30 Preschool and Toddler Party Games
Keep party games short and simple
The motto for preschool games is: short and simple. You should expect that preschoolers and toddlers will concentrate for a maximum of ten minutes on any one game. There’s also a wide discrepancy between children at this age and what they can cope with. One child may be confident and willing to try anything while another will not cope at all.
The best option is to use games that are for everyone – that is – group games, a couple of energetic games and those that don’t have a winner or a loser. There’s nothing like a sore loser to ruin a party, and many children at this age simply can’t deal with the concept. Better to be safe than sorry.
30 Party Games for Toddlers and Preschoolers!
Have a selection of pictures of animals, and drop them into a container. There should be two of each animal. This game works best if there are at least eight children. All the children choose a card with a picture of an animal on it. They look at their card, but don’t say what they are. When you say, the only form of communication is the sound that the animal makes. The object is for each person to find their animal pair.
Line up the children beside you. Roll a large, heavy ball (like a swiss ball) along the ground trying to hit a goal – such as a particular tree, fence or the like. As soon as the ball leaves you, the children have to run as fast as they can to reach the goal before the ball does.
This game is best played outdoors, but some lounges may be big enough depending upon the size of the group.
Blow up a balloon and explain to the children that it is their job to make sure that the balloon doesn’t touch the ground. Let the children chase the balloon, using their hands to keep it high. If they are particularly good, or a little older, you might like to add more balloons to keep them on their toes.
Place a bucket a distance from the children. Give them each a ping pong ball. Have them take turns trying to throw the ball in the bucket. Make it harder by moving the bucket further and further away.
Cat and Mouse
The children sit in a circle, with one in the middle who is blindfolded, and is the ‘cat’. Everyone is very quiet. One person in the circle is the ‘mouse’. The ‘mouse’ must go around the circle and tap the ‘cat’ on the shoulder. The ‘cat’ can point in any direction where they hear a sound. If they point to the ‘mouse’ then another mouse must be chosen. If a mouse touches the cats shoulder, then they have a turn at being the cat.
Fill a toddler pool with water and allow a dish to sink to the bottom.
Give each child a coin. They can stand anywhere around the pool and try to get their coin to land on the dish through the water.
Place a number of cushions on the floor and have the children jump from on to the other without touching the ground.
Egg and Spoon Race:
Give each child a desert spoon with an egg balancing in it. Define a finish line and have them race towards it. If they drop it, then they need to go back to the start line. If you’re not into the mess, use hard-boiled eggs or ping pong balls.
Have a bag or box with lots of items. Blindfold the children one at a time and pass them two-three objects and they have to guess what they are.
Choose a person to be it, and mark the start line. The person who is it stands with his or her back to the players, counting to ten. When they get to ten, turn around quickly and all the players have to freeze. If anyone is caught moving, then they have to move back behind the start line. The person who manages to tag the person who is ‘it’, becomes ‘it’ for the next game.
Sit children in a circle. Go around the circle giving each child a fruit – apples, oranges or pears. Then, tell a story that includes lots of fruit. When you say the name of a fruit, then all those who are that fruit must stand up and clap their hands. If you say fruit salad, then everyone must stand up and clap their hands.
Choose one child to be ‘it’. He or she sits with their back to the group and covers their eyes. Tap one child on the shoulder. They stand and lean over ‘it’ and says: “Guess who’s talking” and goes back to their spot.
If ‘it’ manages to guess correctly then the children exchange places.
Hide and Seek
Choose one person to be ‘it’ and while they count to twenty (they may need your help!) the other children hide. When they reach twenty, they go and hunt for the other children. The last person found is ‘it’ for the next game.
Hot and Cold
Choose someone to be ‘it’ and an object to hide in the room. The other children leave the room while the object is hidden. The children re-enter the room and begin the hunt. When a person is near the object, ‘it’ calls “getting hotter” and as the move away “cold, getting cold”
Like to Skip
Say the poem and do the actions.
