9 Easy-To-Theme Party Games Your Kids Will Love


It’s Jenny’s 6th birthday in a few weeks so I am in full party-planning mode and party games are high on the agenda! Over the next few weeks, I’ll be writing posts on

But today, we’re focusing on party games.

Party Themes

We always theme our kids parties. So far, the themes we’ve had are Frozen, Winnie the Pooh, magic, CBeebies, Peter Rabbit and Tangled. It’s so easy to theme children’s parties:

  1. choose a palette of colours for the decorations (more on this in the budget post)
  2. encourage your guests to wear relevant costumes
  3. work your party games around the theme

Party Games

1. Pin The Tail On The Donkey

Pin the tail on the donkey is a classic party game where the child is blindfolded and has to put their donkey tail shape onto the big donkey picture in the right place.

Now try to find something that’s relevant to your party – are there any other animals connected with the theme that you could use instead? Is there a particular place that a character has to travel to (e.g. pin Rapunzel in her tower)?

Previous alternatives we’ve had include “Pin the dots on Mr Tumble’s Bag” and “Pin the carrot nose on Olaf”. The Mr Tumble one is great for young kids as they can get it anywhere on the bag and it counts as a win!

(note: children under 3 won’t need blindfolding but you might want to give them a spin for effect!)

2. Dancing Corners

In this game, the children dance to music, and when the music stops, they have to choose a corner of the room to stand in. Each corner will have a name. Without looking, an adult calls out one of the names and all the children in that corner get a sweet (or have to do a forfeit if you prefer!).

We like to name each corner a place name from the theme. For example, the Winnie the Pooh theme had a) Christopher Robin’s House, b) 100 Acre Wood, c) Eeyore’s Gloomy Place, d) The Six Pine Trees.

party games present gift card

3. How Green You Are

Send a child (the searcher) to wait outside the room. Everyone else hides the object. When the searcher comes back in, the group need to tell him where the object is by singing. The louder they sing, the closer the searcher is to the object.

The song is to the tune of Auld Lang Syne and is simply:

How green you are,

How green you are,

How green you are,

How green.

How green you are,

How green you are,

How green you are,

How green.

You could adapt the game by changing the colour – does one of the characters have a favourite colour? Does anyone in the theme wear a particular colour?

You could also adapt it by making the hidden object relevant to the theme. Is there anyone or anything that gets lost in your theme? For example, you could search for treasure in a Pirate-themed party. In our Tangled party, we searched for Pascal (a chameleon from the film).

4. Musical Statues

No party is complete without a game of musical statues! Traditionally, the children dance to music and then freeze when the music stops. The last person to freeze is “out”.

Update this game by giving them something different to do instead of freezing. Perhaps they could strike a superhero pose for a Batman party. Maybe they could curl up in a ball for a football party.

5. Paper Trails

In this simple game, children hunt for pieces of paper that are blue-tacked around the room. The child that finds the most wins.

Theme this game by printing characters or images on the pieces of paper. Then allocate each child a different character so they have to find all the pieces of paper with that image on. The first child to find all of their papers wins. For example, print images from a deck of cards for a magic theme and each child has to find a different number (i.e. all the 3s).

If you don’t have lots of characters in your theme, you could choose one image and print it in several different colours. Then allocate each child a colour to find.

party games magic doc of cards

6. Scavenger Hunt

Divide the children into teams. The adult calls out an item that they have to find (e.g. £1 coin) and their designated runner must find one and bring it to the adult. The first one to bring the correct item wins. Then each team chooses a new runner.

One way to fit this game into your theme is to call out items that are related to your theme (e.g. tiara, shoe, jewellery for a princess-themed party) but it can be difficult to think of enough objects.

I prefer to call out random objects but name the game something to do with the theme. For example, our Frozen party featured “Oaken’s Winter Stock Scavenger Hunt” because, in the film, Oaken is running out of winter stock for his shop. Are there any shops in your film? Is there a character who is good at finding things? Is there a character who is sent on missions?

For children 5 and under (or if you’re in a small space rather than a hall), I recommend giving each team a box with all the items in so they only have to rummage through that rather than running around trying to find things. To make it a little more difficult, you could add extra items or a bag of ball-pool balls.

7. Captain’s Coming

Running around games are great for kids parties because it gives them somewhere to focus their excited energy. Growing up, Captain’s Coming was one of my favourite games. Basically, the leader calls out different commands and the children have to do them (e.g. “Captain’s coming!” means you have to stand and salute). The last person to do it is “out” and if you do the wrong action, you’re “out”.

