The Best Birthday Party Games for Kids

Let’s face it: in the early years, planning your children’s birthday parties is often more for the parents’ enjoyment than for the kids. While the little ones might not retain memories of the event, you’ll undoubtedly have a treasure trove of delightful photos to cherish for years to come.

You don’t need to spend a fortune to organize engaging birthday party games for kids that guarantee unlimited laughter and joy, making their special day truly memorable. We understand that children often have short attention spans, and there’s always one child who might disrupt the fun for others.

To assist you in planning, we’ve compiled a list of outdoor game ideas that are sure to be hits at your next party! These games are not only enjoyable for kids but are also designed to hold their attention. If you need more inspiration, explore our extensive list of over 50 ideas in the Backyard Games for Kids list.

birthday party games for kids

Here are our 50 Best Birthday Party Games for Kids List

Donuts on a String

My personal favorite! Take some string and hang a few mini donuts from an EZ-Up at the heights of the players mouths. The kids then spin around 3 times and have to go and eat the the donut off the string with no hands. The first one to finish the donut wins!

Donuts on a string game

Paper Airplane Contest

Flying paper airplanes is a simple yet thrilling game that will have your children’s imaginations soaring. Not only are they quick and easy to make, but they also offer endless fun. That’s why it’s #1 on our list!

You can either download a paper airplane design with step-by-step instructions or purchase a kit, like the Kangaroo Airplane Kit, which includes everything you need to make 70+ planes for under $15.

Don’t forget to pick up some fun stickers, felt pens, or paint for the kids to decorate their planes. Turn it into a competition to see whose airplane flies the furthest!

Goodie Bag Auction 

While it may seem early to discuss goodie bags, the Goodie Bag Auction game is too adorable to skip. Instead of simply handing out goodies, make it more exciting by having the kids auction for what they really want.

Distribute a specific amount of play money and act as the auctioneer. This not only adds to the fun but also teaches kids about saving and value. To keep costs down, ask each guest to bring a small item (under $10) for the game in the party invitation. You might need to supplement with additional prizes from the dollar store or second-hand shops for those who forget.

Once the presents are gone, consider auctioning off special privileges, like an extra piece of birthday cake or control over the music, to keep the excitement going.

Bouncy Castle Mayhem

Bouncy Castles really add the WOW factor to any child’s outside birthday party and will make them the envy of the neighborhood. We have seen some with obstacle courses, targets, ball pits, and some so large that you can play soccer or football in them.

If you do not want to fill up your entire garage all year there are many companies you can rent them from at extremely affordable rates.

If you want to save money and use those for multiple kid’s birthday parties by buying one it will save money in the long run. It’s an investment that is guaranteed to have hopping returns. Buy Blast Zone Magic Castle Inflatable Bouncer Online.
 

Pin the Tail On The Donkey Game

Pin the Tail on the Donkey is a classic birthday party game. Just tape a poster of a donkey on the wall or fence and have children try to pin a tail on it. The rules are simple. Start by blindfolding the children and spin them around. When they have forgotten the exact location give them the pin and point them towards the poster. The child that pins the tail closest to the wins!

However, if you do not want pins being stuck on the wall or worried about little Jimmy falling on it you can use removable sticker tails. There are many other versions or create your own such as pin the nose on Rudolf, carrot on a snowman, x on the treasure map, or big red nose on the clown. Buy Pin The Tail On The Donkey Online.
 

The Best Birthday Party Games for Kids 1

Outdoor Parachute Games

Did you know that there are 100+ outside kids games you can play with a parachute?  Not just the simple trying to roll a ball and have it land in the middle.

For example, a few of our favorite outdoor parachute games to play are Beach Ball Fun, Parachute Volleyball, Merry Go Round, and Popcorn. One of our favorites is parachute tag when you lift the parachute overhead and then call a kid’s name.

Once this happens they have to run to the other side before the parachute falls down and tags them. I put together a list of 24 of my favorite parachute games for kids.

