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
This has to be one of the most hilarious games we’ve ever played!
Make a flour cake, or a flour castle, by tightly packing a bowl with flour, and turning it upside down like a sandcastle. You can do this ahead of time.
Choose a smaller bowl that you can overfill right to the top with flour. Then really pack the flour in tightly into the bowl so it stays together, by pressing hard with your hands to pack it in.
Use a chopping board, or baking tray, or similar to place over the bowl. Then flip it over quickly, and it should stay in place. You may also want to put some newspaper down on the floor, or play the game on a large table.
Once you’re ready to play, ask your guests to sit in a circle on the floor, and then place the flour cake in the middle. Or put the cake up on a table, and ask your guests to stand in a line. Each guest gets a butter knife to play with.
Now, carefully place a delicious looking lolly, or chocolate, on the top of the cake, right in the centre. Make sure everyone sees you place the lolly, so they really want it! Then explain that everyone will take turns cutting a slice, but they must not let the lolly or chocolate fall.
The kids can take a large slice, or small slice, or even just a sliver, it’s up to them, and they can cut the cake in any direction they want. Whoever cuts the cake last and causes the lolly to fall must now eat it using only their teeth. The ‘winner’ gets a face full of flour, and a raucous round of laughter!
The really strange thing about this game, is they’ll all want to have another go and get that lolly! Just repack your bowl, and have another round.
To make it harder you could get your guests to cut the cake with the butter knife between their toes (for older kids obviously!), or with a blindfold on, which can be hilarious too!
2. Sweet Sucker
This is another really fun game involving sweets and bowls. And it also has a bit of competition that kids love.
All you need to prep this one is some small finger bowls, straws and a few packs of small sweets like Pebbles or mini M&M’s
Give each child two small bowls and one straw each, 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 put the bowls side by side, easier for small children, or some length apart so they have to move their whole body to transfer the lolly.
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. Each one works.
If you are planning the race version, make sure everybody has the same amount of lollies in their bowl to begin with! And you probably want to just let everyone eat the lollies in the end, or they could add the lollies to their party bags too.
You don’t want tears at an 8 year old’s birthday party!
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.
Another way to play it, is last child standing wins. Each time a child forgets what’s been said, they’re out. And you keep going around until there’s one child left. This works best for a smaller party group. And to head off any squabbles, each child that gets out, gets a treat while they wait.
Whichever way you decide to run it, just remember to make sure the prizes are something they can all share in!
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 now 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 and suit the age group 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 remain ‘in’ the game by helping answering other people’s questions.
There’s always inevitably a bit of cheating that goes on in this game, but that’s all just part of the fun really!
6. Balloon Bulls Eye
There are basic rules for this game, but you can 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 make the target harder each time ,and each time the target becomes a different prize,
Or you could allocate points for bulls eyes, 1st closest, 2nd closest, and so on. And after a few games you could add up the points to find an overall winner.
Another option is to use a pinboard or similar and tack different prizes to the board, then one by one kids can try and hit a prize with their balloon, which they get to unpin and have.
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. Musical Chairs
This fun and classic game is for kids of all ages. To play, arrange a circle of chairs, one less than the number of players.
Start the music and have the players walk around the circle. When the music stops, everyone must scramble to find a chair. The player who doesn’t get a chair is out. Remove one chair and start the music again. Continue playing until there is only one player left standing. That player is the winner!
To ensure everyone has a fair chance of getting a seat, space the chairs evenly apart. Choose upbeat music that the kids will enjoy and that will encourage them to move around the circle quickly.
If you have a lot of players, you can split them into two teams and play multiple games at once. For a more challenging version of the game, have the players walk backwards around the circle!
9. Pop Corn Shoe Drop
This fun and active game is a great way to get the kids moving. To play, divide the players into two teams and give each team a pair of shoe cups and a bag of popcorn. Have the players put on the shoe cups and fill them with popcorn.
On the signal, the first player on each team has to carefully race to the other end of the playing field, dropping as little popcorn as possible, to dump their popcorn into a bowl. They then run back to their team and tag the next player. The first team to get all of their popcorn into the bowl wins.
To make the popcorn shoes, use a large needle or pen to make a hole in the bottom of plastic or paper cups. Place a paperclip or similar inside the cup and tie a rubber band around it. Now just stretch the rubber band over each kids’ shoe, with the cup facing upward.
Ensure the players have enough room to run without bumping into each other. And you may want to give them a practice run first, with empty popcorn cups, to get a feel for it.
10. The Doughnut Challenge
This fun and messy game challenges kids’ coordination. To play, hang a clothesline across the room and tie lengths of string at intervals along the line. Tie a doughnut to the end of each string.
