Free games to bring to life a 5 year old's birthday party
Is your child about to celebrate their 5th birthday? How big they're getting! In order to organise a party that they will never forget, we have compiled a list of ideas and games for you, which can be used to entertain a whole group! We offer not just games, but also advice - everything you need for a successful party!
To download le livret de mes 5 ans (French version) click HERE, or read it in English just below!
At five, a child is a big little person so you can organize a birthday party that lasts for three hours. Choose very complicated games with equally complicated rules. Sing, dance and have lots of fun.
Whether it is a girl's or a boy's party, the games are the same: all you need to do is adjust the references (princess or pirate). Switch to a new game as soon as you perceive the slightest loss of interest. Alternate between quiet and active games. And remember, never leave the children to their own devices!
For the sake of peace, put away all the toys which may be borrowed by the little guests much to the despair of the birthday boy or girl. It's nearly time, your little angel has transformed into a knight or a fairy and for the occasion you are wearing a tiara or a top hat (this will impress the children a lot).
The doorbell is ringing, here they are! Welcome the little guests with a touch of "kohl": draw a moustache on the boys and eyelashes on the girls. While you are waiting for the arrival of all the friends, form a circle, sit down and get each guest to introduce himself or herself. You start first: "I am Henrys’ mum, we’ll be playing together all afternoon..." Each child gives his name, his age, the name of his teacher, his favourite game, his favourite colour, his favourite cartoon. In a mysterious tone of voice, the super parent which you are will then reveal the afternoon's games and golden rule: we all play together.
To make sure that your gamble pays off, act as the master of ceremonies, decide when the changes occur and explain the games. Obviously, it is better if there are two of you. Everything has been said, everybody is here, let's party!
You will need:
• a soundtrack (with about ten songs) that appeals to your child and especially to you because you are the one who will have to make all the little ones dance!
- a broomstick
• a scarf
• a small present wrapped up in 4 layers of paper
• two balloons
• and lots of enthusiasm!
One, Two, Three… Funny Faces!
— Everybody at home!!! (Designate a "home" area such as a wall or a piece of furniture where the children stand in line). We will play "One, two, three… funny faces!" It is like "Grandmother's footsteps" but much harder!
— I will choose a "funny face captain" who will stand facing the wall and shout: "one, two, three… funny faces!" Meanwhile, you move forward mimicking steps that I will show you. When the "funny face captain" says "funny face", he turns around. All the players must then freeze like statues with funny faces. If you move or you don't make a funny face, you go back to the starting line. The child who is the first to touch the "funny face captain" shouts "funny face!" and becomes the next "funny face captain". Are you ready?
— Henry, you are the first "funny face captain". For the first round, I would like the other children to walk like little mice. Don't forget to make a funny face!
You can vary the steps for each new round: hop on one foot, bounce as a kangaroo, stamp, make giant strides, side steps, go backwards… and make sure that everybody has understood by asking them to show you first. To amuse them and add spice to the game, you can tickle them to check if they are real statues. And to help a shy or reluctant child, appoint him your tickling assistant!
A Tisket, a Tasket
— Let's form a circle and sit down cross-legged. On my count of three, everybody on the floor: 1, 2, 3! Do you know the song "A tisket, a tasket"? Let's have a try to see if everyone knows it: "A tisket, a tasket, a green and yellow basket. I wrote a letter to my love. And on the way I dropped it. I dropped it, I dropped it and on the way I dropped it." I will choose the "dropper". Henry, here is the letter (the scarf). You will drop it behind the child who sings best before the end of the song. The child who gets the letter jumps up and chases Henry around the circle. Are you ready?
— So on my count of three, close your eyes and start singing. 1, 2, 3: "A tisket, a tasket…"
— It is you Lily! Look behind you, the letter is for you, you must catch Henry.