The best thing about a parachute is that it folds up very well for storage and costs less than $20. Playing parachute games as a group is also a powerful way to build social and teamwork skills. In addition to the portability, there is just something about this massive, colorful, mushroom-shaped monster flying around spurs. Buy Parachute Games Online 

Water Balloon Target Practice Game

Place a target outside on the ground, fence, or table and have the kids take turns firing water balloons at it. Have the children stand, 5, 10, or 15 feet behind and make it a contest. With this, you can have them throw, shoot, or launch the balloons at the target. Depending on how much room you have (and their age) will decide on which type of water balloon launcher to use.

There is the really fun 3-person outdoor slingshot that can shoot 300+ feet with no problems. If you are in a smaller yard or do not want elastics flying around then a classic launcher or just throwing it will do. As a timesaver, you can buy water balloon fillers (or bunches) that will allow you to instantly fill up 20+ balloons.   Buy Water Balloon Sets Online.
 

Frisbee Tic-Tac-Toss

Even though this is rated one of our top DIY Outdoor Frisbee Drinking games it is extremely fun sober and for kids! To explain Tic-Tac-Toss is best to compare it to Tic-Tac-Toe but instead of deciding where to place all the X and 0’s you throw for it!  To demonstrate how fun and easy this game is to set up and play we have created another post with all the rules.

Here is a fun picture of us playing at a family camping trip. Kids from all over the campsite came to see how it was played and eventually took over.
 

Outdoor Obstacle Course Party Game

Setting up an outdoor obstacle course is one of those games that you think would take a lot of work. However, you will be excited to know that it does not take as long as you would think it would. Use everything you have in your backyard such as trampolines, slides, boxes, hoses, or even a pool if you have it. At the end of the obstacle course, you may want to include a game of skill or knowledge.

This may include the water balloon target practice game or completing a puzzle. This way it is all not about physical strength and opens it up for everyone. Use the stopwatch on your phone to time it and decide if you want everyone to compete as individuals or as teams. The first player or team to finish wins!

Slip-N-Slide & Sprinkler Fun

Slip-n-slides are a summer birthday tradition for kids and a great way to beat the heat. As long as you are not too worried about soaking wet kids running through your house afterwards it should pretty much be mandatory. However, we tried making ones with tarps for ourselves but was actually cheaper to buy one and saved a few tarp burns (ouch).  

Below are a few that we have used in our backyard and the best part is all you need to do is hook it up to a garden hose then sit back and enjoy. The water continually sprays as well as the laughter and screams of joy.

In addition, make sure that all children come prepared with sunscreen, a change of clothes, and a swimsuit. You could make it an outdoor relay game and take turns to see how many times each kid can slide down in a minute but really not required. Buy Slip & Slides Here
 

Backyard Cinema

We do not want to condone watching TV as a birthday party, but after a long day may be a fun way to end the night.  The most enjoyable way to watch a movie is outside in your own backyard under the stars. All you need is a projector, laptop, and a sheet and you can turn your backyard into a classic cinema.

In addition, all you need is popcorn and some bean bag chairs or mats to complete the experience. Finally, your kids may understand the concept of a drive-in movie. Buy Your Backyard Cinema Online.
 

Hot “Balloon” Potato Game

Hot Potato is another classic birthday game for kids you must play! The kids sit around in a circle and tried not to get caught holding the hot potato. Not too sure if we should be recommending using an actual “hot potato” so pick another fun object. The point of the game is you do not want to be the kid stuck with the object when the music stops or you are out. Keep playing until only 1 kid is left and therefore the winner of the game.

A fun variation of this game is the hot “balloon” potatoes version where you use a water balloon instead of a potato. The games are similar until you poke a small hole in the water balloon and whoever it blows up on first is out. With this version, if one child is too rough or makes a bad through then they are out. We will leave this up to the judge for this one though.
 

Musical Chairs Outdoor Game

Time to bring out all the dining, kitchen, or sundeck chairs outside and get ready for some loud screams and uncontrollable laughter. To set up for musical chairs games you set out a line of chairs with one next to another, but facing opposite direction.

The point of the game is to dance around the chairs until the music stops. When this happens you quickly sit down on the closets chair before everyone else does. Each round removes a chair until there is only 1 child left as they are the winner. No cheating and make sure that everyone is not lingering over a chair or not bumping each other out of the day to do so.

