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Classic Kid Activity and Game Ideas for Birthdays

Yes, even today, some of the “old-fashioned” kid activity ideas and birthday games (such as Musical Chairs and Simon Says) can provide lots of great laughs and excitement for the new generation of “highly-sophisticated” computer kids (and grownups). Many of the games below are time-tested, they have been proven to work, and they can be “tweaked” to fit almost any birthday theme.

Musical Chairs

For this classic kid activity, use either chairs, cushions, hand towels, small pillows, flat – folded paper bags (that can be cut into a shape and decorated to fit a certain party theme-for example, a lily pad, island or treasure map for a pirate party, dinosaur eggs… etc.). Put out enough chairs for all the players less one. The kids dance and move about as the music plays, and when it stops they scramble for a chair. After each round, the player that did not find a chair must sit out. A chair is removed until finally there is just one left.

Simon Says

“Simon says this is one of the best birthday games around!” This can fit any theme, for example “Drill Sergeant says”. Get all the kids to stand at one end of a yard or large room. Then Simon (probably mom or dad) gives the crowd an order beginning with “Simon Says”. Example: Simon says take one giant step forward. Then everyone does what Simon says. After a few of these you throw in an order without saying “Simon Says” and anyone who does it without Simon saying is out. Whomever follows only Simon’s orders and is left at the end of the game wins!

Pin the Tail on the Donkey

You can really get creative with this birthday kid activity. Using your party theme, select two objects to work with. For example, Dinosaur Party – pin the tail on the T-rex; Tea Party – Pin the cup to the saucer; Pirate Party – pin the patch on the pirate, etc. Then each kid is blindfolded and you have to see who’s the closest in pinning.

Hot Potato

In this kid activity, everyone sits in a circle and passes the potato from one person to the next (while music is playing). Someone calls time or stops the music and the person left holding the potato is out. Continue until there is only one person left. This can be changed to fit your theme, for example: Princess Party-“Hot Wand” or “Hot Slipper” etc.

Duck, Duck, Goose

The kids form a small circle and all sit down. One person is it and he walks around the outside of the circle, touching the other children’s heads saying “duck”, “duck”, “duck”, until he comes to the person whom he wants to chase him, he calls “goose”. The goose chases the player around the circle and the one who reaches the space first sits down, and the other one is it. You can change this to fit your theme, for example at a Tea Party this birthday game can be called: “Coffee, Coffee, TEA!”.


“How low can you go?” Set up a bar that can be raised or lowered, or have two people hold the bar. Play some music in the background (you can have music that fits your theme) and have everyone take a turn going under the bar. Everyone must go under the bar facing forward and leaning back! This is one of the harder birthday games, but the lower the pole is lowered the harder everyone laughs! You can also do this under a stream of water from a hose or try having a flashlight limbo game, where you turn off all the lights and use a flashlight as your limbo stick.

Memory Game

This is one of the best kid activity ideas to test (and help improve) the kids’ ability to remember a handful of objects in a short amount of time. On a tray, place about 10 to 15 small items (these objects should match your theme) and cover with a cloth. Sit everyone in a circle. Place the tray in the middle of the circle and remove the cloth for 60 seconds. Everyone has to remember the objects. When the time is up, replace the cloth. In turn, each person has to name an object on the tray. The first person that fails to name an object, repeats an object or names something not on the tray is out.

The tray is then removed and some or all of the objects replaced, and the game re-started with those who have remained. If the game is too easy for the group, add more objects or reduce the time. A variation of this game: After showing the objects, have each person write down as many objects as they can remember. Then read back the list of objects on the tray, one at a time while everyone marks them off if they have them written down. Give a prize to the person(s) with the most.

Untangle Group Game

You take out one person from the crowd and have them go into another room or be blindfolded. All the rest of the people hold hands in a circle. They then start tangling up (hands still being held, they can’t let go) by going under and over other peoples hands/legs, etc. After the whole group is completely tangled up, let the person come back in and try untangling everyone without anybody’s hands letting loose. If they are able to untangle the group-knot, they win a prize.

Egg on a Spoon

For this kid activity, you’ll need dessert spoons, hard boiled eggs, silly putty eggs, plastic Easter eggs with a little present inside to weigh it down (possibly with a little present suiting your theme) or any other form of “egg”. The goal here is to run from a starting point to a finishing line with an egg on a spoon. If the egg is dropped, the kid has to start again. You can work this as either a competition between teams, an individual timed race on an obstacle course, or just see who can make it the farthest without dropping their egg.

Who Am I

Place a picture or a name of someone or something on the back of everyone at the party. Then everyone takes turns asking others questions about who they may be (what’s on there back). The only answer you can give is – “yes” or “no”. You can customize the game to fit almost any theme, for example at a Safari Party choose pictures or names of animals for each person. The reason this is a good game is that it can fit to almost any theme. For example, for Dora the Explorer or Spongebob who have many different characters

Freeze Dance Kid Activity

You play music for the kids who jump and dance around, then randomly stop it and when the music stops everyone needs to freeze like statues. Whoever moves when the music has stopped – is out. Continue, the last one in the game is the winner!

Bobbing For Apples

You will need a bucket and apples (choose the amount of apples by the amount of people who will be participating). You will also need a stopwatch/timer/clock. Fill the bucket with water and place the apples in the bucket so that they are floating. Now one at a time, you have to time each participant when they try getting the apple out (only using their mouth) and run to a specified point. Now you stop the clock and record the times. The person who caught an apple in their mouth in the smallest amount of time, wins! After collecting an apple, each guest can EAT and ENJOY! You can also make it harder by putting FREEZING water in the bucket!! This game can also be played with lollies, chocolate bars, etc.

Hide and Seek

The most classic kid activity out there is – Hide and Seek! It never gets boring and is always fun. Everyone hides except for one person who closes his/her eyes, counts to 30 and then has to find all the others.

Unwrap And Pass The Package

Submitted by Megan from St. Michael

This is a fun game for most ages. But also a game that is NOT for kids that are really young. It involves unwrapping a present. I played this at my seven year old and twelve year old’s parties. They loved it! So basically, you get 1 present that the age group would like, and wrap it a lot. You take the amount of girls and/or boys there are, and add more layers of wrapping paper. If the group is younger, put a little candy or bracelet in each layer except for the one with the prize. I can assure you that your daughter and her friends will love playing this game.

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