This is so easy to adapt because you just choose commands that are relevant to your theme. Is there a character who has a funny walk (or perhaps an animal that walks on 4 legs or jumps)? Yell out the name and the children have to replicate it. Is there anyone the characters have to hide from? Yell their name and the children have to freeze. Are there any characters who have a catchphrase? Maybe say the first half of the catchphrase and the children have to shout the second part back at you.

Here are a few examples we’ve used:

  • FROZEN: “Hi, I’m Olaf” – hug the person next to you (in the film, Olaf says he likes warm hugs)
  • CBEEBIES (Charlie and Lola): “I have this little sister, Lola” – crouch down on the floor (every episode starts with Charlie saying, ‘I have this little sister, Lola. She is small and very funny)
  • MAGIC: “Abracadabra!” – make jazz hands

Plus, you can use your place names from Dancing Corners (see above) and the children have to run to the corner that you call out. It’s also fun to call out another corner just as they’re getting to the first one so they all have to change direction and get to their new destination.

party games dog wearing party hat

8. Melting Icebergs

Scatter a few pieces of newspaper on the floor. The children have to run round, and when the leader shouts “Storm”, they all need to jump on a piece of newspaper. You can limit how many are allowed on per sheet if you like. Anyone not on an “iceberg” is “out”. Gradually get rid of your icebergs until you have a winner.

If you want to theme this game, choose an alternative command that links to your theme and rename the icebergs. So if you were doing a Peter Rabbit theme, you might call out “Mr McGregor!” (he’s the baddy) and your icebergs might be burrows for the rabbits to hide down.

Is there any time in the story where the characters have to jump onto something (e.g. horseback)? Do they have to hide from anyone? Do they all pile into a car or a boat or a castle?

9. Pass The Parcel

Pass the parcel is probably one of the most well-known party games there is! A prize is wrapped in lots of layers of wrapping paper. The children pass it around the circle and when the music stops, the child who is holding it can take off one layer. The child who takes off the last layer wins the prize.

For younger children, you can just theme this by choosing appropriate wrapping paper and a relevant prize. But for older children, it’s common to include a forfeit in some, if not all, the layers. Link these forfeits to your theme by including things such as:

  • Name 5 characters from [film name]
  • What is [character’s name] catchphrase?
  • How old is [character’s name]? Do that many jumps

 

Thank you for reading to the end (I know it was a long one today!) I hope you enjoyed my list and that I’ve inspired you to think about creating your own themed party. If you’d like to have a go at creating your own cupcakes to link with your theme, why not check out one of my fondant icing tutorials:

party games in the night garden cupcakes

In The Night Garden Cupcakes

party games animal farm buns all

Farm Animal Cupcakes

What were your favourite party games as a child? Have you ever thrown a themed party? What sort of parties do your children enjoy?

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29 Comments

Add yours
  1. 1
    justsayingmum

    just fab! always loved the pin the tail on the donkey, musical statues and pass the parcel – classics that always work! LOVE the idea of the dancing corners – didn’t know that one – reckon it could be quite fun as adults – what do you reckon?! Hope the party goes well! #MarvMondays

  2. 3
    Fran Back With A Bump

    Fab ideas. We have managed to avoid birthday parties for the last few years and been away instead, but this year it’s Ella’s 9th birthday and so I think she’s due a party. I hate all the fun mum party stuff so will probably cop out and go somewhere where they run it!! Thanks for joining us #marvmondays x

    • 4
      Lucy At Home

      I love the party planning. We don’t have loads of kids (8 this year) but I think it’s so much fun. Plus cost is a big factor to us – she’s getting the exact party she wants and it’s only costing me £6 per head. Win-win!

      I might regret it on the day, though, when my house is a tip and I’m tearing my hair out, wishing we’d just packed them off to a play gym! Haha.

  3. 14
    The Squirmy Popple

    This just goes to show that you don’t need to spend loads of money renting a fancy hall or hiring entertainment for a fund kid’s party. I remember playing many of these games as a kid and having a great time. #ablogginggoodtime

  4. 16
    Catie

    I proper parties for kids and captains coming is my all time fave. I used to play this with my kids in gym all the time! Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime

  5. 17
    Mrs Mummy Harris

    I love pass the parcel and musical statues, but where’s musical bumps?
    I used to love throwing myself on my bum when the music stopped! plus its amusing watching all the little ones keeping low haha! #PoCoLo

  6. 20
    Bridie By The Sea

    These are fab ideas – we love pin the tail on the donkey and pass the parcel! My stepson is a bit old for birthday parties as such now he is a teenager but we have all this to come with Emma. I’m sure she’ll be requesting all the party games before we know it 🙂 Thanks for linking up to #dreamteam xx

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