50 Best Birthday Party Activities for Kids (2022)

birthday cake with candles, rainbow colors.
Choose simple, classic games with a modern twist for your next birthday party.

Planning your child’s birthday party can be a stressful undertaking, but this blog post will show you that it really doesn’t have to be.

By choosing simple, classic games and activities that resonate with you and your child, you can ensure a good time for all of your guests.

If you’re racking your brain trying to think of party activities for kids, you’re in the right place!

Here are 50 fun games and activities for your next birthday celebration.

See also: “50 Fun Activities for Your 11 Year Old’s Birthday Party


1. Cookie Decorating

Cookie decorating birthday party
Decorating cookies or cupcakes is a sure-fire hit at your next party.

All you need are some basic sugar cookies (store-bought or homemade), some frosting, sprinkles, googly eyes and any other decorations that suit your fancy.

Spread out the tablecloth, child-safe knives, spatulas, and spoons, and let the kids have at it.

We recommend buying 2-3 cookies for each child on your guest list so that the activity takes longer and the kids can perfect their cookie-decorating skills.

Variation 1: Decorate cupcakes or get giant white birthday cake and have everyone take part in decorating it.

Variation 2: Host “Cupcake Wars” or “Cookie Wars”, and hand out a small prize for different categories.

2. Nerf War

If you have a group of kids that loves competitive games, a Nerf War is a sure hit! Gather up a bunch of Nerf or water guns laying around, or ask your child’s friends to bring their own, then organize a nerf war in a large open space like a big backyard or park.

3. Pictionary

Pictionary is one of those great birthday party games that will get everyone laughing. You’ll need a large piece of paper or whiteboard, and it may help to pre-write some good clues. We recommend working together as one team to avoid any unnecessary conflict. Birthday parties are hard enough – you don’t need any Pictionary drama!

4. Movie Night

There’s nothing better than a classic movie night at your birthday party. This can be part of a sleepover or an “undernight” (when the kids get picked up before bedtime).

To make it memorable, have everyone lay out their sleeping bags or blankets, pop some popcorn (you can add candy like gummy bears to the popcorn to make it even more special), and turn out all the lights! This is an especially great option for small groups.

Movie night birthday party with tickets and popcorn.
A movie night with sleeping bags and popcorn is fun, especially for a small group.

Variation: Outdoor Movie Night! Snuggle up on an outdoor blanket and watch a movie outside.

5. Piñata

Kids at a birthday party breaking open a piñata.
Everyone can have a turn trying to break open the piñata.

You can buy a piñata at any party store, or even Walmart. The kids will love putting blindfolds on and trying to break it open so that all the candy will fall out! Depending on the number of children you have attending your party, you may want to get more than one piñata.

6. Treasure Hunt or Scavenger Hunt

If you’re feeling motivated, organize a simple treasure or scavenger hunt for your party goers. If you have a birthday party theme, it’s a good idea to have the scavenger hunt go along with it. For example, if it’s a Harry Potter party, it could be a Marauder’s Map theme.

7. Paint & Sip

Turn your own home into a Paint & Sip Art Studio! Provide a canvas, paint, and fruit juices or soda so your party guests can paint and sip to their hearts content. They’ll have so much fun, and you can provide a new paintbrush or watercolor set for party favors.

Variation #1: Plein Air Painting

Grab some paper and paint, and paint in the great outdoors! Your backyard or a local park is the perfect spot for this simple activity. Paint the trees, grass, and flowers that you see around you. Paint your house. Art easels make this activity even more fun.

Variation 2: Mud Painting

Mud painting is a great way to do a painting activity on a budget. Grab some containers you don’t care much about, some plain paper, and a handful of old paintbrushes. Outside, scoop a healthy amount of dirt into each container, and then add a small amount of water and good amount of food coloring. If you don’t have food coloring, this will be lots of fun with plain old mud. Some recipes call for dish soap to help prevent stains in clothes, but it’s also optional. You’re ready to mud paint!

8. Backyard Campout

Who says your child’s birthday party has to be complicated? Take it back to simpler times with a backyard campout. Have everyone bring their tent and sleeping bag and campout in the backyard. Bonus points for a campfire, flashlight tag, and s’mores.

Younger children who haven’t slept outside before may get spooked, so chat with parents beforehand.

9. Charades

Kids play charades outside.
All ages can play Charades, a classic party game.

