If you’ve ever hosted an indoor birthday party, you know the key to success is having activities planned to keep the children occupied.

(It also does wonders to keep you and other parents sane as well.)

These indoor birthday party games will help make your next celebration a success regardless of the weather. It solves the dilemma of keeping a dozen or more excited and energetic kids entertained.

Here is a list of 15 indoor party games for kids. We’ve listed the equipment needed along with rules to help you out. Most of the equipment needed are common household items. The remaining items can easily be adapted to what you already have at home.  

Our List Of The Best Indoor Birthday Party Games For Kids

Who Has The Button

Age and Number of Players: 3 years old to 6 years old

Equipment Needed: A button

Just one will do!

Game Rules and Description

The idea is to guess who has the button.

The kids stand with their palms and fingers together in a circle with the birthday child in the middle. The birthday child starts as ‘it’ holding a button in their hand. They walk to each player and touch their palms.

Then they release the button secretly into another kid’s palms. The idea is to pass the button without the other kids seeing who received the button.

When ‘it’ completed the circle touching all players’ palms the players can guess who has the button. If someone guesses correctly, they become ‘it.’ If nobody guesses correctly, then the player who received the button becomes ‘it.’

Balloon Bursts and Pop Games

Age and Number of Players: Older than 4 years

Equipment Needed for Balloon Games:

  • Balloons (Note Color Pop requires even numbered of colored balloons)
  • Music

Some different variation of the game need additional equipment.

boy blowing up balloon

Balloon Burst Game

  • Pen and paper

Balloon Pop Game

  • String
  • Thin candy

Sit and Pop Game

  • String to tie the balloons to chairs
  • Chair for each child

Name Pop

  • Paint pen to write on the balloons
  • Timer

Color Pop

  • Chair for each team
  • Colored balloons – a color for each team.

Game Rules and Description:

Balloon Bursts

Before inflating the balloons add a piece of paper with a challenge inside each balloon.

Start by playing music. The children bob a balloon in the air while holding onto their balloons or dancing to the music.

When the music stops, the kid who was the last to bob the balloon has to pop the balloon and complete the fun challenge inside.

A variation, if only a few kids are playing, is to have each child hold onto their balloons with challenges inside. The one who bobbed the balloon lasts needs to pop one of their balloons with the challenge inside. 

Balloon Pop

Tie a balloon to the ankle of each child.

Play music and have everyone dance while the music plays. When the music stops, the goal is to pop other kids’ balloons by stomping on it. At the same time, each child needs to keep their balloon safe from being popped.

The player is out of the game when their balloon is popped. The last person whose balloon isn’t popped wins the game.

For an alternative, add candy inside the balloon. The person who pops a balloon gets the candy inside the balloon.

Sit and Pop

The object of the game is to see who can pop the balloon fastened to their chair first.

Each child stands in front of a chair with a balloon tied to it. When the music stops, the child must sit on the chair trying to pop the balloon.

They aren’t allowed to use their hands, not even when supporting themselves to sit down.  

The winner is the child who pops their balloon first

Name Pops

Each child writes their name on a balloon. The balloons are then tossed into the middle of the room.

Set the timer for 30 seconds. The children pop as many balloons as they can. After 30 seconds check the balloons to see whose balloons were popped. The children whose balloons with their names are popped are out of the game.

The rest get another 20 seconds to pop the remaining balloons. When the time expires, check the balloons again and repeat the balloon popping until there’s one balloon left as the winner.

Color Pop

Group the children in teams and give each team a color.  Each team receives the same number of balloons but in their color.

The object of the game is for the team to pop all their balloons.

One member of a team runs to grab one of their team’s balloons and take it to their team’s chair. They sit on the balloon until it pops. Then they can tag the next player in the team to run and fetch a balloon.

The team who pops their balloons first wins.  

Blind Obstacle Course

Age and Number of Players: any number of young kids

Equipment Needed:

  • A scarf or another item to use as the blindfold
  • Obstacle course items: tables, chairs, blankets, pillows, and other household items

Game Rules and Descriptions:

If the weather doesn’t allow playing outside, substitute the obstacle course meant for outdoors with a similar game inside.

Build an obstacle course with household items. Each child gets a turn to be blindfolded and guided by the voice of the other kids through the obstacle course.

