With more purpose-built party venues opening up every year, the number of parents with the time and resolve to host a children's birthday party are dwindling. However, a house party is often what kids want and booking a party venue can weigh on your bank balance. So, if you have caved into the little ones requests for a home party, you will need to organise some activities to keep their busy little hands and feet moving.

Here are five party games that should help make the party enjoyable for the kids and give you something to keep them all occupied and away from that cupboard with all the fancy glasses.

Balloon Races

There is a reason why certain fast-food outlets have ready supplies of balloons to hand.  Kids love them and if you give a screaming child a balloon, it often brings an end to the clamour. When it comes to children, balloons win every time.

So what better than a round of balloon races?  The idea with this game is that the kids get into teams and without using their hands,  have to carry the balloon from the start to a finish line. Depending on the size of the space you are working with, this can just be back to the start.  The kids can carry the balloon in between their legs or try to use their head to bounce it along, or a large jumper is always handy, to transport it from start to finish.  This gets everyone involved and is a game that kids of all ages can join in, so the younger brothers or sisters can take part too.  You can encourage plenty of cheering and the kids might like to pick their team names. If you want to make the game last longer, encourage the competitive nature of those looking for a rematch.


Ship To Shore

This one requires a fair amount of space.  If you have a big garden or you’re lucky enough to have access to a hall or large area, then this is a great game to burn off some energy.

You will need a parent or two to play the part of the ship’s captain.  The kids play the part of the ship’s deck-hands.  The basic idea is you get the kids to line up at a point which becomes the shore and then you need another spot which becomes the ship. Then you command the kids to run to  the ship  and then back to the shore at various point, as you build the story about the ship being attacked or sinking or just needing a good wash!  You can get the kids to ‘scrub the deck’ where they all have to get down on the floor and pretend to get busy washing the deck, or run to another point such as an island or a shipwreck.  You can also shout out commands like ‘captain on deck’ at which point they all need to remember to salute.  It’s best to do a few trial runs of everything  so that everyone knows what to do. Then you can start eliminating kids who run to shore when you have called ship, or who forget to salute at the right time, so that you are left with a winner or two, who get a prize of some sort and have  something also for the kids who get knocked out .  It’s pretty much ‘simon says’ which added running and it’s a versatile game that you can add your own spin on.

You can ham it up as a pirate captain with plenty of ‘yo ho ho’, or become Admiral Nelson if you can put on a good British accent.  Eye patches and helmets are relatively cheap to get your hands on at a party store to get the kids into character.

Musical Statues

An old one but still a favourite, musical statues will work whether you have a handful or a load of kids to entertain.  Make sure you have something loud to play and Pick music your audience are going to like throwing shapes to - so go for tunes like shut up and dance’ and not your own taste in music. You can keep this game going for some time, remember to line up a few sugary spot prizes for the best, silliest or funniest dancing.  Boys and girls go in for this game in equal measures. If the boys are flagging, throw in a rudest dance round to get them involved again.

Dead Soldiers

This one is worth keeping in your arsenal for later in the party, when you need to wind things down a bit.  You start by getting all the kids to play dead, they’re generally very good at picking dramatic poses of various stages of rigor mortis.  You need a parent to play the part of an axe wielding Viking (or pick your own historical bad guy) who is checking out whether all the soldiers or warriors are dead by seeing if anybody is moving.  The point of the game is for the kids to stay as still and quiet as possible - which comes as a welcome break after an hour or so of frenetic running, squabbling over pass the parcel prizes and so on.  You then remove the kids who are not so convincingly dead, one by one until the winner is left.

Hanging Donuts

This game probably has a better name than I have given it here. For this game you need some donuts, preferably the american style multi-coloured ones and some string and somewhere to hang them from.  The idea is that you dangle a donut from the string and the kids, with arms behind their backs, take turns to try to take a bite out of the swinging and ever decreasing donut.  Eventually the gnawing and licking at the donut will mean someone will be the ‘lucky’ one to  claim the remaining donut and the drool of the other party guests for themselves! I know parents might worry about it spreading around the germs, but the kids won't care and will love it!

You can get a lot of time out of the games described here and with luck, you may live to survive another party at home.