Best Group Games for Kids’ Parties

Best group games for Kids'parties

Today is my ten-year-old daughter’s Birthday Party. Akaisha has invited her whole class to her Birthday Party down at a park near to the beach. She is super excited! We’re new to the little town of Augusta, having recently moved from the Cocos Islands, and this will be the first time for Akaisha to have friends from her school joining with our family for a celebration.

The birthday cake is ready, party food prepared, and tables and chairs set. All that is needed are group party games and a bunch of eager kids!

Luckily, my expertise is running group games for kids. So, coming up with a selection of group games for Akaisha’s Birthday Party was easy.

We planned for Akaisha’s party to run for two and a half hours. We wanted to run a couple of shorter games right away to get the kids moving and allow them to get to know one another. Then we would stop for some food and drink. After that, we will have a longer, large group game to run the kids off their feet! Finally, we plan to sing a Happy Birthday and share a cake before the kids all head home.  

Inexpensive Equipment

To be able to play these games we needed a little equipment. Cathy, Akaisha’s Mum stopped by the Big W store and bought some inexpensive soft balls, hoola hoops, marker cones and some colored plastic mats. I cut the mats up to make headbands.

So, let’s fast forward to after the party and talk about the group games we played…

Octopus Tag

First up, a game called Octopus Tag. This is a fun outdoor large group game, a little like the traditional game, British Bulldog. Only Octopus Tag is a lot less physical. This game took about 20 minutes to play with toddlers through to adults joining in.

The aim of Octopus Tag is to be the last player left in the game.

I set up a rectangular space about 50m long and 30m wide. Someone was chosen to be the Shark. He started in the middle of the area. All the other players were the minnows (fish). They began by standing at the base line. The game starts, and the minnows run the field to the other end to where it is safe. The shark chases the minnows trying to tag them. The first two minnows tagged become the crabs. The crabs joins the shark’s team. Crabs may sidestep in a line back and forth from one side of the field (width) to the other. They cannot run forwards or backwards, only sideways. They try and tag minnows swimming past. There can only be two crabs.

Once all the players are safely behind the end line, they then must run back to the baseline. The shark and crabs, tag minnows. When minnows are tagged, they become octopuses. Octopuses stay glued to one spot. They have long wavey tentacles to tag any minnows swimming past.

The game continued until all minnows had been tagged! The last minnow to be tagged, became the shark for the next game. The kids loved the game and we played four rounds, then stopped for a quick drink break.

You can add other creatures to the mix if you like, for example you could have a jelly fish. A jellyfish could be two players holding hands, chasing the minnows.

Dragons’ Tails

group games equipment
Inexpensive equipment from K-Mart

We were straight into our next game, Dragons’ Tails. A fun 20 minute team game where dragons chase one another around trying to, either steal tails, or have opposition dragons break apart. This is one of the best group games for parties, as it is quick, requires strategy and team collaboration, and can be run with large groups. All you need is a tail for each of the dragons. This can be a t-shirt or a length of cloth.

I put the players into teams of about eight players. The players in each team form a dragon, similar to the Chinese festival dragons. Players hold onto the player in front of them. The front player is the head, and the rear player is the tail. The rear player tucks a tail into the back of their shorts.

Allow a little time for dragons to plan a strategy and to have practice moving around without breaking apart.

Our game kicked off with dragons moving around the space seeking opportunities to grab a tail. If a tail is snatched, then that dragon is out of the game. In the excitement of the battles, dragons will break apart. These dragons are also out of the game.

Finally, the game will be left with two dragons battling it out. There can only be on victor! Our first game of Dragon’s Tails lasted about five minutes.

Now that the kids knew how the game works, they were better prepared for the following rounds of Dragon’s Tails. I noticed that they would each devise strategies for attack and defense.

Here is an article with a great little video showing Dragons’ Tails.

Having a Break

After these two games, we stopped for a drink and party food. However, before the kids settled down for too long, we had them up and ready for our final game. This game must be my all-time favorite. It is fast moving, caters for large groups and once the kids know the game, it will run itself.