— Henry, run as fast as you can to sit at Lily's place. Let's cheer them on, "Come on Lily!"…
— Well done! But maybe it was too easy for you! Let’s make it more difficult, we will change our voice. What about a duck's voice? Can you talk like a duck? You just need to pinch your nose. Are you ready? Lily, don't forget to drop your letter behind the child who sings best like a duck! On my count of three, close your eyes: 1, 2, 3! "A tisket, a tasket…"
Change your voice at each round, children love it! They can imitate the voice of a princess, a robot, a monster, a mouse. Have them practise the voice before each round.
Pass the Parcel
— Stand up everybody! Join your hands and sit down again in a nice circle. Do you know what it means to be "absent-minded"? I think I had my head in the clouds this morning. I have wrapped up a little present but I have completely forgotten how many layers of paper I used. Without opening the present, can you guess how many layers there are?
— There must be at least a hundred!
— We'll check that together. When the music starts, I will make movements that you will have to mimic while passing around the present very quickly as if it were a "hot potato". When the music stops, the child holding the present should open up one only layer of wrapping paper. Are you ready?
— Let's call for the music: "Music, music, music!"
Make simple movements like clapping your hands, waving goodbye, making your arms go round and round, slapping your legs… and stop the music. Put a new song at each new round. From the second round, you can all stand up and make new movements like jumping, driving a car, flying like a plane, raising one leg then the other… and stop the music. For the third round, ask the children to pick the dance of their own choice. For the last round, ideally the music stops on the birthday boy or girl!
— Let's form a new circle and sit down cross-legged. On my count of three, everybody on the floor: 1, 2, 3! We will play Telephone.
— I will whisper something to my neighbour that my neighbour will in turn whisper to the ear of the person next to him or her. And so on until the sentence gets to the last person in the group. That person must repeat the sentence aloud. Then I will tell you what I said first to see how much it has changed during the game. Are you ready?
— You will have to whisper to your neighbour what you have heard. Here we go!
— You whisper: "Today, for Henry's birthday, I am wearing a pink dress, white shoes and a princess crown."
For each new round, you can choose a new leader.
— Everybody stand up and go against the wall! We will form two teams. Henry, you are my first team captain. Come next to me. I would like you to choose the captain of the other team. That person will therefore not be in your team!
— So, Phoebe, you are a captain too. Henry and Phoebe will call you one after the other and you will stand in a line behind your captain!
— Now that the teams are formed, I would like each team to sit on one side of the room in line, facing the other team. You will now have to think of a team name. For instance, Henry's team, you could be named "the champions" or "the tigers"? (You will certainly have to help both teams.)
— Now that you have a name, you need a war cry! You can put your hands one on top of the other and shout: "1, 2, 3, long live the champions!" The goal is to impress the opposing team. (Again you will have to help both teams.)
— So Henry's team, what have you come out with?
— "1,2,3, long live the champions!"
— The opposing team answers: "Boooooooo!!!"
— Let's start again: "1, 2, 3, long live the champions!"
— Well done! Now it is the other team's turn!!!
The Musical Beret
— Let's now play team games! Remain seated where you are. I will give a number to each of you which you will have to remember. (You can ask them to repeat their number several times.)
— I will put a scarf in the middle of the room. I will for instance call the number 1. I would like the number 1 of each team to stand up and turn around the scarf, with his hands behind his back. I will start the music. When it stops, you will have to catch the scarf before your opponent and quickly sit back at your place. If the child who has the scarf gets caught by his opponent before having reached his team, it is the opponent who gets the point. The first team which has a total of 3 points wins the round!
— Are you ready?
— I start the music. You must only take the scarf when I stop the music. Meanwhile, you walk around the scarf. Here we go! And the others, you must cheer your team mates: “Come on Henry! Come on Phoebe!”
Call the numbers one by one. At the end, you can call two numbers at the same time.
— Well done! I would like you to stay where you are. Do you know how to mime?
— Yes!!! No!!!
— I will whisper to one of you the name of an animal, of a character or of an object. The child chosen will have to help his friends guess what it is, making gestures and without speaking!
