DIY & Family Friendly Games for Fun Parties
Whether it's a birthday, halloween, christmas or kid's party, games are great ice breakers and provide very memorable entertainment for all of your guests. Some of the best games are the classics like pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, musical chairs or pass-the-parcel, whilst others are more unusual and creative.
This page focusses on the more imaginative and less common game ideas for family parties and more, and I've tried to keep all of the games clean and family friendly.
I hope this page will give you plenty of inspiration for the next time you are the host!
Fun Party Games
There are many, many games on the market that are aimed at every kind of market; from kids to whole families, and from teens to just adults.
Here are a couple of classics; Hot Potato and an egg-and-spoon-race set:
Game Idea List 1
- Try The Orange Battle - Everyone gets 2 tablespoons, and they hold one in each hand. An orange is balanced on one of them, whilst the other is used to knock everyone else's oranges off their spoons. The winner is the one left with their orange still balanced on their spoon.
- The Chocolate Game - get at least 4 or 5 people to sit in a circle. In the middle, put a big bar/slab of chocolate on a chopping board. Also in the middle of the circle should be a knife and fork, a hat, a scarf and as chunky and awkward a pair of gloves as you can find (boxing gloves are perfect!) Take it in turns to roll a 6 on a dice, and when you do, put the hat, scarf and gloves on as fast as you can before trying to cut off a piece of chocolate with the knife and fork and eat it - all before the next person rolls a 6. It's a lot of fun, especially for chocoholics!
Add more/different clothing items to vary the game or make it harder.
- Invent your own game, perhaps by combining two different sports in one - click here to see some great examples
- Cereal Box game - all you need is one cereal box and some scissors. To start with, cut the top of the box off and have everyone take it in turns to try to pick up the box with their teeth only (Rule: only their feet may touch the ground). Once everyone has tried to pick the box up, cut more height off the box and repeat - eliminating anyone who can't pick the box up any more. You might end up with a couple of people battling it out with a piece of card only a few mm high!
- Prepare a treasure hunt. Use words, riddles, drawing or photos as clues. The hunt could be in the house, the yard or the local area. Even more fun if there are 2 or more teams competing against one another (rather than individuals). Try and be creative as possible - you could even ask friends to be 'live clues' and they might require something from the team before giving out the clue (e.g. a sweet/an empty crisp packet, a daisy etc, depending on what could realistically be found). Or maybe they can only answer questions with 'yes' or 'no'.
- How about a photo scavenger hunt?
- Play the card game Spoons.
- Prepare a quiz in advance - this could be general knowledge or based on something you all have in common. A music quiz can be created easily by simply playing the intro/first few seconds of a track and getting people to write the name of the track and the singer(s) down (or it could be a 'live play' quiz, with the first person answering correctly out-loud being the winner of a point). There could also be photos of foreign buildings and you have to guess where they are, or close-up photos of things (e.g. household objects) and you have to guess what they are, or perhaps fill-in-the-gap questions using lyrics or quotes.
- A building competition - with two teams competing to build something in the quickest time or build something taller than the other in a time limit. This could be trying to build the tallest tower from just paper and tape, the strongest paper structure, the highest playing card tower, the tallest tower using a limited number of Jenga blocks or balloons, or anything else you can think of.
- A fancy dress sports game - that's a normal sports game but with everyone dressed up, or a game created around the costume theme. An example could be everyone dressed as zombies and water balloons could represent brains, and you have to collect and smash as many as possible into a bucket. Or people could dress as soldiers, ninjas, jedis and other fighters and it could be a target based game. Or everyone could dress as chefs and have a food fight!
- Spoons - Put a stool upside down and ask 4 players to stand around it (one next to each leg) and make sure they are facing away from the stool. Blindfold the players and give them each a spoon. When the host says 'Go', the players take 3 steps away from the stool, turn around and then attempt to place their spoon on a stool leg. The first one to do so wins.
