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.  

Indoor Youth Group Games

Indoor Youth Group Games

As a teenager, I belonged to a youth group. I took a leadership role with the younger youth in the group. Each week we met and my role was to run fun engaging group games with them. Here are some of the kid’s favourite indoor youth group games that I ran. These games make awesome energizers!

Human Pinball

A physical group game played with a ball.

Form a circle with feet touching the player’s feet next to you. One hand behind the back and the other hand is your bat. Feet spread apart are the goals. Each player has a goal. A ball is tossed in. Players bat the ball trying to shoot it between another player’s feet (their goal). If successful, that player is out! Players can also get out if the ball passes between two players, then both these players are both out. Players who get out can try and catch a stray ball on the full. If they manage to do so they can re-enter the game. Keep the game going until only two players remain.

Poisonous Stump

A fun energetic indoor youth group game. Anyone who touches the poisonous stump is out!

Form up a circle around a pile of cushions (the stump). Player all hold the wrists of the players either side of them. Game starts and players try and force another player to touch the poisonous stump, without touching it themselves. Any player who touches the stump is out and the circle reforms around the stump. Repeat the process until only one player remains!

I Love You Honey

A hilarious circle group game where players are not allowed to smile!

Players form a circle with a chosen person to start in the middle. This player holds a bunch of flowers. The player with the flowers approaches another player and presents their bunch of flowers then, using a romantic voice, says “I love you”. The player being presented the flowers must maintain a serious face and reply, “I love you too, but I’m not allowed to smile”. If this player smiles, then he/she is out. This player then takes the place of the player doing the serenading.

Indoor youth group games
Kids playing Silent Tic Tac Toe

Silent Tic Tac Toe

Just like the pen and paper game, Naughts and Crosses, except this one is played with people (Girls vs Boys).

Set up nine chairs or nine mats with 3 rows of 3. Girls form one line and boys another. A player (say someone from the girl’s team) starts by selecting then sitting on a chair (or mat). Then a boy sits in a chair. Then a girl. Then a boy. Keep going until either the girls or the boys forms a row of three (3 boys or 3 girls). That team that forms a row of three wins the round. Repeat until one team wins five rounds to win the game. The game is called ‘Silent’ Tic Tac Toe, because players are not to speak or give any hints to team mates during the game.

Looking for more indoor youth group game ideas. Check out these Circle Games!

Plenty more fun indoor youth group games found on our Wacki App. Check them out HERE.

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

Sculptor, An Awesome Team Building Group Game!

Sculptor, a fun team building game

Are you looking for an awesome team building group game that inspires creativity for your youth group?

Why not give Sculptor a go! A perfect game for between lessons in the classroom; as a youth camp game; or as an icebreaker for a corporate workshop. Sculptor requires small teams to cooperatively work together to create an awe-inspiring sculpture made out of people. That’s right… they are human sculptures!

The Aim of the Game

To create an awesome human sculpture.

Sculptor Game Rules

  • Nominate someone to be the game Leader. This person keeps time and coordinates the game. You’ll see what I mean when you check out the video below.
  • The Game Leader splits the players into small groups of about five or six people. Each group designates a ‘Sculptor’.
  • Players are given a minute to have a team meeting to plan their sculpture. Then three minutes is given to the construction of the sculpture.
  • Each ‘Sculptor’ manipulates their team into a sculpture.
  • Players must be compliant with their Sculptor and freeze into the positions they are placed in. All players must be joined somehow. The game works best with the expectation of no talking during the creative process.
  • When the three minutes is almost up, the Game Leader counts down from ten and sculptures remain frozen in place.
  • The Game Leader asks each of the Sculptors to present their sculpture to the audience. They must name their creation and explain it.
  • The Game Leader can score each sculpture based on creativity, presentation and complexity. Alternatively, just have fun with the game and not have scoring.

Every time I play this fun group game with kids, they get more and more creative with their masterpieces. Everyone wants a turn at being the Sculptor, so you won’t be able to stop at playing it just once.

Amp it Up!

Once the kids have the hang of the game, try playing with larger teams of about ten players, each with two Sculptors. The Sculptors work together to put their creation together. This could be extended further, with a team of sculptors who create a work of art with the whole group.

Use as an Educational Group Game

Sculptor can be used as an educational group game to teach a concept or idea- great for classroom teachers looking for innovative ways to impart learning with their students. Use a subject theme, such as ‘3D Shapes’ or ‘Life Cycle of an Insect’. Up the difficulty level by using abstract themes like, ‘Feelings’ or ‘Colors’. With little kids, the theme could be ‘Marine Animals’ or ‘Numbers’. It’s also fun to play Sculptor whereby scenes from a novel or picture book are created. Check out other Educational Group Games HERE.

