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Wherever you choose to host a party, old-fashioned party games are the perfect way to ensure the children have tbe maximum party fun.

Garden, beach, park or pool, we have a rounded up a host of  age-appropriate party fun games.

You can find more party ideas here.

Back Garden

These games and activities are perfect for grassy gardens where noisy shrieks can be expected.

piñata

A papier-mâché or cardboard shape filled with sweets, prizes and confetti is hung up high. Players take turns hitting it with a stick until it breaks open and the treasure falls to the ground. They then collect as much loot as they can.

Themes, twists and tips: making a piñata is not that difficult. Use craft glue to stick strips of newspaper to a large balloon. Leave to dry overnight then cut a small hole in the top. Paint, decorate, fill with sweets and hang.

Best for ages 3–6

icebreaker

Treats and prizes are frozen in layers in a large plastic bucket. The ice block is removed from the mould and placed on the grass. Players take turns to scoop a cup of water from a bucket, run and pour it over the ice, attempting to melt it and free a prize.

Themes, twists and tips: freezing the ice in layers over a few days will ensure the treats are better distributed. The larger the bucket or container the more party fun – having a chest freezer helps. Freeze two ice blocks and make it a team relay.

Best for ages 3–8

balloon stomp

Divide players into two teams and tie balloons around each player’s ankles. Each team must now pop the other team’s balloons while keeping their own intact.

Themes, twists and tips: choose two different colour balloons to separate teams. Add music and let players stomp until the music stops at which point they must all freeze. Anyone who doesn’t freeze is out of the game.

Best for ages 4–8

Small Indoor Spaces

No garden? No problem. You can still ensure party fun with these indoor games and activities that can be played in even the smallest apartment.

balloon pop

Place a small note inside each balloon before blowing it up or filling it with helium. These notes can include dares, forfeits, jokes or the names of prizes. Tie the balloons into bouquets using ribbon and let each player take a turn to pop a balloon using a pin or by stomping on it.

Themes, twists and tips: choose balloons in your colour theme. Place small treats such as mini fizzers into each balloon instead of a note.

Best for ages 4–8

pin the tail on the donkey

Draw a donkey with an X for a tail. Draw a separate tail onto cardboard or make one from wool. Players are blindfolded and spun around three times with the tail in hand and they then need to feel their way to the donkey and try to stick the tail in the correct position.

The most accurate player wins a prize.

Themes, twists and tips: for a modern twist, pin the watch on Ben 10, the bat on Batman or the crown on the princess. Pencil the initials of each player where he pins on the tail so you can keep track.

Best for ages 2–6

mystery foods

Place 10–15 different foods with distinct flavours but varying textures into separate bowls. Try strawberries, bananas, chocolate, peanut butter, mayonnaise, gherkins, olives, popcorn, tomato sauce and mustard. Cut the solid foods into tiny pieces.

Blindfold each child and have them smell each dish. If they can’t identify it correctly they must taste a small sample of it. Give them two points if they identify by smell and one point for taste.

At the end tally the points to see who wins.

Themes, twists and tips: for younger children choose tastes they will enjoy. For older children you can throw in a sour surprise such as lemon juice or vinegar.

best for ages 6–12

Read our article on how to host a fabulous winter party indoors.

Beach

With outdoor games and activities that suit a sandy terrain, you can make use of common beach accessories.

water balloon toss

Standing in two opposing lines, players gently toss a water balloon to each other and try to catch it without letting it burst.

After each successful catch they take one step backwards. Once it pops, the players are out. The last pair standing wins.

Themes, twists and tips: this game works just as well with a tennis ball – which mustn’t be dropped, however, it isn’t quite as much fun.

Best for ages 5–10

sandman

Divide players into teams. Each team must collect twigs, shells and pebbles from the beach and then build a large sandman (similar to a snowman). The best sandman wins.

Themes, twists and tips: provide old clothing and have teams “dress” their sandman. Take photos of each guest next to their sandman and use these as “thank you for coming to my beach party” cards later.

Best for ages 4–12

musical towels

Think musical chairs but use beach towels instead. Each player lays their towel out and dances around to the music while one towel is removed. When the music stops, players must find a towel and lie down.

The player caught without a towel is out.

Themes, twists and tips: add in an activity such as doing sit-ups in a row to ensure players don’t cheat by hovering over the towels.

Best for ages 3–12

Park

These outdoor games and activities don’t require large props, but the children will still have lots of party fun.

sticker tag

Think paintball without the pain. Buy a couple of packs of sticky dots or squares and distribute one sheet per player. Have players run around and tag each other by sticking stickers on their backs.

At the end of the game, the player with the least tags wins.

Themes, twists and tips: divide into teams so players only tag members of the other team.

Best for ages 3–12

relay races

Divide players into two teams and have them race against the other team to win prizes. Traditional variations include a sack race, a three-legged race or an egg-and-spoon race.

Themes, twists and tips: introduce obstacles to the race to make it more interesting. A fun alternative is for players to run while holding onto an untied balloon filled with water without spilling any of it.

Best for ages 2–12

treasure hunt

Children love a good treasure hunt. Scope out your local park and then draw landmark clues, such as trees, slides and swings, on index cards. At each point they should find another clue card and eventually the last clue will lead them to a treasure map, telling them where the treasure is buried or hidden.

Use a shoebox and fill it with chocolate coins and party favours as the treasure.

Themes, twists and tips: for older children, write out riddles as clues instead of drawing pictures.

Best for ages 4–12

Pool

With games and activities that can be played in and beside the pool, children will have immense party fun.

spoon dive

Gather up different sized spoons in your house (except your vintage cutlery) and toss them into the bottom of the pool. Let the children dive in to retrieve the spoons.

The child who retrieves the most spoons wins a prize.

Themes, twists and tips: tie different coloured ribbons around the handles of the spoons and assign values to each colour, so a red ribbon might be worth five points while a blue one is worth 10. Total up points to determine the winner or allocate small prizes and treats to each colour.

Best for ages 5–10

noodle joust

Two players straddle a lilo while jousting with pool noodles to knock the other player into the water. Once a player is knocked off, a new challenger takes his place.

The last player on the lilo is the champion.

Themes, twists and tips: this game can get rough so make sure to supervise at all times.

Best for ages 6–12

poolside relay

Players are divided into two teams. The first player in each team must race with a pool noodle between their legs to a second point where they drop the noodle and put on a pair of flippers, large baggies and snorkelling mask. They then run back to their team where they swap their outfit with the next player. This player then runs to the second point to undress and fetch the noodle.

The race continues like this until the last player has finished.

Themes, twists and tips: use your imagination to add silly actions and extra pool props, and remember to play this game away from the edge of the pool.

Best for ages 6–12

Child Magazine