Freeze Tag

Watch out or we will get you!  There are so many fun versions of tag that your birthday party games kids will love. For Freeze tag start off by choosing one, two, or 3 kids. They will run around tagging everyone in an attempt to freeze the entire party.

Once you are frozen someone must crawl through your legs or go under your arm to free them. If you’re feeling in an adventurous mood bring on a water bomb tag. We do not want to get into all the details for liability reasons (haha) but you get the picture.

Photo Booth Guest Book

Make a mini photo booth as your guest book so you can see who attended their birthday party many years later. This will give your kids a reason to smile and who doesn’t like having their pictures taken? There are many different photo booth ideas and outdoor backdrops you can make or buy.

By going to the dollar store or second-hand store you can find many props and ideas that will do the trick. Your backyard already has many different natural backdrops or you can create your own. A few themes are superhero, princess, construction, pirate, mustache, western, Hawaiian, or ballerina theme.

To save time you may even ask kids to bring a few of their favorite props or costumes to help. 

Otherwise, you can also buy a lot of props for around $10 and an amazing Halloween or Christmas backdrop for just over $40.  Buy Photo Booth Props .

Giant Jenga Outdoor Game

With just a couple of 2 X 4’s you can make your own Giant Jenga Set and beloved outdoor birthday game. Jenga is the game where you remove and stack up blocks trying to build it as high as you can without knocking it over. It is really easy to make on your own, but if you’re busy (and sometimes it’s even cheaper than buying wood and sanding yourself) can find some online.

Big kids like it too! While wine tasting we stopped a few weeks ago when one of the wineries had it, trust me when we say it was a hit for the entire family. This giant game is just one of our favorite 15 giant outdoor games.  Buy Giant Jenga Online.

Potato Sack Races

Hop your way to a win with a classic potato sac birthday party race! Ideally, you would use a large burlap potato sack. If you do not live on a farm and these are not easy to find, you could even use large king-sized pillowcases or improvise. Line up on one side of the yard and see who can hop their way to a first-place win.

All Wrapped Up

Covering the birthday boy or girl in toilet paper is something we all think about doing so may as well make it a game. The first team to wrap their players up as a mummy and have the run around the yard wins! For this game you will need 1-2 rolls of toilet paper per team, so make sure you are not taking the last rolls from your restroom.

Yoga For Kids

Yoga has become quite popular among adults but have you thought of sharing your practice with kids? It is a great birthday party game that combines fitness and playing outside. It is non-competitive, encourages focus, and is very calming. Perhaps the parents should be practicing as the kids are out playing. 

Combine both fitness and outside play with yoga and bring a little namaste to your party! Buy Kids Yoga Gear Online.
 

Keep-Up-the-Balloon Game

What is a birthday party without playing with balloons? For the keep up the balloon game pull down a few of these balloon and have competition for who can keep it the longest. Either divide into teams or compete as individuals and see who the best balloon bouncer is.

When playing in teams make sure that there are no hitting back and forth between the same players and make a rule for how many players must hit it between rounds. After 3 minutes if players still have the balloons up in the air then it’s time it increase the difficulty. Make it more difficult by announcing (without stopping) that no hands are no allowed.

Face Painting

Kids just want to have their faces painted. It’s fun for all ages with even teens and adults but is still a birthday party game that will lighten up any mood. With a few simple design suggestions, they can be a whole bunch of super cute kitties, and morbid zombies running around your backyard. You can have on parent who paints faces, or let the kid’s partner up and paint each other. Buy Face Painting Kits .
 

Bubbles Game 

Kids love blowing, popping, and bubbles outside. In fact kids just love anything to do with bubbles in general. Lucky for us there are many different types of ways to make bubbles. No more just using a simple wand. There are batter operated bubble machines, bubble guns, giant hula hoop sized wands, and even a bubble powered lawn mower.

As a fun addition to any goody bag you can pick up a large party pack of 12 for under $20.  Let them race and see who can pop the bubbles before hitting the floor. Perhaps a price for who can blow the biggest bubble! Buy Bubble Makers Online.

Sports Ball Pack 

Sometimes you do not need to overthink it and just plan some fun games with throwing and catching. Here is a sports balls kids back and can use many of the toys as gifts or prizes to be one. Whether is a football, volleyball, or tennis ball, kids can come up with many games using a classic ball. Games like 500 up, juggling, or even a good game of catch. Buy Sports Ball Packs .

