The following are some of the best-loved and well-known party games. They are played differently for each age group. Try to keep the pace moving in each game. If the children start to get bored, move along a bit quicker or go on to another activity. With any of the elimination games like Musical Bumpstell the players who are out that they are judges. This stops them feeling like failures and keeps their interest in the game. With any of the team games, make sure that you have at least one other adult helping you.

Don’t make too much distinction between winners and losers. It is better if everyone gets something, however small. As a rule, children are very competitive and feel miserable if they don’t win anything!

Each player is given an ‘island’ (either a postcard-sized piece of paper or card). The children find a space and stand on their islands. When the music starts the players either walk, dance, or skip around the room. While the music is playing the children are not allowed to tread on the islands but, as soon as the music stops, the children have to stand on the nearest one. Only one player per island is allowed and they must stand on a different island every time. Each time the music stops, an island is taken away. Anyone who doesn’t have an island becomes a judge. The last person left on an island is the winner.

All you do here is call out commands and the children follow. The last person to follow a command becomes a judge. This can be great fun but don’t let it go on for too long, as the children get tired. The commands are:

Climb the rigging: ask children to run on the spot, using

their arms to pretend to climb the rigging.
Captain’s coming: the children call out Aye Aye Captain and salute.
Scrub the deck: the children mime scrubbing the deck.
Starboard: the children have to rush to one side of the room.
Portside: the children have to rush to the other side of the room.
Man overboard: the children all lie on the floor and pretend to float.