Birthday parties can get so complicated. There’s the venue. The food. The photo-worthy cake. The favors. Oh, and what are these kids going to do for three hours if it’s raining/snowing/too hot/cold out?! Here are some easy and creative ideas to work into a birthday party on a cold, rainy, or snow stormy day.
If hiring entertainment isn’t in your budget (who needs a balloon artist anyway?), here are some fun games that can make you the Entertainment Director and the hit of the party.
7 Indoor Birthday Party Games
1. Penguin Bounce: Place 6 or 7 pillows in a line on a carpeted floor. These will be your icebergs. Then have kids line up (barefoot) and take turns walking and hopping from iceberg to iceberg, like penguins (arms at side and feet in first position). They must land with both feet on each icecap — or they have fallen through the ice and must start over again. Space the pillows a little farther apart for each new round until there is only one penguin left!
2. Indoor Obstacle Course: Create a course throughout the house for the kids to jump over things, leap from pillow to pillow, and roll through hallways. Use items like hula hoops, padded chairs, and various toys as added obstacles. Be sure to time each kid so they can race to improve their own best time.
3. Don’t Let the Balloon Touch the Floor: Blow up several balloons and have all the kids stand in the same area. Start with one balloon and tell kids they have to keep it in the air. Then break into teams (with different color balloons for each). Increase the difficulty by adding more. How long can they keep it off the ground?
4. Straw Races: Provide each kid with a straw and a cotton ball. Create a starting line on a hard floor surface. Have them race their cotton ball across the floor by blowing into the straw. First cotton ball to pass the finish line wins a prize!
5. Limbo: It has been around for decades, but it’ll never get old! See how low the kids can go as you lower the stick each time they all pass under. Play a little music to boost the enthusiasm and energy while they wait for each of their turns. Turn this into a groovy conga line and freeze dance party and the game can last all morning!
6. TP/PT Bowling: Collect some paper towel or toilet paper tubes. Set them up as a triangle as you would see in the bowling alley. Fold a couple of socks together to make a ball and aim for a strike! Create one bowling station per four kids. Have the birthday child help set up the “pins.”
7. Yoga Mat Hopscotch: Use tape to mark out a hopscotch grid on the yoga mat and write a number in each square. Then hop on one foot in numerical order. Increase difficulty by throwing a ball of socks on one of the numbers. The person hopping has to reach down and grab the socks, while still on one foot. Create friendly competition to find out how many times each child can get across.
What other games do you suggest that have been a hit with children at a birthday party?
Katie Bugbee is the senior managing editor and resident parenting expert of Care.com. A busy working mother of two, she’s an expert on many parenting dilemmas, from appeasing picky eaters to finding the perfect babysitter.