When it comes to party planning for preschoolers, games can provide a lot of fun, and help you create a successful party more easily than you might imagine. If your child is turning three or four years old and you’d like to host a memorable get-together for a dozen or so preschoolers, here are some ideas for fun, simple activities and games to keep everyone happy.
Idea #1: Game Stations
Take a cue from the Pre-K classroom and set up play stations! Divide the party guests into groups of 4 and have them rotate through a series of games set up at different tables or carpeted areas. Set a timer for 20 minutes, then ring a bell or sound a buzzer to get the kids moving to their next station. Keep the groups moving clockwise so no one gets too lost! This way, every guest gets a chance to play every game, and they don’t get bored. Try games for 2-4 players that are quickly played like Hungry Hungry Hippos, Elefun & Friends Chasin’ Cheeky, Doc McStuffins Operation, and Candy Land.
Idea #2: DIY Games
Part of the fun of a game party is getting everyone together to play, but if you have a dozen or more children as guests at your house, they probably won’t all be able to play Hungry Hungry Hippos at once! So after the game stations and the cake, prepare a few homemade games that all the kids can play together. Use the classic games the kids have already played to keep the theme going, and you’ll have one fun afternoon for very little effort. Some options:
• DIY Backyard Hungry Hungry Hippos – Get some colorful, big plastic bowls from the dollar store and make some point labels for each (like in our photo). Decorate the bowls with bits of white paper for teeth and cut out hippo heads from construction paper. Tip: hippos are just peanuts with ears! Give the kids beanbags to “feed” the hippos. The guest who tosses for the most points wins the prize: their very own Hungry Hungry Hippos game!
• DIY Pin the Tail – You can turn almost any animal character into a Pin the Tail on the ____ game. A Hippo or Cheeky monkey would be perfect. Just trace the shape onto butcher paper, stick some double-sided tape to pipe cleaners or strips of fabric for the tails, and get a blindfold for the party guests! Whoever gets closest to where the tail should be wins.
Idea #3: Decorate Playfully
Use the games the kids are playing as inspiration for your party’s decor and food. We love the idea of making Hungry Hungry Hippos cookies and other snacks for your hungry, hungry guests! Or how about creating a Candy Land walkway with bright blocks of colored paper to make your guests feel like they’re entering the game as they arrive? Whatever your child’s favorite games are, use those characters and colors as your canvas!
With a minimum of effort, you and your child can enjoy a memorable, playful days of fun and games. For you, having one organizing theme can make planning and set-up a lot easier. Don’t forget to gift the birthday boy or girl with something that fits the theme and keeps the fun going!