Gaming, the old fashioned way

Posted on Updated on

Yesterday I posted about how to organise a home-based children’s party for younger kids. Here are some well-loved games that might help entertain everyone. If there are other games your family plays, I’d be very interested to hear about them, so please make a comment.


  • Pass the parcel – wrap a small toy in alternate layers of contrasting colours of tissue paper, sticking a small sweet on the outside of each layer. Play some party music while the children pass the parcel around the circle. Stop the CD from time to time, and invite the child who is holding the parcel when the music stops to take off a layer of paper. The winner is the child who opens the last layer of paper and finds the prize.
  • Pin the tail on the donkey – have a picture of a donkey up on an easel or the wall, with a picture of the tail cut out with Blu-tack on the back for children to attach. Get the children to stand in a line and take turns in being blindfolded, coming forward one at a time to try to get the tail in the correct place. The winner is the child who gets the tail nearest to the correct place, with a lollipop or a plastic medal being a good prize (as it is for all the party games mentioned here).
  • Musical bumps – Play some party music and turn it off from time to time. When the music stops, children have to sit down as quickly as they can. The last one left standing is out and has to sit by the side.  The winner is the last child left.
  • Musical statues – As for Musical bumps but the children have to stand as still as possible when the music stops. Anyone moving or smiling is out. The adults can go around checking and ever so slightly teasing if necessary.
  • Islands – Scatter cushions or pieces of A4 paper around the room. Get the children dancing to some party music, and then when the music stops, they have to sit on one of the islands. Then take one island away and repeat, so the last child to find an island is out. Continue until there is only one child left.
  • Passing balloons – Get into two teams. Give each team a balloon. Get the teams to pass the balloon via their knees along the line and back, rather like the television programme It’s a Knockout in the 1970s. The winning team is the first to get the balloon back to the front. Prizes for the winning team could be small packets of Smarties.
  • Egyptian mummies (the most popular game at our parties) – Get into pairs. Give each pair a (cheap) toilet roll. The challenge is for each pair to wrap one of the members up as a mummy, to best effect. An adult then judges on the basis of completeness of wrapping, and style. The winning pairs get a small prize.
  • Chocolate game – You will need hat, scarf, gloves, knife and fork, and a whole bar of chocolate on a plate. The children sit in a circle and take turns in throwing a dice. When somebody gets a six, he/she has to put on the hat/scarf/gloves and attempt to eat the chocolate with a big knife and fork until the next person throws a six. Continue until all the chocolate has gone.


  • Simon says – The adult at the front gives the children instructions like “Put your hands in their air”, “Hop on one leg”; “Do an impression of a chicken”, “Turn round and round”. If the instruction begins with “Simon says”, then it counts and the children are supposed to do it. If the instruction does not begin with “Simon Says”, and a child carries it out, then he/she is out of the game and has to sit at the side. The winner is the last child left.
  • Sleeping lions – This one is simple. All the children lie motionless on the floor, as if they are sleeping. Any child who moves is immediately out. Towards the end, the adults and any children who are out might try encouraging the sleeping children to move or laugh. The winner is the child who manages to survive the longest.

Image: Tom Clare /


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s