Obstacles in obstacle course ideas

  • Climb over a chair
  • Avoid cushions
  • Crawl under a blanket
  • Move through balloons tied to a string under a table

Mystery Bag / What’s In The Bag

Age and Number of Players: Any number of players 3 years old and older

Equipment Needed:

  • One Brown lunch paper bags or non-transparent bag for each mystery item.
  • Mystery item ideas (Choose about 10 items that are appropriate for the age). Don’t use a sharp object that can accidentally hurt someone.
    • Corn on the Cob
    • Half an apple
    • Peeled grapes
    • Remote Control
    • Spoon
    • Tube of toothpaste
    • Feather
    • Button
    • Keys
    • Clothespin
    • Sunglasses
    • Zipper
    • Wallet
    • Yo-yo
    • Candy bar
    • Bar of soap
    • A stone
    • Dog biscuit
    • Lipstick
    • Toy car
    • Paperclips
  • Timer to limit the time required to guess the object.
  • A reward for the winner and lesser prizes for participants.

Game Rules and Descriptions:

Place one mystery item in a bag. Each child puts their hand in the bag without looking and guesses what the item is.

When they guess the item correctly, they are awarded a point. The child with the most points wins and gets a reward. For taking part, give the other participants a lesser prize.

Game variations:

  • For older players, place multiple items in a bag to make the game more challenging. Use object that isn’t easily identified by shape.
  • Give them clues about the item if they can’t guess what it is.
  • Let them guess what the object is, or how many items in the bag, or what the items are used for.
  • They can write the answers down and then compare afterward, or it can be a fun guessing discussion.

Candy Bar Games

Age and Number of Players: If you’re old enough to eat a candy bar, you can play in these fun activities.

Equipment Needed:

  • 2-3 candy bars per person (variation of candy bars)
  • Pair of dice

Game Rules and Description

Everyone sits in a circle with the candy bars in the middle. The object of the game is to get a candy bar.

Dice rules:

  • If the dice fall on 7 or 11, the child gets a candy bar from the middle or can ‘steal’ a candy bar from a player who already has a candy bar.
  • If the dice fall on 12, they roll the dice again.
  • All other numbers, the dice are passed to the next person without receiving a candy bar.

Guess The Candy Bar

For older children, have them name the correct candy bar the kid is holding that they want to steal.

For this version, the children hide the candy bar behind their back when they take one from the middle. Then when another kid wants to ‘steal’ their candy bar, they must identify the candy bar.

If they guess wrong, they don’t get a candy bar, and it’s the next person’s turn.

Another Variation: Exchange Presents

Another variation is to wrap inexpensive presents mixing gender-specific, age-appropriate, joker items, and general items — for example, a pencil, matchbox car, bar of soap, dog biscuit, chocolate bar, tea set, etc.

Use dice or have children pick a number from a hat to play. The child chooses a gift and unwraps it for all to see. If they don’t like the gift, they can exchange it for someone else’s gift of their choosing. The person whose gift they are swopping with has no choice but to give up the gift for the less desirable one. When it’s their turn, they can always swop back.

The fun is in getting a nice gift by exchanging yours for the gift you want. The challenge is in keeping your gift and not ending up with the joker gift because anyone can exchange with you when it’s their turn.

Skittles or M&Ms Vacuum Game

Age and Number of Players: Any number of kids 3 years and older

Equipment Needed:

  • Straws, flexible or regular for each child
  • Bag of Skittles or M&Ms
  • A large shallow rectangular container
  • A plastic cup per child for gathered candies

Game Rules and Description

Spread the Skittles, M&Ms or similar type of candy evenly in the rectangular container. Give each child a straw and a plastic cup.

The object of the game is to vacuum up enough candy with your straw, to keep it sucked up at the end of the straw long enough to transfer it to their plastic cup.  Players aren’t allowed to use their hands, only the straws in their mouths.

Place a time limit on the game; it’s a nice way to prevent one kid from getting all the candy.

Play it indoors or outdoors at the picnic table.

Left, Right, Eat the Candy

Age and Number of Players: if they can count to three and eat candy, they are old enough to play the game

Equipment Needed:

  • 3 candy bars (or pieces of candy) for each player
  • One die
  • The prize for the winner

Game Rules and Description

The winner of the game is the player left with candy.

Place everyone in a circle and give each three candy bars.

When the game begins the first player will roll the die three times, once for every candy bar. As the game progresses the number of times will differ depending on how many candy bars the person has.

Depending on the number rolled, a certain action is required.

  • Roll a 1, pass a candy bar to the person to your left.
  • Roll a 2, pass a candy bar to the person sitting on the player’s right.
  • Roll a 3; the player eats the candy bar.
  • Roll a 4, 5 or 6; the player keeps the candy bar.

The game continues until there’s only one person left with a candy bar. The winner gets a prize. 

To make it easier for the children, write the rules on pieces of paper and give a set of rules to each child.

Fruit Basket

Age and Number of Players: 3-years and older for larger parties of 15 or more players

Equipment Needed:

  • Pieces of paper as place markers for each player
  • Tape

Game Rules and Descriptions

The Fruit Basket Game is fun to play at all ages. Adapt the pace of the game to suit appropriate ages.

