In a classic Wondermom Wannabe moment, I agreed to plan and put on my son’s 5th grade class end-of-year party. My supposed best friend is the evil genius who convinced me it would be fun and easy since we would be doing it together. To be fair, I think this was payback for the all-day outdoor field trip I talked her into chaperoning with me.
The planning started out easy enough. We were going to forego asking for donations so that we wouldn’t have to make up a flyer, distribute it and keep track of contributions. The original plan was to order a bunch of pizza, pick up some chips and soda (yes, even I wasn’t going to try and pass hummus and fresh veggies as “party food” to 2 dozen 5th graders). I loved this plan! It was well within the parameters of the minimal effort I was willing to put forward.
And then my pal had a seemingly innocent question. “Don’t you think it would a better party if we had a few activities?” Of course it would be more fun. Surely we could come up with a few ideas, right? I promptly made up a list of a dozen different activities. My delightful counterpart immediately shot down half of them because they required too many materials or were going to be too loud (because every great party is known for how quiet it is apparently). By the way, in case you were wondering how many ideas she offered up……………………zero. That’s okay though because when we get to the party today, she will be the one to take charge. Also, she’s the fun one. As much as I’m complaining, it’s a fair trade because I’d much rather make up voting sheets than supervise a bunch of kids hyped up on caffeinated soda.
Enough griping from me. Here’s the list of activities I came up with, including some of the ones my friend vetoed for being “too loud” since I don’t think that’s a problem at a party. Most of these work well for any age group since the instructions are pretty simple and the fun is in interacting as a group.
- Scavenger Hunt – I wrote an article on this a few months ago. Click here to read the article which includes lists for indoor or outdoor hunts, as well as printable clues for treasure hunts.
- Hedbanz – You can buy the actual board game here or you can use these Forehead Game Words I made. We’re going to make headbands out of construction paper and use paper clips to affix the cards to them, but you could also just use tape to stick them on foreheads.
- Group Untangle – Form groups that have at least 3 people. Have the group members stand in a circle facing one another. Each person must join hands with 2 different group members. Once everyone is holding 2 different hands, the group must untangle themselves without letting go of each other’s hands.
- Memory – You can play this two ways. 1) Arrange a group of items on a table. Have everyone study the table for one minute. After the minute, have everyone close their eyes or turn around while you remove one item. The goal is to be the first person to figure out what item is missing. 2) Choose one person to be “it.” That person studies the entire group for one minute and then leaves the room. While the person who is “it” is out of the room, the group changes one thing (e.g. two people switch places, someone removes their shoes, someone stands instead of sits). The person who is “it” has to figure out what was changed.
- Shoe Match – Divide the group into at least 2 teams. Everyone removes their shoes. All of the shoes are put into a giant pile. Everyone must find both of their shoes. The first team whose members all find and put on their shoes wins.
- Category Charades – Just like regular charades but you create categories of clues. Divide the large group into smaller groups of 3-5 people. Assign each group their own space or corner of the room. Each group must correctly identify all of their clues and the category of their clues.
- Hand Squeeze Race – Divide group into 2 teams. Have teams form 2 lines facing each other. Have each person hold hands with the person(s) next to them. Parent/teacher/party host (hereafter referred to as the line leader) stands at the front of both lines and holds hands with the first person in each line. Everyone but the line leader closes their eyes. The line leaders squeezes the hands of the first person in line at the same time. That person, in turn, squeeze the other hand they are holding, who will do the same. When the last person in line’s hand is squeezed, he or she raises his or her unheld hand. The goal is to be the first team to pass the hand squeeze down the line to the last person.
- Four Corners – One person is “it” and stands in the middle of the room. Assign each corner of the room a number 1-4. The person who is it closes his eyes. Everyone else chooses a corner of the room to stand in. The person who is “it” calls out a number. Everyone standing in that corner is out. The game continues until only one person is left (the winner!). The prize is getting to be “it” for the next round.
I hope this list helps you next time you have to entertain a large group of kiddos. Most of them require nothing more than the kids themselves so you don’t even have to plan in advance. And since I’m probably not ditching my best friend anytime soon so I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing something like this again in the near future, if you have any other ideas please share them in the comments (especially if the are silent games which is apparently a key criteria). Please ignore the string of sarcasm that will appear in the comments once my friend finally reads this article and decides to share her side of the story.