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Ten Classic Kids Party Games With a Twist

By Patricia Jensen

The most exciting part of a kids party is the party games, and why not start with the classics? We've all played musical chairs, pin-the-tail, and limbo. But have you played them like this? Learn how to give each classic child party game idea its own unique twist to fit your party theme.


Draw a monster face on a piece of poster board or heavy cardboard and cut a hole in the box where the his mouth would be, large enough for the bean bags to be thrown through easily. Lean the monster face against a chair and place it 6-8 feet away (depending upon the abilities of the guests).

Everyone takes a turn tossing three items of "food" (use beanbags, cloth balls, rolled socks, or other small objects such as squeak toys for dogs) into the character's mouth. After each child's turn, retrieve the "food" and hand it to the next child. Every time a child successfully "feeds" the monster, he gets a small prize such as a sticker or wrapped candy.

Twist: Use a character which relates to your party theme instead of a monster: T-Rex for Dinosaur party; Clown for a Circus party; Gorilla for a Jungle Party


Gather your guests to sit in a circle and let the party child begin as the "Goose." He/she walks around the circle tapping each child lightly on the head, saying "Duck" with each tap. At any time, the party child can choose the next person to be the Goose, by saying "Goose" when tapping that person on the head. That child gets up and chases the birthday child around the circle.

If the new Goose does not tag the birthday child before he/she makes it all the way around the circle and sits in the open spot, then the new Goose becomes "it." If the new Goose tags the birthday child, then the birthday child remains "it" for the next round and the game continues.

Twist: Buzz, Buzz, Sting for a Bug Party; Tick, Tick, Tock for a Pirate Party


Before the party, fill a jar with candy or small toys. Count them before you put them into the jar. As your guests arrive, have each one guess how many toys or candies they think are in the jar. Write down each person's guess. At the end of the party, the person who guesses the closest number is the winner and gets to take home the jar.

Twist: Small plastic insects for a Bug Party, black and orange jellybeans for a Halloween party; small plastic dinosaurs for a Dinosaur Party


Played like the classic Hot Potato game. Children sit in a circle and pass an item around while an adult leader plays music. The child holding the item when the music stops is out. Last player left not holding the item is the winner.

Twist: Pass a big hairy toy spider for a Halloween party; rubber snake for a Western Party; teddy bear for a Teddy Bear Party

Another Twist: Cold Potato - Kids throw a water balloon back and forth across the circle. The player holding it when it breaks is out. Last player left dry is the winner.


Two adults hold a pole, mop or broomstick at child's height. Start the music (Caribbean is best). Children must walk under the pole without touching it. After each round, the adults lower the pole an inch or two. When the pole gets very low, children may bend backward and shimmy under, or even crawl. If a player touches the pole, he is out.

Twist: Pirate Limbo - adults hold a play sword; Halloween Limbo - adults hold a witch's broom; Fairy Party - adults hold a magic wand

Another Twist: Water Limbo - Have an adult point a stream of water for kids to limbo under. Great for a pool party!


Place about 10 to 15 small items or toys such as a pencil, watch, comb, spoon, toy car, etc. on a tray and cover with a cloth. Have guests sit in a circle with the tray in the middle. Remove the cloth for 60 seconds while guests try to remember as many of the objects as possible. When time is up, replace the cloth.

Now, each person has to name an object on the tray. The first person to fail to name an object, repeats an object or names something not on the tray is out. The tray is then removed and some or all of the objects replaced, and the game re-started with the person following the one who is out. If the game is too easy for the group, add more objects or reduce the time.

Twist: Use whatever objects relate to your party theme: construction trucks for a Construction Party; make-up items for a Dress-Up Party


Set up one fewer chair than the number of guests at your party. Start the music and have the children walk in a circle around the chairs, until you stop the music. When the music stops everyone tries to sit on a vacant chair. (Only one person per chair) The person who doesn't find a chair is out. One chair is taken away and the game continues until only one person (the winner)is left. This game can also be played with pillows or cardboard pictures placed on the floor for kids to jump on.

Twist: Musical Anthills for a Bug Party; Musical Islands for a Pirate Party; Musical Webs for a Spider Man Party


When it's time to play the game, mount your poster on the wall and place a piece of tape on the back of each object the children will be pinning on the poster. Blindfold each child, spin them around, and point them toward the poster. The child who pins their object closest to the designated spot, is the winner!

Twist: Pin the nose on the clown; Pin the Tooth on the T-Rex; Pin the Spider on the web for a Bug Party; Pin the X on the treasure map for a Pirate Party


Children stand in a group in front of the leader. The leader says, "Simon says, 'Do this,'" as she taps her head, claps her hands, turns around, etc. The children must follow the leader's actions, but only if she begins with "Simon says..." If the leader just says "Do this," the children must do nothing. If a child makes a mistake, he is out. The last child "in" is the winner.

Twist: Change "Simon Says" to a character relating to your party's theme: "Blackbeard Says" for a Pirate Party; "Spider Man Says" for a Spider Man Party; "Cinderella Says" for a Princess Party.

SPIN THE BOTTLE (for opening gifts)

Direct guests to sit in a circle holding the gift they brought. The birthday child spins a soda bottle and opens the gift of the party guest at whom the bottle is pointing when it stops. If it stops at a person that has already given a gift just go left until you find someone that hasn't had the gift they brought opened. A calm and quiet way to open gifts without all the pushing and shoving.

Twist: Spin the Spyglass for a Pirate Party; Spin the Ruler for a Construction Party; Spin the Barbie for a Barbie or Princess Party

Copyright 2005 Kids Party Paradise All Rights Reserved

Patricia B. Jensen is a mother of three and kids party enthusiast. She is the webmaster and owner of - a complete resource for kids party ideas including invitations, cakes, decorations, games, costumes, favors, and food.

For all the latest party news, read her Kids Party Blog.

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