Alice Zsembery

Alice Zsembery

Written by Alice Zsembery


In the era of jumping castles and children’s entertainers, play centres and big birthday budgets, have you ever wondered where all those good old-fashioned party games have gone to?

It’s time to bring back some classic fun and remind parents that you don’t need to spend a fortune on a kid’s birthday to make childhood memories that last a lifetime.

 So here it is, my shortlist of my favourite 8 party games to inject some good old-fashioned fun into the next kid’s party!


  • Egg and spoon

A tortoise vs. hare kind of lesson. All you need are some spoons and some eggs (or ping pong balls if you can’t handle the mess).

Designate a track outside (think around the tree and back again) and the first one back is the winner. But be careful not to drop it, or you must start again!


  • Pin the Tail

I think back in the 80’s everyone had the same old pin the tail on the donkey chart. These days, there are so many variations available, pin the horn on the unicorn, pin the carrot nose on Olaf…

Whatever you are pinning, the rules are the same; put a blindfold on the child, spin them around a few times, point them in the general direction of the picture, and the closest pin wins.


  • Pass the parcel

I am sure you know it; Simply wrap a prize several times in the newspaper. Sit the kids in a circle, pass the parcel around and when the music stops, they can unwrap a layer.

These days it seems to be the norm to provide a ‘little’ present in each layer so that everyone is a winner, but it doesn’t have to be much. A wrapped lolly will do!


  • Sack race

An absolute favourite! Back in the 80’s we used plastic bags from the local Safeway (as it was known at the time). But pillowcases work equally well… if you can handle washing out the grass stains afterwards!


  • Balloon Bust

I used to love this one! Pop a lolly in each balloon and then blow them up and tie it. Everyone gets a balloon to sit on try to pop it. Thing is, when the game is done, everyone is a winner!


  • Musical Chairs

Simply have as many chairs (or cushions) to children. When the music stops, each child must sit on a chair as quickly as possible. Then repeat taking one chair away each time (and subsequently one child does not find a chair and is ‘out’). Last child standing (or sitting in this instance) wins.


  • Tug of war

Looking to promote teamwork?? All you need is a rope and you have yourself a game of tug of war.


  • Bobbing for apples

Simply fill a tub with water and apples. Each child has their arms tied around their back and has 3 attempts to ‘catch’ an apple with their mouth.  The first child to get an apple out wins.


Happy playing!


You may also like to read:

A Birthday Do-Over

My experience of being a solo parent.

Two Years with Three Kids