If there is one thing you can rely on, it’s the unreliability of British weather.
You may have spent weeks planning the perfect outdoor party, the gazebo may be up, party bags and accessories from a range of children’s party supplies, but the weather shows no mercy – and then, you find that you have a houseful of children to entertain. Plan ahead and make sure your party still goes off with a bang with these great indoor party games ideas…
Smaller children love a bit of magic – and you can do it!
All you need is three cups, one coin and a sea of cute little faces all looking on with eager enthusiasm. You will need to keep an eye on where the coin is (that is, under which cup you placed the coin!). Even better is when you can get the cups near the edge of the table and get the coin to drop over the edge… you can then do the big reveal that the coin has actually vanished!
Call it what you want, ‘freeze’, musical statues or something else, the rules stay the same. Play some music and make sure that the kids are ‘dancing’ in weird shapes and then stop that music! They have to hold their freeze position for as long as possible….
You can award small prizes for some of the most grotesque or weird faces and shapes being pulled! Make it fun as for some younger children the thought of being ‘eliminated’ can create a lot of tension and unhappiness in the room (it can for older children too!)
Paper bag sketches
These can create a lot of hilarity and laughs and are perfect for the older age group, from 10 years upwards. Using paper bags, or any other kind of bag or box in which the other groups cannot see into, place different objects in the box.
Divide your larger group of party guests into smaller groups (3 or 4 children works well) and give them each a box and 10 minutes to create a mini-sketch, using the objects in the box as props in their mini-play.
Give each group 3 minutes to perform their mini-play.
Add a touch of mystery – you can also add a word that the group must integrate in to their improvised script but, the remaining guests need to guess what the mystery word was. Have prizes for the winner. This is a great game and can cause spontaneous laughter for a long, long time.
Add an extra layer again – get the hosts to vote for their favourite sketch and award a prize. If you have adult helpers, get them involved with their own mini-sketch too!
However, before you think that you will supervising gymnastics, you’ll be pleased to know that this is a floor level beam. All you need is a roll of masking tape laid out in a straight line on the floor. Kids need to walk on the line, with one foot placed directly in front of the other. You can up the ante with kids walking backwards and then you can also introduce a blindfold (however, not everyone is keen on being blindfolded, so take care).
Hide & Seek
An old favourite that has been around for centuries! Hide and seek can be played along traditional lines; there is usually one person who is “it”. This guest will then be taken out of the equation and the remaining children then hide.
Indoors this game can be difficult to manage as if you have a large number of guests and a small house or venue, then it can be difficult to find enough places for guests to hide! Older children may want to add to up the ante a little more, by playing this game in the dark. You can give ‘It’ a torch or once they have finished counting, you can switch the lights on and off they go to find people.
But, it can be boisterous so keep the cycles of playing hide and seek under control…
Find the object
Or, another great game is to hide a pre-chosen object somewhere in the house or venue. Or you can create a trail of objects… again, another high octane game that can be difficult to control.
Calming down game – hot potato
You may not think from the name of the game that this is a calming down game but, it involves the children sitting in a circle. You then need to find an object, preferably something soft that can act as a hot potato. When the music is playing the hot potato needs to be passed around the circle as quickly as possible; unfortunately, the person holding the hot potato when the music stops is removed from the circle. The best bit is when you are down to two people!
And finally, another calming game is a memory tray. A variety of objects are placed on a tray and covered with a cloth. Guests get 30 seconds to memorise the objects on the tray which is then covered and removed from the room; the guests are then required to remember as many objects as possible. You can either get them to write their answer down, or call out on an individual basis.
You can always have round 2 as this tends to produce better results.
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