29 Birthday Party Games for Kids to Get the Party Started (And Keep It Going)

PureWow editors select every item that appears on this page, and the company may earn compensation through affiliate links within the story. All prices are accurate upon date of publish. You can learn more about the affiliate process here.

The presents have been opened and the cake has been what? When you’ve got a bunch of kids gathered together and hopped up on sugar, you need a game plan. Good news: Our round up of the best birthday party games for kids of all ages is packed with ideas that will burn off some of that energy while keeping the party vibes going.

25 of the Best Board Games to Play All Winter Long

Birthday Party Games - A young white girl in a yellow top sits on a green couch and looks surprised as she opens up a parcel wrapped in red wrapping paper.
Ippei Naoi/Getty Images

1. Pass The Parcel

Fast-paced and fun, this classic party game will be an instant hit with kids—and all you need is one present and plenty of wrapping paper (i.e., enough to wrap said present multiple times) to pull it off. To begin play, simply start and stop music as the guests pass the parcel around in a circle; whenever the music stops, the person holding the present gets to remove one layer or wrapping paper before the passing resumes. The game ends when one lucky partygoer sheds the final layer of wrapping and wins the prize. Hint: You might consider putting candy or a small prize in between each layer of wrapping paper so that no one walks away empty-handed.

Birthday Party Games - A number of young white children skip and play around in a grassy area. They are all in bathing suits and are tossing water balloons to one another.
Rebecca Nelson/Getty Images

2. Water Balloon Toss

Head outdoors with a bucket of water balloons for a test of hand-eye coordination that’s sure to make a splash. The rules are simple: Guests divide into pairs and toss a water balloon back and forth, taking one big step back with every successful catch. If the water balloon bursts, the pair is out of luck (and out of the game). Needless to say, the last twosome standing wins the toss—though that doesn’t mean they're safe from the water balloon fight that will likely ensue.

Birthday Party Games - A small child hides inside a tire that appears to be a part of a playground set up. You can only see a tiny bit of the child in the frame. In the distance you can see other children.
Cavan Images/Getty Images

3. Hide And Seek

This popular game for kids has stood the test of time, so we probably don’t need to tell you how to play. Suggest a round of hide-and-seek at a birthday party and children will eagerly scatter to various hiding spots in and outside the home. As for the seeker, his mission will grow stronger with each uncovered partygoer that joins his team.

Birthday Party Games - A couple of young white boys dressed as pirates sit together under a tree laughing and smiling. It appears that one of them tossed up some yellow objects that are now raining down on them. They are sitting shaded by a tree.
Peter Muller/Getty Images

4. Treasure Hunt

Make the kids work for their goody bags with a good old fashioned treasure hunt. To organize it, simply hide clues around the house or yard that, little by little, disclose the location of the loot. You can even create a map if you prefer—either way, the difficulty level can be tailored to the age of the guests in attendance so it’s sure to go over well with any crowd.

Birthday Party Games - Four children of different ethnicities run around three wooden chairs while playing a game of musical chairs ouside.
FG Trade/Getty Images

5. Musical Chairs

Chances are you already know how to play this classic party game, but just in case you need a refresher: Kids pace around a circle of chairs—one chair less than the number of guests—while music plays, and then compete for a seat when the tunes are put on pause. The kid left standing is out and one chair is removed before the next round begins. By the end of the game, two kids will be competing for a single seat...and the title of musical chair champion, of course.

Birthday Party Games - A young Black girl squats down in a living room and acts something out to an adult and a small child, presumably her family. The living room features a gray couch, gray rug and television.
PixelsEffect/Getty Images

6. Charades

A miming-and-guessing game known and loved by all, this activity promises to entertain kids and adults alike. That said, you should probably steer clear of charades at parties for the preschool crowd, since it’s highly likely a 4-year-old would curl up in a ball on the floor and then get disappointed when no one guesses ‘toaster’ (for example).