Charades is a classic party game that all ages can play. To prepare, review the basic instructions with the kids, do an example for them, and write down some of things they could act out.

10. Flag Football Game

Order some flags to go around each party guests’s waist and start up a game of flag football in the backyard. If your party falls during football season and your kids are fans, it might be fun to have a football watch party before or after your game with wings, chips and dip, and soda.

11. Tug of War

All you need to play this fun game is a large rope and a clear marker on the ground to mark the center. Then split the kids up into two teams and place them on either side of the rope. The goal is to pull the other team over the center line.

Variation: Sprinkler Tug Of War – Put one person on either side of the sprinkler, grab a rope, and tug!

Kids play tug of war at a birthday party.
Backyard games like Tug of War and Capture the Flag will keep everyone active and entertained.

12. Capture the Flag

Capture the flag is a classic backyard game that older children in this age group will love.

Split the kids into two teams and give them each a flag to protect. The flag can be a bandana, a ball, or any small object. The goal is to steal the other teams flag and bring it back to your side without getting tagged. This game is perfect for a big party with lots of kids.

13. Karaoke

Fire up the karaoke machine and let the kids be silly! This pairs well with a glow stick dance party, movie night, and sleepover or undernight.

14. Twister

Father and son play twister at a party.
Twister is a popular party game that will tie you up in knots.

Twister is a fun game for older kids, and it’s a sure hit for a birthday party. The game caller shouts out the body part and what color it needs to be placed on. The last person standing wins!

You can order the classic game or create a giant outdoor Twister game on your lawn using paint. See it on sheknows.com.

15. Kickball or Dodgeball Game

Set up four large objects for your bases, and have a pitcher roll the ball to the kicker. Just like baseball, try to get around the bases. It’s a playground favorite!

Dodgeball is another simple game to set up because all you need are soft balls for the kids to throw and a center line separating the teams. This is a great activity for a large group.

16. Magic Show

For a magic themed party, bringing in a magician is a great idea. Be sure to read reviews from other parents to make sure they’re a good performer. A magic show is a sure hit at any child’s birthday party, and is especially good for young children.

A magician waves his hand over his magic hat and wand.
A magic show might be the perfect choice for your 8 year old.

17. Soccer Shootout

Set up two goals and start up a soccer game. Or do a soccer shootout! To do a shootout, set up two cones for your goal, and mark a ten foot distance, or any distance you choose. Dribble the ball up, and shoot! See how many you can make in a set amount of time.

18. Mad Science Experiments

Do you have a child who would love a mad scientist party theme? Here’s a list of 75 super-simple, mind-blowing science experiments for your next party.

Kids do a mad science experiment at a birthday party.
A mad science themed birthday party is perfect for 8 year olds.

19. Bouncy House

For larger groups, bounce houses are always a great time. You can rent one to put in your backyard or a local park, add some delicious food items and fun music, and you’ve got a poppin’ party! The birthday boy or girl will love it.

20. Water Balloon Games

On a hot summer day, an outdoor party with water balloon games are the perfect way to cool off. Here are 21 fun water balloon games you’ll all love, like water balloon hot potato and a water balloon squat race. Afterwards, serve some ice cream!

Water balloons on a bench.
Water balloon games are a sure hit!

21. Obstacle Course

This age group loves a good challenge. Grab some cones, hula hoops, outdoor blankets, small stools, and any other equipment you could use for an outdoor obstacle course. Time each other running through. Who can do it fastest? This is a simple, fun way to get active.

22. Balloon Bulls Eye

One of the best party activities is balloon bulls eye. Affix several balloons to a vertical surface that you are okay with getting damaged. Provide darts to each child and see if they can pop the balloons.

23. Hula Hoop Fun

Kids play with hula hoops at a party.
Keep it simple with a high-energy hula hoop competition.

Use a hula hoop to play human ring toss, or just have some fun spinning the hula hoop around your waist! Get the Wham-O Original Hula Hoop Set of 3 Sizes, to fit your kids of all ages (and you!).

24. Sidewalk Chalk Mural

For a cool-looking geometric chalk mural, place masking tape on the ground, fence, or any surface you are working on your chalk mural. Create geomatric shapes similar to a stained glass window. Color in the shapes. When you lift the tape up, you’ll have a beautiful geometric mural.

