag around circle, when the music stops persom with bag dips in without looking & puts on item. Winner is the person wearing the most when the bag is empty.

IMO - pin the tail on the donkey is a no-go. 1 pins the tail & the other 24 get bored.

We're doing a party for DD 11 X 8 yera olds.
I'll post more ideas when I have them

sjs Sun 07-Mar-04 07:21:33

At dd 3rd birthday party we had bouncy castle, tattoo artist and did our own craft activity... the kids all made their own party hats and crowns... we got craft paper and cut out strips for hats, the dot dot paints (don't know the real name but they are tubes of paints that make dots), stickers, etc, and took pen (to write kid's names on) and staples to make the hats the right size. The kids all had a go. I also looked for feathers cos I thought they would be fun additions to the hats but couldn't find any. Kids loved it and all went home with their hats...

Katherine Sun 07-Mar-04 15:06:35

How funny - in a moment of clarity (!) this morning after counting out hats for the musical hats (how can we have so many?) it occurred to me that a hat theme (its Hattie's party!) would be excellent and that we should have making hats as an activity. Just got off the phone to my mum asking her so send me some of her old silk flowers to use. Now just need an easy way to create 30 hat bases. I know you can buy packs but would be quite pricy. Do I just cut up a cereal packet and cut a stript to fit around the head with a shape stuck to the front to decorate? Crumbs better find some staplers. Any other hat design suggestions apppreciated. About to go and chases the chickens now (feathers!)

collision Sun 07-Mar-04 18:48:16

Paper rolled into cones and stuck down could make good hats too. Cut pictures out of old magazines to decorate or dried pasta. The kids will love it.

My 4 yr old nephew taught us the Shoe Game. Everyone sits in a circle and takes off one shoe and throws it in the middle. Each person takes a turn to guess who the shoe belongs to!

Furball Sun 07-Mar-04 21:18:15

Another version of musical hats, is just for the children to pass round one hat and making sure it actually goes on their heads as well. If the music stops and you've got the hat, you're out.

sibble Mon 08-Mar-04 18:24:09

Great thread - we had DS's 4th a month ago and did the usual, ptp, musical bumps, a treasure hunt, sleeping lions, we also made a penata although you can buy them. We covered a balloon with paper mache, when dry DS painted it bright colours, made a hole in the top, filled it with sweets, hung it up and let them bash the hell out of it in turns until it burst, then they all rush and stuff sweets in their pockets like a sweet scramble. The boys loved that although were a bit disappointed when they were asked to put the sweets in their party bag and take them home!! We did pin the tail on the donkey with blue tack (safer we thought) and then let them play football with a softish ball and mini net DS had got for his birthday.
They all had a great time. Although it is semi hard to organise them I think boys respond to some kind of structure so fights don't break out with the rough and tumble games they get into when left to their own devices.
good luck and have fun and keep the ideas coming I am making notes for next year.
Oh just make sure you hae lots of adults on hand to help, you will be knackered afterwards!!

helenmc Mon 08-Mar-04 21:15:41

may be for older ones, but tonight we've been playing sucking sweets. Every-one shares a plate of smarties and they have their own bowl and straw. You have to suck the smartie so it sticks on the end of the straw and then drop it in your bowl. Does this makes sense??? seems I've had a long hard monday and its a long time to the weekend.

Wills Mon 08-Mar-04 21:56:13

We did these at the weekend for dd1's 4th birthday party. I typed them out for the couple of helpers that I had

Party Games

How do I dance
Put on some music so the children can enjoy a dance. Stop the music and say “How do we dance? We dance by shaking out arms” Put the music back on and dance that way. The next time you stop the music suggest a new way to dance such as weaving our hands in the air, turning around, bending our knees, wiggling our elbows or clapping our hands.
Helpers: Please join in.

Circle Name Clapping Game
This is a good game to introduce the children to each other at the start of the party. Go around the circle asking each child her name. When a child says her name you then clap the syllables and get all the children to copy it.
Helpers: One big circle and all helpers should join in and say their names as well.

Circle In and Out the dusty blue bells
One child is chosen to begin and the others join hands and form arches by raising their arms. The chosen child dances in and out of the ‘bluebell’ arches as everyone sings the verse. When she gets to the end of the first verse, she stands behind a child in the circle and taps them on the shoulder. That child then stands in front of the first child, who holds her waist and the two of them start weaving back through the bluebells again for a repeat of the verse. A new child joins the line for each chorus, until it all ends in mayhem.

In and out the dusty bluebells,
In and out the dusty bluebells
In and out the dusty bluebells
Who shall be my partner

Helpers: All the children into one circle. Three children should be chosen to be leaders – make Annabelle one of them please. Space the children as far away from each other and try to keep the lines from joining each other.