Birthday Party Games - A young boy with tan-skin wears a green and white striped polo shirt. He is using a piece of chalk to write on a black board. He is clearly in a bedroom of some kind.
filmstudio/Getty Images

7. Pictionary

Another beloved guessing game for players of all ages, Pictionary is also particularly well-suited to larger groups. The gist of this game is that guests are divided into two teams and one person from each team is nominated to bring one word to life with a sketch while their teammates try to guess what’s being drawn. Exciting, creative and often uproariously funny (particularly when unskilled artists are involved)—this one is a winner. Bonus: This one can also be adapted for play without the board game.

Birthday Party Games - A number of children of different ethnicities are playing a game of Red Rover. One young white boy tries to break through the chain formed by two white girls, one blond and one with brown hair. They are outside in a grassy area, surrounded by trees.
Andersen Ross/Getty Images

8. Red Rover

Red Rover is basically a childhood rite of passage, so it’s sure to be appreciated by both the young partygoers and the parents watching from the wings. In case you’ve forgotten, Red Rover consists of two human chains of tiny people, who then take turns calling for an opposing teammate to be sent over to try to break the link. This one is a ton of fun, but it’s best played outdoors, and a rather large group is required for the full experience.

Birthday Party Games - A number of children of different ethnicities play a relay race game. A tan girl with brown hair hi-fives a young white boy with brown hair. It's very sunny outside and the photograph is a bit blurry to indicate that the kids are running.
Thomas Barwick/Getty Images

9. Relay Race

Relay races are a reliably exciting addition to the party game lineup—not to mention, an excellent way to wear out a group of energetic kids. This track and field event consists of two teams competing against each other in a race with multiple legs. Each team member completes one component of the race and then gets relieved by the next teammate in line. There are endless variations on this one, so you can get creative and even add some silly challenges for good measure.

Birthday Party Games - Two young tan girls with brown hair and dressed in pink fairy costumes with wings chase one another around a grassy area. They each are holding balloons in their hands. It's a sunny day.
Alistair Berg/Getty Images

10. Balloon Waddle

This party game requires only one prop—and if there’s a birthday celebration happening, you likely already have it on hand. Best of all, the balloon waddle—a game in which participants race one another whilst trying to hold a birthday balloon securely between their legs—is as fun for grown-ups to watch as it is for little kids to participate in. Yep, try this one out and hilarity will surely follow.

Birthday Party Games - A number of children of different ethnicities run together in a game of freeze tag. They are running through a grassy area surrounded by trees.
FatCamera/Getty Images

11. Freeze Tag

In freeze tag—a well-established variation on the classic game—there are two players, designated as ‘it,’ who must run around trying to tag the rest of the fleeing partygoers. In this version, a player is neither out nor ‘it’ upon getting tagged—instead, a tagged player must freeze in place until another player comes around to unfreeze them with a double high five, at which point they can rejoin the game again. Given the amount of running involved, it goes without saying that this party game is best played outdoors. That said, it’s a great way for kids to burn off the post-birthday cake sugar high.

Birthday party Games - A young Black boy in a gray shirt and red bandana blindfold holds out his hands while two other young Black children dressed in a white dress and a gray shirt stand around him. They are all in a grassy area surrounded by trees.
Robert Kneschke/EyeEm/Getty Images

12. Marco Polo

You’re probably familiar with Marco Polo as a popular water game, but you needn’t be throwing a pool party for the guests to get in on the fun. Indeed, Marco Polo can be played in much the same way on land with one blindfolded child calling out ‘Marco’ and the rest of the players forced to reveal their location by answering ‘Polo’ in response, whilst trying to escape being tagged.

Birthday party Games - A young Black boy in a green and white striped top jumps with his arms out in the center of the frame. Behind him are a couple of other children of other ethnicities run and mimic his motions. They are in front of a house surrounded by a tree with green foliage.
Jupiterimages/Getty Images

13. Capture The Flag

This traditional kid-friendly sport involves two teams, two markers (flag, bandana or basically anything else) and one objective: capture the opponents flag. All players who get caught (i.e., tagged) during an attempt to capture the flag get sent to “jail’—a cone-marked boundary on the opposing team’s side of the field—until a teammate makes a mad dash to set them free. The game continues until someone successfully captures the flag and brings it across to their team’s side of the field. Bottom line: If you have access to a large grassy field on which to play, this one promises to serve up plenty of entertainment and exercise to boot.