25. Petting Zoo

You can either transport the kids out to a local petting zoo, or contract an animal keeper to bring one to your home. This is great for kids who are animal lovers.

26. Glow Stick Dance Party

One of the best things about being a kid is letting loose and dancing up a storm. Give everyone a set glow sticks, turn out the lights, and put on their favorite music!

27. Hide & Seek

This classic game is a sure-fire hit. One player covers their eyes and gives the other players 30 seconds to hide. After 30 seconds, they’re coming for you!

28. Keep It Up

Using balloons or a light bouncy ball, see how long you can keep it in the air without it touching the ground. Team members cannot touch it more than once in a row. The team gets a point for every touch. It’s a really fun activity that is easy for everyone to play.

29. Paper Airplane Cornhole

Each player creates the best paper airplane they can. Then take turns trying to land the airplane into a bucket or other target.

30. Relay Races

Penguin Race

For a penguin-style relay race, set up two cones or markers on either side of the yard. Each racer has to place a ball (the “egg”) between their legs. See how many laps they can complete in one minute. If they drop the “egg” they have to do 5 jumping jacks!

Egg & Spoon Race

Place a small object like a marble or egg on a spoon, and set up two cones or markers on either end of the yard. The first person has to try to get from the start to the finish line with out dropping it, then come back and tag the next person in line. Use objects from around the house, or use the cute and colorful Hey! Play! Wooden Egg and Spoon Race Game from Overstock.com.

31. Sly Fox

One player is chosen to be the Fox, and faces away from the rest of the players. The other players sneak up gradually on the Fox and aim to touch their back before they turn around to catch them. Before the Fox can turn around, they must count to 10 under their breath or out loud as fast or slowly as they like.

When the Fox turns around all the other players must ‘freeze’. If the Fox spots a player moving, or falling over, that player must return to the starting point again. It’s a great game for a kid’s birthday party.

32. Slip n’ Slide n’ Grab

When you can’t have a pool party, a slip n’ slide is the best way to get wet and wild! Better yet, place random objects along the slip n slide. Try to grab them as you slide down! Any 8-year-old boy or girl would love to have a slip n’ slide birthday party.

Kids go down a slip n slide at a birthday party.
Any kid would love a slip n’ slide birthday party!

33. Frisbee Toss

Hone your frisbee throwing skills. Grab a bucket or laundry basket, and have each birthday guest try to toss the frisbee in from varying lengths across the yard.

34. Climb The Ladder

Go grab the ladder from the garage and place a bottle on the bottom rung. Fill a bucket or laundry basket up with sock balls and take turns trying to knock it down. When you knock it off one level, move it one rung higher. How many throws does it take you?

35. Cornhole

This classic game will be a fun activity for your next party. Split the kids up into teams of two and start a tournament!

36. Three legged Race

Tie the left leg of one person to the right leg of another person and see how fast you can get across the yard!

37. Bowl Buckets

Bring some bowls outside and put a piece of paper in each one indicating how many points they are worth. Mark where each player should throw from and see how many points you can get in a set amount of time.

38. Horseshoes

Horseshoes is an easy party game that all ages can play. Just toss the horseshoe to try to get a ringer around the stake! Get this safe-for-kids Hey! Play! Rubber Horseshoes Set from Overstock.com.

39. Freeze Dance

Bring a speaker outside and blast your favorite music. When the music stops, everyone freezes! You can also play musical chairs, where everyone has to sit down in a chair when the music stops. Take one chair away each round.

40. Potato Sack Races

Use sleeping bags or potato sacks to race across the yard in this field day favorite! You can get classic double burlap potato sacks on Overstock.com.

Kids to a potato sack race at a birthday party.
Potato sack races and other relays are great birthday party activities.

41. Flashlight Tag

At your next party, bring out your flashlights and play flashlight tag, shadow charades, catch the light, or flashlight limbo, or have a flashlight disco party!

42. Around The World

Bring out a laundry basket and set it against a wall outside. You can play H.O.R.S.E., Around The World, and Knockout – no hoop required!

Of course, it’s more fun with a real hoop. Check out this 43″ Indoor/Outdoor Height Adjustable Basketball Hoop on Overstock.com.

43. Limbo

Put some limbo music on the speaker, and grab a pole, stick, or shower rod. Let the limbo games begin! Any group of kids will love this activity. Want to level up? Get some island-themed party decorations, since the game of limbo originated in Caribbean island of Trinidad. Check out the GoSports Get Low Limbo Premium Wooden Limbo Game from Overstock.com.

