One of the things we’ve all learned over the past year is that birthday parties don’t actually need to be so complicated. Children got a kick out the drive-by birthday party parades and Facetime surprises, so maybe in-person birthday parties can get back to basics too.

If you are planning a birthday party this fall or winter, you are going to need to get creative as we all do our part to socially distance. The fun doesn’t need to stop though - you can host a party with a small group of masked up friends and have a great time with any of these birthday party games for children. 

1. Egg on a Spoon Race

This is a simple relay race that you can pull off inside or outside. Materials needed: Spoons and PLASTIC eggs. You’ll be very thankful for this advice when it’s time for cleanup.

2. Freeze Tag

If the weather is still nice where you are this fall and winter, take advantage of it and get the little ones out of your house and into the yard. Freeze tag is simple, free, and will tire them out in no time!

3. Freeze Dance

Crank up KIDZ BOP on the speakers, get your finger ready on the pause button, and you have yourself a party! Bonus - if you need to, you can even play this over Zoom.

4. Scavenger Hunt

A great birthday party scavenger hunt can be inside, outside, or even online. Give your  children a list of things to find throughout the house or yard and hand out prizes for most items found, fastest, or most unique. Don’t forget the bonus gift for the little one who finds the lost remote! 

5. Hot Potato

Our friends at KIDZ BOP make another fun appearance here as the musical accompaniment to Hot Potato. The only other thing you need is a ball to pass around. (And yes, if Let It Go is requested that can be played too).

6. Simon Says

Simon Says touch your toes. Simon Says jump up and down. Simon Says throw a load of laundry in. (Hey, it was worth a shot.)

7. Charades

You can make this classic birthday party game little kid friendly with picture charades. Draw or print out pictures of animals, plants, and sports, and then children five and under can get their charades on too!

8. Hide and Seek

Ready or not, here I come! Well, YOU’RE not going anywhere actually. You are sitting in a chair quietly because even with one or two little ones, hide and seek can take up a nice chunk of time and requires very little adult involvement.

9. Limbo

Have a broom and some music? You have limbo! 

10. Four Corners

Assign each corner of the room a number. The child who starts off as the caller closes his or her eyes and all the other kids scramble to a corner. With eyes still closed, the caller shouts out a number and everyone standing in that corner is out. Repeat until you have one child left in the game while the others are sneaking off for extra cake.

11. Clothes Relay Race

Another spin on the classic picnic relay race. Form two lines of kids and in front of them place different piles of clothes - oversized shorts, hats, tshirts, etc. Each kid has to run to the pile, put on an item of clothing, and then run to the next pile. Once they reach the end, the next kid on their team goes. First team with all the kids across the finish line in full adult-sized getup wins.

12. I’m Going on a Picnic

Want the kids to sit still for a minute? Try I’m Going on a Picnic. “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing something with the letter A. An alpaca!” Then onto B, C, D, along with corresponding picnic or non picnic items. Kids are hilarious so they’ll make this fun!

13. Museum Guard

In this birthday party game, one child acts as the museum guard while the other kids are the statues. The guard goes on his or her rounds to check on the statues; if a statue moves then they’re out. Last statue standing still wins!

14. Get Crafty

Markers, stickers, popsicle sticks, glue, glitter! No, nevermind forget we said glitter… Put together a cute seasonal craft or simply give a group of creative kids some craft supplies and they’ll be happily cutting, pasting, and decorating until cake time.

15. What’s Different?

For this game, one child leaves the room and changes one thing about themselves. For example, they put their hat on backwards or put their hair in a ponytail. Then the other kids try to guess what’s different about them when they come back.

16. Decorate Cookies

Decorating cookies may not be a traditional birthday party game, but it is a great activity to keep your little bakers happy and sugared up. Make this activity germ blocking friendly by giving each kid their own little bowls of icing and decorations.

17. Tell Me a Story

Children as young as five can have fun with the Tell Me a Story game. One child starts off saying “Once upon a time,” then each child takes turns coming up with a new one sentence part of the story until it ultimately comes to an end with aliens, unicorns, fire trucks, and raining cupcakes.

18. Water Balloon Toss

For our friends in warm climates, a water balloon toss outside is a great way for kids to have fun while giving each other space. Take a step back from your partner after each toss to make it more challenging.

19. Pin the Tail on the Donkey

This birthday party classic works inside or outside, with or without a donkey! Pin the nose on the clown, pin the cherry on the sundae, pin the mask on the face - lots of options to buy or make at home.

20. The Quiet Game

Okay now kids, everyone see how long you can be quiet for! (You never know, you could get lucky!)

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