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10 Classic Party Games That’ll Save You A Fortune

Written by James Kicinski-McCoy

Photography by Photo via Forgotten Old Photos

Throwing a birthday party for the kids can be a time-consuming and wallet-emptying task. In the days of Pinterest-worthy birthday celebrations and extra-long wish lists as the norm, it’s important to try to cut corners and keep things simple where you can. One easy way to pinch pennies on the big day is to ditch the expensive entertainment like life-size bouncy houses, face-painting clowns, and awe-inspiring magicians. Instead, replace those plans with classic party games that were played when you were a kid. We guarantee your birthday boy or girl will still have a blast and your wallet will thank you, too. Check out these oldies but goodies below (that usually only require some odds and ends from around the house) and get to party planning! Don’t forget the prizes for the game winners—think super balls, bubble wands, lollipops, and other tiny trinkets.

Pin The Tail On The Donkey: This classic game of being blindfolded and pinning on the donkey’s missing tail has been around since the 1800s and has been the source of birthday party fun ever since. And for only $1.99 at your local party store, or with a print your own at home version, you can feel confident about putting this old school game on your list. This one never gets old!

Clothespin Drop: Party goers take turns standing on a steady, backwards chair and drop a set of clothespins into a narrow mouthed jar. The person to get the most clothespins into the jar wins the prize!

Musical Chairs: Line up chairs in a circle for everyone playing, minus one. Turn on music as the kids circle round the chairs. Once the music stops, the kids will rush to grab an open seat. The last person standing sits out and one chair is removed from the circle. The game continues until there is one child sitting and he or she is declared the winner.

Potato Sack Race: Using pillowcases or empty potato sacks, have kids climb inside and line up side by side. At the blow of a whistle the kids will try to win the race by jumping to the finish line.

Pass The Egg: With nothing but some plastic or wooden spoons and a carton of hard boiled eggs, kids separate into two teams and take turns racing eggs from the starting point to a marked location, and back again. Once the player successfully returns to the starting point with his or her egg, they then transfer the egg into the next player’s spoon. The game continues until all team members have successfully returned the egg, without dropping it, back to the starting point. (If a player drops an egg, they must quickly return to the start and being their turn again.)

Jelly Bean Jar Guessing Game: A childhood favorite! Fill a medium sized jar with jelly beans, counting each one as it goes into the jar. Have the children guess how many jelly beans are inside and place their guesses and their names into a bowl. The one who guesses closest to the total wins the jar of jelly bean treasure.

Hot Potato: This age-old game of kids sitting in a circle and passing a potato from one lap to another is classic fun and just requires some willing participants and, you guessed it, a potato. Play some music and get to passing. The player who’s holding the spud once the music stops gets up from the circle and play continues until there is a winner!

Balloon Pop: This is a fun and simple game for kids of all ages. Blow up several balloons that are dark in color. Place small tinker toys or even dollar bills into at least half of the balloons before tying them off. Place the balloons into the center of the room and watch as kids do their darnedest at popping as many as they can, without using their hands, and retrieving what’s inside.

Pass The Parcel: Another classic ring game for the kids to enjoy. Wrap an inexpensive gift in several layers of wrapping paper. Have party guests pass the parcel from person to person, while the music plays. Once the song pauses, the player with the parcel unwraps one layer. This continues with all players in play until the last layer of gift wrap is removed. The player to do so is the lucky winner and keeps the prize!

Bucket Toss: Line up several buckets and fill each of them partially with small prizes. Players take turns tossing small bean bags or pingpong balls while standing behind a marked line, one at a time. As players make a winning toss into the buckets, they get to grab a small prize!

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