Indoor Games to Play at a 3-Year-Old's Birthday Party

by Tracey Bleakley, Demand Media

    If you are hosting a party at home for your 3-year-old's birthday, you'll want to have several activities prepared to keep the guests entertained. Planning outdoor activities for your party is easy, but the weather doesn't always cooperate. These games can be played indoors, rain or shine, so your guests will have a great time at your party no matter what the weather does.

    Pass the Parcel

    Wrap a small gift that is appropriate for a 3-year-old. Then wrap more layers around it, so that there is at least one layer for each guest to unwrap. Wrap small toys or pieces of candy between the layers. To play the game, have the children sit in a circle and pass the gift around the circle, while music plays. When the music stops, the child holding the gift gets to unwrap one layer and keep the treat wrapped inside the layers. Start the music again, and begin passing the package around. Continue to stop the music and let a child unwrap a layer until the gift is revealed and each child has received a small treat.

    Simon Says

    Young children love to play Simon Says. There is no planning, and no props are needed. Gather the children, and have them stand in front of you. Call out an instruction such as "Simon says put your hands on your head." The children have to follow any instruction that Simon says, or they have to sit out. If you call out an instruction without saying Simon says, such as "Jump up and down," they can't copy you. If they follow your instruction, they are out.

    Follow the Clapping Leader

    Use this game to keep the children entertained while they are waiting to start a new activity. Clap out a rhythm on your knees, arm or some other body part, and the children have to repeat it. After they understand how to play, let the children take turns being the leader. You can also use this activity to get the guests' attention when it's time to eat or sing "Happy Birthday." They'll get quiet quickly when they are listening to copy your claps.

    Pin the Tail

    Pin the tail on the donkey is an easy indoor game that young children can play. For the traditional game, hang a poster of a tailless donkey on a wall. Then give each child a tail with his name on it. Blindfold the first child, turn him around a few times and have him try to put the donkey's tail on the right spot. When all of the children have had a turn, the winner is the one who gets the tail closest. This is an easy game to adapt to just about any theme. You can pin the tail on just about any animal, but other themes work, too. For a princess party, play pin the crown on the princess. For a bug theme, have the children try to put a bee on the center of a flower.

    Treasure Hunt

    A treasure hunt is another game that is easy to adapt to your party theme. Just choose a small item that is related to your theme, such as plastic bugs, gold coins, cars or Easter eggs. Hide them around the room, and send the children hunting. You can have a prize for the child who finds the most, or you can divide the treasure up evenly and use it as party favors. For an added activity, let the children decorate paper bags with stickers and markers before the hunt. They can use them to collect the treasure they find during the game.

    About the Author

    Tracey Bleakley has been writing for the last year. She has had numerous education articles published on both eHow.com and Brighthub.com. She has 10 years experience as an elementary school teacher. Bleakley received her Bachelor of Science in education with a specialization in reading from the University of Texas at Austin.

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