- Everyone is split into pairs, with one person in each pair blindfolded. Quite far away from the starting point, a bucket is placed on the ground or in an awkward place, and inside it is a hat. The aim of the game is to have the 'seeing' person in each pair guide the blindfolded person safely to the bucket and be the first to put the hat on. The further the bucket is away, and the more obstacles there are, the more fun it is!
Balloon Popping Game
Game Idea List 2
- A simple game where everyone has a balloon attached to their foot by a short piece of string. The idea is to stamp on and pop everyone else's balloons until there is only one left - the winner.
- This can be a one-on-one game or a group game; you just need drinking staws, bowls and sweets (mini marshmallows or smarties work well - or baked beans to make it messy!). Each person has 2 bowls, one empty and one with a certain number of sweets in. The first person to move all of the sweets to the empty bowl using just the drinking straw wins.
- Guess the baby? This is perfect when there is a large group and it's an important birthday e.g. 16th, 18th, 21st, 30th, 40th etc. Ask everyone to bring a photo of themselves when they were a baby, with their name written on the back. Display the photos on noticeboards at the party and give each person a pen and paper so that they can try and figure out who is who. The answers can be marked if you want to give out a prize for the most correct guesses.
- Bamboozle. Good for a small group (no more than 6 players preferably). The host has pre-prepared a list of never-heard words from the dictionary, with the definitions written next to the words. At the party, the host reads out the first word. Each person must then write what they think the definition is on a piece of paper (i.e. make a definition up) and they must try and be as believable as possible (although most people try and throw in a funny definition too at some point!) They then hand their paper to the host who should have some kind of barrier to stop people seeing the paper in their hands (such as a large book). The host then reads out all of the made-up answers, plus the real definition, in a random order. The players write the approx. definition on a separate answer sheet and then play continues with the next word.
- Who am i? Before the party, the host writes down well-known people's names (celebrities, historical figures etc) on separate stickers/post-its and hides them away. At the party, a sticker is stuck by the host to each of the guest's heads without them seeing what's written on it, and then each person asks a series of 'yes or no' questions about the name on their own forehead to try and find out who it is.
- Balloon passing game. Two teams at least (each with a minimum of 5 people in). Each team forms a row and tries to pass a balloon from the first person to the last without using their hands. If the balloon pops or lands on the floor, the team starts again.
- The host takes one person to another room and tells them what they are going to act out (this can be actions like making pancakes, getting married, painting a picture, swimming with dolphins, auditioning for a singing show, being in the army, being a spy or ninja etc)
The host brings another person into this room and the 'actor' acts out what they have been told for 30 seconds. Nobody is allowed to speak at all. The person who has been acted to then becomes the actor for the next person to be brought into the room and so on for every person (like an acted-out Chinese whispers) until the last person guesses what they think the action is. This is usually completely wrong!
You can change this game by instead humming a song or playing a song on a kazoo/recorder for 20 seconds.
- A taste test quiz with the winner getting a prize. Blindfold each person in turn and feed them a bit out 10 different foods. Don't let other people in the room until they are playing or have played. Foods should be different textures but don't make it too gross!
Examples include dark chocolate shavings, kiwi, avocado, HP sauce, chopped pistachios, beetroot crisps, a shot of mushroom soup etc
- Hot Potato with a twist - Fill a bin liner/garbage bag with embarrassing and amusing clothes and accessories like bikinis, huge sunglasses, novelty slippers, ponchos, silly hats, bandanas, berets, wigs, head scarves, masks, coats, overalls, Speedos, underwear, dungarees, big xmas jumpers etc. and this bag of clothes is passed around a circle until the music stops, and the person holding the bag has to wear the first thing they pull out the bag (over their own clothes obviously). This carries on until all of the clothes are worn, and the winner is the person with the fewest items of clothing on. Be sure to take photos!
