When your party is full of fun, good emotions and happy kids it can be easy to forget that every occasion is a learning experience and a birthday party is no exception to the rule. By gathering so many people in one room you expose your kid to a variety of emotions and new acquaintances. Throwing a party is an excellent way to show your kid how to use his social skills. And who knows? Maybe by the end of the party you will find out that your kid is a true tribe leader!
A birthday party is not only a great opportunity to learn some social skills, but also a good cause to improve math, motor and reading skills. You want to use every single opportunity and make sure your kids learn something new each day. Of course, your list of activities will largely depend on the chosen venue, but even if you are hosting the party indoors in a small room it is not a reason to forgo the activities.
Here we’ve compiled a list of learning games and activities to add to your party list. They are exciting, fun and creative. With these games your kids will never think that learning is boring:
1. Freeze Dance
For toddlers up to 6-year-olds this game presents a great opportunity to learn how to follow the rules. The game is simple, but it plays off children competitiveness and emphasizes the importance of structure. Here are the rules: play the music and get the kids dance around. As soon as you turn off the music the kids should freeze in place. If a child accidentally moves in the place he will have to leave the game. Pause the music for about 2-3 minutes to make it a bit harder for the participants. The Freeze Dance game is a great way to teach the kids the importance of following the rules despite their wish or impulses.
2. Broken Telephone
An absolute favorite at many children’s parties, the Broken Telephone game teaches kids to pause and think before acting. This is a lifelong skill of thinking slowly that will serve them well forward into the future. Have children sitting in a circle. The first child starts with a word he came up with in the next child’s ear. The second kid needs to reproduce the word exactly into the third child’s ear. The game goes on until the last child hears the word and says it out loud. If the last child got the word right, then the whole team wins. This game is an amazing opportunity to teach the kids to always listen carefully and try to make sense of words or sentences before repeating them.
3. The Line-Up Game
A simple, yet effective game to teach kids to see the difference in the measurements. Before the party or an activity starts, ask the kids to line up by their height, from shortest to tallest. The game might sound too simplistic, but it is actually a great ice breaker in a large gathering or a party. You can ask the kids to line up several times depending on their age, height, first letter of their name, most hair or least hair.
4. Label Mapping
For that game, you would need a large map with outlines of the countries and labels or poster tape and small flag shaped pins. Hang the map onto the wall, have the kids write the name of the country, and attach it to the appropriate country on the map. Small countries’ names can be indicated by pinning a flag to the map. Apart from forcing the kids to remember geography, this game makes them exercise their memory and motor skills. And it is a lot of fun to discuss country guesses with the whole group.
You can add a level of difficulty to the game by asking the players to describe the country’s traditions, languages, imported goods, and cuisine.
5. Build a Story
Kids love good stories but what if they want to invent the story themselves? Give them the chance to practice and show off their storytelling skills. Here are the rules to the game: give each participant a bucket or a container to collect items in. Ask them to collect the items indoors that are fun, entertaining, creative or simply interesting to them. After 20 minutes, have everyone come back to the party room and form a circle. The first kid needs to build a story around the items that he has found, the second child needs to continue the story all the while incorporating his own items. Once everyone has told a story, the last child needs to create an ending to it. This game puts children in a collaborative mood and teaches them how to use their imagination.
6. Domino Game
Another game that helps the kids master creativity. Buy a domino game and cover the back of each domino with a colored tape. Prepare a list of rhyming words. Draw a line across the center of the domino and write down two nonrhyming words on the domino. You should have 56 words written in total. Have children sit in a circle and give each player 7 dominos. The first player places the domino and then the second player places him so that the two dominos’ sides make a rhyme. If the player does not have a domino with a rhyme, he draws one more domino from the box. The first player who gets rid of all his dominos wins.
7. Flower Bed Collectors
If you want the kids to exercise their math skills, try the Play Pointers game. This game provides a good combination of physical and mental challenges. Scatter artificial flowers onto the floor and give every kid a bucket or a container to put the flowers in. Use a masking tape to mark a starting line. Whisper a math problem into each kid’s ear and have them run out to collect the exact number of flowers that corresponds to the correct number. The math problems can vary depending on the kid’s age but you are not restricted by any rules. You can even assign a value to flowers of a certain color (for example make all blue flowers equal 5). This game develops math skills and it is a lot of fun for kids to jump in the middle of a flower field.
8. Twist and Count
Twister game is an old-time favorite, that allows kids to stretch their muscles, but add a bit of twist to it and you can practice your math skills too. Write numbers on sticky notes and stick them to the circles. Call a number and have kids place their hands and feet on numbers that make up the number you just called out. For example, if you called number 16 the kids can either place their hands on 8+8 or 2 x 8.
The game really makes the kids think about the different scenarios and number compilations. It is a great way to use both mental and physical body resources.
Party games are essential because ultimately the kids will remember the party by the amount of fun that they had. But in the midst of booking a venue and preparing food, it can be hard to dedicate enough time to plan activities. You don’t have to do it all by yourself though. There are plenty of affordable party packages that take the stress out of party planning and let you enjoy this very important family occasion.