Birthday Party Games - Three young white children stand in a grassy area shaded by trees and stand in a triangle, ready to catch a red ball that one of the children is holding.
Comeback Images/Getty Images

14. Hot Potato

Hot potato is a shoo-in for the preschool birthday party crowd, and all you need is a ball to play. To start, simply have the young guests gather round in a circle and start passing a ball to each other as quickly as possible while a quick tune plays—whoever is caught holding the ball when the music stops has to sit out the game in the center of the circle (i.e., where hot potato soup is made). This fast-paced activity is plenty engaging for little kids and will likely bring lots of laughter, too.

Birthday Party Games - Seven children of different ethnicities all stand in a circle and lean in to look at the phone that one of the girls is holding. In her other hand she holds a cup of soda.
Morsa Images/Getty Images

15. Truth Or Dare

It’s not a tween party without a round (or several) of truth or dare—the game that challenges players to choose between spilling some deep, dark secret or opting to complete a wild or daring task. Hopefully the partygoers have enough good sense to not take this one too far—but in the age of dangerous TikTok trends, parents might want to keep an eye on how the game goes down—you know, in case something a tad too reckless is suggested as a dare.

Birthday Party Games - A very young girl with tan skin and dark hair wears a pink dress and is blindfolded by a white piece of fabric. She leans up against a wall, attempting to pin a tail on a paper drawing of a donkey.
Mayur Kakade/Getty Images

16. Pin The Tail On The Donkey

Pin the Tail on the Donkey is a must at any birthday party for little kids. This one requires little explanation: Just hang a poster of a donkey or some other character—there are plenty of variations on the theme—and give each guest a turn to pin the tail in the proper place after being blindfolded and spun in circles. It’s no easy feat, and the failed attempts sure are funny to watch.

Birthday Party Games - Three children race each other in potato sacks in a grassy area. The finish line is marked by a garland of colorful flags.
Westend61/Getty Images

17. Potato Sack Race

A bunch of happy hoppers trying to cross the finish line with their legs confined to a single potato sack is a recipe for one entertaining race. Any birthday party for kids that’s taking place outdoors, or has the option of backyard access, will benefit from this goofy game.

Birthday Party Games - Four children of a variety of ethnicities all stand around one child that is attempting to break open a piñata with a bat. Orange, yellow, and blue confetti sprays the surrounding area. The area they're in is grassy and surrounded by trees.
Jupiterimages/Getty Images

18. Piñata

Is it even a birthday party if there’s no piñata? We think not. String up one of these paper mâché wonders—preferably one that corresponds to the theme of the party—and watch as the young savages take turns bashing it in an effort to claim the candy inside. It’s a whole lot of fun with a decidedly sweet reward.

Birthday Party Games - Three young Black children all attempt to jump through notches on the ground that serve as part of an obstacle course in a grassy area. There is an older adult watching and helping them.
Rolf Bruderer/Getty Images

19. Obstacle Course

There are no shortage of ways to set up an obstacle course so feel free to get as creative as you’d like with this one (think: stepping stones and makeshift balance beams). The activity can also go down inside the home or outdoors, so there’s flexibility there—just be sure to design the course with safety in mind and tailor it to the physical ability of the age group that will be participating.

Birthday Party Games - A white family sits in a living room. The two young children are in the front of the frame attempting to keep colorful balloons up in the air. The two adults sit on the couch behind them smiling.
Jamie Grill/Getty Images

20. Balloon Keep-up

Make sure you have a few helium-free balloons among the party decorations, because a game of balloon keep-up will keep kids entertained for quite a while. The game is exactly what it sounds like—a frantic effort among a group of kids to keep a balloon (or several) from touching the floor. Lively and energetic, balloon keep-up can be played outdoors or in the home—provided you remove any breakables in advance.

Birthday Party Games - Two young Asian children, one a young boy and the other an infant (girl) jump on a gray couch with their arms raised up in the air. The couch is in front of a sunny window.
MoMo Productions/Getty Images

21. Simon Says

Charades might be a miss with the Pre-K crowd, but Simon Says certainly will not. An adult can play the part of Simon, or you can even put the birthday kid in the position of power for this one—either way, the whole gang will have a blast following along...and then realizing that they shouldn’t have. (Oops...Simon didn’t say!)

