Party Games for Under 5s

Game Ideas for Children under 5!

Here at Little Cherry, we are always being asked for help on party entertainments; here is a selection of great party games for children aged under five for you to try. Very little equipment is needed…just lots of enthusiasm!

Swapsies Outdoor

Equipment: None
A garden is better for this toddler party game as you need a bit of space. The children all stand round spread out and you call out 2 names of children who then have to run and try and change places. As they are doing this you or a selected child has to try and run to the spot that one of them has vacated. Don't try too hard!

Splah! Outdoor
Equipment: Two lengths of string, wooden plank
An outdoor action toddler party game which really gets rid of some energy. Put two lengths of string across the lawn to represent the banks of a stream, and a fairly wide plank joining the two banks. Get the children to run round the garden and to 'cross' the river via the plank. Turning your back on them, you then suddenly shout out “Splash” and any child caught on the plank has thus fallen in the river and is out.

Cat and Mouse Indoor
Equipment: Music
Put on some music and the kids have to squeak and scuttle about like mice. The moment the music stops, the kids must be as still and as 'quiet as a mouse'. Anyone seen moving or making a noise is caught by the cat (you) and is out of the game.

Copy Cat Indoor
Equipment: None
A great toddler party game for the 2 – 4 year olds who love to imitate. Sit on a chair facing the children who are sitting at your feet. Say that as you point to a part of your body and name it, followed by “meow”, they have to imitate it followed by the word “meow”. For example, point to your chin and say “chin, chin, chin, meow”, whereupon they all follow suit. Now point to your eyes and say “eyes, eyes, eyes” and make sure that no one is a copycat, if they are, they are out.

Count the Pebbles Indoor
Equipment: Tin, pebbles
For children who have learned to count, this toddler party game is a great way for them to show off their new skill. Sit all the children on the floor with their backs to you and stand behind them with a biscuit tin. Drop at irregular intervals ten or more pebbles into the tin. The kids have to try and count them out loud and say the correct answer. This can get very loud and confusing but the kids love it.

Down on the Farm Indoor
Equipment: None
A great noisy toddler party game for the younger ones. Prepare in advance a short story (long if you feel adventurous!) and include lots of animals and noisy farm vehicles. It doesn't have to be a very adventurous story as the point of the game is to make the noises of the animals and vehicles. You could start with: “It was a beautiful sunny day down on the farm and the chickens (the kids Cluck) were wandering around the farm yard. Suddenly the big brown carthorse (the kids all neigh) came galloping over to Farmer Giles in his tractor (the kids all broom)…”. and so on.

Who am I? Indoor
Equipment: None
A toddler party game for the 3-4 year olds. Think up in advance some characters or animals. With the kids all seated at your feet you then start to silently act out one of the characters or animals. Gradually you introduce some noises and the children then have to guess who or what you are. For example if you were a cat you could run around on all fours, play with a ball or imaginary mouse and then meow.

Hunt the sweets Outdoor/Indoor
Equipment: Sweets, containers
All children love sweets and the achievement of finding something. Hide some sweets around the garden or house and get the children to find them. It's best to restrict the children to a certain number each and to give them a paper cup to collect them in.

Musical animals Indoor
Equipment: Music, pictures of animals
There aren't really winners and losers in this toddler party game. Put on some music and the kids all dance around. As you stop the music you hold up a picture of an animal such as a lion, pig, dog. The kids then all have to jump around the room imitating that animal. The younger ones especially love this game.

Musical shapes Indoor
Equipment: Music, large sheets of plain paper, coloured pens or paint
As a variant of musical chairs and for age 4 plus. Draw and colour some big basic shapes on large pieces of paper (e.g. yellow square, red triangle, green circle). Place these around the room where the children can see and reach them quite easily. The kids start dancing to the music and when the music stops, you shout out a colour and shape such as “yellow triangle” and all the kids have to rush to that colour shape. The last child there is out of the game. For the younger age group, stick to 4 or 5 colour shapes but for the older kids you could use more.

Pairs Indoor
Equipment: Pairs of objects, clothing
For 2-3 year olds restrict this toddler party game to one room but for the older children you could spread out a bit. In advance, collect pairs of a number of items such as socks, spoons, pencils, hair slides, toy cars or whatever you can think of. Place one of the pair of each object into paper bags or boxes equal to the number of kids that there are. The kids don't all have to have the same items and some you could repeat and allow 5 or 6 items per child. Hide the other halves of the pairs around the room(s). Issue each child with a bag or box and get them to go on a hunt for their matching halves. First to get a complete collection wins.

What's the time Mr Wolf? Outdoor/Indoor
Equipment: None
This is not a new toddler party game but I've included it, as the little ones just love the excitement and anticipation. You or another child can be Mr Wolf and as you walk away, the children all follow you. They then say loudly “What's the time Mr Wolf?” and the wolf replies “It's 3 o'clock” or any time that he wishes. However when the wolf answers “It's 12 o'clock and dinner time”, the kids have to all run away with the wolf running after them. The person he catches or the last one home is the next Mr Wolf.

Where's the sock? Indoor
Equipment: Large sheet of plain paper, old magazines, pins or stickers
This is a fun toddler party game that singles out the child host and is similar to pin the tail on the donkey. In advance, stick coloured advertisements for rooms of furniture torn out from magazines on a large sheet of paper. Try and get it to 'vaguely'! resemble your house so include a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, living room. Tell the children that “Emily” (use the name of the host child) has mislaid her/his sock and needs the children to help her/him find it. The children then pin on the picture where they think that the sock is. Beforehand put a sock in one of the spots and then you get all the children to run to their chosen place to see if they were correct.

We hope that these will give you some inspiration for your party. Don't forget to visit ourParty Bag Toys section for lots of eco-friendly and ethical toys to use as little prizes (see below for a selection of popular items) and, most importantly, remember to have lots of fun x