I like to skip.
I like to jump.
I like to run around.
I like to march.
I like to sing.
I like to laugh and
I like to SHOUT!
Play some music and have the children dance around.
Use items around the garage place it around the back yard so that children can crawl, go around, bounce, go over and under.
A beam is easily made with an old plank balaced on some bricks or tree stumps.
Ring a Rosy
All the children and an adult hold hands and walk around in a circle singing:
Ring a Ring a Rosy
A pocket full of Posy
Ah tishoo ah tishoo
We all fall down.
Then, sitting on the ground and rubbing their hands side to side:
Fishies in the water
Fishies in the sea
We all jump up with a
Ask your local produce company if you can have a few old sacks, or use strong (ie. expensive) plastic rubbish bags. Get everyone to climb into their sacks and jump or hop to the finish line.
Give each child a short list of things to find. Ideally, you will have pictures instead of words for this age group. Laminate the list for protection. Give them a small bag and tell them to go collecting.
• Blades of grass
If you are inside, the same goes but you might try:
• A saucepan lid
• A plastic cup or plate
• A jigsaw piece
• A piece of newspaper
For children who are four and above have them spread the items of the bag out in front of you and look at it for one minute. Then, take the list away and have them go and find the items based on memory.
Everyone must do what ‘Simon’ says when he or she begins with “Simon Says”, but not when they don’t.
Collect six empty milk or juice bottles and remove the labels and cleaning them. Decorate the bottles with coloured paper and fill with sand or soil to give them some weight. Stand them up in a group and allow each child to have a turn at rolling a ball at them, trying to knock them down.
Three Blind Mice
All the children stand in a circle. You choose one to go into the middle who will become the ‘farmers wife’. Sing “Three Blind Mice”. When you get to “Farmers Wife” at the end of the song, he or she chases all the mice. Who ever is caught then becomes the ‘farmer’s wife’.
On a paved area, draw a chalk line and get children to walk along it. Try to be different animals, or to go on tip toes or heels or backwards.
Define a start line at one end of playing area.
Choose a player to be ‘in’.
Other children stand behind the line and the person who is in stands some distance away, with his or her back to the players.
The person who is in calls out ‘Green Light”, and the rest of the players start creeping forward.
The person who is it calls “Red Light” and quickly turns around. If they see anyone moving the point to them and they have to move back to behind the start line.
The person who can tag the person who is in before they call “Red Light” is in for the next game.
Train in the Tunnel
Al the children form a line, one behind the other and spread legs apart.
The child at the back crawls through all the legs until they reach the front. They stand up and take the front of the line. Play until each child has had two or three turns each.
What Are You Wearing?
Gather the children together in a circle. Tell them that they will be given one minute to look really hard at each other and the clothes that they are wearing. Then, everyone closes their eyes while you choose one child to hide (behind a couch, out of the room or under a sheet). Each of the children have to describe what the hidden child is wearing.
Where Am I?
Using faces from magazines, glue them onto card. A decent size works best. Cut the face in half and place in a container. Gather the children together and have them choose one piece of card each. When you say so, children must go around the room and find the other half of their face.
Who Has The Rattle?
Use a baby rattle or add some seeds or nails to a container – anything as long as it makes a sound. Choose who will be ‘it’. Line the children up, while ‘it’ turns their backs. Select one child and hand them the container.
Choose one child to be Queenie. They stand with their back to the group and throw a ball (soft!) over their head toward the group. Whoever catches it stands with it behind their back as all the others stand in a line, hands behind their back pretending to hide the ball.
When ready they call: “Queenie, Queenie, who’s got the ball?” Queenie turns around and tries to guess who has got the ball. If he or she is right, then that person becomes the Queenie. If wrong, the game begins again.
Any one of these thirty party games for toddlers and preschoolers can be used to help make your child's birthday party a success!!
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