Limbo 

Have 2 adults hold the Limbo stick and start off about 3 feet of the ground.  For a limbo stick you can use a broomstick, pool cue, or even a pool noodle. Have all the kids line up and take turns to see who can get under the limbo stick.

One at a time they take turns trying to go under it without touching it. If they touch it they may be out for the round or give them another chance to go back and try it. After everyone gets a turn for the round you will need to lower it a few inches. Whoever goes the lowest (without crawling under or hand touches) wins!

Outdoor Picture Scavenger Hunt Game 

Make up a list of crazy things for them to do or collect for the scavenger hunt game. Some fun ideas include taking a picture while making a human pyramid,  finding a punch buggy,  washing someone else’s car, or heck even taking a cat for a walk. Most of the time at least one kid in the group has a type of video phone so you won’t need to pass out cameras.

I remember doing a picture scavenger hunt in high school where we had to actually drop off our film at Walmart and wait for it to be developed. Then get back together as a group to watch the videos together and have the pictures printed for something that they can always remember. Buy Scavenger Hunt Kits Online.

Paint or Draw it out 

For some reason, everything is more fun outside, especially painting. Finger painting, face painting, and even squirt gun painting. If you do not want anything to paramagnet then you can turn your driveway into a driveway chalk and let kids make designs. Time to paint the town red or the Backyard Green, and everything in between! Buy Painting Kits .

Bingo 

Bring out the giant dab sticks, have a few prizes, and let the games begin! Bingo is always a classic favorite and works well for a game or 2 with short attention spans.  Or if you are looking for an outdoor theme, an easy DIY is to cut an old tree branch into 1-inch cylinders for the Bingo Board. Real outdoor Bingo!  Buy Bingo Games.

Simon Says

Simon says….  Jump up and down. Simon says… sing a song. Simon Says….  Time to eat cake and patiently read. NOT! To play Simon Says you will need 3 or more players where 1 player takes turns playing “Simon” and issues instructions to the other players. To start off with you should always make the birthday child Simon to get the fun rolling and for them to feel special. Simon issues instructions and players are eliminated from the game by either not following the instructions.

Do not get tricked by following the instruction that was not started with “Simon says” or you will be out as well.  It is the ability to follow the difference between fake and real instructions.

The goal of the outdoor game is to get all the players eliminated as quickly as possible with the last player left winning!

Water Balloon Relay

There are many different outdoor relay games that all provide a lot of laughs. You have sponge races, leaky cup relays, and even Ice Cube Relays. For sponge really you will need 2 buckets per team. Set up one Bigger bucket full of water on 1 side of the yard and one smaller bucket on the other side.

With this players will need to fill up the small bucket by soaking up as much water they can from the bigger bucket and running across the water to fill up the small one. The first team to fill up the smaller bucket wins!

Campfire Games 

Bring out the marshmallows and hot dogs and get ready for a fun time. A bonfire party is a way to get kids outdoors and is fun for both younger and older kids. Sing along to some camping songs, play some fire games, and stay nice and toasty. If you would like you can turn your backyard bonfire into a campout and have it last until the morning.

Here is our list of great family camping games!

These provide a clean and smokeless flame that rivals a natural campfire. Plus they are certified to use during most campfire bans. Buy Propane Fire Pits .
 

Boochie Backyard Game

One of the best outdoor games for kids!  It’s like Bocce Ball but designed specifically for kids. Boochie games are shorter and have a lot of fun and unique rules designed for shorter attention spans.

The player takes turns throwing and each has their own ball and hoop. It will get the entire birthday party tossing, kicking, and throwing with this game the kids will love.  We created a whole Boochie review with rules to place or Buy Boochie Online.

Frisbee Toss Game

Take aim and toss! This is a great DIY game that just needs a few frisbees and a cardboard box. Cut the hole and take turns to see who can through it through it. It is a simple game that kids of all ages love, as long as the hole is big enough to comfortably fit the frisbee through.

