Not Girly Birthday Party Game Ideas

by Jen Kim

Sure, girls just want to have fun -- but not all of them want to spend time with dolls and play house. Try inexpensive and simple co-ed friendly games and activities at your child's next party or gathering. Games that emphasize action can be called anything but girly.

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Pair Games

You'll need to pair up with a friend to play these games, so make sure you have an even number of participants. A classic party game is the water balloon toss. Break up the group into pairs that stand in two parallel lines. Each pair gets one water balloon. Players must take turns throwing the balloon back and forth and taking a step further away with each toss. Balloon pop is an alternative pair game, in which pairs stand back to back. Place a balloon between their backs. The first couple to pop the balloon wins.

Large Group Activities

It can be difficult to accommodate or control large groups, so simple active activities work best (at tiring them out, too). Try playing four corners, a party favorite played in a room with four distinct corners. One player wears a blindfold and counts aloud to 20, while the other players run to one of the four corners. When he reaches 20, the blindfolded child calls out a corner number; all players in that corner are out. The game repeats until only one child remains in the game. Candy pickup also works well for large groups. Sprinkle the floor or ground with wrapped candies and sweets. Hand out toothpicks and gift bags to each child. Give children two minutes to pick up as much candy as they can using only their toothpicks. They keep all the candy they pick up.

Small Group Activities

For smaller parties, try more personalized activities, such as bobbing for apples or scavenger hunts. A small number of guests means fewer supplies and materials. Other small group activities include making bubbles, hula hooping or hot potato. Another easy game is bottle drop, where all you need is an empty wine bottle and a paperclip. Have children stand on a chair and try to drop paperclips into the bottle. Winners earn a prize.

Team Games

Team games not only encourage a sense of collaboration but can be repeated again and again by mixing up the teams. Ideas include relay races, scavenger hunts and Pictionary. A fun variation on traditional relay races is a costumed relay race, in which the group is divided into two teams. The first players on both teams must run to a designated area and put on a costume (such as a firefighters or Santa) and run back to their team, where they must then transfer their costume to the second player. The second player wears the suit, runs to the designated area and returns and transfers the outfit to the third player and so on. Spoon and egg relay races offer a reasonable substitute to a typical relay.

About the Author

Since 2008, Jen Kim has been a professional writer and blogger, working for national publications such as Psychology Today and Chicago Tribune affiliates. She holds a Master of Science in journalism from Northwestern University.

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