44. Lawn Bowling

Set up some bottles and use any ball for a DIY version of lawn bowling, or get an official set from Overstock.com that you can use for years to come.

45. Backyard Baseball

Place four large objects in the yard as the bases and play some ball!

46. DIY Twister

Right hand – Red! Left leg – Blue! Find out how you can create a giant outdoor Twister game on your lawn using paint. See it on sheknows.com.

47. Beach Ball Shot Put

Create a throwing line in the grass and throw the beach balls from there by “pushing” the ball in the form of a shot putter. Measure each throw with a tape measure and write the measurement. See who can throw the farthest!

48. Giant Jenga

Stack up the wooden blocks and remove the one by one. Don’t let the tower fall! We like this set from Hey! Play! on Overstock.com because the pieces are large, but they aren’t so giant that they would hurt someone when they all come crashing down.

Alternative: If you don’t have a giant Jenga game, or want a budget friendly game option, you can opt for a giant Memory Game. Use a Sharpie to write two of each letter or number on large pieces of cardboard. (Or, with a little imagination, you could make more creative memory cards.) Then lay all the cardboard facedown in your yard and play a giant game of Memory!

49. High Jump & Long Jump Competition

For a High Jump Competition, find a big tree or a clear section of wall space outside, and make sure the area is safe. Jump and reach as high as you can. Use a tape measure to record the heigh of each touch. Who can get the highest?

For a Long Jump Competition, find a grassy area of your backyard that is safe to jump around. Market a take-off line, and have everyone jump from that spot. They should bend their knees, swing their arms, and jump for distance. Measure each jump with a tape-measurer and see who can jump the farthest!

50. Ring Toss

Toss each ring to get it around a peg, worth different amounts of point. This classic game will be fun all summer long! We like the Triumph Wooden Ring Toss Game from Blain’s Farm & Fleet because it’s super compact and disassembles easily.

51. Play Tag!

Tag is a classic kids game and there are so many different ways to play it:

Stuck in The Mud Tag

Players pick someone to be “it.” They get five seconds to run away from whoever is “it.” The “it” person must run and tag everyone to win the game. When the “it” person tags a player, the player gets stuck in the mud and can’t move. To save players who are stuck, other players can crawl through their legs to free them.

Kids playing tag at a birthday party.
There are so many fun variations of tag that kids love!

Freeze Tag

One player is It. When a player is tagged, they must remain frozen in place. They can be unfrozen if they’re tagged by a non-It player.

Tunnel Tag

One player is It. When a player is tagged, they must remain frozen in place, with their legs wide apart, creating a tunnel. They can be unfrozen if a non-It player crawls under the leg tunnel.

Bandaid Tag

One player is It. When a player is tagged they put a hand (as a “band-aid”) over the spot where It touched them. When they are tagged a second time, they places the other hand on the new spot. When they are tagged a third time, they becomes It.

52. Water Blob

Get a clear plastic tarp and fold it in half. Duct tape the three open sides so that they are completely shut. Leave a small opening to fill up the blob with water. Once it’s filled, close it up with duct tape. Everyone will love sliding, jumping, and laying on your new water blob.

53. Spud

You need five people to play this game, so the whole party can join in! Choose one player to be “it” and assign everyone numbers. Then have the person who is “it” stand in the middle of a circle, throw up a ball, and call out on of the number.

The person with that number has to catch the ball and yell “Spud!” Everyone has to freeze when they yell “Spud!” Then the person can take three big steps towards any player and try to hit them with the ball. If they miss, or the player catches the ball, the thrower gets an S. If they hit them, the person who got hit gets an “S” and they are now “it”.

If someone shouts a number that nobody has, know that this is called a “ghost number”.If a ghost number is called, everyone must rush up to the ball and touch it. The last player to do so gets a letter. For each letter a player gets, spell out S-P-U-D. If you spell out S-P-U-D you lose. The last player standing is the winner.

54. Ice Skating or Sledding

In a cold weather climate, ice skating and sledding can be the perfect birthday party activities. Just add hot cocoa!


Happy birthday to your child! We talked to parents, scoured the internet, and used our own experience to curate this epic list of the best party games.

We hope you loved these ideas and that your child’s party is a lot of fun. Here’s wishing them a very special day.

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