Game Idea List 3
- What is it? - Have shoeboxes with different objects inside, and everyone goes around, putting their hand in through a hole (i.e. the contents are completely hidden) and writing down what they think each object is. You could have 10 boxes, with a large range of food, or random, strange-feeling things in such as blancmange, toys, candy floss, grass, bark, party string, shells, a mask, coral, raspberries, homemade slime etc. You can give a prize to the most correct answers or the funniest/most imaginative!
- The chopstick game - 2 teams, each with a bowl full of small sweets (or baked beans for a messy version) and an empty bowl. Each player has a minute to use chopsticks to move as many sweets as possible to the empty bowl.
- Spoon Relay - get two teams and get them each to stand in single file. A long piece of string is attached to a spoon, and when the relay starts, the first player threads the spoon down under their top and trousers/skirt, then the next player in each team threads the spoon up through their trousers and then their top - and so on until all players are connected with the sting. Then the spoon is unthreaded by each player until every is disconnected and the first team to do that are the winners!
- Put headphones on one person and tell them to mime to the song that is played. The rest of the people have to guess what is being mimed.
- Fold up a t-shirt inside a plastic storage bag (sealed e.g. a zip-loc bag) and pour about 2 cups of water inside. Freeze one t-shirt per team, overnight so it's frozen solid. Only bring the t-shirts out just before the game begins. Each team gets a frozen t-shirt and the aim of the game is to have a member of your team wearing the t-shirt in the quickest time. The teams are allowed to leave the room and do whatever they need to do to melt the ice!
- Cotton Ball Scoop - put one light plastic bowl on the head of one player from each of two teams (someone from each team will have to hold it there). Give each player a bowl of cotton balls to rest in their lap, plus a large spoon. Blindfold them.
See how many cotton balls they can move with the spoon to the empty bowl on their heads - in a certain time limit (one or two minutes). This is a funny game as the players usually don't pick anything up but don't realise!
- Have a Gladiator style tournament where people are paired up to compete against each other. For the game, give each player a long cardboard (poster) tube - with bubble wrap wrapped around each end so it can't hurt anyone - and get each player to stand on a cushion about a meter apart. Both players must attempt to knock the other person off their cushion, using just their cardboard pole. If someone steps off their cushion they are eliminated. Pairs of people keep competing until there is one winner.
- For guys who want more competitive games, you could race 2 people against each other to do certain things, such as hammering 25 nails into a piece of wood, sawing a piece of wood in half, shooting into a basketball hoop by throwing the ball backwards, standing/hopping on one leg for the longest (whilst trying to get the other person to lose their balance), balancing something on their head for the longest, balancing the most spoons on their face, being the first to bounce a ball into a bowl on the other side of the room etc.
Mummy Wrap Game
Halloween Game List
- The classic apple bobbing game, where apples are floated in a barrel/bowl/bucket of water and people must try and get the apples out using just their teeth - with their hands behind their back. A variation on this is having apples/toffee apples/doughnuts individually hung up at head-level with pieces of string, so the apples swing when you try to bite them.
- The mummy wrap game. Cheaper, thinner toilet paper makes this trickier!
- The Name Game - when the kids arrive, stick a sticker on their back with the name of a Halloween related name or thing on (Frankenstein, Mortisha, a witch, pumpkin, werewolf, black cat etc). They can ask people yes/no questions to find out who they are.
- Howling At The Moon - the kids sit in a circle facing outwards and someone is blindfolded in the middle. The blindfolded person touches the top of each person's head, moving around the circle, whilst spooky music (e.g. Thriller) is played. When the music stops, the child who's head has just been tapped lets out a werewolf howl and the blindfolded child must guess who it is.
If they guess correctly, they swap places and carry on the game. If they guess incorrectly, the game continues.
- Cook loads of spaghetti pasta and leave to cool so it makes a congealed mess. Put it into a bucket (might be best to do this game outside!) and bury ping pong balls or bottle lids with 'Trick' or 'Treat' written on in permanent ink, within the spaghetti.
