Continuing with the birthday party theme from yesterday’s post, over the next couple of days I’m going to write about some of the great party games we used to play as kids. Most of these games were ideal party entertainment because they were easy to explain the rules (even to the youngest of children), didn’t last too long (so kids didn’t get bored), were cheap (or even free) to play, could be played by any number of players and generally didn’t rely on much in the way of skill. For kids birthdays it was always recommended to add a little competitive edge to the fun by awarding little prizes such as sweets or small toys to the winners.
Before we begin, a look at the equipment that a good party host would need to have. First and foremost some way of generating music was essential for many games, whether it be a musical instrument (if you had a suitably talented family member) or a tape player or radio that could easily be paused or have the volume turned down. Pens and paper or a quiz book were useful things to have for older children, but whatever the age a supply of small toys or sweets to award to the winners was usually a good idea.
So, without further ado, let’s get this party started!
Pass the Parcel – You simply can’t have a birthday party without Pass the Parcel. It required some preparation, with Mum producing a parcel that had been wrapped up multiple times. Everybody sat in a circle passing the parcel from one player to the next whilst the music played. When the music stopped whoever was left holding the parcel took a layer of wrapping off, and so it continued until finally one lucky player pulled off the last layer and won the prize contained inside.
Depending on the age of the kids there were some variants that could be employed, such as placing smaller prizes such as sweets in each layer of the parcel, or possibly adding forfeits instructing the player who removed that layer of wrapping to do something such as say the alphabet backwards or kiss the person next to them – that last forfeit never seemed particularly popular at kids parties for some reason 😉
Musical Chairs – You need a fairly big room, and potentially a lot of chairs, for this one. Some chairs are arranged in a roughly circular arrangement in the centre of the room, ensuring that there is one chair fewer than there are players. The music begins and all the players start to walk in a circle around the chairs. At some point the music will stop, which is the cue for a mad dash to claim a chair by sitting on it. Whoever is left standing is out of the game, a chair is removed, and the process resumes leading up to a tense battle between the final two players over a single chair. A fun game, although the race to claim a chair could potentially result in injury to the smaller party guests, and the adults needed to keep an eye out for chair hoggers!
Musical Statues – Another game involving the stopping and starting of music. The players have to dance about to the music, but once it stops must immediately stop moving. The last person to stop moving is out of the game, as is anybody who starts to move before the music starts up again, and the game continues until a winner is found.
Musical Bumps – Similar to Musical Statues, but instead of stopping still when the music stops the last person to sit on the floor was out.
Wink Murder – All the players sit in a circle except one who is chosen to be the detective and stands in the centre of the circle. Everyone closes their eyes and an adult taps one of the members of the circle on the shoulder to let them know they are the murderer. The game now begins, with the murderer winking at other people in the circle to “kill” them. Only the murderer is allowed to wink, and anybody winked at by the murderer should pretend to die in as theatrical a manner as possible. The detective has to try and work out who the murderer is, but they are only given a limited number of guesses, say three, in which to make their accusation. The detective wins if they correctly identify the murderer, and the murderer wins if they manage to murder all the other players in the circle.
Be sure to visit again tomorrow for part two of our list of party games!