What fun is a 2 or 3-year-old party without some amazing toddler party games?! Well, I've compiled 46 game and activity ideas to keep your toddlers entertained. They'll be sure to have an absolute blast!
My guess is that you're here because you are planning a party (did I get that right?!). If you need some additional help with that you can check out my article with practical tips for planning a party at home. Plus you can also grab my free printable Party Planner that includes the action plan and shopping lists needed for various stages of your party.
Do you love the clever names people come up with for parties? Well, if you're planning a party for a 3-year-old boy, I've just released an article with some clever 3rd Birthday party themes such as Three-Rex, Grand Three, Threenager or Dirty-3rdy just to name a few!
The children's games are divided into the sections below. However many of these activities could be used in multiple scenarios, so be sure to check them all out.
- Traditional Toddler Party Games
- Outdoor Toddler Party Games
- Indoor Toddler Party Games
- Educational Toddler Party Games
- Creative Toddler Party Games
Throughout the post, I have included some handy links to products, articles and free printables that I thought may help get your party started!
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1. TRADITIONAL TODDLER PARTY GAMES
Here you'll find instructions and ideas for traditional party games for toddlers:
- Pin the Tail on the Donkey
- Musical Chairs
- Freeze Dance / Musical Statues
- Duck Duck Goose
- Egg and Spoon Race
- Pass the Parcel
- Tug of War
Pin the Tail on the Donkey
There are many versions of this classic game and it’s not as painful as it sounds! Pin the Tail on the Donkey is perfect for toddlers because it is simple and easy to understand. The original game is played with a poster of a donkey who is missing a tail. The game comes with enough tail shapes for all of the children. Blindfold the kids and have them take turns trying to remember where they should pin the missing tail (ensure there is tape or similar attached to the tail). The child who gets the closest wins. This game isn’t just restricted to donkeys though, you can find many different animals and characters to play this game with.
Other examples include:
- Pin the Tail on the Dinosaur (green or pink)
- Pin the Tail on the Mermaid
- Pin the Horn on the Unicorn
- Pin the Eye Patch + Mustache on the Pirate
- Pin the Tail on the Llama
- Pin the Wheels on the Monster Truck
I remember playing musical chairs at just about every party I went to as a kid. Toddlers love music and love to dance around, which makes this game perfect. Place chairs in a circle and play music whilst the kids walk around the chairs. When the music stops, the kids have to find a seat. Remove one chair each round until only one player is left. For young children, you may wish to take out the chairs and simply ask them to sit on the spot when the music stops.
Freeze Dance / Musical Statues
Freeze dance is another game that involves a heap of fun with music and dancing; Play music and have the kids dance. When the music stops, shout out “freeze!” and they all have to freeze in place. The last one to freeze is out. Or anyone who moves when they should be frozen is also out of the game.
Duck Duck Goose
Duck Duck Goose is a traditional children's game that toddlers will love. Have the kids sit in a circle, and choose one player to be the “goose.” The goose walks around the circle tapping each player on the head and saying “duck” until they choose someone to be the “goose.” The toddler chosen to be the goose must then jump up and chase the other player around the circle. If they make it back to the empty seat then the game continues with the new goose. If they are caught then they remain the goose and the game continues.
Limbo is such a classic for all ages. Play some fun music during this game. Using a broomstick, hold it horizontally so that the children can walk under it. Begin at an easy height and lower it each time the next round begins. If a player touches the stick or it falls then they are out of the game. You could also use a scarf instead of a stick. Or make it more exciting by encouraging the children to dance or perform movements as they go under the limbo stick.
Egg and Spoon Race
The classic egg and spoon race involves balancing an egg on a spoon whilst racing to the finish line. For toddlers, you may wish to use a plastic egg, a party object, or this fun egg and spoon set, rather than a real egg. You could include fun movements such as skipping or touching one hand to your nose whilst racing with the egg.
Pass the Parcel
Ah, another of my favourite party games I would play as a kid. You will need a small prize and some wrapping paper (Our's were often wrapped in newspaper, but you don’t want the kids with black ink on their hands). Wrap the prize up in layers, ensuring you have enough layers for at least each child.
