Puzzles are wonderful brain teasers and can make terrific party games that quiet things down while challenging the kids. As long as the puzzles don’t too closely resemble schoolwork to the kids, they’ll get those brains fired up and try their best to find the answers.
Check out the puzzles from fropki.com, of which this graphic is an example. The challenge here is to remove the fewest matchsticks and have 4 little triangles remaining. You’ll find quite a few similar puzzles (just don’t tell the kids this is math!) and many word-logic puzzles as well. While I’d suggest that the word puzzles are perhaps a lot like school and maybe not your best choice, go through the options yourself and decide. One of these that I would recommend as a party game is “Reading Test” by Skippy- you’ll be quite surprised by this one!
A little lightweight competition between the kids at your party is something I always recommend to keep them engaged and tuned in. It works wonders. Divide the kids into two teams to attack these brain teasers as a group (the younger they are, the harder a group activity is) or put the kids in pairs to work out some puzzles and get the correct answers first. When those competitive juices are flowing, perhaps you can sneak in a word-logic problem at the end.
You’ll be amazed at how hard they’ll work to get the right answer when the problem they’ve been given is a team challenge structured as a party game.
And if you want a super inexpensive (like free) home-made birthday gift– print a whole bunch of puzzles like these out and make a booklet of them to give to the birthday child.