Birthday Party Games - Three young children sit covered in a blanket in a grassy yard. They all sit in front of a tent held up by wooden sticks and covered in a white fabric.
Robyn Breen Shinn/Getty Images

22. Sardines

This game is essentially a novel twist on hide-and-seek in that only one person hides and everybody else seeks. However, when one seeker discovers the location of the hiding kid, he doesn’t blow up her spot. Instead, the two players hide together in the same place and wait for more seekers to find them and do the same. At the end of the game, you’ve got a bunch of kids packed in like sardines, and the search party has dwindled down to one seeker with the (presumably easier) task of finding the whole crew.

Birthday Party Games - Tow young white girls sit on a white couch decorated with yellow, white, and orange pillows. Their feet dangle off the couch and on the floor is a blue sheet. Atop the sheet are prizes and the two girls on the couch hold makeshift fishing rods made of wood and fish for prizes off of the blue sheet.
ozgurcankaya/Getty Images

23. Fishing For Prizes

This birthday party spin on a classic carnival game involves kids fishing in an inflatable pool for a bunch of magnetic toys. It’s easy enough to buy magnetic fishing wands for the purpose, and there are a range of cool trinkets, like foam bath toys, that kids can effectively catch and take home as a prize.

Birthday Party Games - A number of children of different ethnicities stand in a grassy area all dressed in bright color shirts and each holding a colorful egg on a spoon.
kali9/Getty Images

24. Egg And Spoon Race

Kids are sure to have a grand time with this one, whether you include it as a leg in your relay race or leave it as a stand-alone event. As for the rules of play, each kid competes to cross the finish line first while balancing a hardboiled egg on a spoon. Fortunately, a dropped egg will not make a mess or remove a player from the race. That said, any competitor who fumbles does have to go back to the starting line to try again...which isn’t eggs-cellent news. (Sorry, we had to.)

Birthday Party Games - A number of children stand in a row and each try to eat a donut that's hanging from a string in front of them. They appear to be in the woods.
Fuse/Getty Images

25. Minute To Win It Games

There are a whole host of minute to win it games out there to choose from and they all go down exactly as you might guess (i.e., 60 seconds to complete some type of task before another partygoer beats you to it). One example, pictured above, is a game in which kids compete to eat a whole donut, dangling from a string and swaying in the breeze, before the clock runs out. No matter which minute-to-win-it you go with, though, you’re guaranteed some fast-paced fun.

Birthday Party Games - A young white boy with brown hair wearing a gray shirt stands behind a red corn hole board in a grassy backyard surrounded by a wooden fence.
Cavan Images/Getty Images

26. Corn Hole

You’ll need to purchase a cornhole set (i.e., board and bean bags) for this birthday party diversion, but the investment is well worth it—namely because corn hole doesn’t have to be an organized event. Instead, this game of hand-eye coordination can be set up for casual play so that guests of all ages can give it a go at their leisure. In other words, this is low-maintenance entertainment at its finest.

27. ChatterChance Kids Conversation Card Game

An excellent choice for the beginning of a party or whenever there’s a lull in the action, this kid-friendly card game features open ended questions that are designed to stir the imagination of any chatterbox, whilst encouraging conversation among the group. File this one under ‘ultimate icebreaker.’

28. Button-Button

Nothing but a button is needed to play this blessedly simple party game, courtesy of Moms Who Think, which involves one person secretly passing a button to another player while the rest of the group tries to guess who’s in possession of it. Button-button is easy, entertaining and perfectly suited for the little kid crowd—provided they can pull off a poker face.

29. Candy Saran Wrap Ball Game

Kids take turns peeling away layers of cling wrap to get to concealed prizes and candy in this clever party game from Must Have Mom. It’s a lot like pass the parcel, except with a pair of dice and a material that’s far less cumbersome than wrapping paper.

purewow author

Freelance PureWow Editor

Emma Singer is a freelance contributing editor and writer at PureWow who has over 7 years of professional proofreading, copyediting and writing experience. At PureWow, she covers...