The kids sit in a circle whilst you play the music. The wrapped parcel is passed around the circle until the music stops. When it does stop, that child unwraps a layer. The game then resumes until all of the layers have been unwrapped. As the music coordinator, ensure each child has a turn at unwrapping the parcel. When wrapping the parcel, you could also add a smaller prize in every layer so that each child gets something. A similar version to Pass the Parcel is the game Hot Potato (further below).
Tug of War
For Tug of War you will need to divide toddlers into two teams and stand them on opposite sides of a rope. Ensure all of the children have a good grip as each team tries to pull the rope to win. This game is definitely for older toddlers and some may not want to play as it is a rough and tumble activity. Be sure to keep a close eye on them to make sure they’re not pulling too hard or hurting themselves.
2. Outdoor Toddler Party Games
Here you'll find instructions and ideas for outdoor party games for toddlers:
- Bubble Games
- Scavenger Hunt
- Parachute Games
- Water Play
- What's the Time Mr Wolf?
- We're Going on a Bear Hunt
- Obstacle Course
- Carnival Yard Games
- Red Light Green Light
- Bubble Wrap Race
- Bean Bag Toss
- Walk the Plank
- Balloon Pop Relay
Bubbles were always a winner with my children (and still are!). An inexpensive outdoor activity, all you need is a bubble machine or bubble wands. You could even make your own bubble solution. Set a time limit to see who can pop or catch the most bubbles. Or simply create a bubble station for the kids to make their own fun.
Water Balloon Toss
A water balloon toss is a classic outdoor party game that toddlers will love. Fill up a bucket with water balloons and gather all of the children in a circle. Each child takes turns throwing the balloon to another child. If the balloon breaks on your turn then you are out. Make it more fun by letting them throw the balloons at the adults.
I love scavenger hunts! They are so versatile and interactive for all ages. Typically scavenger hunts involve hiding items around the yard so they can be found. You may wish to give them a list, or simply tell the kids to find specific things. This works well for themes. You could incorporate items with the Birthday party theme, or objects of specific colours or shapes just to name a few. I also have a free printable outdoor scavenger hunt that you could use.
So many kids love playing games with a parachute. They keep the kids active and engaged. You can buy a parachute or cut up an old sheet. There are many different parachute games that you can play. From kids sitting below the parachute whilst others wave and spin it around; to bouncing objects on top; or singing songs whilst skipping, dancing, hoping etc around in the circle.
What’s the Time Mr Wolf?
Start this game by designating a “Mr Wolf”. This could be another child or an adult for younger groups. Mr Wolf stands at one end of the yard with his back to the rest of the children, who are on the other side of the play area.
The kids all need to ask “What’s the time Mr Wolf” and Mr Wolf will reply with a time such as “5 o’clock”. They then all take 5 steps forward. This will keep going with the children taking steps that correspond with Mr Wolf’s time. Once the children are getting closer, Mr Wolf will yell out “Dinner Time” and turn around to tag as many players as he can before they return back to the start line. The tagged players then join Mr Wolf in trying to catch the others. To make it even more playful, you can encourage the players to act like their favourite animals or make silly noises as they take their steps.
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is one of my most favourite children’s books. I have it in different versions too! You can use this game as a scavenger hunt where the kids find party favors for their take-home bags.
Firstly you’ll need to hide your bears (the treat kind, plush, toy or any other version) before the kids arrive or when they are busy. Refer to the book (or go from memory) to send the group bear hunting. Have them follow the actions described in the book such as splashing through a river, squelching through the mud, walking through long grass etc. For older children, you can add their name or a colour to a bear so they must look for that specific bear. Don’t just limit yourself to bear hunting either! Work in your party theme with a treasure hunt, mermaid hunt, dino hunt etc.
If you're hosting a party in the summertime, water play is a great way to cool off and have fun! You could use water in many different ways. Set up a water table with toys, a water balloon toss, slip-n-slide or a fun splash pad like the one below.
There are so many ways to create a fun obstacle course at your next toddler party. Use items you have around the house like cones, hula hoops, pillows, toys, play mats or a trampoline. Kids can then crawl, jump, and run through the course. Time them for an added challenge.