Divide the kids into 4 teams with one extra person who is ‘it.’ Give each team a name. A nice touch is to use names fitting the party theme.

Arrange the place markers (taped to the floor) in a circle with one in the center. The players each sit or stand at a place marker with team members spread out.

‘It’ calls out a team name. The team needs to move to a different place while ‘it’ tries to take one of the places before a team member does. The person left without a place becomes ‘it’ and must stand in the middle of the circle and call out a team name.

A nice twist is when ‘it’ calls out ‘fruit basket’ or an appropriate theme-based name.  Then everyone needs to move to a new place while ‘it’ tries to take someone’s spot.

Kids playing game musical chairs and sitting fast on chairs in circle outside in summer

Musical Chairs and Variations

Age and Number of Players: 3 years and older

Equipment Needed:

  • Music
  • Chairs or cushions – one less than the number of children playing
  • Prizes (optional)

Extra Equipment for Musical Numbers

  • Pen and paper. Number the chairs or cut out large circles for children to sit on. Then number each circle.
  • The prize for every round playing, e.g., five prizes for five rounds.

Extra Equipment for Musical Hearts

  • Foam hearts to step on (Paper hearts will work but last only for one game)
  • Pen to write on the hearts

Vanilla Musical Chair Rules and Description

The object of the game is to sit on a chair when the music stops.

Arrange the chairs in a circle with one chair less than the number of children. Leave enough space for the children to move around.

When the music starts the children dance and skips around the chairs, the moment the music stops, they need to find a chair and sit on it. The child who is left standing is out of the game.

Remove a chair after each round. The game continues until there is only one child left.

A variation in arranging the chairs is to

  • Place the chairs in two lines
  • Create one line of chairs but alternate the direction the chairs face
  • Place the chairs randomly in the room

Rules For Musical Bumps

Musical Bumps is played without chairs or cushions.

The children dance around the room while the music is playing. When the music stops, the children need to sit down on the floor.

The child who sits down last is eliminated from the next round. Repeat the rounds until there are 2-3 children left as the winners. Finding a winner with three children left is difficult. Therefore it’s best to reward all three with a small prize.

Musical Numbers Rules

Number each chair or use numbered paper circles on the floor. With Musical Numbers, there are enough chairs or circles for each child.  Place the chairs or numbered circles randomly around the room.

Give each prize a random number. For example, if there are 15 players, the prizes may be numbered 1, 5, 7, 14, and 15.

The children dance and skip around the room until the music stops. Each child sits on a numbered chair or circle.

Then call out one of the numbered prizes. The child who sits on the number wins that prize.

Another Variation – Musical Statues

Instead of finding a chair to sit on, the players freeze like statues when the music stops.

Any child who is still moving when the music stops is out of the game. The game continues until there is one winner left.

Musical Hearts Rules

Write fun activities on each heart. For example, jump in the air, be a duck, fly like a bee, count to 10 and backward. Adjust the tasks according to the age playing.

Place the hearts face down in a circle or circular form. When the music starts, the kids step on each heart as they move forward.

The moment the music stops, they stand still on the heart they stepped on. Then, they turn the heart over, and each kid performs the activity written on the heart.

The heart is placed back on the floor for the next round.

Wipe That Smile Off Your Face

Age and Number of Players: best for large groups and younger children

Equipment Needed: None

Game Rules and Description

The children sit in a circle facing each other.

Start with the youngest child or the birthday kid. They smile as wide and silly as they can at everyone in the circle. For each child who can’t keep a straight face the player is awarded a point.

Then the player takes their right hand across their face, and ‘wipes the smile off.’ With a straight face, the ‘smile’ is passed on to the next person who becomes the player to smile.

Shake, Rattle, And Guess

Age and Number of Players: 4 years and older

Equipment Needed:

  • Inexpensive gifts – at least one for each child
  • Small boxes – variety of sizes and shapes
  • Gift wrap
  • Paper and pencil for each child
  • Prize

Game Rules and Description:

Place a gift in a box, gift wrap it, and number each gift box. Give each child a numbered paper and a pencil.

The idea is to guess what is in each gift box. It’s one of many great games for kids at a birthday party – they are already primed for gifts!

Each gift is passed around. The kids can shake or rattle the box to guess its content. They write what they think is in the box next to the number on the paper that coincides with the gift box number.

Then open the gifts and let them compare their guesses with what’s in the gift box.

Give the child who had the most correct guesses a prize.

