Ramp up the fun with these 7 birthday party games

Five children in party hats pop out from behind a couch and blow on noisemakers.
Paperless Post > Baby and Kids > Ramp up the fun with these 7 birthday party games

Whether it’s their first year around the sun or they’re turning double digits, your child’s birthday calls for something special. We’re sure you’ve got your bases covered on the cake, snacks, and party favors—but how should you keep the party guests entertained once you’ve sung Happy Birthday and blown out the candles?

The answer: fabulous, fun-filled kids’ birthday party games.

Preparing some birthday party games can add tons of joy, entertainment, family fun, and laughter—and create memories the guests and birthday kid will treasure for years to come. With so many games to choose from, we’ve narrowed it down to our top seven.


1. The ultimate obstacle course

An obstacle course is a fun game and a great way for little kids to enjoy a little friendly competition and exercise all at once. The best part is that obstacle courses can be adapted to suit various environments—whether a sidewalk course, backyard course, or in-the-house course—and kids of any age. 

Obstacle courses can even be made on a low budget. You’d be surprised how far laundry baskets and broomsticks can go. Try constructing an obstacle course with items you likely already have around the house, such as:

— Pool noodles

— Chairs

— Sidewalk chalk (to add a hopscotch element outdoors)

— Sheets of paper (to add a hopscotch element indoors)

— Hula hoops

— Balloons

— Any yard toys you already have, like slides or swings

– Tunnels

Another fun option is letting the kids participate in the creation of the obstacle course. Adults and children can work together to design different parts of the course. It’s a great way to develop their team-building and problem-solving skills. Either way, obstacle courses are a constructive way to keep kids entertained for hours—whether it’s jumping through hula hoops, crawling under pool noodles, or hopping across the backyard in potato sacks to make it to the finish line.


Left: A unicorn birthday party invitation featuring an illustration of unicorns high fiving surrounded by stars, hearts, and rainbows; right: white party hats in the shape of a unicorn horn with rainbow tassels on the ends.Unicorn High Five” by Hello!Lucky for Paperless Post; unicorn party hats by Meri Meri, available at the Party Shop.


2. A themed relay race

If you’re looking for the next hit at your kid’s birthday bash, look no further than a themed relay race. Relay races are an excellent way for kids to stretch their legs and have fun all at once. Plus, they require minimal materials and can be done inside or outside. 

You can also customize this classic party game to fit the birthday party theme and your child’s interests. If they’re into outer space and aliens, consider an extraterrestrial-themed three-legged relay race. They can explore the solar system in pairs or teams, moving from planet to planet as they travel the galaxy. Or, if they’re more into magical princess parties, have them don their finest unicorn party hats before the race begins.

Pair each child or let them choose their partners. Then, use a piece of fabric to tie their inner legs together, creating the “third” leg—and let the race to the finish line begin. It’s a delightful way for kids to work together and communicate while having fun.  


Left: A colorful party scene with balloons, bunting, and honeycombs surrounding a table and chairs covered in sweets; right: a sky-blue birthday invitation featuring a young girl flying away with a giant clutch of rainbow balloons.Image by Oh Happy Day; “Flying Colors” by Vashti Harrison for Paperless Post.


3. The candy-filled balloon stomp

Is there a better combo than balloons and candy? We think not. While piñatas certainly have their place in the candy game, they only allow for one player at a time—while this game spreads the fun around. Here’s how to play:

— First, you’ll have to stuff candy in each balloon before blowing it up—a task you may want to do beforehand. 

— Once you have all your candy-stuffed balloons ready, everyone can gather into a circle standing around them. 

— Use music to begin and end the activity. Stomp in intervals until all balloons have been popped. 

Another variation is for every party guest to lock arms until all balloons have been popped. In the end, everyone can enter the circle to retrieve the candy. You can have a lot of fun with this activity by catering the music to your child’s favorite songs or even matching the balloon colors to your party decor. (Psst—if you’re planning to play this game, don’t forget a party invitation that brings just as much fun.)


4. A twist on the classic hide-and-seek

Hide-and-seek is a classic party game for a reason. It’s easy, fun, and requires no extra supplies—making it an effortless way to amuse the partygoers. But you don’t have to just stick with the standard—there are multiple ways to spice up this timeless game.

First, refresh your memory with a rundown of the basic rules:

— Establish the boundaries of the game, especially if it’s being played outdoors—such as where players can or cannot hide and how far away is too far.