Carnival Yard Games
Carnival-style games can be incorporated with an obstacle course. These are super fun activities that will get the children moving and having a blast. You can purchase various types (this is a fun set of carnival games with tin cans). Or you can make your own. Some ideas include:
- Ring Toss: Toss rings onto pegs or cones to win a prize or score points.
- Can Knock Down: Use bean bags or small balls to knock over cans or plastic bottles. Stack or arrange them for more of a challenge
- Bean Bag Toss: Throw bean bags through hoops or into boxes.
Red Light Green Light
In Red Light Green light, choose one child to be the “stoplight” and have them stand at one end of the yard. The other players stand at the opposite end. When the stoplight child says “green light,” the players move towards them. But when they say “red light,” the players must stop. The first player to reach the stoplight wins. You could do away with having one child being the stoplight by using this cool motion-sensing light-up game.
Bubble Wrap Race
This game is a blast for toddlers because it involves popping bubble wrap! It can also be played indoors if you have a large area. Lay out a long strip of bubble wrap on the ground and then divide the kids into two teams. Have them race to the other side, popping as many bubbles as they can along the way. The child who reaches the end first wins!
Bean Bag Toss
A bean bag toss is one of my favourite go-to games, they’re very easy to set up. Create the target using a bucket, basket or box then the kids take turns throwing soft balls or bean bags into the target. Add several targets all with different point values (the most difficult target gets the most points). You could also use chalk to draw your targets.
Walk the Plank
This game is an absolute must for a pirate-themed party (although any party theme could work too!). Lay out a blue mat, sheet, or tarpaulin. This will be your water. For additional fun, put some shark and fish toys or cutouts on your water. Place a slightly raised plank across your water for the children to “walk the plank”. If the child can walk the plank without falling into the water, they receive a prize.
Balloon Pop Relay
Set up start and finish lines. You could divide the kids into teams or just play for fun. Each child needs to run with a balloon between their knees to the finish line. The next child then goes. Alternative options to this fun game for toddlers include:
- The children must sit on the balloon and pop it before the next player goes.
- Have them wear dress-ups or silly oversized clothing
- Include a spoon to hold in their mouth
- Add a time limit to see which team can pop the most balloons or receive the most balloon runs.
3. Indoor Party Games for Toddlers
Here you'll find instructions and ideas for indoor party games for toddlers:
- Ball Pit Fun
- Puppet Show
- Face Painting
- Sleeping Lions
- Balloon Volleyball
- Hot Potato
- Dress Ups
- Simon Says
Ball Pit Fun
Ball pits are so much fun and there isn’t much organisation required, the kids just have a blast doing their own thing. You can of course add some extra elements such as hiding objects within the ball pit for them to go on a treasure hunt. Make it educational with the following options:
- Asking them to match colours (great for colour recognition and cognitive development)
- Sorting balls by size or colour (great for organization and cognitive development)
- A simple ball toss (great for hand-eye coordination and social skills).
A puppet show is so fun and engaging, it encourages creativity, imagination and social skills. You can create your own puppets using items such as socks, paper bags or felt. It could even be a craft activity for the kids. You could also buy printable puppets such as these zoo animal puppets that I sell in my shop. Or these cute plush animal puppets. An adult or older child can put on the puppet show or you could have the little ones create their own magical show.
Face painting is a fun and creative activity that toddlers will love. Hire a professional face painter or do it yourself using non-toxic face paint. If you’re feeling extra creative you can even make your own like this face paint recipe. The kids can choose their designs and have fun showing off their new looks.
When everyone is hyped up from the party, calm the mood with a game of sleeping lions. Choose a hunter and have all of the children lay on the floor in sleeping positions. They must freeze and the hunter then walks through everyone trying to make the lions move. The hunter cannot touch the lions but can tell jokes or do anything to make them move.
Get the kids excited with a game of balloon volleyball! Blow up a bunch of balloons and have the children tap the balloons to each other, keeping them off the ground.
