My daughter is turning THREE at the end of the month (how did THAT happen??!) and, being the Type A that I am, I’ve been researching ideas for themes, decorations, food, and party favors for weeks. I even went as far as compiling a list of 10 birthday cake alternatives for kids, even though we all know I’m going to order a cake. HA!
Anyway, one of the things I’ve been struggling with is finding age-appropriate games for toddler birthday parties. There just aren’t a lot of activities that will capture the attention of a 3-year-old for more than a few minutes, you know?
But thanks to the wonderful teachers at my daughter’s preschool program, I have a list of great age-appropriate games that toddlers will love. The only problem is, I won’t get to try any of them since my husband and I decided to put off the big party until next year, but I don’t want my hard work to go to waste, so I decided to share 8 of my favorite age-appropriate games for toddler birthday parties in hopes that I can make some other kids’ dreams come true.
I also want to recommend a fabulous party planning book – the Penny Whistle Party Planner by Meredith Brokaw – that helped make planning my daughter’s first birthday as seamless as possible. The step-by-step schedule helped me keep on track and ensure I didn’t forget anything throughout the planning process, and I will be using the activity and game suggestions (in addition to the ones below) when I plan our next party!
And now for those birthday party games…
1. MUSICAL STATUES
My daughter plays this game ALL THE TIME in preschool, and she loves it. All you have to do is pump some good tunes, let the kids dance off some energy, and periodically stop the music and yell “FREEZE!” (or “BREEZE”, as my daughter likes to say). It’s a lot of fun, and as long as you’re not playing something depressing, like Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart, it should put everyone in a good mood!
2. BEAN BAG GAME TOSS
The is a real hoot with kids, regardless of how young they are, and it’s an activity you can do on any occasion. And if you’re crafty (I’m not), you can make this as personalized as you want. Check out this tutorial on how to make a bean bag toss game by Chica and Jo to find out how!
3. PARACHUTE GAMES
I used to shake with joy whenever I walked into gym class as a kid and saw the big parachute on the floor, and I’m so excited I’ve had the opportunity to relive that part of my childhood through all of the mom-and-me classes we’ve done over the last year or so. So when a friend gifted a small parachute to us over the summer, I immediately went online to find some fun games we could do with it. And guess what? There’s an entire website dedicated to playing with parachutes (playparachutes.com) and they have a whole page dedicated to some awesome games I can’t wait to try! You can check it out RIGHT HERE.
4. PULL STRING PINATAS
I first learned about pull string pinatas through Dora the Explorer (have you seen that episode?), and I was amazed to find how many places actually sell them. I guess they’re a “thing” now? Oh, and for you crafty gals, I found this awesome tutorial by Young House Love to teach you how to make one yourself!
5. BUBBLE WRAP FUN
Is there anything more exciting than playing with bubble wrap? My daughter doesn’t think so. So tape a sheet of it to your walls or floor and let the little ones go CRAZY!
6. SIMON SAYS
It’s been years since I’ve played this, so rather than confuse you with my less-than-impressive attempt to explain it, I found a great Simon Says explanation over on Activity Village. When you go over there, make sure to poke around a bit as they have HEAPS of activities you can do with your little ones!
7. PASS THE PARCEL
Find a fun toy the kids will like, wrap it up a million times, crank the tunes, have the kids sit in a circle and pass the parcel to one another, and then whomever is holding the parcel when the music stops gets to rip a layer of wrapping paper off. It’s a lot of fun, but make sure you have enough prizes for ALL of the kids so no one feels left out!
8. BLOW BUBBLES!
If all else fails, find a safe place the kids can run wild and blow some bubbles. They do this at the end of every one of my daughter’s preschool classes, and she goes crazy for them!
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