Have the players line up behind a doughnut. On the signal, players run up and try to eat their doughnut without using their hands. The player who finishes their doughnut without letting it fall first wins.
You can even string multiple lines across the room, and have players play in teams. This works really well with mini doughnuts, which are very cheap to buy from the supermarket. Each team, of say 3-4 players, lines up behind their line of doughnuts. In a relay fashion, players run up and try to eat their doughnut, without using their hands, and then run back and tag the next in line. The team that finishes all their doughnuts first wins.
To prevent the doughnuts from falling off while the players are trying to eat them, tie them really securely to the strings.
Have a towel or wet wipes on hand to wipe up any spilled doughnut crumbs and to wipe the players’ faces and hands after they finish eating.
11. Scavenger Hunt
Kids of all ages love scavenger hunts, especially when they’re in pairs or small groups.
Split the partygoers into pairs or small groups and give each group a list of things to find and tasks to complete. Keep the items simple, like a stone, a 20-cent coin (they may need to ask an adult for help with this), someone’s shoe, or something quirky in the garden or house.
There are two ways to play: either the first team back wins, or each item gathered in a set amount of time is worth a certain number of points.
Kids need to show proof of their finds. A fun and modern way to do this is for the kids to take selfies with themselves and the items. If the kids are too young to have phones, adults can help them. This also makes a hilarious party photo album that’s easy to put together.
Another option is to create a visual checklist that the kids can use to mark off each item as they find it. They can include a description of the item for evidence.
12. Water Balloon Pop
This is definitely one for birthday parties in the warmer months. There’s nothing better than a game of water balloon toss to cool you off if the weather is good! Team up in pairs, and each team gets a full water balloon.
Line up facing your partner, a few feet apart. For younger kids, you can even start close enough to hand it over on the first throw. On the signal, toss the balloon to your partner, they must catch it without popping it! If the balloon pops, your team is out.
The last team with an intact balloon wins! Or, if all the balloons get popped, the winning team or teams, are the ones who threw it the longest before it popped.
13. Tug of War
Tug of war is a classic outdoor game that is perfect for kids of all ages. It is a test of strength, teamwork, and strategy.
To play, divide into two teams and line up facing each other, with a rope in the middle. Each team grabs the rope with one hand and holds on tight. On the referee’s signal, start pulling! The first team to pull the other team across the centre line wins.
Tug of war may seem like a simple game, but it requires more than just strength to win. Teams need to work together and coordinate their efforts in order to be successful. They also need to use strategy to their advantage, such as by positioning themselves in a way that gives them more leverage.
Even before the game begins, kids have to flex their cognitive skills. They need to think about how to best balance their team and how to position themselves on the rope. They also need to develop a strategy for how they are going to pull.
Tug of war is a fun and challenging game that is a great way to get some exercise and bond with friends and family. It is also a great way to teach kids about the importance of teamwork and strategy.
14. Sack Races
Sack races are a fun and silly game that is perfect for all ages. It is a great way to get some exercise and have some laughs with friends and family.
To play, gather some old pillowcases or inexpensive sacks. Divide into teams and line up at the starting line. Each player puts both feet in a sack and holds on tight to the top of the sack. On the signal, start hopping to the finish line! The first team to cross the finish line wins.
Sack races can be even more fun if you make them a relay race. To do this, have each team line up behind a marked point. The first person in each team gets in the sack and hops to the marked point, where they tag the next person in line. The next person then gets in the sack and hops back to the starting line, where they tag the next person in line. This continues until all of the players on each team have completed the race.
No matter how you play them, sack races are a great way to have some fun and get some exercise. So gather your friends and family and give them a try!
15. Cookie Face
Cookie Face is a fun and silly game that kids of all ages will love. It’s also a great way to get them moving and laughing.
To play, simply place a cookie on the forehead of each player and set a one-minute timer. The players must then try to get the cookie to their mouth without using their hands. They can only use their facial muscles to move the cookie.
If a player touches the cookie or drops it, they are out. The winner is the first player to get the cookie to their mouth.
This game is great for parties, picnics, and other gatherings. It’s also a fun way to get your kids to eat their healthy snacks. Just try using rice cakes or dried apple pieces instead of cookies for a healthier option.
Here’s a tip: have a camera ready to capture the funny faces the players make!
More birthday party ideas for 8 to 12 year olds
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. Just adjust the rules, time and intensity to suit.
You also find some more awesome ideas in our Traditional Birthday Party Games article.
And for loads more expert party planning advice, check out our School age: Birthdays section.