A Group Game for Parties

Playing Sculptor at parties is a lot of fun, especially if you give it a funny theme such as ‘Spooks’ or ‘Candy’. For little people parties try ‘Toys’ or ‘Fairies’. To spice things up, give each team a prop that must be used creatively as part of the sculpture. This could be a teddy bear, a chair or a balloon. The sculptures could have moving parts. ‘Futuristic Inventions’ or ‘Mythical Creatures’.

There is so much you could do with the game of Sculptor. Definitely add this one to your tool box of fun group games for kids!

Check out more ideas on Team Building Group Games HERE.

Dirty Santa- An Awesome Christmas Party Group Game!

Dirty Santa Christmas Party Game

Christmas parties are always great fun! How about livening up your party this Christmas with a game of Dirty Santa! As the title suggests, this Christmas group game has a dirty twist to it which will have everyone in fits of laughter. It is important that players don’t take it too seriously. The game is suitable for kids and adults and can be played at family Christmas parties, work/company parties and Christmas parties for kids. I play Dirty Santa every Christmas with the students in my class. They love it!

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The Aim of the Game

Everyone to have hilarious fun stealing gifts from one another… and each player to receive a little gift!

Before the Christmas Party

It is important to let guests know beforehand what to expect with playing a Christmas group game, so that they can come prepared. On your Christmas invites, let people know that you’ll be playing Dirty Santa. Give them the game rules and the expectations with the gift they are to bring- cost, theme and how to wrap it.

Type of Gift to Bring to the Game

With a group of about fifteen people it will take an hour to play. With more people, they game will need to be hastened (see tip below), otherwise it takes too long. Everyone who plays brings along a wrapped gift and places it secretly under the Christmas tree. Keep the gifts to an agreed low cost. It can be fun when people make them. The gifts can be serious or funny (or with adults a little rude!). For company Christmas parties you may like to have a theme for the gifts. With kids I keep the cost to about $10.

The gifts must be wrapped well and creatively to disguise what’s enclosed. Giving multiple layers of wrapping is fun, or have a small gift in a large wrapped box will fool those with ‘big eyes’. Try adding a scent to the wrapping, such as perfume.

Getting Started with Playing Dirty Santa

The host must explain the Dirty Santa game rules to the group so that everyone knows what’s expected. Keep it light-hearted.

Have everyone’s name go into a hat (alternatively everyone has a table number that corresponds with a matching number in the hat). A name/number is drawn and that person gets to select a gift from under the Christmas tree. The player opens it and keeps it visible for others to see in front of them.

The hat is passed around and another name/number is drawn. This person has a choice, either select a present from under the tree, or steal the first persons unwrapped present. If they take the present from the first player, then this player selects a new present from under the tree.

Now there are two players, each with an unwrapped present in front of them.

The hat is passed and another name/number is drawn. Once again, this player can either select a present from under the tree or steal from one of the two players with opened presents in front of them. If someone’s unwrapped gift is stolen, then that person can either steal from another player, or go fetch a new present.

The game continues until all the presents have been taken from under the Christmas tree.

Keeping the Flow

With large groups, Dirty Santa can drag on for too long. To keep it short and moving along, have all players firstly select a gift from under the Christmas tree. Once everyone has a gift, then allow for the stealing to take place. This will be manic as people rush about taking one another’s gifts! With large groups, it is important to set a time limit using a timer. Say five minutes.

An alternative, is to restrict the number of times a gift can be stolen from a player to just three times. Once the player has been stolen from three times, that player is out of the game and they place their gift out of view. This is the gift they get to keep!

With smaller groups, there is no need to hold off the stealing until the end. Allow more time for stealing. This can take place throughout the game, rather than at the end. It is still a good idea to set a limit to the number of times a player can be stolen from to three.

Steal-backs

When a player is stolen from, they are not permitted to steal the same gift back again. They need to wait for another opportunity to steal back a ‘favourite’ gift.

Now You’re Dirty Santa Christmas Party Game is All Set to Go!

Christmas time is a fun occasion for everyone! Dirty Santa is an awesome addition to Christmas parties! Combined with good food, bon-bons, festive music, dance and other Christmas party games, this upcoming Christmas will be one to remember!

Checkout some of our Wacki Indoor Group Games, Circle Group Games and Energizers for more awesome Christmas Party Group Games to liven up your Christmas!

The Wacki Team playing a game of Dirty Santa

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