Get the kids to take it in turns to pick out a ball or lid. 'Trick' means they get a forfeit (have some written on paper beforehand), and 'Treat' means they get a small present, perhaps some candy.
Forfeit ideas ideas: do the can-can dance, drink a glass of water from the wrong side of the glass, eat jelly with a fork, wear your socks on your ears, pretend to be a ballerina, do an impression of someone and everyone has to guess who it is, trying make someone else laugh etc.
- Buy a few smaller pumpkins and use them as bowling balls to knock down pins or pop bottles (with a small amount of water in to weigh the bottles down). Each person gets 2 goes and the number of pins they knocked down is recorded. You can have as many rounds of bowling as you like the person who has knocked down the most bottles in total is the winner.
- Everyone gets a pumpkin, a black felt-tip pen and 5 minutes to transform the pumpkin into the head of a well-known person or character e.g. frankenstein, the Queen of England, a skull, Simon Cowell, a cat, Mickey mouse etc.
If you come up with the ideas beforehand, you could provide a few props to help (wigs for instance)
- Wink Murder - best for a large group. Everyone sits in a circle, facing inwards. One person is sent out of the room whilst people decide who the murderer will be. The person comes back in the room and stand in the middle of the circle. The murderer's aim is to wink at each person in the circle to 'kill' them. Anyone 'killed' lies down flat.
The murderer must try and catch the murderer in the act of winking or work out who it is. If the murderer manages to kill nearly everyone, they have won and they get to choose the murderer next. Or if the person in the middle guesses correctly, they can swap places with the 'murderer'. The game is then repeated.
- Pin the wart on the witch's nose - a variation of the 'pin the tail on the donkey' game.
- Flashlight Tag for after-dark hide-and-seek fun.
- Zombie - Two pairs participate in this game. Each pair stands hand in hand with their adjoining hands tied together. With their free hands (one with the right hand and other with the left one) they must wrap up the package (i.e. a cardboard box), then tie a ribbon around it in a bow. The pair who finish the task first win a prize. This would also be a good game for Christmas.
- Cut out one small piece of paper for each guest and write 'Detectice' on one, 'Murderer' on another and 'Suspect' on the rest. Put the papers in a bowl and ask everyone to take one. Everyone must keep their role a secret.
The lights are switched off (make sure all obstacles are removed from the room) and the murderer must go around the room tapping the shoulders of everyone else to 'kill' them. They must then lie on the floor dead. Screaming, dying noises or shouting 'murderer, murderer' are optional. If the shoulder of the 'detective' is tapped, he/she must say 'I'm the detective' and someone must go and switch the lights on. The murderer must then either pretend to be dead or distance themselves from the detective before the lights come on. The detective must then guess who was the murderer. If they guess right, they've won, and if not, the murderer has won.
The Cotton Wool Ball Game
What You Will Need:
* 2 Tablespoons; you might want to use a larger spoon if you want to make it easier for kids
* 2 Lightweight medium-size bowls; the smaller the bowl, the harder the game is. You can use plastic plates instead if you wish.
* 2 Large plastic bowls
* 2 Chairs
* Wide elastic (0.5" - 1" wide preferably)
* 4 Strong, narrow clips such as memo clips (or you can use superglue if you don't mind sacrificing the bowls for this game)
* Cotton wool balls; maximum a couple of hundred required (they can be re-used)
* 2 Blindfolds or anything you can use as a blindfold e.g. scarves
- Attach one end of the elastic to the rim of the medium-size plastic bowl, either with a strong clip or with superglue.
- To prepare for the game, put the bowl on top of the head of one of the players, then take the elastic (that will be hanging off one side of the bowl) down underneath the volunteer's chin and then back up again to the opposite side of the bowl. Making sure the elastic is tight enough to hold the bowl sufficiently in place whilst not being uncomfortable, clip the elastic to the bowl and cut off the excess elastic.
