When planning a birthday party for 3-year-old children, include activities to keep them entertained. Steer away from competitive party games, as children in this age group may have trouble following the rules or become upset at losing. Instead, choose activities with simple instructions and games where everyone is a winner.
Musical Chair Share
This version of musical chairs encourages cooperation instead of competition. The game is played similar to traditional musical chairs, where children circle a grouping of chairs as the music plays. There is always one less chair than there are players and when the music stops, the children must all find a seat. In this version, however, there is no elimination because children share the seats so no player is left out. As play continues, players are left to squeeze in and pile up on the remaining seats. Add a couple of large seats to the mix and end with the largest chair to help accommodate the entire group.
Cover a large table with packing paper. Scatter a variety of crayons, washable markers and rubber stamps across the table top, so guests can decorate the table with their own artwork. As the paper becomes covered with the children's work, tear it off and hang it on the wall. Purchase a large roll of paper to provide a fresh "canvas" when needed.
Sandbox Treasure Hunt
Bury a few treasures in a sandbox in the backyard. For a large group, you may need to use two or three sandboxes. Suggested treasures for this activity include toy figurines, miniature candy bars, rubber balls and packages of fruit snacks. If the party has a theme, try to use complementary items such as gold-wrapped coins for a pirate party or dinosaur figurines for a dinosaur party. Provide each child with a shovel and a pail. Set a timer and inform players to hunt until the buzzer sounds. When time is up, have them gather in a circle and show off their treasures. Pool the prizes and divide them evenly among participants.
Kids fish for points and prizes in this indoor fishing game. To create the fish, trace a fish shape onto a double layered piece of felt or craft foam. Cut the shape out and place a magnet between the two layers. Sew or glue the edges of the fish closed. Use a different color of material to make each fish. Glue a length of string to a wooden dowel to create a fishing rod. Tie another magnet to the end of the fishing line. Place the fish into the bottom of a large box or storage tub. Assign a point value to each color and set up a choice of trinket prizes for each point value. When a player catches a fish, he chooses a prize that coordinates with that point value. Keep fishing until each child has won a prize.
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