I have made this page with birthday games for toddlers and kids turning 4 because kids aged 2-3, or maybe 2-4, often need a special kind of birthday games, because their comprehension of rules and their concentration is not fully evolved.
This is of course very different from child to child. I have a grandchild who has just turned 4, and she understands the rules of a game, but often doesn’t want to follow them for long. After that she just invents her own rules. While a nephew of mine ages 4½ is very strict about following rules, both for himself and others.
I think all these games can be played by children only 1½-2 years old, but they will need some help and guiding by an adult or older brother and sister.
For toddlers birthdays you don’t need so many games. Unpacking the presents, eating the cake, playing with their old and new toys, maybe taking a nap – all this can easily fill a whole birthday.
But if you need more I have found that the birthday games described below on this page works so well with kids turning 2, 3 or 4, and of course they can be used for older kids as well.
You can also find a lot of other games here on my website and choose the ones you like. See the link to the main page below or in the navigation.
Great Games for Toddlers and 4 Year Old Kids:
Hide and seek:
This is one of the kid party games you can play both indoor and outdoor, and all kids just love it.
I guess everybody knows the rules, but if not:
One person is “it” and counts to 10 or more with closed eyes while all the other players hide somewhere.
After having ended counting, “it” shouts “I’m coming” and starts looking to find all the others.
As long as the kids are less than 5 years old it’s very important not to be too strict about the rules. Most young kids just love the idea of hiding, and often they tell you where they are, or the hide in the same places again and again.
It doesn’t really matter as long as everybody is having fun.
Playing with balloons:
This is not really a game in the sense that there are no rules and no winning.
Just blow up some big balloons, and make room for both adults and kids to play with the balloons.
You can play some nice music while the guest dance around, pushing the balloons in the air, catching them and pushing them again.
Just an advice:
This is best played indoor. You can play it outdoor, but only if there is almost no wind.
One of my own kids once was guest at birthday party where they had played with balloons outside in the garden. When it started to blow all the balloons flew out of the garden, out onto the street.
What do you think the kids did? Yes, they ran and jumped after the balloons, no matter what the birthday child’s mother shouted. She had to run out and get a firm grip in all the little kids and bring them back. Fortunately it was a very quiet street and nothing happened, but the mother was totally exhausted when I came to pick up my son.
Making soap bubbles:
All kids like to play with soap bubbles, and if you make your own soap mixture you can also make the rings for the bubbles in different sizes. Again just for the fun of it 🙂
You need: You can buy soap bubbles, or you can make your own. If you make your own, see below for the soap, and you will also need wire or pipe cleaners.
How to make your own soap bubbles:
5 deciliter water, 1 deciliter dish soap, 2 spoon full of glycerin.
Mix the ingredients, and put it into small containers with a lid.
You need wire or pipe cleaners .
Bend the wire or pipe cleaner and make a ring, big or small, in the end.
If your furniture will be damaged by the soap, play with the bubbles outside.
Other Games for a Toddler Birthday Party and for Kids turning 4:
Indoor birthday games for kids 2-4 years old:
Making a pizza:
Age: 2-5 years
Number of participants: 5-10
You need: ——
This has always been my grandchildren’s favorite game in kindergarten, and it is a great game for toddlers to get them to relax, and most important of all it is a great game to make kids relate well to each other.
The game works in a completely steady pace, and the children are completely relaxed.
There’s nothing with anybody picking or clapping hard, everything is deep slow movements.
An important thing about this game is also that the child who is the pizza can decide what kind of filling he or she wants, and whether there should be a lot of it or just a little.
One child is placed in the middle of a circle with you and the other kids sitting down.
This child is the pizza crust, and you are all pizza bakers going to make a really nice and tasty pizza.
The pizza child lies on the stomach and the first thing you all do is
1. Knead the dough. You all very gently and slowly knead the pizza child. Everything you do with the pizza shall feel nice for the pizza!
2. You ask what the pizza would like to have as filling, and
(if you play the game wit toddlers and 4-5 year old kids, all the filling can be put on with the same 2 gestures, just smooth the filling all over the pizza crust or clap gently. When the children are older, you can have certain gestures for certain fillings)
3. When the pizza child says: Tomato sauce, you all put the fingers on each hand together, dip the sauce onto the crust, and them smooth it all over the crust. Be sure to cover the whole pizza crust.
4. When the pizza child says: Cheese, you all gently clap cheese all over the crust.
5. Other wanted filling like: sweets, mushrooms, pepper and things like that, you all place them with your palm all over the crust.
6. At last the pizza shall be baked, which means you all clap the pizza all over to make it hot.
7. Finally you cut and eat the pizza, with loud noises of delight. (like you would pretend to eat a sand cake made of real sand).
Number of participants:4-10
You need: 8 or more cut-outs of cardboard fish, prepared with glued clips, one or two fishing rods made of cooking spoons or branches with a string, provided with a magnet glued to the end of the string. One or two cardboard boxes or similar, to be the sea where the fish are placed.
If there are more than 5 players, you can use two boxes with 8 fish in each, otherwise just use 1 box.
You can cover the box with blue paper and drawings of fish and sea weed and other things from the sea, just to make it look nice.
As long as the kids are only turning 2, it will be enough fun for them just to try catching the fish in the box.
