Old school party games for Preschoolers

Need some inspiration when it comes to traditional party games for children? Check out our list.

As a child, parties are just the best! Who doesn’t like getting dressed up and spending hours with friends? Yummy food and fun activities make the day extra exciting.

Planning a celebration can be overwhelming, but with a world of inspiration at your fingertips on the internet, there’s lots of help available. When it comes to entertainment, we can’t go past the games we played in childhood. There is a reason these old-school games are still around - they are classics and enjoyed by children worldwide!

As children’s parties become more sophisticated and tech focussed, we at Genius find little learners enjoying traditional party activities more than ever. Forget the play centres, gaming and entertainers, roll out some old-school party entertainment and have some good clean fun! The beauty of the traditional games is that they can be adapted for any age group and tailored to match any birthday theme, and while they might seem old to us, they are new to each generation that experiences them!

So, when planning your little one’s next birthday celebration, roll out this list of super cool old-school games and wait for the fun to begin!

Kids Party Games

Pass the Parcel

Pass the parcel is always a favourite at parties. Wrap a prize in layers and layers of wrapping paper or newspaper. The parcel is handed around the circle. When the music stops, that little learner unwraps a layer; then, the passing continues until all layers are unwrapped, and the winner is found. To keep everyone happy, you might like to put a small prize on each layer of the paper, so everyone is a winner! If you feel younger guests may not understand the passing of the parcel and unwrapping. You can choose to hand a ball around the circle instead, and when the music stops, the one with the ball gets a prize. Enjoy the entertainment!

Pin the Tail on the Donkey

Pin the tail on the donkey is an absolute classic! This traditional party activity is truly timeless and can tailor to any theme you may have. It may be pinning the tail on the donkey, pin the sword on the pirate, pin the horn on the unicorn or pin the tail on the bunny; you can allow your imagination to run wild here and be super creative. You can easily create your own 'pin the tail on the donkey' or if you are not feeling creative, these can easily be picked up at your local craft supplier. For this one, each little learner takes a turn pinning their 'tail' on the donkey while blindfolded. You may spin them around a few times before they pin their tail, depending on their age. However, this may not be suitable for younger ones. Write the child’s name on their tail before their turn, so you know who the winner is. The one who places their tail close to the target is the winner!

Musical Chairs

Musical chairs are such a classic! Incorporating music with activity will have all party goers walking around giggling, waiting for that break in the music. For this one, you can line up chairs back-to-back or, if you do not have enough chairs, cushions or pillows on the floor are just as good. Ensure you have one less chair or cushion per child. The music begins, and much like passing the parcel, when the music stops, the action starts! Everyone then scrambles to find a chair. You're out if you don’t have a chair. When the music begins again, take a chair away. Each time someone is out, a chair is removed, adding excitement. The last little learner standing is the winner. If you are playing with small children, be safe and ensure everyone walks, not running, and cushions on the floor are much easier for them to handle.

Musical Statues

Musical statues is a fabulous game for all ages and fantastic for burning energy. Great for movement, coordination and balance. This activity is nice and easy and perfect for everyone. Playing some music, children can bust out their best dance moves until they hear the music stop. The last one who stops moving when the music stops is out. The excitement does not stop for those little learners; they can then assist with judging who was the last to move and who is out. This activity can be tailored to your party theme through the music you decide to play. Or you may choose to dress up as pirates or fairies depending on the theme you and your little one have chosen. Just imagine the delight of a group of dancing pirates or fairies! Happy dancing!

Simon Says

Another great option for younger children is Simon says! This game involves a parent or party leader acting as “Simon” asking the guests to perform a physical action. For example “Simon says, do a dance,” “Simon says touch your nose,” “Simon says jump up and down.” If Simon leaves out the words “Simon says” before giving out the instruction, anyone who performs the physical action is asked to sit down. The last guest standing wins!

Egg and Spoon race

The egg and spoon race has been enjoyed for generations, and there is a reason it is still celebrated; it's so much fun! You may use hard-boiled eggs to avoid a mess or use small potatoes or plastic eggs from your local craft store. The beauty of this one is that it can be played inside or outside in the sunshine to get those little bodies moving—children are each given a spoon with an egg balancing on top. Everyone lines up, and when you say 'go,' they need to use their hand, eye coordination, and balance to make it to the finish line without dropping their eggs. The excitement and anticipation of who may win are infectious and such a delight!

Treasure Hunts

Treasure hunts (or scavenger hunts) can be super simple to set up, or more complicated for older children. To keep it easy, hide small gifts or lollies around the play space for guests to hunt, and let each guest keep what they find. For older children you can write clues to lead them on treasure hunt as a group, or alternatively you can hide a series of tokens around the play space for guests to find – the child who finds the most wins a prize. For a less competitive hunt, hide pictures of the birthday child around the play space, and get the guests to see if they can find them all!

Balloon relay

Balloons are always a great idea when it comes to classic party games! Divide your guests into teams and ask each team to pass the balloon from one side to the other without the balloon touching the ground. This could be done over heads and through legs, between bellies or between knees. For younger guests, passing the balloon around a circle could be enough of a challenge! Another version of this game is getting each member of the team to take trying to pop their balloon in turn. First team that has all balloons popped wins!

There is no better way to enhance a celebration than with old-school party games. They are easy to coordinate, cost little to nothing and are fun and interactive for all age groups. Parents will love planning the next celebration while reliving the happy memories of their childhood parties. So, roll out one of these classics when planning your next children’s party and enjoy making some memories!

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