Hot Potato is an easy game to play with toddlers. All you need is a small ball or a soft stuffed toy. Have the children sit in a circle and start the music. The kids then pass the hot potato, ball or toy around the circle. When the music stops, the child holding the ball is out. Hot Potato is similar to Pass the Parcel but generally moves quicker which can be easier for the little ones. As you would with Pass the Parcel, you could also award prizes.
Many of us have a dress-up box at home (mine is overflowing!). Toddlers and even older kids just love playing dress-up. Have a dress-up station with costumes and accessories. You could also create a theme in line with your party. Or have the kids make their own costumes from craft materials. Let them use their imaginations to create their own characters!
Choose one player to be “Simon,” and have them give commands to the other children. The commands start with “Simon says” such as “Simon says touch your feet” or “Simon says hop on one foot”. However, Simon will try to trick the other players by not using the command “Simon says” before his instruction. The players who don’t listen correctly and perform his action without the “Simon says” are out.
I know, I know what you’re thinking about this one. It’s a good one to slow down the energy of the party. Storytime doesn’t even need to be boring. Create a special reading nook with a themed book or two. An adult can then read to the children, adding theatrical energy to their delivery that the kids will love. Perhaps they can even dress up and align the story with the party.
4. Educational Toddler Party Games
Here you'll find instructions and ideas for educational party games for toddlers:
- Alphabet Hunt
- Number Match Game
- Shape Hunt
- Sensory Bins
- Memory Game
- Sorting Game
- Puzzle Station
An alphabet hunt is a fun and educational toddler party game. Simply hide letters around the party area and have the kids find them. They can also match the letters to objects that start with the same letter such as A for Apple, B for Balloon, C for Cake etc. The objects can also reflect the party theme.
Ideas for letters that you could use include magnet letters; drawing letters on objects; cardboard letters (make your own or buy some); foam craft letters etc. I also sell printable alphabet flashcards (below) that are perfect if you're looking for something last-minute.
Number Match Game
Teach your toddler party go-ers about number matching! Hide number shapes around the party area and have the kids find them, then match them to the correct number of objects. The kids have to find the numbers and match them. Using multiple number shapes, they can match all of the numbers eg. all of the number 4’s. Or you could use actual objects – have them count the objects to then find the corresponding number shape.
The same concept as our alphabet hunt and number match game, a shape hunt is a fun way to teach toddlers about different shapes. Cut various shapes from paper (or use precut craft shapes) and then hide them around the party area. Make sure they’re not too difficult to find. You can ask the children to find specific shapes, or let them loose and have them tell you what shape they have found when everyone regroups.
Sensory bins are a great way to stimulate the senses and keep toddlers entertained. There are so many possible options for sensory bins, my Pinterest page is covered with them! Fill a bin with different textures such as rice, beans, or sand and add small toys or objects for the kids to find and explore. Save time by buying a sensory kit with an assortment of fun objects.
There are different ways that you could incorporate a memory game into your toddler party games. Arrange several objects in front of the children, asking them to look at the objects. Then cover the objects and ask the kids to answer questions. You could ask things like “what colour was the flower” or “what was the shape of the bead” etc. Another great memory game to use is match-up cards with pictures.
Get the kids to learn about colors, shapes, and sizes with a fun sorting game. Gather different coloured objects such as balls, blocks, toys, and household items (you could even use party items). Ask the children to sort the objects into different containers based on a characteristic like colour, shape or size.
Setting up a puzzle station is a great educational activity that will not only keep the kids entertained but also stabilizes the energy levels of the party. With so many things going on, my eldest son used to get very overwhelmed at parties. Puzzles were always a great way to help regulate and give him some time to himself when things got too much. Puzzles help to develop problem-solving and spatial skills. I also have a set of 3 free printable adventure puzzles you could use!
5. Creative Party Games for Toddlers
Here you'll find instructions and ideas for imaginative and creative party games for toddlers:
- Paint Your Own Pottery
- Dance Party / Competition
- Paper Plate Crafts
- Arts + Crafts Table
- Toddler Sing-Along
- Sidewalk Chalk Art
- Bubble Painting
- Dress Up Relay Race
Paint Your Own Pottery
I still love painting pottery! You can purchase shaped pottery sculptures or provide simple items such as plates or mugs. Using non-toxic paint, the children can decorate their own masterpieces they will treasure for years to come!
