When I think back to the many parties I attended in my childhood, there are two things that stand out in my mind. Party food and party games. I can't remember many gifts that I have given or received over the years but I do remember numerous games of 'pass the parcel' and 'musical chairs' played while being plied with sugar in various guises.
Party games are the core of any kids' party. They make the party a 'party' rather than a group of individual kids playing and eating together. At any party there will be some children who need more encouragement to mix than others. Cue party games!
A bouncy castle is great as is a clown or party entertainer but they cost money and are often not as memorable as well-planned party games involving the adults in attendance.
One of the best parties I can recall involved a game of 'high jump' in the back garden (presumably invented on the spot by the desperate-for-ideas parents).The basic elements of this game were: 1 sweeping brush, 1 enthusiastic father and dozens of sugar-fueled 10-year olds. The father in question would hold out the sweeping brush parallel to the ground and each child would, in turn, take a running jump at said brush in an attempt to clear the height and land safely on the other side.
The encouragement from the adults, gasps of amazement at the height of the jumps and the physical activity involved all contributed to a fantastic party game that cost absolutely nothing and involved everyone. I would imagine that the 'bar' was lowered mid jump to accommodate the less-athletic amongst us so we all felt like Olympic high-jumpers at the very top of our game!
A party game is not about expensive or innovative new games and ideas.It is about involving everyone - especially adults, as children love the audience and are more likely to give the game their full attention. And last but not least, children love rules. It may be hard to believe at times but they really do, they need the structure of rules in a game so set out the rules at the start and have fun!
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