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Party Games for Every Theme

Some party games are no-brainers. Everyone knows how to play these games and all you need to do is re-theme them to match your birthday party.

Pin the ____ on the ______
This is one of the most popular party game conversions on the planet. Originally Pin the tail on the donkey
, it’s been used and abused and reworked more times than we can probably imagine. To confuse matters further, people generally use tape instead of pins, but “tape the ____ on the ____” just doesn’t sound as good, does it? Here are a few ideas:

Pin the hat on the cowboy (game for a cowboy party)
Pin the crown on the princess (game for a princess party)
Pin the S on Superman (game for a Superhero party)
Pin the head on Scooby Doo (game for a Scooby Doo party)
Pin the frog on the lily pad (game for a nature themed party)
Pin the tail on the lion (game for a jungle theme party)

Musical Chairs
This game is so easy to convert to a new party theme because all you need to do is choose different music. For some themes it will be easy, Disney movies are all made with a soundtrack. For other themes you might want to get creative with your music selection. If you can’t think of special music, think of a way to decorate or arrange the chairs, instead. Musical chairs conforms to party themes easily.

Hot Potato (or something like that)

Basically, players pass a beanbag (or something) around a circle while the music plays. Whoever is caught holding the beanbag (potato) when the music stops is burned. The game could be converted for any birthday party theme. Maybe one of the following ideas will suit your theme

Hot lava bomb (luau party game)
Poison Apple (game for a snow white party)
Pass the goldfish bowl (Cat in the hat party game – use a real goldfish in a bowl for extra fun)

Beanbag Toss

The first time you make this game, you’ll have to use your construction skills, carving a hole in a piece of plywood for guests to toss a beanbag through. Be sure to make the hole rather large. You can make the game more or less difficult for each age group by making older kids stand further from the line and younger kids stand closer to it. Each time you use it afterward, all you need to do is repaint the background to conform to the new theme. You can use a similar method to make a ring toss game, too. Here are some beanbag toss ideas for your next party:

Feed the clown (circus party game)
Feed the shark (under the sea party theme, Sharks or the Little Mermaid theme)

Use your imagination to think of more party games that can be converted to fit your party theme. If a cake can go with any theme, so can a game.


Learn More

How to Make a Bean Bag Tossing Game

There are a few ways you can do this, a bean bag toss works well for all ages.

1- place a few baskets, buckets or rubbermain boxes at the end of a “lane” similar to bowling – each bin has a different point value

2- cut large holes from a piece of plywood and paint the area around the holes to indicate the points each hole is worth

3- forget about the values and just cut one hole – and paint a funny picture on the front, an open-mouthed clown would work well for a circus or carnival party. The name of the game could be “feed the clowns” or something.

4- shaped beanbags could change the game, too. If you have access to fish-shaped beanbags for example, you could paint your plywood to look like a sea lion or a shark. Food shaped beanbags can be thrown at a fruit stand. I’m sure that there’s something funny a beany baby could be thrown at. Any ideas?

For more carnival type games, see “Making Games.

Pin the tail on the donkey

I will never understand why pin the tail on the donkey ever came to be. I do, however, understand that watching your blindfolded friend attempt to stick something to a prescribed place on the wall is fun. Here are some guidelines for making a homemade pin the ____ on the ____ game.

If you’re making your own game, begin with a piece of poster board. In my area, we can get them from the dollar store, 3 for a dollar for the white ones or two for a dollar for colors.

Figure out what’s going to be “missing.” For example, if you’re making a Minnie Mouse game, you may want to leave an empty space for the bow in her hair. If you’re making an animal-themed game, you could just do a large animal face- like a cat, and leave off his nose or something.

Use a pencil to sketch out your background image before you begin, then use acrylic or tempera paint to paint in the details.

You may want to find or create several of the “missing item” before you create the background so you can be sure that it fits.

Directions for Making a Scavenger Hunt

Making a scavenger hunt is a systematic process. Even if you don’t want to use a software program to design a scavenger hunt, you can still make a fantastic hunt activity. Nikki from Scavenger Hunt Party Games has developed a system for planning scavenger hunts that makes it foolproof, and workable for all age groups. She’s had a great amount of success with her system and it’s really easy to follow. I like that she understands what a challenge it can be to plan a party and makes the scavenger hunt program so easy to use. I also like that when we plan scavenger hunts the kids aren’t being shuffled from one activity to another, and it holds the interest of even the teenagers.

Wild Western Cowboy Party Games

# Wagons and horses Wheel barrow race
# Escape from Jail Divide the kids into 2 teams of bandits, each with a sheriff. The sheriff has to catch a member of the opposite team by touching them. They are then considered to be in jail and must stand still. Their team mates can rescue them by crawling though their legs but if they are caught doing so, they are also have to stand still and are in jail. First team to catch all the other bandits is the winner.
# Horseshoe toss Set up some plastic bottles filled with sand. The kids have to see if they can toss the horseshoe over the bottles. If you don’t have any horseshoes, just use rubber dog rings.
# Water gun shoot out See how many plastic cowboys they can knock down using water pistols
# Bandit hunt Hide some plastic cowboys around the yard or the house. See who can find the most.
# Boot Toss The children need to try and toss the bean bags into some big Wellington boots or a large cowboy hat.
# Panning for gold/nuggets Spray paint small bits of gravel in gold and bury in the sand box. Add water. Give each child a disposable aluminum pie tin with holes punctured in the bottom. Let them sieve the sand/water and see who can find the gold nuggets.
# Gold Rush Hide chocolate money around the yard or house and send the kids on a gold rush to see who can find the most coins.
# Rattlesnake rumpus Make a rattlesnake out of a long sock stuffed with a rattle at the end and then padded out with newspaper. Sit the cowboys/girls in a circle and put on some music. Whilst the music is playing, they have to pass round the rattlesnake but once the music stops, the person left holding the snake is said to have been bitten and sits out of the game.

Birthday Party Treasure Hunts

oh my goodness, I am so glad to have found the Riddle me program. I’m creative, but come on. This makes it so easy to plan scavenger hunts for the kids birthday parties. They love scavenger hunts, in fact it’s not just for birthday parties. We used one at the museum, when we planned a field trip once. I love that I can customize it almost brainlessly, to accommodate my older kids or the younger ones. And it’s easy enough that my 8 yr old used it to plan a treasure hunt for her friends when they had a little slumber party. I hope you enjoy it, too.