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Do party games make small children cry?!

(24 Posts)
Poofus Tue 11-Aug-15 12:56:23

DC's 4th birthday party coming up. I thought we would do lots of traditional games (pass the parcel, musical chairs, etc). But I suddenly have a vision of a room full of wailing children who don't want to be "out" and who all want a prize. Am I wrong to be worrying about this? Is there any way to make party games more toddler-friendly?

CloserToFiftyThanTwenty Tue 11-Aug-15 13:01:52

Are they all four or are there younger ones too? IME toddlers don't really "get" how to play games like this, so it's not so much the wailing because they are out, it's that it's dull and they don't see the fun in sitting still in a circle passing stuff around, and so much adult supervision is needed that the grownups may as well just play themselves...

Four should be fine though

MokunMokun Tue 11-Aug-15 13:04:05

With pass the parcel you can put a small prize between each layer. With things like musical chairs just play a few rounds and everyone go back in and repeat a few times so the kids don't get bored playing too long.

Poofus Tue 11-Aug-15 13:04:27

Most will be 4 but there will be one or two smaller ones. I have seen pass the parcel done at another 4th party and it worked (although some had to have the parcel wrested out of their fingers in order to pass it on!). It's more the "you're out, go and sit down" style of games that were worrying me.

PurpleDaisies Tue 11-Aug-15 13:05:24

Just play the games as planned. I regularly do this sort of thing with my Sunday school kids (aged mainly 4-5) and they are absolutely fine with it. If you're doing pass the parcel you could wrap a sweet in every layer and stop the music so everyone has one but they usually like the unwrapping so much there isn't any need.

I think you're worrying unnecessarily.

Poofus Tue 11-Aug-15 13:05:58

Doesn't musical chairs take ages, though? We may have 20-25 children coming <the horror>

Poofus Tue 11-Aug-15 13:06:58

Phew, that's encouraging. I'm secretly rather terrified of small children (don't ask how I became a mother).

YesILikeItToo Tue 11-Aug-15 13:07:36

I think they like the idea of party games, so I have done them for this age. But I cheated. "You're out, come and get a pirate flag to cheer the others on," in one game and "You're out, join the judges eating chocolate buttons over here," in another.

SavoyCabbage Tue 11-Aug-15 13:09:37

I do d traditional party games when my dd was four and they all loved them. I had a prize basket with stickers, little pots of play doh etc. I wrote a list of games so I could keep things moving. If they were enjoying it, I did it again. If they weren't, they were on to the next game before they knew what was happening!

Poofus Tue 11-Aug-15 13:09:47

I like the chocolate buttons idea, but we will have a range allergies present, including milk, eggs, wheat and nuts, so I'm a bit worried about inadvertently feeding something deadly to one of them. Flags might work.

Poofus Tue 11-Aug-15 13:11:05

Do you just have one winner for each game? Or a few?

YesILikeItToo Tue 11-Aug-15 13:13:52

Interesting, Savoy, about doing it again - watching professionals at parties recently I've come to realise that children will appreciate far more repetition than I could possibly have imagined.

PurpleDaisies Tue 11-Aug-15 13:15:30

Just one winner. Sometimes multiple repeats of the same game if they're enjoying it so others have a chance to win. One prize for the winner. Maybe a sticker at the end for everyone that took part.

SweetSorrow Tue 11-Aug-15 13:15:53

I'd have a bag of Haribo or the like and everyone who is "out" gets a haribo before they sit down, softens the blow a bit.

RandomFriend Tue 11-Aug-15 13:20:57

Slight variations on party games that I liked when mine were four years old:

Musical bumps: lots of "practice rounds" where you stop the music and everyone sits down as fast as they can, but noone is out. Great fun!

Musical chairs: take a few chairs away each time rather than just one; those that are "out" move towards a different activity (also suggested by YesILikeItToo )

Pass the parcel: an individually wrapped sweet between each layer.

Noone wins more than one game.

RoganJosh Tue 11-Aug-15 13:23:54

Haribo are definitely ok for non wheat eaters and maybe more. We did medals one year and also star stickers for winners. I'd also do a few 'out' at once and a few winners so those that are out are not waiting long.

Poofus Tue 11-Aug-15 13:26:07

OK, I can do this! Next ridiculous question: what music do you play? Children's songs? Pop? Most of my CDs are nursery rhymes, jazz or opera, but I'm guessing none of these is ideal.

SuperFlyHigh Tue 11-Aug-15 13:26:11

i was at a neighbour's DD's 4th birthday party with 3 and 4 year olds. they played pass the parcel and it was fine. no one tantrummed at not getting a present and the 'rules' about passing etc were explained to them (simply).

SuperFlyHigh Tue 11-Aug-15 13:26:32

I think just a normal pop song was played - can't remember which.

Elsashmelsa Tue 11-Aug-15 13:26:34

Bags of sweets are your friend! When you tell a child they're 'out' they get a sweet. They will be more interested in the sweet than not being the winner. Also as someone else said, musical chairs, take a few chairs away at a time. Plus have limited chairs to start with so you will get a few children out on each go.

Hardtoknow Tue 11-Aug-15 13:27:05

One very clever thing I came across at a party was that if you were out, you had to go & get a sticker. You then joined back in but wearing the sticker so the judging was just of the group not wearing stickers...something those wearing stickers may not have realised. Works for musical statues & musical bumps but wouldn't for musical chairs.

TheHouseOnBellSt Tue 11-Aug-15 13:28:05

My friend does pass the parcel with a hat! She fills a hat with small wrapped gifts...and it's like passing a lucky dip about. They get a gift every turn! Just sweets and little plastic toys but they love it!

BareGrylls Tue 11-Aug-15 13:34:38

You deserve a medal for doing a party for 20+ 4 year olds.
My experience is many years ago but I suspect still relevant.
At four many will have a very short attention span. Some will engage and understand things like musical chairs but others will not.
Team games are good.
Also search and find.
As an ice breaker I used to hide dozens of tiny plastic animals around house or garden. They rush around finding them and bring them to you in exchange for a treat. No one had allergies or special diets when I did this hmm in 2001 so they all got sweets or chocolate.

Divide into 3 teams. Have 3 balls of brightly coloured wool cut up into lengths and strewn around the garden. Blow a whistle and give them 20 minutes to find as many as possible in their team colour.

Silly dance competition. Prize for best dancing with your arms in the air, dance on one leg, bottom wiggle etc. Keep going until they are bored.

Poofus Tue 11-Aug-15 16:29:50

Thank you so much for all these cunning suggestions and tips! I am feeling a lot more confident already that no one will be going home in floods of tears after the first ten minutes. smile

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