Hit the target get a point, throw through the target, and get more. Instead of using a card box you can also do the same with a tarp and hang it from a true. Regardless of what you use for a target do not forget to decorate it with colorful paint and tape designs. Kind of like a kid’s DIY version of KanJam.
 

Circus Games

Step right up, boys and girls! An outdoor carnival game makes the perfect birthday party for kids theme. Think like a carnival worker and come up with some hilarious games the kids will love. Things like squirt gun target practice, knocking over milk jugs, or guessing how many m & m s are in a jar.  A bonus if you can get a cotton candy machine.

However guessing your weight may not work as well with the parents, especially after all the carnival treats. Any volunteers to dress up as a clown and juggle?
 

Nature Walk

Kids love spending time outdoors! Sometimes it may be hard to get them away from their electronic devices but a fun walk outside and tour is a great birthday game. You can explore and collect interesting rocks, and flowers, and jump in big piles of leaves.

Balloon Stomp

This outdoor game is a lot of fun. Fill up a bunch of balloons and use an elastic band to tie it around your ankle. When the music starts you try to step on each other balloon without having your own popped. You may hop of one foot and try to hide the balloon as long as it still is within play. The last person still left standing with their balloon fully inflated wins! The only thing to watch out for is a few toes or ankles getting stepped on for this birthday party game.

Make Balloon Animals

Learning how to make balloon animals is one of those skills you will not be able to forget. Trust me every time I see a balloon I still try twisting it into a doggie. There really are balloon animals for every occasion and fun things to bring home. Some ideas and balloons are easier for kids to make into their favorite pet, hat, or twisted design.  Buy Balloon Animal Kits Online.
 

Charades For Kids

Charades is a birthday party team game that gets everyone talking! The point of the game is to act out your card without saying the actual word. A clown, police officer, and unicorn are good birthday party topics.

For the clown, you may sing the circus song and say you are very scared of the man with the red nose and painted face. Just do not say the word or what rhymes with it.

This works well for older kids, but for younger trying to get them to describe something without saying the name and enforcing it can be a little difficult. Buy Charades For Kids Online.

Red Rover

Red Rover is a birthday party game in which kids will have fun running through each other! Teams line up at opposite sides (all holding hands) of the backyard (max 30 feet apart). The goal is to break through the opposing team’s line. Make sure each team is chosen as fairly as possible.

Teams take turns calling one player from the opposite team and chat “Red Rover, Red Rover, send (kids name) on over.” When this happens the child who was called runs to the other line and attempts to break through the chain. If they do not make it through the chain then they are captured and join that team.

If they make it through they get to choose one player and take them back with them to their team. Each team alternates until one team is the winner!
 

Duck, Duck, Goose

Have all the children sit outside and form a circle. Then pick one to be the first player or let the birthday kid start. This chosen child walks around the circle tapping each kid on the head saying. duck, duck, duck…GOOSE!

After saying “Goose” they run like mad around the entire circle to get back to where they were sitting. The kid who was the goose has to chase them and try to catch the First child while running like mad. If the first child runs around the circle and sits down before being caught they win. Then the Goose is now the chaser.
 

Backyard Bowling

Turn your backyard into a bowling alley and a legendary birthday party game! If you do not have bowling pins and balls handy (like you do) then it’s an easy DIY outdoor game. You can find some old water bottles and fill them with water these make the perfect pins.

Instead of bowling balls, you can use bocce balls, water balloons, or heck even throw wooden mallets at them. A trip to the actual bowling alley is always a lot of fun (an obvious choice) but the backyard birthday game is always a strike!
 

Fitness Camp

There are a lot of high-energy activities such as basketball, gymnastics, swimming, and other games to get the kids burning off some steam. If you do not have a backyard big enough many fitness clubs and facilities will plan fun-filled parties for the kids and usually have one of their instructors play along. But for us do some Jazzercise or Zumba is a big hit and may even calm the kids down from a sugar high.
 

Treasure Hunting Game

Nothing beats the feeling of finding hidden treasures… Yarr! The last treasure hunt game we played was more of a crazy Easter egg hunt. Chocolate treats were hidden all over the backyard and we watched as the mad hunt ensued.  However, hiding other object like balls, jewelry, or any other prizes in the backyard also works.

Have children return the items (if not chocolates) and have them hide the objects again and pay another round. The children who find the most prizes win!
 