Playdough is perfect for an indoor toddler party. You can make your own play dough or buy it, and the kids can create different shapes and objects. Play simple games such as tic-tac-toe or Pictionary. This promotes cognitive development, social skills and creativity.
Dance Party / Competition
Toddlers love to move and groove to music, and a dance party is an excellent way to get them up and active whilst having a blast. Create a dance floor, and set up some decorations (maybe even a disco ball or some party lights). Choose some suitable music for kids and create a playlist. My son has a karaoke machine that he loves and many of these come with built-in songs. Throw in some costume dress-ups for added fun!
Paper Plate Crafts
Paper plate crafts are another kiddy craft that fills my Pinterest and Instagram accounts! There are so many fun things the kids can create and they’re perfect for toddlers. You could simply provide a bunch of craft supplies such as scissors, glue, markers, paper shapes, stickers, glitter, paint etc. If you don’t want to provide scissors, simply use pre-cut shapes. Let the kids make what they want or provide specific supplies for making a themed craft to match the party!
Here are some of my favourite paper plate craft kits:
- Zoo Pals Paper Plate Art Kit
- Dinosaur Paper Plate Kit
- Farm Animals Paper Plate Art Kit
- Ocean + Pirate Paper Plate Kit
Arts and Crafts Table
Set up a designated space just for crafting. You could provide specific types of crafts such as paper plate crafts (above), cardboard crafts, paper roll crafts etc. Or you could also centre your arts and crafts around your party theme, and have them make party favors or party decorations. I also have a free printable Birthday Activity mat in my printables library with a couple of games and colouring.
A simple but fun activity to include in your party, why not use children’s love of music with a sing-along? Use nursery rhymes or popular songs they may know from the radio. Songs with gestures are far more fun too! You could play music to sing to, include instruments or just sing your hearts out. Some song ideas include:
- The Wheels on the Bus
- Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
- Itsy Bitsy Spider
- Mary Had a Little Lamb
- Old MacDonald Had a Farm
- If You’re Happy and You Know it
- Row, Row, Row Your Boat
- Baby Shark
- Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
If you’re not up for singing yourself, you could get the party started with a karaoke machine that has pre-loaded nursery rhymes. You could even make it a karaoke singing competition!
Sidewalk Chalk Art
Sidewalk chalk art is an easy and inexpensive activity the kids will love! Provide different coloured chalk and let the kids draw their own pictures or create a group masterpiece. You could use chalk to come up with games such as hopscotch, or beanbag toss.
A great sensory activity for older little ones. Simply add paint to a bowl of bubbles. Using a straw, have the children blow bubbles onto a piece of paper. As the bubbles pop they make a beautifully colourful piece of art.
Dress Up Relay Race
A dress-up relay race just sounds like so much fun, doesn’t it?! Set up two teams and provide specific dress-up clothes for each team. The first player on each team has to put on the clothes and run to a designated spot and back, then pass the clothes to the next player. You could keep the dress-ups simple or include additional accessories such as hats, necklaces, bags, feather boas, etc. How cute would they look?!
Last words on organizing games for a toddler party
Hosting and providing fun toddler party games need not be costly or time-consuming. There are plenty of options here to help with that. Keep the entertainment light, simple and remember to be flexible (as you will be working with a highly opinionated group!).
Lastly, let’s not forget that it’s important that toddlers are supervised and play in a safe area. You need to be mindful of hazards, allergies, age appropriateness and the like. Please remember that some children have sensory issues or many other things going on so if they seem hesitant or don’t want to participate, please don’t insist.
What party games do your little ones like to play? I’d love to know, comment below!
Other resources you may like:
FREEBIE: Backyard Scavenger Hunt
FREEBIE: Happy Birthday Banner (7 Colours)
ARTICLE: 59 Activities for Kids to do at Home
ARTICLE: Clever Birthday Party Theme Ideas for 3 Year Old Boys
ARTICLE: 28 Awesome Boys Birthday Party Ideas for Toddlers
SHOP: Printable Party Decor, Games + Activities