Keep your theme in mind when planning your party. Any game can be modified to fit
your theme. Think about the age of your guests and plan things that are age-appropriate.
You would not want to have a two and three year old try to play an organized sport.
(Blue denotes link to specific activity directions)
Two and Three Year Olds:
At this age keeping the activities simple and based on interest of the individual
child is best. This is not the age to try group activities unless you have willing
kids and a few helpers. Best rule of thumb is to invite only the number of kids
to your child’s party that coincides with their age plus one. So a two year old would
have two to three guests. A three year old would have three or four guests.
Best activities for this age include: (Blue indicates link)
Playing with air filled balloons (watch so no one pops them, and pick up pieces immediately
if they do)
Dancing to music
Learning simple songs and hand motions
Playing hide and seek games (like an Easter Egg Hunt but you hide objects that are
similar that relate to the theme of your party. Do not use perishable items, in
case some don’t get found...) Can use stuffed animals or shape cut outs or stickers.
You can make it so once everyone finds something they get to play with it or keep
it. You decide.
Follow the Leader
Marching to music
Hula Hoop (using a hula hoop just to explore using best if one per child)
Sandbox dig (look for hidden objects–gems, shells etc.) Best done outside.
With this age you can get a bit more into organized games. Some will have more interest
than others. Offer choices for those who do not wish to participate. Try to fashion
games to find ways to keep a person in. Some of the same activities listed for twos
and threes can also be used with this age group. They still like to do a lot of
the easier activities also. Any of the following can also have variations to the
game to fit your theme or variations to the game rules to fit your age group. (For
example: With Simon Says, I don’t make people that make a mistake on Simon Says be
out, they have to jump once, then on the second mistake they have to jump twice,
mistake three jump three times. It keeps everyone in, entertained, and some kids
like to jump even if they didn’t mess up!)
Good activities for this age group include: (Blue indicates Link)
In this age group you can begin to play more complex games and activities. They
can do more physically and mentally are ready for more complex organized games. Consider
your guests when planning. If they error toward the younger of the age group, you
can always modify and simplify more complicated games to keep everyone happy. Likewise,
you can also take simpler games and make them more complicated for the older portion
of the age group. Have fun! All games can be modified to fit your theme. In stead
of Duck, Duck, Goose for a dog party play “woof, woof, howl” or Cat, Cat, Dog (because
dogs LOVE to chase cats!)
Crafts at this age group can really have some fun. By this time, kids are finishing
up the developing of fine motor skills and can really put their skills to use. Keep
directions clear and precise and have a model made and make one with them to help
them. Most will begin to follow much more complex directions if they are clear.
Tweens: Nine to Twelve Year Olds
You can really have a lot of fun with this age group. They are definitely ready
for some complex, organized activities. On the flip-side, some tend to be pickier
for the activities that they wish to participate in.
Group dynamics also comes into play with this age group. Though most would probably
play some of the younger kid games, some may find those games “un cool or baby-ish”
and thus, sway the rest of the group. However, oddly, once the games start, many
of those same people that thought it “un cool” will join in and be the most active
Getting a group of tweens to play some games are all in the presentation. If you
leave things open in this age group by asking, “Do you want to do ___________?” vs.
“Next is _______” or just by starting to give the next direction, “I’d like everyone
to stand in a circle...” leaves no question of the plans of what is going to happen
next. The latter options are less likely to be shot down at just the mere idea of
Even in the planning stages ideas can be shot down by your own kid because they aren’t
sure how their friends might think about the activities. I have found though that
when I involve the kids in the planning process, I only do it for portions of it
to get a gist of the kinds of things they want to include at this age. Too many
options boggle the mind for them (and us), so I usually do all my final plans close
to the hip (and do not share until the events are happening!) Though I do have them
at this age help prep for the games or activities.
Hide and Seek games (use big spaces–like entire street; be sure to get neighbor permission
Capture the Flag
Look for hidden treasure (maybe hide candy, something to go with the them of the
party, tickets to be redeemed for treat, use your imagination)
Kick the Can
See Links below for more game ideas
Teens: Thirteen to Eighteen
You might think your party days are done by this time, but actually teens love a
good party. It gives them a chance to hang out with their friends and provides them
with constructive activities. Given all the things they could be doing, what is
wrong with a little safe fun? Oddly, older teens like to relive some of those childhood
games and have the best time doing it. It depends on your group. This tends to
be the age also for boy/girl parties. So plan accordingly. This age group your child
knows their friends pretty well. They can have a list of activities to ask their
friends what would be fun and also have some set activities.
Best activities for this age group:
See any of the lists previously
Scavenger Hunts (either to collect items, pictures, or to find the next clue–by this
age they can use the neighborhood or around town if they are driving)