Capture the Flag

We used a large space in the park, about 50m by 50m. This worked well for our group of about 40 players. This space, I Divided into quadrants using marker cones. If you don’t have marker cones, you could use rope, shoes or beanbags. In each quadrant I marked a circle (3mX3m) and place a ball in the middle of each.  The balls are called the Flags, and each team must start with one. A flag can be any object. Shoes make great flags.

Lastly with the setup, I placed a hoola-hoop (or you could use a mat) at the rear of each quadrant. These are the jails for holding captured enemy.

Divide the players into four teams and use something to identify teams. I used the colored mats that I had cut up. These were worn as either a headband or armband.

The aim of Capture the Flag is for one team to steal the flags from all the other teams. The team with all four flags, wins! Note: this is difficult to achieve, and often, no one wins the game.

To give you the general gist of how the game works I’ll outline the rules. Teams, each controlling a quadrant, defend their flag by tagging anyone who tries to steal it from them. When defending their flag, they do so by standing outside the defined circle where the flag is held (no doggy guarding). Whilst some team members are defending their flag, other players try to sneak into other teams’ quadrants and steal their flags. If successful they must run it back to their team and place it in their team’s flag circle. They cannot kick, throw, or pass the flag. If they are tagged whist escaping with their flag, then they simply drop it. Anyone can run in and grab it.

If a player is tagged whilst invading another team’s quadrant, they must go to that team’s jail (the hoola-hoop). They place one foot in the jail and wait to be rescued. If multiple players are in the jail, then they can link, by holding hands and form a chain from the jail.

To be rescued from jail, a player from your own team must reach you and hold your hand. They can then run you back to the safety of your team’s quadrant. If they let go of hands as they are running back to the safety of their quadrant, then they can be tagged immediately and send back to jail. A player can rescue more than one player at a time, but only players from their own team.

We played Capture the Flag for 45 minutes on a hot day. There were four-year-olds right through to adults playing. During the 45 minutes we had two winning games and the last one was called a draw.  Between each game the players stopped for a quick drink, then straight back into the next round. Everyone had an awesome time!

Final Thoughts…

I like to stop games whilst the kids are really enjoying it, despite protests to keep going. That way I know they’ve all had a great time and will be keen to play again another day.

Akaisha had a wonderful time sharing a fun experience with all her classmates and her family. Everyone went home tuckered out … and full of sugar!

These three kids group party games worked perfectly for the outdoor venue we had, and for the size group we had. There are many more games that would work just as well. Here is a list of some of my best group games for kids’ parties.

Indoor Group Games for Birthday Parties
Outdoor Group Games for Birthday Parties

Wacki App has most of these games, with excellent mini demo videos that give a great visual of each game, and a written description of the game and game rules.  

Fond Childhood Memories of Fun Youth Group Games

Youth Group Games

I have warm-hearted childhood memories of playing group games with my cousins and the kids in the neighbourhood. In this article I reminisce and share with you some of those games.

An Awesome Outside Night Group Game

On the coastal seaweed banks, whilst camping with family friends, we would play a night group game called ‘Kick the Can’. We loved this game because of the exhilaration of hiding in the dark from our ‘enemy’. The aim was to kick the Can without being caught by the Spotter who held the torch. We’d run around late into the night dodging the torch light, hiding behind sea weed banks and sneaking along the sand dune from bush to bush.  We’d watch from the dark corners, our comrades getting picked off one by one by the Spotter. They would be sent to the Spotter’s jail! We’d join forces with those still at large to mount a strategic counter attack to free our captured friends! The only way to free them was to kick the Can. If you managed to do that, you would most definitely be the hero of the game!

Have you Ever Tried Playing Hid-n-Seek, Back-to-Front?