Karate Kids

Little kids will get a kick out of the birthday party with some martial arts games. They can play games and learn real karate skills appropriate to their age. You can contact a school about planning a party there or bring all the action to your backyard. Despite contrary belief karate is not all about beating each other up. It teaches confidence, and discipline, and exerts a lot of physical activity. Plus kids just love jumping and rolling all over the mats.

Wheel Barrow Races

This must be one of the cutest and most hilarious outdoor games for the parents to watch. This outside birthday game is self-explanatory. Have all the kids partner up with someone approximately the same size or strength and have them line up. The object of the game is to make it to the other side of the backyard, switch players, and be the first ones back. Kids kneel on their knees and hands as their partner picks them up by the legs like a wheel barrow.

With this, you need to use your arms and help power you across the yard while your partner tries to push you and take off as much weight as possible.  For this one hopefully, the kids are not wearing any fancy white pants or shorts. But then again who would send their kid to a birthday party with this needs to learn a lesson from scrubbing the grass stains out.

Cops and Robbers Game

This is one outdoor game that shows that crime does not pay! Well at least it does if the robbers get away with the goodies. It is like freeze tag except you have a jail and a bank on opposite sites of the backyard. There is also a robber hide out where the cops are not allowed so they can stash their stolen goods.

On the Jail side of the yard you place a bucket full of 10 or so water balloons. The goal of the game is for the cops to protect their water balloons while the robbers try to steal as many as they can.

The police catch the robbers by tagging them and taking them to jail. With this they must walk the robbers all the way to the jail. Once in jail the robbers can only be freed by another robber that comes in and tags them. If the robbers are able to steal all the water balloons win!  After the game let the cops and robbers trade places.
 

Oven Mitt Unwrapping

For this game, you just need a set of oven mitts and some candies or presents. Each player takes turns in seeing how many candies they can unwrap in a minute. Choose some difficult wrapped candies like Starbursts or Hershey Kisses. Whoever unwraps the most candies wins!
 

Pick Up Sticks

Chopsticks work best for this game and is a fun and easy kids’ birthday party game. The goal is to pick up candy and move it from one bowl to another. Set a timer for 1 minute and see how many you can move.

This game works great with M&M’s, little heats, and mini marshmallows! The best part is you can eat the candies you moved afterward. Or for a little added fun, get GIANT pick up sticks!
 

Hide and Seek

This is one game that should not need any introduction! Most parents have played it with their kids whether we choose to or not. This is because kids are so good at hiding in common hiding spots if we can hold back the laughter.

There are many different variations of the game and timelines of how long you get to hide. In some versions, you must hide and make it back to a home base without being tagged. In some versions you see who can get the best hiding spot and hide the longest.

Red Light, Green Light

One of the best birthday party games for kids that does not need any supplies. One kid sits at one end of the backyard and the rest is spread out on the other side. The goal is to get to the other side of the backyard as quickly as possible.

After my last trip to Vietnam it may be difficult for the Vietnamese kids to understand this as Green is go… yellow is speed up… and red it keep going (we joke). Start off with the birthday child (traffic light) at one end and when they turn around and say “red light” everyone must freeze.

Then when they turn their back and say “green light” everyone keeps running. If anyone is spotted moving after it has said “red light” they get a violation ticket and go back to the start. A parent assisting as a traffic police to enforce the lights helps and first kid to the other side wins and is the future traffic light.

Tug-A-War

The classic tug a war! Best played with a mud pit or pool in the middle. Divide the team into 2 and do your best to make it fair. Get a long rope and ‘see which team can pull the other team away. The elevated tug-a-war works great with only 2 players who stand on top of a box or crate and see who can topple each other.

Bubble Soccer

We left the best for last.  The most outrageous, but also the most fun group game you could think of.  Bubble Soccer!

You can purchase a bunch of these yourself for a kid’s birthday party or it’s likely there’s a company near you that also rents bubble soccer balls. 

This group game is just around a ton of fun. It’s fun it play and even more fun to watch. Check out our full guide on all the rules and where to buy it!

Now that you’ve read through our favorite birthday party games for kids, please let us know which games were your favorite or games that we should add to the list!

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