Party games keep guests entertained and active, but they may become overly competitive when a prize is on the line. Party prizes give guests an incentive for participating in games and activities, but when a guest does not receive a prize, it can make him feel left out or envious of other guests. Make sure every guest feels special when giving out prizes at a party.
Prizes for Everybody
The simplest way to hand out prizes and make sure everyone feels satisfied is to give every guest a prize for participation at the end of a party game. This way every guest feels like a winner and everyone receives an equal share. When players are eliminated from play, give them a consolation prize to encourage them to try again. Keep the prizes on the small side to keep your costs down since you will be giving them to each player.
Games Where Everybody Wins
Plan party games where all the guests have the chance to win a prize and where everyone has an equal advantage. For example, pinatas give everyone a chance to share in the win together. Plan a party treasure hunt where the guests have to find a treasure chest filled with prizes. Bingo and other games of chance put all of the guests at the same advantage and you can play until every player has had a bingo at least once.
Awards and Certificates
Award ribbons and certificates are an inexpensive way to make party guests feel special. Award ribbons can be purchased at craft and party stores or created at home, allowing you to customize each award to each guest. Hand out awards in a mock ceremony so that each player is given recognition for her efforts. Create different award categories so that each player has a chance to win -- for example, "Best Sportsmanship" or "Best Team Player."
When Not to Give Out Prizes
Younger party guests will likely expect prizes for playing games, but with an older crowd you may eliminate prizes altogether, especially if you are already handing out goody bags at the end of the party. For mixed crowds, plan some games with prizes for the younger kids and other games without prizes for the teens and adults. Consider creative activities, such as cookie decorating or tie-dying, instead of competitive games. These activities give guests the opportunity to create their own prizes.
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