Another fun youth group game that we played all the time in the back yard with the neighbourhood kids was a game called ‘Squashed Sardines’. This game is a reverse of Hide-n-Seek. Rather than one person counting whilst all the other players hid; with Squashed Sardines, one person hides whilst all the other players count. Once the countdown was complete, we would franticly race around searching for our buddy who was secretly hiding. When found, we would silently slide into their secret hiding spot awaiting others to find us. These guys would also join us in our hiding spot. When the last poor sole finally discovers us and our hiding spot… we’d jump out shouting, “Squashed Sardines”. It was our worst nightmare to be that last poor sole! (Find more outdoor group games here)

Heads Down Thumbs Up

At school, our teachers would have us playing fun youth group games. An old favourite, that has stood the time, is ‘Heads Down Thumbs Up’. Such a simple game that we were so stoked to play! I bet many of you played this game as well. Five students were selected to quietly move around the class, each picking a player by touching their thumb. These players had their head buried on their desks and their eyes closed. Once all five students have made their selections, the coordinator of the game (which was usually one of us kids!) would call, “heads up stand up”. Those who had had their thumb touched would stand. Each would have an opportunity to guess who it was who touched their thumb. If they guessed correctly, they would get to swap with that out the front. Then the game repeats. I used to try and peek under my arm at the feet of the kids doing the picking. I’d usually end up getting caught!

Do the French Play Cricket?

A cool group game we played on the oval was ‘French Cricket’. This was played with a bat and a ball. The batter’s legs were his/her wickets. The aim was to hit the batter’s legs below the knee with the ball! Not as easy as it sounds. Fielders would work together, passing the ball between themselves whilst moving in on the Batter. The Batter wasn’t allowed to move his/her feet unless he/she manages to hit the ball with their bat when the ball was tossed underarm at their ‘wickets’. When the ball has hit, the Batter could race off to find a new spot on the oval. As soon as a player picked up the ball again, that player would call out “freeze”, and the Batter would stand with feet still again, ready to defend their wickets. Fielders were not permitted to run when they had the ball. They had to pass the ball to players closer to the Batter. Attacking the Batter with the ball from behind made it easier to get them out. If the ball was being tossed at the batter’s legs from behind, then the Batter would have to keep their feet pointing in one direction, whilst twisting their body around to defend their wickets with the bat. French Cricket works best with small groups of about six players. I have no idea if French Cricket was a game the French play!

Fun Youth Group Games for Kids

Do you Remember These Fun Youth Group Games from Your School Days?

A bunch of other games that I remember playing as a kid were ‘Four Square’ and ‘Wall Ball’ on the quad; ‘Knuckle-Bones’ and ‘Elastics’ in the hallways; and ‘Brandy’ and ‘British Bulldog’ out on the oval. We loved pen and paper games like Boxes, SOS and Pen Flick; or games to practice number concepts (Buz) or for learning our spelling words (Beat-the-Chalk).

I have so many happy childhood memories. It was a time long before electronic games and social media. Playing group games helped me form the foundations to who I am today.

Now, here I am many years later, a Dad to seven kids and a school teacher, reliving my awesome childhood with my own cool little tribe of kids at home and with the kids I teach!

Other articles to check out!

Large Group Games for the Outdoors

Five Fun Classroom Educational Group Games for Teachers

Team Building Games for Kids

Top 5 Tag Games

Tag Games

In English, ‘tag’ most likely comes from the Middle English word tek, meaning ‘touch, slap’. In every culture of the world you’ll find tag games. I have fond memories in junior school of chasing my peers around playing Kiss Chasey. I would likely get a slap in the face if I tried that today!

Here are a few of my favourite Tag Games that you may like to play with your students or youth group.

Snow Ball

Great to play on a large playground with lots of climbing gear. Have a bucket of tennis balls or bean bags. One player is ‘It’ . He/she gives the others a chance to run off. The player who is ‘It’ takes a tennis ball and chases after the other players. When players are tagged, they must run to the bucket, get a tennis ball, becoming a tagger as well. The game goes on until all players have been tagged. Then reverse the game with the last player to be tagged, becoming the new tagger. This player returns their ball back to the bucket, then runs off to tag the other players. As other players are tagged, they also put their balls in the bucket and join the tagging team.

Hum Tag

A player is chosen to be ‘It’. He/she stands with their hand in the air and calls out loudly, “1, 2, 3 I am it!”. They then chase players within a boundary. Escaping players can form a group of three, hold hands, take a deep breath and hum loudly. These three players are safe from being tagged whilst holding hands and humming. As soon as one of them runs out of hum, they must break hands and run off. Any player tagged must stand with their hand in the air and call loudly, “1, 2, 3, I am it!”. Then continue the chase.

