Under-threes can find party games a little challenging, but with some tweaks – and lots of tiny prizes – it’s possible to incorporate some extra-special play into your child’s special day.
Party games for toddlers and preschoolers
Here’s ten easy and fun games to consider if you’re planning a party for your little one …
- Musical statues
- Pass the balloon
- Treasure hunt
- Piñata fun
- We’re going on a bear hunt
- Champion bubble blowing
- Let’s dance
- Put the sticker on the donkey
- Follow the leader
- Fashion parade
Not quite sure how to play these games or keen for some ‘no tears’ tweaks to suit under-threes? Scroll on!
The ten best party games for kids under 3
1. Musical statues
Party guests have fun dancing together and when the music stops, they have to freeze. Children who move are “out” – and you may choose to give them a prize – with the final child being the winner.
2. Pass the balloon
Children sit in a circle passing a balloon! When the music stops, whoever is holding the balloon steps out of the circle and gets to keep their balloon. (Have some extras up your sleeve in case balloons pop – and always safely clean up any broken balloon pieces.)
3. Treasure hunt
Hide a small wrapped treasure for each guest (and the birthday child) in the garden or party room. When a child finds a treasure, they are “out”. You can spread out a picnic rug for children who have found their treasures to sit on together.
4. Piñata fun
Piñatas are all kinds of fun for littlies. Just remember to keep everyone well back and forgo the blindfolds for younger children.
5. We’re going on a bear hunt
Hide a birthday teddy in the garden – a bonus gift for the birthday child – and have the children help to look for it together chanting “We’re going on a bear hunt, we’re going to catch a little one!” When the teddy is found, everyone gives him a hug and gets to choose a small prize. The birthday child keeps the teddy.
6. Champion bubble blowing
Set up individual bubble mix and wands and invite children to blow as many bubbles as they can. Print out ‘Champion bubble blower’ certificates and give one to each participant.
7. Let’s dance
Freestyle dancing is all kinds of fun, and you can give out prizes – or ribbons – for various category winners:
- The coolest dancer
- The most interesting dancer
- The wiggliest dancer
- The most gentle dancer
- The happiest dancer
Use your imagination and make the categories up as you go along! For under threes, it’s good to award a small prize to each child for taking part. No need to have an overall winner though.
8. Put the sticker on the donkey
Buy a Pin the Tail on the Donkey game and skip ahead by putting the tail on the donkey from the get-go. Now give each child a few stickers and let them take turns popping them wherever they like on the donkey! There is no winner, except the birthday child, who gets to keep the lovely sticker-decorated donkey.
9. Follow the leader
Little party guests line up behind an adult leader and then trot along after him, copying any actions that they’re doing. Arms up! Arms down! Bottom wiggle! Funny walk! The sky is the limit. Play a short song to set a timeframe for each game of Follow the leader.
10. Fashion parade
Collect lots of fun dress-ups and invite children to choose a special look and walk in a fashion parade. Everyone gets a clap and a cheer in this game. You can take photos of party guests with an instant camera – or use a digital camera and email with a ‘thank you for attending’ note.
Remember to keep games short and simple, make everyone feel included and have plenty of little prizes to bestow along the way.
We hope you – and your preschooler and their little guests – have the best party EVER!