When a child has caught 3 fish, put the fish back and let the next player have a try.
You can make the game a little more difficult if the rules are that each player has to catch as many fish as possible while you slowly count to 50 (or 100, whatever it takes to catch at least one).
It is quite OK to lent all the players a hand, it can be really difficult for them to coordinate their intention and the fishing rod.
You can adapt all the games for toddlers to fit birthdays for 4 and 5 year old kids.
For this birthday game, Fish Pond, you can change the cardboard fish with small packets with a fish on it, but with a small piece of candy in the packet.
The Bear is sleeping:
Age: 2-6 years
Number of participants: 3-9
I don’t know if this kids’ game is known in different countries, or maybe it is just called something else.
I think it is one of the most loved games for toddlers, and I have had to play it again and again with my grandchildren. And then again 🙂
One child, or an adult, is laying in the middle of a circle. All the others walk softly around the sleeping bear, while singing:
- The bear is sleeping, the bear is sleeping
In it’s cozy den.
- It is not dangerous
If we just walk softly.
- But then one can,
But then one can
Never be quite sure.
When the verse ends with “sure” the bear wakes up and says “Roaar” and all the children runs away a little frightened.
Now another child shall be the bear.
Actually there are some more rules for the game, and you get them here, but for the little ones it is quite sufficient and more than enough with the rules above.
Here is the music. The text is in Norwegian, but I am sure you can find out how to sing in English.
The rules to use for older children are:
When the kids sing the first verse, they tiptoe around the sleeping bear to the right.
Singing the next verse the walk to the left with their arms crossed.
Last verse they stand and look at the bear while threatening the bear with their forefinger, and singing “sure” they stomp with a foot.
The bear wakes up with a “Roaar” and tries to catch a child.
The child that has been caught will now be the next bear.
Wake up, little dog, someone has take your dog bone.
Number of participants: 6-12
You need: something you can name a dog bone.
The children sit in a circle, and a child lays down in the middle of the circle with her or his eyes closed.
You place a “dog bone” on the back of the child in the middle.
You point out a child in the circle who shall silently take the dog bone from the dog. When this child is back in the circle, all the children hide their hands on their back and says “little dog, little dog, somebody has taken your dog bone!”.
The dog wakes up and shall guess who has taken the dog bone. The dog has 1-3 guesses depending on the number of participants.
If the dog guesses right, he or she shall be the dog again.
If not, the one who stole the dog bone shall be the next dog.
Outdoor games for kids 2-4 years old:
If there is a playground near by, with swings and glides, that is all you need for playing outdoor.
But you can also use the games toddlers can play described here:
Find the colored circle:
Age: 3-5 years
Number of participants: 8-16
You need: colored chalk in 5 different colors, a place where you can draw 5 circles, approx. 3-4 feet in diameter. Paper and pen for keeping points.
If the kids are quite young you can start the game with a talk about the different colors, and what colors the different circles are.
Now you divide the kids into two or more teams consisting of 4-5 members. Each member in each team gets a number from 1 to 4 or 5.
You draw 5 big circles with the different colored chalk.
All the kids stand a little away from the circles.
You start this birthday game by shouting lets say ” green 2″ and all the number 2 kids shall run to the circle marked with green. The player who comes first gets a point for their team.
When you arrange this game for kids a older than 5 you can make it more difficult by having a list of things with the colors you use, and instead of shouting the color and number, you can shout “sun 5” and all the 5’s shall run to the yellow circle.
Roll the Ball:
Age: 2 (with help) and up
Number of participants: 8 – 25
You need: A ball for each team
This game and the next one are fun activities for toddlers, but only when played with all the other guests, because playing it together with mothers and fathers and uncles and aunts and so on is actually the best part of it.
The guests divide into two teams with 5-10 players in each team.
The teams stand in two or more rows, and the first in each team rolls a ball between hers or his legs to the next in line.
If the ball just rolls in the right direction, it can be rolled on between the next pair of legs.
If not the player who got the ball catches the ball, and rolls it between the legs to the next player and so on.
If the ball rolls out of line, the player who received the ball picks it up, runs back to the row and roll the ball to the next in line.
When the last person in the row receives the ball, he or she runs up in front, rolls the ball between the legs and so on.
The game goes on until the player who started being first is first again.
Potato baton race:
Age: 2 years and up to 99 years
Number of participants: 8 and up to 20
You need: 2-3 identical spoons and 4-5 potatoes, plastic cups for the little ones.
You mark a race field with a starting line and a line for where to turn around.
The players stand in two or three rows.
The first in each row gets a spoon with a potato.
When you shout “start” the first in each row runs towards the turning line, with the potato on the spoon.
You are not allowed to touch the potato, to keep it in the spoon.
If you drop the potato, you will have to pick it up and start again from where you were when you dropped it. (or go back to start, if you want the hard rules for adults)
When you reach the turning line, run back to start. Deliver the spoon and potato to the next in line, and so on, till you all have made the potato race.
The team who first has had all it’s players through the race wins.
A two year old has just learned to run, so asking her or him to run with a potato on a spoon would be crazy. Instead give the little ones a plastic cup with a potato, and give them a companion (best a mother or father). You can even mark a special turning line for them.
The important thing with these games for toddlers is that they can participate together with the whole bunch of guests!
Go to the top of this page with birthday games for toddlers.