Everybody remembers their childhood birthdays, from the often sorry-looking homemade birthday cakes to the adrenaline-fuelled games of musical chairs.
Having been the birthday star at many childhood celebrations, you probably already have strong ideas about what birthday party games do and don’t work at kids’ parties.
Keep reading to find out which toddler party games are sure to be a hit at kids’ parties.
Toddler birthday party games
If you’re planning a birthday celebration, you might be wondering which birthday party games for toddlers will work best for a toddler birthday party. Here are some suggestions:
This is one of the classic party games that is bound to be a hit with older toddlers. Shout out a list of instructions such as “Simon says jump on the spot. Simon says lie down. Simon says pull a silly face”.
When you shout out instructions without first saying “Simon says”, the children should ignore you. Anybody who does as you say is out of the game.
Follow the leader
This is a popular party game because toddlers love being silly and they especially love it when adults are silly, too. For this toddler’s party game, you’ll need one shameless adult who’s not afraid to think outside the box.
First, have the children line up behind them and copy everything the adult does. Then, the adult should make their way around the room, jumping, dancing and wriggling until all the children are giggling.
Birthday party games for one year olds
Realistically, one-year-olds aren’t going to be able to play many games. However, don’t lose hope; there are birthday party games for toddlers and activities you can do with younger children, such as:
Pass the parcel
With one-year-olds, this classic party game is likely to be one for the parents. Have the young children sit on a parent’s knee and have the parents help with the game.
It might not be a game as such, but one-year-olds love watching a bubble machine. Carry the bubble machine around the room, so the babies each get a turn to be closest to it. If any of the one-year-olds are toddling, you might find they follow you.
Birthday party games for two year olds
Two-year-olds have usually mastered the dance moves and some of the words to their favorite nursery rhymes. A sing-a-long is the perfect way to have them work off some energy. If you’re not a fan of singing in public, you could use a sound system to play the songs.
Here are some suggested songs to include in your child’s birthday party:
- The Wheels On The Bus
- Sleeping Bunnies
- Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes
- If You’re Happy and You Know, Clap Your Hands
- Hokey Pokey
- Baby Shark.
The parachute game is usually played with a big, bright, circular piece of cloth, although you can use a table cloth just as easily.
Position the children (and parents) around the parachute and place balloons or ball-pit balls on the parachute. Have the parents raise and lower the parachute in time with the music. The balls will be thrown off and the toddlers have to bring them back.
Birthday party games for three year olds
As toddlers grow older, they learn to take turns and follow instructions to enjoy more complicated games. Here are a couple of classic party games to try at your three-year old’s birthday do:
Is there anything better in life than beating the heck out of a piñata and being rewarded with sweets? Probably not.
Set up the piñata at toddler height and have the toddlers wait for their turn. Each toddler gets to hit the piñata and see if they can burst the bag of sweets. Have an emergency piñata to hand in case it bursts before everybody has had a turn. Make sure all the kids take a packet of sweets away with them.
Want to impress the parents? Fill the piñata with party favors instead of sugary sweets.
The aim of the game is to stay as still as possible when the music stops and do your best dancing when the music is playing. Any children moving or wobbling when the music finishes are out.
Keep playing additional rounds until there is only one child left. That child wins the prize. You can also give out a prize for the best dance moves to give extra incentive to the kids.
Toddler party games and activities
It’s always a good idea to have activity stations set up around the party that guests can explore as they like. For toddlers, the following activity stations are bound to be a success:
Party hat decorating
Toddlers love crafts. Have the toddlers decorate their own party hats. To keep mess to a minimum, use stickers and crayons for decorations. The parents probably won’t thank you if the toddlers cover their party clothes in paint, glitter and glue!
Another fun crafty activity is biscuit decorating. Have plain biscuits set up on a table with plenty of decorative accessories, such as writing icing, mini marshmallows, and chocolate buttons. The toddlers will love creating yummy biscuits to take home with them.
Christmas party toddler games
Here are some Grinch-free games to guarantee you some festive fun during a Christmas party for toddlers:
Stick the nose on Rudolph
All you need is a big picture of Rudolph, a big red nose, and a blindfold. Blindfold the child and lead them safely to Rudolph. Now, it’s up to them to get the nose in the right place. The children will find it hilarious when the nose ends up in the wrong place.
Santa’s missing presents
Uh oh, Santa’s sack has a hole in it, and all the presents have fallen out! Can the party guests help Santa find the missing presents before it’s too late?
Ask each child to find one gift and then come back and sit in a circle. This will ensure each child gets to retrieve a gift. Make sure you note where you hide all the gifts so you know where to look if any children are struggling to locate a present.
Toddler party games outside
If you’re throwing an outdoor toddler party, you’ll need some outdoor party games. You’ll also need to warn the parents of toddler guests the party will be outdoors so they can make sure their children are appropriately dressed. Here are some activities you could play:
This is a great game to play at outside kids’ birthday parties. You can hide things (not too well) for younger toddlers and have them all run around looking for them. For older toddlers, you should use clues to help them find the treasure. For a pirate-themed party, you could use a treasure map.
What time is it, Mr. Wolf?
Mr. Wolf stands with his back to all the children waiting at the other end of the lawn. The children shout out, “What time is it, Mr. Wolf?” Mr. Wolf should then give a time – for example, “It’s five o’clock”. The children then move forward five paces.
If Mr. Wolf answers, “Dinnertime!” he will turn and chase the all the kids back to the starting line. If he catches someone, that child becomes Mr. Wolf for the next turn.
What can I do for my toddler’s birthday?
As the party planner, you can do whatever you like for your toddler’s birthday party. For example, you might decide to have friends and family gather in your house or garden for a first birthday. On the other hand, if you’re planning to invite an entire nursery class of three-year-olds, you might prefer to hire a venue so the mess isn’t left in your home.
The great thing about toddler birthday parties is the parents stay at the party. Although this means you need to provide drinks and cake for the adults, it also means you don’t have to parent anybody else’s child.
If you’d like party theme inspiration for the celebration, be sure to look at our article Party Ideas | Kids Birthday Party Themes and Suggestions.
How long should a toddler party last?
Two hours is plenty of time for a toddler birthday party. You don’t want to make the party too long because then children are likely to get bored. Be sure to consider nap times when planning your party if the toddler guests are still likely to require daytime naps.
Want to know what to expect on the day? Check out BellyBelly’s article 10 Things That Happen At Every Toddler Birthday Party.