Pinnable party décor? Check. Noshable themed treats? You’re on it. All that’s left is to dream up creative party games to keep the kiddos entertained at your bash. Let us take care of that. From a mitten match scavenger hunt to a spectacular snowball stomp, we’ve gathered great winter-themed games for every age. Party on!
Terrific for Toddlers
Simplicity is best with this sweet set, which makes for easy-peasy prep.
photo: Jennifer Adams via flickr
A trip to the dollar store might be in order to play this sweet matching game found on Tales of a Ranting Ginger, if your closet isn’t packed full of mitten cast-offs from years past. Once you’ve assembled enough wooly pairs to outfit party guests, hide one half from each mitten pair in plain sight around the house. Pass the other half out to little hunters and let them loose to find its match. It’s Game Over once all the pairs have been reunited. Extra-smart parent points if they get to keep the matched pair as part of their dollar store party loot!
photo: I Can Teach My Child
Snowy Search and Rescue
This classic sensory activity seamlessly transitions into a full-on toddler game as kidlets race to dig hidden objects out of the “snow.” We love this easy excavation game, inspired by every toddler’s love of sensory tables. Bury tiny objects like puzzle pieces, Duplo bricks or seasonal doodads under layers of cotton balls or fake snow (a great idea thanks to I Can Teach My Child) in a baking dish or large container. Then have little seekers dig them out using hands, sand shovels or even spoons. They’ll be delighted with their finds. You’ll be delighted at how easy this game is to run.
This wintery hot potato variation is sure to please any crowd of petite partiers waiting to be entertained. It all starts with a trip to your local craft store to grab a Styrofoam ball or puffy white pom-pom. Dress it up with a little glitter and you’ve got one sparkly snowball that’s ready to pass around. To play, circle up the wee ones, turn on the tunes and pass the snowy ball around the group until the music stops. If you’re caught holding the ball, it’s sideline time for you, baby. Last one left wins!
Perfect for Preschoolers
Preschoolers are just coming into their own, which makes gaming with them all the more exciting. A little competition and a few wonderfully wintery twists, and you’ve got the makings for perfect preschool party games!
photo: Timberland Regional Library via flickr
Winter Guessing Jar
Keep the downtime wiggles at bay with this busy age group by putting out a guessing jar with paper and pencils for them while they’re waiting. Fill it with snowflake buttons, blue and white LEGOs, blue and white M&M’s or any other snowy day combo you can think up. Then invite mini guests to make their best how-many guess at some point during the party. The coolest part? The jar and its contents can be given away as a prize. It’s easy, times two!
photo: Staci Lopshire
Got snow? No worries if you don’t. This no-snow snowman relay is perfect for an indoor bash. You’ll need two large felt snowmen and stylish felt accessories to match: a carrot nose, colorful buttons, coal-colored eyes, and even a warm scarf. Hang the snowmen on the wall and line your little guests up next to the accessories before the race begins. After it does, each player takes a turn putting one accessory onto this frosty friend. First snowman who’s ready to lead the parade through the town wins! Psst… construction paper is a great alternative to felt for this sweet game.
photo: Missie Bickel from Facebook
Candy Ball Game
Collecting goodie bag favors as a game? Yes, please! Hide all your winter bash trinkets like rings, mini blowing bubbles, wrapped candy, and more in this plastic wrap ball (Thanks, Guru to the Outdoors for this great explanation on how to make it!). Then, pass the ball around the circle, letting curious cuties unwind and find the hidden treasures within. A few choice finds for each kid and you’re half way there on the party favor front! Or, kick it up a notch and add in the dice-rolling element (explained here) for older kids— which is just as fun to watch as it is to play!
Cool for Kindergartners
They’re big kids now, so they should play big kid games. Check out these three games that will keep them laughing and give them a challenge or two.
photo: Jennifer B on Flickr
Musical chairs meets a winter alternate with this forever-fun game. Instead of setting up chairs, use paper snowflakes on the ground in a circle for kiddos to stand on. Then, crank the tuneage and have the kids walk the line. Whoever is left without a snowflake when the music stops takes a sideline seat, and the last sidekick left wins. Rock a two-fer on this game by having tiny guests decorate pre-cut paper snowflakes at a craft table to use in the game first.
These adorable snow shooters from Growing a Jeweled Rose are the perfect inspiration for snowy party games. Arm each player with a snow shooter and mini marshmallows at the start of this go-the-distance game. Then have the minis take aim one by one at a long distance target. Closest ‘mallow wins the sharp shooter award of the day!
Who doesn’t love a good game of charades? This no-prep party fave can easily be tailored to fit a winter party theme. Write out favorite snowy activities like skiing, sledding, and having a snowball fight, then put them in the jar. Break the little dramatists into groups, then have them act out the scenes for their team. Remember, if the guessers can’t quite figure it out, the other team has a chance to steal.
Ice Castle Construction
The race is on to build the highest ice castle on the block with this Bob the Builder meets Elsa cup stacking game. Little partiers can work in teams on this one, or individual players can go head-to-head, while those in line cheer them on. The goal? To stack a tower that outshines your opponent’s in the shortest amount of time. The building materials? Blue Solo cups, of course. When the timer starts, the game begins and they’re off, stacking frozen fractals, reaching to the sky. Let ‘em go!
Great for Grade Schoolers
Give grade schoolers the chance to flex their muscles and their brains with these games that take speed, concentration and maybe even a bit of skill.
photo: Eden, Janine and Jim on Flickr
This super cute snowball stomp idea from Birthday Party Ideas 4 Kids takes a lot of hot air and a lot of space. Blow up white balloons for each mini player. Then tie them around their ankles so there’s some distance between them and their snowball. Give the “go!” sign, then give them plenty of space to stomp on each other’s snowballs. Super fast and super fun. This is sure to be a pop-ular game with this group!
You can find Pictionary at any old party. But this is your party, so it needs to be special. Crank up the laughter on a typical Pictionary game by having petit Picassos wear mittens (the thicker the better) while they draw their way to a win illustrating winter words like snowman, polar bear and penguins on the board. Want to make it more challenging? Have the little artists don ski goggles too!
This adorbable game found on Coolest Holiday Parties is a flurry that plays like hockey, without the hard-hitting checking. Instead of a puck, petit players use a white balloon. And instead of sticks, they use air to propel the “puck” into the other team’s goal (no hands or feet, please!). Paper plate paddles sound like the perfect fit for this one. When the buzzer sounds, the team with the most goals wins!
photo: Blue Cricket Designs
Topsy Turvey Snowman Cups
The mini party animals will work up a serious sweat when they divide into two groups and play this cup turning game. Ahead of time, draw snowman faces on a slew of white solo cups. When they’re ready to play, spread the snowman cups out on the ground so that half are upright and half are upside down. Team One’s goal is to make all snowmen upright. Team Two, just the opposite; it’s snowman side down for them. Yell Go! and watch the madness unfold. Play for about 5 minutes before you add up the scores and play again (and again and again!). They’ll earn their cake with this one!
Do you have a favorite winter party game for kids? Tell others about it in a comment.
— Allison Sutcliffe