When kids arrive allow them time to get into character by having them add their finishing
Wild West garb. The choice is yours how much you want to do to add to their costume.
If you want to keep things relatively cheap, stick to the basics. I would also
consider purchasing these items instead of a goody bag.
Holster might be a hard item to find; you could make one or use rope and make a loop
with a knot that is big enough to hold the water pistol and then tie it on to each
child as a belt. The loop will be where the child can carry the water pistol (like
Practice being cowboy/Quick Draw:
Prep: Costumes, (optional-stick horses or brooms as pretend horses, pistols for
Read directions to Quick Draw
After guests start to arrive, allow a bit of free time just to play around being
a cowboy. If you have selected water pistols as part of the costume, you can let
kids get some additional target practice in. (They pistols could also be nerf guns
or marshmallow shooter--you do not need to buy one for each child though--they can
share to keep your costs down) This part should be done outside or in a garage if
water pistols are used.
Teach everyone the two gestures: "Quick draw" (Finger "pistols" draw and pointed)
and "Hands up" (that's it). They face each other and when one says "Draw" both try
to either "Quick draw" or respond appropriately "Hands up" when the other "draws".
Object is to trap the opponent in doing the same gesture. Such gives one point to
person who called "draw". Perhaps a system of rotation of gunslingers could be added.
Stations Game Ideas:
The following list can be used as ideas for "stations" at parties with larger number
of guests or for choices for parties with smaller number of guests. For stations,
depending on the number of guests, you could play these games in smaller groups.
Guests should be split into equal (or close to equal) smaller groups.
Have the same number of groups as you do stations (example: 3 stations=3 groups of
guests) Depending on the number of adult helpers that you have in attendance at
your party (if you do stations this is highly recommended), determine the number
of activities you might want to choose from (i.e. if you only have three adult helpers
you could have 2-3 station activities). Each station could be set up as an activity
that the guests rotate through. You can set the time limit (10-15 minutes is optimal)
to play these games.
Games good for smaller stations, but could be used as whole group:
Snake in the Boot (or Hat)!
Prep: Boots (cowboy, would fit better with the theme but work boots could be a
good compromise) or hat (if all else fails a cowboy hat would work also!), small
plastic snakes (online or party stores)
Have kids take turns dropping snakes into the boot (hat). You can determine the number
of snakes per round. First, they can stand over and drop a few snakes from shoulder
height. Next round, drop snakes from over head. (Choices for more rounds if needed...drop
from waist, from top of a chair, their choice. Most snakes in boot or hat wins.
Can keep running tally of all kids or just as personal best.
Prep: Horseshoe game– need horse shoe set for kids or adult set (borrow or purchase).
Set up an area (outside preferably, but a garage could work or if you choose a nerf
gun then it could be inside) to shoot at targets-tin cans or empty pop bottles. Have
a container (like bale of hay or tub set upside down) to set the cans on. Line them
up. Have someone to reset them up after each child knocks them all off. If you
plan on having more than one child doing target practice...it might make it easier
to set up two separate tin can shooting containers right next to each other (5 pop
bottles or tin cans on each container).
Lasso rope tying/Lasso the Horse
Prep: Rope (cotton blend), tape ends and/or tie a knot in each end to keep from fraying
before cutting , cut to 3-5 feet-- one for each guest at the party. Youtube video--video
for tying lasso, station best set up near a computer on a table or floor. Additional
help may be required depending on age of guests.
**Always a good idea to test out projects to make sure everything goes smoothly ...practice
tying knot and following directions ahead before guests arrive.
Lasso the Horse
Prep: You will need a horse of some kind–a saw horse (or chair) and a broom work
well. You can use your imagination. Let the kids practice lassoing the "horse".
Have guests follow directions on video to tie their lassos--younger guests will need
help. Let the kids practice with "lassoing the horse" or any rope twirling tricks
they want to practice.
WARNING--DO NOT LET THE KIDS LASSO EACH OTHER! THE SLIPKNOT/HONDA KNOT IS SIMILAR
TO A NOOSE. BE SURE TO WARN THEM THAT LASSOS SHOULD NEVER, NEVER BE USED TO LASSO
A PERSON OR ANIMAL! EXPLAIN THAT THEY COULD ACCIDENTALLY HURT SOMEONE VERY SERIOUSLY
IF IT WERE TO GET CAUGHT ON SOMEONE'S NECK OR HEAD. NO TO ANY LASSOS TO PERSONS
GROUP GAME CHOICES:
Three-legged Sack Relay:
Prep: Need 2-4 potato/burlap sacks or old pillow cases or two bandannas per team
(to tie legs together-one leg of each person to the other so that the team is running
on three legs), a marker (cones, rope, trees) to mark the start and finish of the
race. Read and print the rules to Three Legged Relay
Directions: Form two equal lines roughly 4-10 ft apart. Have each team "count off"
each from their left to right, putting ones at opposite ends. Each person has a
number (your similar number should not be facing you ...unless you are the middle
of the line). An adult or leader places a flag(s) midway between the lines on the
ground and calls numbers at random, the numbered players must run to snatch the flag
and return to their line without being tagged by their opposite of the same number.
They can't be tagged until they have the flag, however. Successfully stealing "the
bacon" (the flag) gives their team a point. After each showdown, they both proceed
to the same end of line (assuring new opponents each time), all players are renumbered
and play resumes. This game is very popular with older children and teens, and while
being a low activity, but exciting game.
Prep:Bandanna, Read and print the rules of Hanky Tag (Party Game Central)
Played similarly Duck, Duck, Goose but with some changes. See game rules.
Prep:Read directions and rules ahead. Go over the rules with the kids and practice
the directions to make sure everyone understands.
Form up the children into Cows [two children, one the head (hand forming horns) and
one the rear, hands on other child's hips] (Cows must walk unless it's a Stampede)
and cowboys one hand on hip, the other twirling a pretend rope - (cowboys must skip).
There should be at least three or four times as many cows as Cowboys. When a cowboy
rides along side a cow and says "Git-a-long little doggie," the cow must move with
the cowboy, and becomes part of the herd (which stays together unless there is a
stampede - first cow becomes the leader). "Whoa Doggies" stops a herd's movement.
Cowboys try to gather herds and drive them to Dodge. Cows just try to "wander and
eat grass". Cowboys can and probably should work together.
Options: Some Game Leader's calls (to make things harder):
"Stampede" All the cows will break free from their Cowboys and run till tagged by
"Rustlers" - the Cowboys must change Herds. Or A Cowboy can try to steal another's
"Mavericks" - Unescorted herds may reverse themselves (heads become tails) and wander
from the herd.
"River Crossings" or "Dust Storms" requires two Cowboys per herd to keep them together
or cross a line.
Make index cards for each of the following words or phrases (feel free to add some
of your own): horse, horseshoes, lasso, shoot out, shooting a gun, cactus, tumbleweed,
herding, cooking over a campfire, cow, saddle, boots, cowboy hat, roundup, rodeo,
stampede, bucking bronco, hunting, fishing, drinking water from a stream, dog barking,
wolf howling, full moon, putting a horseshoe on a horse, drinking water from a canteen,
rope tricks, gun tricks, climbing into a saddle on a horse, getting a horse to run,
whistling, rattlesnake, riding in a wagon
Have guests who would like to act out one of the actions on a slip of paper for the
others to try and guess. Can do as a large group or in teams. Follow rules to Charades.
Prep: Read the rules of Rattlesnake Tag ahead.
First choose who will be the rattlesnake head and the rattle snake tail. The guests
line up in single file behind the head with their hands on the player's hips in front
of them. Tail is last in line. When the head says, "Go!" the snake begins to follow
the head while the head tries to tag the tail. The players in the middle move around
to keep the head from getting the tail. The rattlesnake cannot come apart. If the
head gets the tail then the head becomes the new tail and then second person in line
behind the head becomes the new head. Can break guests down into small groups if
have a lot of players or keep as a big snake for a hiss of a good time! http://www.fungameskidsplay.com/taggames.htm
Optimal time to get dinner or cake/dessert ready. (optional)
Pair kids up when they arrive. Spread the guests out around the playing area. Have
them link arms with their partners to form a circle. Choose 2 kids to start as the
"runners". One runner will be the "Cattle Dog" and the other runner will be the "calf".
The Cattle Dog will try to catch the calf. The calf is trying to get safely to the
corral The corral is linking up in the circle with the other guests completely before
the Cattle Dog tags the calf. The calf is only safe when he/she links arms with
someone. The other person in that pair will then become the calf. A new Cattle Dog
is chosen. When the cattle dog catches the calf they switch roles.
Prep: Need plastic snake, country western music, CD player.
Rattle Snake Ruckus which is played like Hot Potato to music. Each player passes
the rattle snake and is out when the music stops or sits in the middle for a turn
until the next one gets bitten by the rattler.
Prep: Make sure to have camera or video camera charged! Have a paper and pencil
for writing names and presents for thank-you notes later.
Continue to play Rattlesnake Ruckus (see above)or play it by passing around a cowboy
hat or horseshoe, but this time when the music stops the person holding the snake
or selected object gets to have the birthday child open their present. That person
is then out. Continue to play until all guests presents have been opened.
(SEE CAUTION BELOW BEFORE DECIDING ON THIS ACTIVITY)
Will need to start fire early and keep it attended.
Prep: Borrow a book or check out the list Wild, Wild West--It includes book titles
to be borrowed from the library and songs and poems to teach around the campfire.
Suggestions for campfire: If you happen to have a campfire ring or fire pit to your
patio... wahoo you are in business. For the majority of the population, I would
suggest a fireplace (if you have one), borrow a fire pit or chimnea from a friend.
A grill could work to for roasting marshmallows or s'mores for a shorter period of
CAUTION: NEVER, NEVER LEAVE CHILDREN UNATTENDED OR UNSUPERVISED AROUND FIRE. PLEASE
KEEP CHILDREN AWAY FROM FIRE AND GO OVER FIRE SAFETY BEFORE THIS ACTIVITY CHOICE(SEE
BELOW). HAVE A WATER AND SAND BUCKETS TO EXTINGUISH THE FIRE. EXTINGUISH FIRE COMPLETELY
BEFORE LEAVING VICINITY.
It is a good idea to preview the movie and/or check out sites like commonsensemedia.org
or Rotten Tomatoes or others for reviews about movies before allowing guests to see
it at your party. Please consider all guests before showing a movie to assure age-appropriateness
Let kids practice being cowboys!! Play any game not played the evening before. Opt
for easy breakfast.
This party agenda can be used as a "guide". Activities may be omitted or rearranged.
Some activities might be more popular with the kids, so feel free to adjust based
on child interest level. Kids also like to add in games that they have learned or
know. This is totally okay to allow kid-run activities at 7+yo!
If you want to have a dinner as portion of the evening festivities ...I would recommend
choosing a time while the kids are engaged in a game that can be done by themselves
and having an easy meal with the bulk of the prep done ahead.
Note: A good party always has plenty to do to keep the kids engaged...so plan more
as a fail-safe...not enough to do can be SCARY! Also, if the guests are having fun
with one activity, no need to try to rush them through something just because you
have more planned. Use their interest level as your guide.