- Repeat for the second player, so that now there are two people with bowls strapped to their heads - looking mildly ridiculous!
- Get each player to sit on a chair and put a large bowl filled with cotton wool balls in their laps.
- Give each player a spoon, blindfold them and then countdown to the start of the game.
- The two players have a certain length of time (30 seconds to 1 minute is best)
- At the end of the time, count how many cotton wool balls are in the bowls on top of each player's heads, and note the numbers down.
- You can play this game as a tournament so that everyone gets to play at least once and there will eventually be one winner.
- Have fun!
P.S. I hope you like my amazing graphics :)
Videos Of Fun Games & Activities
Kid's Party Games
- Pin the tail on the donkey. You could also change the theme so that instead of a donkey, you could have the birthday kid's favourite animal.
- Fish race: Each person cuts a fish shape out of a newspaper piece (not too big - about 8" long max.) and then uses the rest of the newspaper to waft the fish from the start line to the finish line.
- Build an obstacle course in the garden for a relay race.
- Hot Potato - for indoors or outdoors.
- Sticker tag for a fun outdoor game.
- If you have access to trees or various other sturdy objects, create some large spider webs using differently coloured pieces of yarn (of the same length) with a treat at the end of each one. Then give each child the end of a piece of yarn and they have to follow their yarn (and untangle it) to find their own treat at the end. You can make it a race for added fun.
- For a less manic team game, you can split the kids into teams to create a matchstick tower in a certain time limit. You could do the same sort of game but using toothpicks and marshmallows to make the tower.
- Have two or three teams and choose one child in each team to be blindfolded. The blindfolded kid must try and wear as many socks as they can in 1 minute, with their team helping. Socks on hands and feet only - but you'll have to have lots of socks handy!
- Have everyone stand in a circle facing inwards and have one person in the middle. Have everyone in the circle stand close to each other. Give one person something small like a pebble or coin without the person in the middle seeing. The idea of the game is to pass the object around the circle without the person in the middle noticing. If they correctly guess where the object is, they swap with the person holding it. If they guess incorrectly, they must close their eyes for a few seconds to the object can be passed to someone else.
- Chinese whispers - everyone sits in a circle and one person whsipers a sentence into the ear of the person next to them. The person listening whispers what they hear to the next person and so on until it goes all the way around the circle. People are not allowed to repeat themselves. The last person in the circle says what they think they hear out loud. It's usually totally wrong - and funny! The more kids the better with this game.
- For more super fun game ideas, click here.
This game involves trying to move as many M&M sweets as possible from the bowl in the center onto your plate - with the person who has the most M&Ms on their plate at the end being the winner. You can use a few different sweets for this, including marshmallows.
Photo by Woodleywonderworks.
Top-Rated Game Books
If you're still hungry for more games ideas, then books provide a huge resource for inspiration, and here are a few of the best:
More Fun Party Game Ideas
- Outdoor Water Games & DIY Toys
Lots of game ideas for summer parties plus toy tutorials.
- 6 Indoor Family Games
Classic game ideas, perfect for Christmas parties.
- Coolest Kids Parties
Huge resource for creative game ideas for every party theme.
- Activity Village
Quiet, messy, indoor and outdoor game instructions.
- Fun Attic
Lots of water, relay and ball games for group fun.
- Xmas Party Games
5 ideas for adults at Christmas parties plus more.
- Party Games Collection
hundreds of quick and easy-to-understand games.
- Grown-Up Games
I especially like the spoon shaving game!
- Kid's Carnival Games
Outdoor series of games for summer fun.
Pantyhose & Orange Game
Basically the aim of the game is to swing an orange between your legs (inside pantyhose) to hit a ball to a goal, against an opponent. And of course the other aim is to look funny!
Photo by Scott Clark.
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GEMNITYA5 on April 17, 2014: