No matter how delicious the cake is or how well the decorations match the theme, a birthday party is only a success if the kids have an incredible time. This is where party games come in—and they’re a great way for kids who’ve just eaten cake to release their energy!

These games are targeted specifically at kids ages 5 to 11. At this age, kids are no longer interested in simple games where everyone wins. They can handle games that are more complex and spirited.

Here are some party games for kids that are easy to plan and fun to play!

Animal Antics

The perfect icebreaker for getting the party started! Whisper in each child’s ear a type of animal, telling two children the same animal. On the count of three, have the kids act out their animal. The kids must walk—or slither, swim, or crawl—around in character to find their animal partner!

Pair this game with a visit from any local animal-themed kids party place for the perfect animal party.

Balloon Round-Up

Nothing says birthday party like a room full of balloons! And this game has no balloon popping, which can sometimes be scary for kids.

Blow up lots of balloons and release them into a room along with a big cardboard box. Then, have the kids try to get the balloons into the box without using their hands. Be prepared to see some interesting strategies!

If you don’t feel like blowing up all the balloons, have a professional party planner do it for you.

Suitcase Relay

Be sure to have your camera ready for this crazy dress-up game! Grab a bunch of different silly costumes and articles of clothing—think wigs, hats, sunglasses, overalls, jackets—and throw them into two suitcases or overnight bags. Divide the kids up into two teams.

When the music starts, the first person from each team runs up to the suitcase, puts on every item, takes it all off, and runs back, tagging the next person. The first team to have all their players finish is the winner.

Copycat

Copycat is a circle game that lets kids get silly. The kids sit in a circle, and one person, the “guesser,” leaves the room. While the guesser is gone, the group decides on a “leader.” The leader sets the actions for the round. Once the leader is determined, the guesser is invited back in to stand in the middle of the circle. Everyone in the circle begins by slapping their thighs. When the guesser isn’t looking, the leader will change the action—to clapping, for example. Everyone else in the circle must copy the leader’s new action.

The goal is for the guesser to try to figure out who the leader initiating the changes is. The rest of the kids have to try not to give it away.

There is a lot of room here for creativity. The leader can choose any movement from jazz hands to the robot!

Charades

We all love this adult party game, and this kid-friendly version is just as entertaining! It can be played in teams or in one big group.

Instead of acting out movies, phrases, or things, it’s best for this age group to play with actions, like brushing your teeth, swimming, getting dressed, grocery shopping, and fishing.

This is a great game to play before or after you take the kids to some children’s theatre in Toronto to get them in the spirit of acting.

Limbo

How low can you go? School-age kids are finally old enough to appreciate this party classic. You might need to teach kids the technique—bending their knees and leaning as far back as they can—and remind them not to touch the stick. Depending on the theme of the party, you can change the music and stick, maybe using a boa or hockey stick instead.

Statues

This fun role-playing game is also a great way for kids to practice balancing. One player, called the “tour guide,” closes their eyes and starts counting while the rest of the kids, the “statues,” run around. At any number past ten (only the tour guide knows when), the tour guide stops counting and calls out “Statue!”

At this point, all of the statues must freeze in place, but they can move or change poses if the tour guide isn’t looking. The tour guide can try to make the statues laugh or move. If the tour guide catches a statue moving, the statue is out and becomes a tourist, following the tour guide around the museum. The last statue remaining becomes the tour guide in the next round.

Mummy Wrap

This fast-paced team game only requires two rolls of toilet paper to play, and it’s perfect for a Halloween-themed birthday party.

Split the kids into two teams and give each a roll of toilet paper. Each team chooses one person to be the “mummy.” When the music starts, the other kids will wrap the mummy in toilet paper as fast as they can. The first team to completely cover the mummy (leaving some space for their mouth and nose) wins!

Categories

This super-fun circle game requires a bit of brainwork. Once the kids are sitting on the floor in a circle, have them create a rhythm: two slaps on the thighs, two claps, two snaps, and a pause. Keep this rhythm going throughout the game.

Player 1 begins by calling out “categories” in time with the rhythm (during the pause). Next, Player 2 will call out “such as,” and Player 3 will call out a category, like “vegetables” or “cartoon characters.” Then, going around the circle clockwise, each player will call out something that fits the category.

Here is an example:
-Slap slap clap clap snap snap “categories”
-Slap slap clap clap snap snap “such as”
-Slap slap clap clap snap snap “animals”
-Slap slap clap clap snap snap “horse”
-Slap slap clap clap snap snap “elephant”
-Slap slap clap clap snap snap “kitten”

If a player is stumped or says a word out of rhythm, he or she is out. The game continues until one person is left, and they are the winner.

The difficulty can be adjusted depending on the categories and speed of the rhythm. Some fun categories might be countries, superheroes, flowers, colours, foods, movies , sports, candy bars, and musical instruments.

Bubble Wrap Race

Bubble wrap—need I say more? This game is a definite party pleaser. Buy a large roll of bubble wrap and lay out six-foot strips. Have each child cross barefoot – but the catch is they can’t pop any of the bubbles! You can get a little more competitive by dividing the kids into teams and having them race across the bubble wrap to the other side. The team that crosses popping the fewest bubbles wins!

Because it’s a pretty tall order to ask kids not to pop the bubbles, they can celebrate the win at the end by dancing and stomping all over the bubble wrap!

Hilary Roth is a writer, educator and editor who works full-time in marketing and LOVES everything to do with kids. When she’s not stumping people with her amazing riddles or playing mobile games, she can be found reading YA novels and cooking vegetarian food. Follow her on Twitter @hilroth12.

Planning a party in the GTA? See our Toronto-area party-planning directory for everything from custom cakes to fun party venues.

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