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Indoor Birthday Party Games for Young Children

By Andrew Burgon /
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October 15, 2014

Indoor Children Party Ideas

Image by Tudokin (Own work)/ CC-BY-SA-3.0

Some Fun Indoor Birthday Party Games Including Some Golden Oldies

Another birthday party coming up for your child? Wondering what to do? Here are some indoor birthday party games that just might fit the bill. For some of these music is required. As a teacher of young children for many years I noted that not all music was equal. Some kinds of music obviously had an impact on how much fun the children got out of a game. Preferably music with a good beat and a tempo that is fast. Perhaps my most popular CD was of children singing classic rock songs like Queens, “We Will Rock You.” A piece of music from River Dance was also very popular with the kids.

Without further ado, here are nine ideas to consider for your child’s next birthday.

Musical Chairs

Musical chairs is the game where children walk around chairs and quickly sit down when the music stops. There is always one less chair than needed so one child ends up being out and another chair is removed for the next round. This is done till only one player remains.

Add a little humor and fun to the proceedings. I often played this game with my back turned to the children standing next to the CD player. I’d sway one of my hands in the air and sing along with the music. Then I might suddenly raise both my arms up in the air and make a funny loud sound. As the children are on a hair trigger to sit down many erupted into laughter. Sometimes instead of playing music we would sing a song we had just learned. At some point I would shout, “Sit down!”

When a child is out you can get him or her to do or say something. Perhaps an animal action and sound or give them a simple animal riddle.

Hot Potato

The hot potato game is where you have an object the children must pass to each other quickly. Have them stand in a circle and pass a light ball to each other when they hear the music. To add suspense I would play with my back turned to the children then suddenly stop the music and quickly turn around to see who had the ball. Ask the child a question or tell him a simple animal riddle and see if he can guess. Then if he is old enough have him come out, turn his back to the children and choose when to turn off the music.

Pass the Parcel

A party classic going way back. Children are seated in a circle. A parcel is passed around. It’s a present that has been wrapped many times. When the music stops the child unwraps only one layer. You could add a candy and even a funny picture of an animal to each layer that the child has to pretend to be. Alternatively, tell the child a riddle and have him guess what it is. The child to unwrap the last layer gets the present.

Pin the Tail on the Donkey

A child blindfolded has to pin the tail on the donkey on the right part of it’s anatomy, of course! You can simply use bluetak to adhere the tail onto the donkey. If you have drawn a picture of a donkey on a whiteboard you could also use double sided tape.

Place the blindfolded child several steps away from the picture of the donkey. Spin them around three times and let him or he go. Have little prizes ready for the children who give it a go.

The Fishing Game

This game is all about catching ‘fish’ and putting them in a bucket. First to reach the designated number is the winner.

You should be able to pick up a set of toy fishing rods and plastic fish for this game on-line or at your local toy store. If not it’s easy to make a set. Sticks, string and magnets to make the fishing rod. The fish can be made out of a sheet of poster paper and a paper clip placed on their mouth.

Musical Statues

Have them dancing while the music is on. The more animated the better. Take it up a level by getting children to dance like a particular animal would. “Angry gorilla!” “Crazy Zebra!” “Laughing Hyena!” When the music stops they have to freeze. First one to move is out. Alternatively, just have all the children say in unison, “Larry is a laughing hyena!” Then Larry has to say what the next animal is and everyone gets to play again.

Simon Says

A leader is chosen to act as ‘Simon.’ It will be his or her job to call out commands. If the command begins with “Simon says” the children must do it. If it doesn’t they are to ignore the command. If Simon didn’t say and a child does the action he or she is out. Commands include, “Raise Your Hands,” “Touch Your Toes” and “Jump Up in the Air.” The last remaining person is the winner and gets to be the leader.


The leader is at one side of the room while the players are on the other side. The leader faces the wall so he can’t see the players behind him. The players have to touch the leader. However, every time the leader turns around the children have to freeze. If they are seen moving the leader tells the player to go back to the beginning. “Go back, Jerry!” The first child to sneak up on the leader and touch him or her wins and becomes the new leader.

Jungle Party: Animal Kingdom Memory Game

This game requires some preparation. Basically, it’s a simple memory game where children select two cards that are face down in the hope of finding a matching pair. Divide the children into two small groups and have them take turns guessing where the two matching cards are. The team that pairs up the most by the end of the game wins. As I will explain in a little bit adding a little theatricality can make it a lot more interesting for young kids.

Go on-line and find six great looking animal pictures. One of them needs to be an alligator. Print each one out twice except for the alligator for which you only need to print one. Half A4 size is good if you have a big space to put these pictures on. Put an identical backing of the same color on each one so there is no way to tell them apart when they are placed face down.

Ideally, you will place these on a large whiteboard if you have one in the house. A bulletin board or a large table would also work. If your child has some stuffed toy animals use them as props.

Shuffle the cards and place them randomly face down on the whiteboard. Assign a number above each one if you will be turning them over. That way a child only has to tell you a number. The child says the name of the animal and chooses another card. If not the same put them face down again and someone from the next team gets a go. If the alligator appears go up to the child and humorously put your arms out and clap your hands to mimic an alligator. Put the alligator face down again.

You can take this up a level by creating a little theater style jungle space. Vines hanging down. Stuffed animals. Tiger footprints (paper cutouts) on the floor. Below is a brief description of how I would handle this.

If I was going to do this in the living room dining room area I would get all the children to go out with a parent for a moment. Maybe play in the yard or go into another room while I quickly set up the jungle theater.

I would then turn off most of the lights so there is just enough light to see. Then I would play some jungle sounds which you can acquire on-line. Birds, waterfalls and general animal sounds.

I ask the children to come in and turn on my flash light. I shine the flashlight on the footprints and ask them what kind of animal it could be. Follow the footprints and ask them where has it gone? Shine the light on any stuffed animals/pictures of animals in the room and ask them what they are then have them sit down.

Introduce the animals in the game. I would choose animals that I can find a sound file of on-line. Using my computer I would let them hear the sound each animal makes.

After introducing the pictures I would take six different animal cards, shuffle them and put them together in my hands. Then I would slowly reveal one of them from behind the other cards and see who can guess what it is and say the animals name first. “Well done, Johnny!” After going through all the cards we’d start playing.

You could go all out with this idea by asking all the children to come dressed as an animal or simply follow it up with a nice animal story book.

Got any indoor birthday party game ideas you can share with us?
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