— I will choose a person in each team one after the other. The first team that finds what has been mimed wins one point. Henry, come next to me, you will mime a tiger. Well done!! Phoebe, it's your turn.
Start with animals: a hen, a lion, a snake, an elephant, a kangaroo, a cat, a frog, a horse, a turtle, a wolf, a monkey, a mouse, a fish…
Continue with some actions: driving a car, flying like a plane, skiing, skateboarding, taking care of a baby, waking up, playing tennis, boxing, playing the violin, dancing, crying…
If it is too easy, ask them to mime jobs or characters: a juggler, a doctor, a teacher, an Indian, a cow-boy, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan, Spiderman…
A Series of Skill Games
— Well done! To find out which team is the best, we will play a series of skill games. Stand in a line behind your team captain, facing me. I have two balloons. I will give one to each captain. You will have to give this balloon to one another by passing it between your legs as fast as you can. The first balloon which has made a round trip wins the game. Understood?
— Well done! Now, you will do the same thing but passing the balloon above your heads. Are you ready?
— Well done! Now, the first child passes the balloon under his legs, the second above his head, the third under his legs, the fourth above his head, and so on. Like a zigzag going up and down. Are you ready?
— Well done! Now, give me the balloons. Legs apart. The last player in each line will pass under the legs of the other children. When he or she reaches the beginning of the line, it is the turn of the new last player to pass under the legs and so on until the team captain is once again the first in the line. Are you ready?
— Well done. Do you want to have another round?
A Little Train Before Tea Time
— Do you know how to make a little train?
— So go one behind the other and tighten your seat belts (put the hands of the second child on the shoulders of the first and so on). Are you well fastened? You must make sure to not let go!
— I will be the train driver (put the hands of the first child on your waist). Let's start the music, here we go...
Move around going slower or faster. You can follow imaginary lines in any direction, curl up like a snail shell, zigzag and head towards the place where you will have tea. It does not last more than five minutes but children love it. Sit them down and lower the music. Background music is enough or none at all!
If you don’t have enough chairs or a table that is not big enough, do not hesitate to lay out the table on the floor as for a picnic.
It's Tea Time
— Sit down. Who would like some apple juice, some milk, some grenadine syrup? Who wants some sweets, cupcakes, tarts? Do you know what we usually sing for a birthday?
— Of course you do! Do you know how to sing “happy birthday” in other languages?
When you are ready, initiate the countdown and start singing "Happy birthday to you" to let Henry blow out his candles.
Do not hesitate to make conversation around the children's favourite themes: if they have brothers and sisters, what are their favourite games...
When everybody has finished tea, suggest a small detour via the bathroom and collect your little gang very quickly.
The Yes and No game
— Let's sit down in a circle. I will choose one of you who will stand in the middle of the circle. One at a time, we will ask this child lots of questions, about all sorts of things. But he or she must answer the questions without using the words YES or NO. Silence and gestures do not count! Are you ready?
— So Phoebe, come in the middle. Are you having fun?
Encourage the children to ask many questions to trick the child at the centre of the circle. Do not hesitate to help the children to alternate questions which call for normal answers and questions which call for YES or NO.
What's the Time Mr Wolf?
— Stand all in front of me. Do you know a game called "What's the time Mr Wolf?"
— So Henry you are Mr Wolf, face the wall please (or a tree). We are the sheep. We stand in line. Together we will ask the time to Mr Wolf "What's the time Mr Wolf?" If Mr Wolf replies "One o'clock!" we make 1 step forward. We will ask him the time again "What's the time Mr Wolf?"
— Henry answers "Three o'clock", so we make 3 steps forward.
The sheep ask the time again and step forward according to the time called out.
— When you get really close to the wolf, Mr Wolf answers "Dinner time!" then turns around and tries to catch you.
The captured sheep becomes the next Mr Wolf! If Mr Wolf does not catch anyone, he has to be Mr Wolf again.
