Party games for 3 – 4 year olds

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Ring around the Rosie
Children stand in a circle holding hands and walk around in a circle while they sing: “Ring around the Rosie, A pocket full of posies, Atischoo, atischoo, we all fall down!”

Hokey pokey
Let the children stand in a circle. The leader begins to sing and everyone joins in: “Put your right hand in, put your right hand out, put your right hand in, and shake it all about. Do the Hokey Pokey and turn yourself around. That’s what it’s all about! Put your right foot in, put your right foot out, put your right foot in, and shake it all about. Do the Hokey Pokey and turn yourself around. That’s what it’s all about!”

Decorate a cupcake
Make a cupcake for each child who has been invited to the party. Set up a small table with icing, chocolate, sprinkles, jelly sweets, whipped cream, cherries and other toppings. Give each child the opportunity to decorate their own cupcake to take home at the end of the party. Paper tablecloths and plates are ideal for this creative, sometimes messy, activity.

Play dough play
Make or buy play dough in various colours. Spread the play dough on a table and supply cookie pressers, and pastry trimmers and rolling pins for the little ones.
Click here for an easy play dough recipe.

Musical chairs
Set up one less chair than the number of children at the party. Start the music and let the children walk in a circle around the chairs until you stop the music. When the music stops, each child has to find a chair on which to sit. The player who doesn’t find a chair must stop playing. However, give him some sort of reward or prize, so as to avoid tears and unhappiness. Take away another chair, and repeat the process until only one child remains.

Simon Says
You can adapt this old-time favourite to the theme of your party. For instance, “Bob the Builder Says”, or you can use the birthday child’s name such as, “Benjamin Says”. The children have to copy what ‘Benjamin’ does, whether he stands on one leg, runs on the spot, jumps up and down, lies on the floor, rolls around, turns around or claps his hands.

Beanbag toss
Draw a character or a picture relevant to the theme of your party on the side of a cardboard box. Cut a hole in the top of the box, or if you are using a character such as Old McDonald, make sure the hole is large enough so you can throw small beanbags into it without too much difficulty. Each child should have several chances to toss beanbags through the hole. The child who manages to throw in the most beanbags is the winner.
Duck, goose, duck
All of the children, except one, sit in a circle facing each other. One child walks around the circle, tapping each of his friends gently on the head while saying ‘duck’. When he says ‘goose’, the child whose head he’s touched, jumps up and chases the ‘tapper’ around the circle. He, in turn, tries to get all the way back to the goose’s spot without getting tagged by the ‘goose’. If the tapper gets away, the child who’s chosen as the goose, walks around the circle and chooses a new goose.

Treasure hunt
Choose large plastic balls or toys relevant to your birthday party theme and hide them in the garden or living room while the children aren’t looking. Hold up an item that is similar to something you have hidden and tell the children to search and find the items. The child who finds the most items can help you hide the objects for the next round. After the games, divide the treasure hunt items and send them home as party favours.

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