Birthday party games are hilarious for 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 year olds, because they really get into the birthday party spirit; provided you choose the right games of course! With this in mind, it’s a good idea to let your child help plan their party games, as they will be the best judge of what will work, and what won’t.
This age group can cope with the idea of winners and losers, so games can start to be a bit more competitive if you choose. However I still recommend a few fun games where everybody wins, or perhaps a slightly biased judge who will help even the scores if necessary.
Here are a few great party game ideas for 8 to 12 year olds to get you started. If you’re looking for more ideas to help get your party going, don’t forget to check out our birthdays section.
7 Great party games for 8 to 12 year olds
1. Cut the Flour Cake
Make a flour cake by tightly packing a bowl with flour, and turning it upside down like a sandcastle. Ask your guests to sit in a circle on the floor, and then place the flour cake in the middle. Carefully place a small lolly in the centre of the cake, and explain that everyone will take turns cutting a slice, but they must not let the lolly fall.
The kids can take as big or small of a slice as they wish, and they can cut the cake in any direction. Who ever causes the lolly to fall must collect and eat it using only their teeth. The ‘winner’ gets a face full of flour, but strangely, they always want to play another round.
To make it harder you could get your guests to cut the cake with the knife between their toes, or with a blindfold on.
2. Sweet Sucker
Give each child two small bowls and a straw. Fill one of the bowls with small sweets like Pebbles or M&M’s, and leave the other one empty. On the count of three, children must suck the lollies onto the end of their straw, and transfer them to the other bowl.
You can either put a time limit on the game, whereby the children get to keep all the lollies they have transferred when the timer stops, or you could have a race to see who empties their bowl the fastest. If you are planning the race version, make sure everybody has the same amount of lollies in their bowl to begin with!
3. At My Birthday I Want …
This game is a test of memory, and everybody has to work as a team to make it last as long as possible.
Have the children all sit in a circle, and let the birthday child start by saying “At my birthday I want………”, then finish with whatever they choose. It may be that they want ice cream, balloons, pizza, presents….you get the picture. The next child in the circle then says “At my birthday I want……..”, then repeats what the first child said, before adding their own choice. As the game goes around the circle, each child has to remember all the other choices, plus add their own.
You could make this game just for fun, or add team prizes to the centre of the circle each time they complete a round without any mistakes. Remember to make sure the prizes are something they can all share.
4. Chocolate Game
This game is an all time favourite in our house, and now my kids are getting older, I can even convince them to let me join in!
Have the children sit in a circle, and put a block of chocolate, a knife and fork, a dice, and a selection of dress up clothes in the middle. Children take turns throwing the dice, and when they get a 6, they have to put on the dress up clothes, and start eating the chocolate one piece at a time using the knife and fork. The child keeps eating until somebody else throws a 6, at which time they must put down the knife and fork, and pass over the clothes as quickly as possible.
Usually everybody gets a turn to munch down some chocolate, although some children do manage do get more than others. It’s a nice idea to have a spare block of chocolate on hand, just in case some children miss out altogether.
If you want to make this game harder, put the chocolate in the freezer overnight. If you want to make the game a little easier, keep the chocolate out of the fridge for an hour or so before the party starts.
5. Who Am I?
Write out the names of famous people, animals, or things on to slips of paper, so there is one for every child. If your party has a particular theme, you may want to use things related to that theme, but any things that are popular with children will work fine.
Tape a slip to the back of each child, without letting them know what it says. They must then go around the room asking others Yes / No questions, to try and work out who or what they are.
You can play this game at a specific time, or make it something that runs for the whole course of the party. Either way, some children will work it out quicker than others, so encourage them to stay a part of the game by answering other people’s questions.
6. Balloon Bulls Eye
There are basic rules for this game, but you could adapt them in several ways depending on how long you want the game to last.
To start with, give every child a balloon to blow up, and ask them to hold the neck shut rather than tie it in a knot. Place a target in the middle of the floor, and on the count of three, everyone releases their balloon.
Whichever balloon is closest to the target, wins.
You could play this game over and over, and each time the target becomes a different prize, or you could allocate points for bulls eyes, 1st closest, 2nd closest, and so on.
After a few games you could add up the points to find an overall winner.
7. Spin the Bottle
This is a really fun game, especially with a few squeamish kids at the party! You’ll need as many plates as there are people at the party, a bottle that will easily spin on its side, and an array of different food items
On each plate, place a piece of food that has to be eaten when the bottle stops at that plate. Make sure the food is a mixture of nice and nasty to increase the excitement when the bottle starts to slow. You don’t want the nasty food to be too yucky, but at least 1 of the items needs to be something only the bravest of kids will eat.
Now sit each player down in a circle around the plates. Each player takes a turn to spin the bottle and they have to eat whatever is on the plate the bottle stops at. Have back-up supplies of each food item, ready to replace the food removed from the plates.
If a player refuses to eat any of the food items, they’re out. Reduce the number of plates, each time someone gets out.
Eventually you should have just 2 players, and 2 plates of food, 1 nice and 1 nasty. Keep playing until someone can’t stomach it anymore. The winner gets a prize (preferably not food related 🙂 ).
8 – 12 year olds love the idea of being able to shop online for their own gifts as it gives them a real sense of responsibility. You can even go all out here and get personalised visa and debit cards. But a simple giftcard is a really useful idea.
You’ll find that some of the games we have in Party games for 5-7 year olds and also Party games for teenagers can be adapted to suit this age group. You might also like our Traditional Birthday Party Games article.
And for loads more expert party planning advice, check out our School age: Birthdays section.