Peg Tag

Great youth group game for larger groups. Each player attached three pegs to the back of their T-shirt. The game starts and all players run around and steal pegs from opponents’ backs. Give the tag game a time limit, and then all players count their captured pegs to see who wins. Can also play this game with velcro tail tags instead of pegs. I guess you would have to call the game ‘Tail Tag’ if you did that!

Giants, Wizards and Elves

Set up two teams. Each team has a team meeting and decides if the team is going to be either Elves, Wizards or Giants. Once decided, teams face off in the middle of the court. Toes must be touching the opponent’s toes.  The youth group leader, or teacher, counts down (3, 2, 1), then all players act out (and call out) their chosen character. The team that has the more powerful character must chase the other team to their end zone, tagging players. Any player tagged must join the team that tagged them. Then teams have another team meeting and select a character again to repeat the process until one team runs out of players. Giants squash Elves. Elves chew legs of Wizards. Wizards cast spell on Giants.

Dragons’ Tails

Form teams with about 6 players in each team. Each team forms up as a long dragon with the player at the front being the head and the player at the back being the tail (this player tucks a long tail out of their pants). All the players in the team must hold onto the waist of the player in front of them. The game starts and the dragons move around and try and steal the tails from other teams. If a team loses its tail, it is out of the game. If a team breaks in two, then it is out of the game. The winner is the last dragon left in the game! This is an awesome team building game requiring strategy.

Wacki App Tag Games

Wacki App has a filter that will find you the perfect tag game for the amount of time you have to play, size group and age of the players. We have over a dozen tag games ready for you to try with your youth. There are plenty more outdoor group games or indoor youth group games on this website.

Download WackiApp- Fun Youth Group Games for Kids HERE and try some of our awesome Tag Games.

Large Group Games for the Outdoors

large group games

Having groups of 100 or more presents challenges with finding a suitable group game that can be played easily, and at the same time, engage all players. Here are a few outdoor large group games that are definite winners with kids of all ages.

Secret Hunter

A large group game similar to Gang Up Chasey. A Secret Hunter is selected. Everyone runs off, and if they like, can hide. The Secret Hunter will hunt (tag) players. These players then join the Secret Hunter’s team and become Hunters. More and more Hunters band together seeking out players. The last player tagged wins the game! Perfect for big open spaces where kids can run. Guaranteed to wear them out!

Capture the Flag

For very large groups play this one with four teams. Each team has an area to defend and an ‘no go zone’ to place their flag (this can be a ball in a circle- 3 metre diameter). Each team also has a jail for holding their captures. The aim of the game is to capture all four flags. If players get tagged whilst in another team’s area they must go to that team’s jail. Only a player from their own team can rescue them from jail. This is an action strategy large group game where everyone is involved. Also a great night group game that kids would enjoy playing on a youth camp. When I was a teenager we played Capture the Flag at night in sand-dunes in the bush with just two teams! The guys manning the base would have torches.

Everybody’s It

 A very simple large group game that is perfect as a warm up. Everybody runs around tagging one another. If tagged, the player stands still with their arms out in a ‘tree pose’. Active players can also save other players by ducking under a tagged player’s outstretched arm. The game has not end, just lots of energized kids!

Large Group Games Capture the Flag

Treasure

This one is a favourite of mine! The kids love the game and they will play until they drop. The aim is to steal all the ‘treasure’ from the other team. Two teams, each with their own zone. In each zone there is a circle (about 2-3m diameter). Place three pieces of treasure in each circle (use anything- shoes, gator balls, coconuts). Each zone also has a jail and a safe base (use a hoola-hoop for these or a mat). Teams wear team colours. Allow players time to meet to discuss strategy, then start the game. Players must defend their treasure and at the same time try to steal the treasure from the other team. If caught they are put in jail. To be rescued from jail, a member from their team must get to the jail and link arms with their captured team mate. They can then walk them safely back to their team zone. Players can also use the safe base as a vantage point to get closer to the treasure. This is an action packed exciting Large group game for the outdoors.

The key to running successful large group games is having all players fully engaged in the game and not standing around.

Check out Wacki’s collection of outdoor large group games HERE.

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