— Next, the person who is the seeker closes their eyes and counts to a predetermined number—let’s say 25—while everyone else hides. When the seeker finishes counting, they yell out, “Ready or not, here I come!” and begin the search.

— As the seeker finds each player, they go to a waiting area.

— The last person found becomes the next seeker.

One variation that can make this classic game new and exciting for adults and children is chain hide-and-seek. Instead of going to the waiting area after being found, each person links arms with the seeker until the last person is found—creating a long line of linked players that’s sure to inspire some giggles.

Another version is known as Sardines. This popular iteration is almost the opposite of traditional hide-and-seek:

— To start with, just one player hides, and everyone else is the seeker. Just like with traditional hide-and-seek, the seekers count to a set number while the first player hides.

— As soon as a seeker finds the hidden player, they must join them in the hiding spot. This continues until all but one seeker is packed into the hiding spot (like a can of sardines!).

— The last seeker becomes the first person to hide in the next round.


5. Water balloon toss

While this game is best as an outdoor activity, it’s certainly one that can spark some glee. First, you’ll need a bucket full of pre-filled water balloons. Then, pair off all of the partygoers until everyone has a partner. (If you have an odd number, a group of three works too.)

Next, give each pair of players a water balloon, and have them start standing close to each other. The players must then toss the water balloon to each other, taking one step backward with each toss. Any players who drop the balloon are out of the game, while the players who keep tossing the longest are the winners.


Left: A horizontal birthday party invitation with illustrations of differently colored and shaped party hats; right: a small boy wearing a birthday hat and blowing out candles on a piece of chocolate cake.Hats on Parade” by Mr. Boddington’s Studio for Paperless Post; image via Pexels.


6. What time is it, Mister Fox?

This enjoyable game combines all the fun of Red Rover and Red Light, Green Light but with heaps more suspense and some added character fun. To start with, you’ll choose one child to be “Mister Fox” (or “Ms. Fox”). While a costume isn’t required, a fun party hat or mask can help to set the leader apart. Then, follow these instructions:

— Have the “fox” stand at one end of the yard or room facing away from the others. All the other players line up at the other end of the room.

— When the game starts, all the children call out, “What time is it, Mister Fox?” Each time, the child playing the fox calls out a different time in response—and the other players take that many steps forward. (For example, if the fox says, “Four o’clock!” the children can take four steps forward.)

— The goal is for all the children to reach the fox’s end of the yard or room before the child playing the fox responds, “Dinner time!” Then, the fox can turn around and chase the players who have crept forward. If they manage to tag one of the players before they can get back to the starting place, they become the next fox and the game starts over.

7. Treasure hunt

Want a game that combines teamwork, problem-solving, and a little mystery? A treasure hunt is the way to go. Follow these simple steps to start the hunt:

— Prepare the treasure—aka, the prizes you’ll hide for the party guests to find. This can be candy or small toys, but you can also sprinkle in a few bigger party guest gifts to boost the excitement.

— Choose the area where you’ll hide the treasure—such as in your backyard or a certain part of your home. This prevents the hunt from spreading too far and wide.

— Hide the treasure in that area. If your group includes multiple ages, you can choose both some easy hiding spots and more difficult ones. After you hide each piece of treasure, write or draw a simple clue on a sticky note. Then, place that note somewhere else in the same area.

— Once the treasure hunt begins, set the players free to find the clues (and then the treasure).



Invite your birthday partygoers with Paperless Post

Now that you’re one step closer to throwing your child an unforgettable birthday bash, let Paperless Post help you get the party goers there. Paperless Post offers online kid’s birthday invitations that you can send in minutes via email, text, or shareable link. Whether it’s sports and video games or magical unicorns, we have a variety of birthday invitation designs both parents and kids are sure to love. 

Paperless Post knows how much can go into a kid’s birthday party, and that’s why we’ve streamlined the invitation process. You can invite, track, and manage RSVPs with a few simple taps by downloading the app

Plus, you can find party supplies to match our invitations in the Paperless Post Party Shop. Whether it’s balloons or confetti, we’re bound to have the perfect touch of decor for all your party needs. 

Need a theme for your kids’ birthday party? We can help with our unmatched party expertise, whether you’ll need lots of unicorns, dinosaurs, or rocket ships to celebrate.


Browse kids’ birthday invitations


Hero image via Pexels.