Cake Quilt

Age and Number of Players: all ages

Equipment Needed:

  • Sheet cake cut into squares equal to the number of children
  • Items to decorate the squares with, e.g. sprinkles, icing, fruit, edible flowers, etc.
  • A birthday candle for each square

Game Rules and Description

Cake Quilt is a great way to start a birthday party. It’s one of those great games for kids at all times, but you don’t often have a cake at hand!

Give each child their piece of square cake and decorating items to decorate their piece of cake with. Then put the decorated squares together to make a cake quilt.

A nice touch is to place a candle on each square and let the birthday child blow out the candles. Alternatively, let each child blow out the candle on the square they decorated.

Eat the cake!

Cotton Ball Games

Age and Number of Players: all ages

Equipment Needed:

  • Cotton balls
  • Petroleum Jelly
Additional equipment needed for Cotton Ball Collection
  • 2 bowls or buckets filled with cotton balls per team
  • 2 empty bowls or buckets per team
Additional equipment needed for Cotton Ball Pass
  • Spoons for each time in the team except the first in line
  • Bag of cotton balls per team
  • Empty bag per team
Additional equipment needed for Cotton Ball Spaghetti Stick Race
  • Spaghetti stick for each player (have extra as spare)
  • Marker to color cotton balls if playing in teams
  • Marker or ribbon to indicate the start and finish lines
  • Tape
Additional equipment needed for Cotton Ball Bullseye
  • Chair for each child
  • Empty bowl for each child
  • 10 cotton balls per child

Game Rules and Description

Cotton Ball Collection

Without telling the children the game, ask them to put as much petroleum jelly on their noses as they think they need.

Place two buckets or bowls of cotton balls in front of each team. At the finish line have two empty buckets or bowls.

Without using their hands, one player in each team presses their face into the cotton ball bowl. Then they run to the empty bucket or bowl at the finish line with the cotton balls stuck to their noses.

The idea is to get as many cotton balls into the empty bucket without using their hands. The child runs back and tags the next team player.  

When everyone had a turn, the team with the most cotton balls win.

Cotton Ball Pass

The goal is to get as many cotton balls into the empty bag held by the last person in the team.

Each child gets a spoon except the child first in line who has the bag of cotton balls.

The first child places a cotton ball on the second child’s spoon. They pass the cotton ball to the third player in line who in turn passes it to the next person. No hands may be used, only the spoons.

The second to last player passes the cotton ball to the last player holding the empty bag. The bag holder takes the cotton ball and places it in the bag.

Cotton balls that are dropped are discarded.

A variation on the game is to have a continuous flow of cotton balls instead of passing one cotton ball down the line before the next one. Another alternative is to create a zigzag formation instead of a straight line.

Cotton Ball Spaghetti Stick Race

The start and finish lines should be at least 10 feet apart.

The object is to be the first to cross the finish line with the cotton ball. Players may only use a spaghetti stick to move the cotton ball towards the finish line.

To play in teams, give each team their colored cotton balls.

Cotton Ball Bullseye

The object of the game is to get as many cotton balls in the bowl without using their hands.

Place one cotton ball at a time on the chair and the empty bowl below each chair.

At the word go each child must blow the cotton ball off their chair into the bowl.

The winner is the child with the most cotton balls in their bowl.

For more Cotton Ball game variations visit http://spaghettiboxkids.com/blog/5-games-to-play-with-cotton-balls/ and https://www.leaderconnectingleaders.com/cotton-ball-games/.

Simon Says

Age and Number of Players: All ages and any number of players

Equipment Needed:

Game Rules and Descriptions

Chose one person to be Simon and the rest are players.

Simon stands in front facing the other players and tells them what they must do. The children should only act on instructions that start with ‘Simon Says.’

If a child follows an instruction that wasn’t preceded with ‘Simon Says,’ they are out of the game.

A challenging variation is for Simon to do something while giving instructions to confuse players. For example, Simon can touch their nose while saying, ‘Simon says pull your right ear.’

To eliminate a few at once in a large group, explain the rules and say, ‘Are you ready to play? Step forward’. Everyone that reacts is eliminated because the instructions weren’t preceded with ‘Simon says.’

Anagram Challenge

Age and Number of Players: Any number of players 6 years and older. The more players, the more tiles are needed.

Equipment needed:

  • Letter tiles (or create letter tiles from card squares and print an alphabet letter on it).
  • A collection of words that is age appropriate. Keep in mind the number of letters the word contains as well as the difficulty of the word.

Game Rules and Description

Create the collection of words that fit into the party theme.

Give each group the stack of letters that form the collection of words. Then give them a clue. It may be what the theme of the words are, for example, al the words can be found in the zoo. Alternatively, give them separate clues for each word.

The team who unravels all the words first wins.

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