Make-Your-Own Party Games

Another post inspired by a question on DC Urban Moms.  A fellow mom wants to buy or borrow the following items for her son’s birthday party.  I say, why not make them?  Here’s how my folks did it for me when I was a kid:

1. Bean bag toss game

There are two main approaches to making a bean bag toss game.  The first is to take a large piece of plywood or cardboard, cut several holes in it, and prop it up against two patio chairs at a 45 degree angle.  This works best with a piece of wood about 5 feet x 5 feet with 5 to 7 holes cut in it.  The holes don’t need to be in any particular location or pattern — which makes it much easier to create!  The plywood or cardboard can easily be painted with targets, bright colors, or something relating to the party theme if there is one.  Or … why not make painting the backboard a craft for the early part of the party or a playdate leading up to the party?  Sounds like fun to me!

The simpler approach to creating a beanbag toss game is to gather up 5-7 buckets from around the house (or buy clean ones at Target or Ikea for a couple bucks each), line them up in a row, position the kids a few feet away, depending on the age of the kids (toddlers get very close, 5 year olds about 5 feet away), and let them aim into the buckets.  Assign each bucket a point value for extra fun for older kids.  Remember this one?  Bozo’s words echo in my head every time I think about it — it’s the GRAND PRIZE GAME!

Beanbags can be simply sewn out of scrap fabric with beans, rice, or something similar inside to give it weight.  Or you could consider using those lightweight plastic balls that many of us have lying around from a toddler ball pit of some sort.

2. Some type of ring toss game or horseshoe game.

Great idea!  There are plenty of sites on the net for teaching simple horseshoe games.  A ring toss game might be cheap and easy to make using shortened tomato stakes for the targets and a child’s outgrown plastic ring toy for the rings.  Or not.  Anyone else have good ideas for this one?

3.  Pin the Tail on the Donkey

Another fun game!  Generations of kids have played homemade versions of this, using a donkey (or car, or princess, or dinosaur) drawn on a large piece of paper and hung on the wall.  Make your own “tails” out of construction paper (could be headlights for the car, crowns for the princess, or tails, again, for the dinosaur), either ahead of time or as a group craft, and have the kids put them on with sticky tape.

Kudos to you for making wholesome, active entertainment for your kindergartner’s birthday party!


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