Lively Hop bunny hop - prize
Ask all the children to hop around the room until you shout ‘Danger a fox’ when they must stop and stand very still. Anyone who moves is out. When you shout ‘ok, danger’s gone they can start hopping around again.
Helpers: All the children together. We’ll go a couple of rounds before we start elimating children. Once we start to elimnate we’ll have to go fast otherwise we’ll lose the attention of any children that are out.

Circle Bish bash Saucepan
Props: x2 saucepans, x2 blindfolds, x2 wooden spoons
Blindfold one child and sit her down in the middle of the circle on the floor holding a wooden spoon. Then quietly place the saucepan upside down in front of her. She has to ‘bash’ about with the spoon until she finds the saucepan – and makes a good crashing sound by hitting it. Once she’s found it, blindfold another child and put the saucepan in a different place
Helpers: Two teams

Lively Line Magic Mirrors
Divide the children into two lines and get them to face each other. Call the first team to be a mirror and the second a reflection. Ask all the mirrors to mime an action such as pretending to eat a meal or brushing their teeth, and then ask all the reflections to copy the mirror’s movements. Mirrors can move their hands, heads, arms and upper body, but not their legs or feet. Then swap.

Quiet Wobbly sweets - prize
Props: bowl of sweets to go on foreheads
All the children lie on their backs, on the floor. Go around and place a small sweet on each child’s forehead. When every child has a sweet ask them to do things that might make the sweet fall off. If the sweet does fall off, the child can eat it but is then out of the game. The last child with the sweet still on his forehead is the winner.
Things to do:
 Raising their feet in the arm
 Shaking their arms
 Touching their noses
 Sticking their tnogues out
 Bending their knees up and down
 Singing Baa Baa Black Sheep
Helpers: All the children together. When a sweet falls off the child should be encouraged to get up and stand to one side and allowed to eat their sweet.

Lively Musical bumps – prize
The children all dance to the music but when it stops they sit down as fast as possible on the floor. The last one to bump down is out each time.
Helpers: All the children together. A sweet should be given to each child as they come out.

Quiet Bunny in the burrow
Props: two large opaque blankets
The children all lie on the floor, with plenty of room between them. Ask them to close their eyes very tightly, as the bunnies are all in their burrows under the ground. Carefully put the cloth over a child from each team then tell the others its time to wake up and open their eyes. The child under the blanket stays still while the others gather round and try to guess who is missing.
Helpers: We’ll start with Simon and Annabelle under the blankets.

Lively Conga Dance (into tea)
La la la la la Oy….

Savory out first – sweets out last.

Quiet Pass the Parcel
Props: two boxes of presents/sweets
Two boxes of sweets/presents are passed around the circle.
Helpers: If the box falls between two kids, both should be allowed to help themselves. Helpers please ensure that the kids don’t linger over the boxes. The music will go off for a short while and them back on. Also we’re going to attempt to give every child a present so helpers should be ‘encouraging’ the box to move faster round those with presents. At the end those without will be allowed to help themselves.

Circle Make me Laugh
One child sits in the centre of the circle. He has to look as serious as possible and all the other children have to do their utmost to make him laugh. They aren’t allowed to touch him (no tickling allowed) but can make any silly face or noise they like. As soon as the central child laughs or even twitches a smile, she is out and another child has a turn.
Helpers: two teams, keep it going whilst most children are entertained.

Simon Says - prize
Over to Simon!
Helpers – All children together and help Simon spot who is wrong.

Chasing game Swap the Sweets
Props: two plates, two bowls, two wrapped sweets for each child.
Simple relay race between the two teams. Each team has a plate of sweets at one end of the room and an empty bowl at the start/finish line. At the command ‘GO’ the first member of each team has to run to the other end of the room, collect a sweet, then bring it back to be put in his team’s bowl. The next player runs down to collect their sweet, and so on. Each player should run twice, until all the sweets have been collected. The first team to empty their bowl is the winner.
Helpers: try to encourage them to walk and don’t let them scarper with their sweets

Lively Make believe animals
Start the game by saying, ‘When the music begins, I want you to hop around the room like rabbits’. When the music stops, the children have to freeze until you tell them the next animal to be and the music starts again.
 Slither like a snake
 Leap like a frog
 Swim like a fish
 Flap like a bird
 Prowl like a cat
 Trot like a pony
 Scamper like a mouse
Helpers: All the children together – just join in with them.
Quiet Sleepy Lions
All the kids on the floor pretending to be asleep. The winner is the one who stays the stillest or hopefully has really fallen asleep.

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