— Let's form a circle and sit down cross-legged. Do you know how to wink? It's like this. (Children rarely manage to wink, they blink both eyes.) I will choose a detective who will leave the room while I designate a "murderer" who will kill his or her victims by winking at them! Lucy, you are our first detective.
— Let's all say: "Out you go detective! Out you go detective!"
— Emma, you are our first murderer. You must wink at all the children who look at you. Those who have been winked at lie down and play possum. Understood?
— Emma, don't start before I have given you the starting signal.
— Let's call the detective: "Detective, detective, detective!"
— Lucy, come in the middle. You must find the murderer before we are all "dead". Murderer, you can start!
The murderer becomes the next detective...
— Now, let's have a little bit of noise. I will whisper into the ear of each of you the name of an animal. Two of you will have the same. When I count up to three, all of you will have to mimic and imitate your animal’s cry. Then each of you will have to find his double and that despite the noise!
— Are you ready?
For the first round: a hen, a lion, a pig, a snake, an elephant…
For the second round: a cat, a frog, a horse, a wolf, a monkey…
For the third round: a mouse, a fish, a dog, a duck, a whale…
— Do you like dancing?
— Can you freeze like statues?
— I will put some music on so that we can dance together. When I stop the music, I would like you to freeze like statues! Be careful, I will perhaps check if you are real statues by tickling you.
— First of all, dance like me. Let's call for the music: "Music, music!"
Make simple movements like jumping, waving goodbye, spinning around, flying like a plane, making the wheels go round and round and round, slapping your legs, your shoulders, your head, moving forwards, backwards… Stop the music and have a close look at the statues.
— For the next statues, I would like you to pose as sportsmen, monsters, crocodiles, bridges… Are you ready?
— Now, let's all dance like Henry. Then like Phoebe… And as you like!!!
You can stop the music every 10 seconds for one minute, especially when you have asked them to mime a crocodile or a snake. They love it!
My Favourite Songs
— I would like everybody to sit cross-legged on the floor facing me. We will sing a few songs or tell a story. Who would like to start?
— Me, me!
— I will choose the best at puffing out his cheeks. Henry come next to me, you can bow and we will all clap for you. What are you going to sing?
— Incy Wincy spider.
— I will help you.
— Incy Wincy spider climbed up…
— Great!!! Would anyone else like to sing? And so on.
It is a quiet and moving moment. Some don't know how to bow, you will have to show them how. The children love to be applauded by their friends. Sometimes, they all want to sing the same song. Sometimes, some of them take offence because the other children sing along while others do not dare to sing.
When all the children want to take part in a game, you can tell them that you will choose the child who is best seated cross-legged, who raises his hand the highest, who sticks out his tongue the farthest, who makes the least possible noise... and let them all have a go in the end if they are not too many.
The Brazilian Dance
— As you can see I am holding a broomstick. Do you know what I'm going to use it for?
— It is very easy, stand facing me in a line, one behind the other. I will hold the broomstick very high and you will have to go under it dancing and looking towards the sky (or the ceiling). After each new round, I will lower the broomstick so that it will get more and more difficult for you to go under. Understood?
— Here we go, let's call for the music: "Music, music, music!!!!” Stay in a single line and cross one at a time.
If it becomes a scramble do not hesitate to stop them and settle them back one behind the other. Lower the broom down to ground level (8 to 10 cm from the ground). They love lying down on the floor and crawling.
— Let's now open Henry's presents!!! I would like Henry to come and sit next to me and that you all sit down facing us. Here we go!
— Wow, a jigsaw puzzle! Thank you Lucy!
— Henry, would you please give Lucy a kiss?
If you have planned presents for the little guests, give them at the last moment when everybody is ready to leave. You may also write the names of the children on the party bags. This will avoid things taking a dramatic turn.
The party is over but it is not yet time to put everything back in order, you should make this unique moment last. Hang the garlands in the bedroom and leave the balloons lying about...