Here are a few of the tried-and-true!
Clothespin Drop Game
Object of the game: Drop clothespins into the jar one by one. Whoever gets the most clothespins into the jar out of 10 tries wins the game.
You need: large jar with a medium-sized mouth, 10 clothespins, sturdy chair (optional)
Prep & procedure: Whether you use a chair depends upon your judgment of the best way to make the game challenging yet achievable for the age and height of the children involved as well as the width of the jar opening. You may want to experiment in advance.
If you use a chair, put the jar behind the chair. Each player will take his/her turn by kneeling on the chair. Whichever hand the child is using for dropping the clothespins should not sit lower than the top of the back of the chair.
If you don’t use a chair, give instructions to stand straight and to hold the clothespin at chest height.
Bonus Tip: The Clothespin Drop Game is great for carnivals as well as birthday parties.
Guess the Smell
Object of the game: Identify as many of the items as possible, blindfolded so the identification is by smell only.
You need: blindfolds, plain brown paper lunch bags, assortment of items with identifiable aromas, paper and pencils (optional)
Prep & procedure: Number each bag on the bottom. Put a bit of each “smelly thing” into each bag so it cannot be identified by sight. Fold the top of each bag once or twice to hold the odor in.
Procedures can vary according to the age of the party-goers. You might have younger children take guesses verbally at the end of each “round” while you note who gets each i.d. right and then mix up the bags for the next round. Older children may write down what their guesses are for each bag number, to be scored at the end of all the rounds.
Keep in mind that half the fun is watching the faces players make when they take big whiffs of certain bags. Be sure to conduct and pace the game to maximize the entertainment value!
Fresh strawberries, soap, rose petals, garlic, coffee beans, perfume, and spices are examples of some of the odiferous items you may want to include. If appropriate for the crowd, throw in one or two “joke” items, such as a stinky gym sock or a strong cheese!
Guess the Sound
Object of the Game: Identify as many things as possible solely by the sound it makes.
You need: Audio recorder, (possibly) paper & pencil
Prep & procedure: Select an assortment of sounds that the party will not find too difficult to identify. As you can imagine, this will vary quite a bit by age group. Record the sounds in advance.
At the party, play each sound separately. Players guess until someone gets it right. If playing for prizes, keep track of who identifies each sound first and tally scores at the end.
Examples of some sounds you may want to use are: barking dog, squeaking door hinge, running faucet, car starting, ticking clock. If possible, play sounds that tie into the theme; for example, animal sounds for a farm or jungle party.
Find more ideas in the Party Games catalog at ShindigZ.