Add in a seemingly simple word game to almost any themed party and keep them happily busy for at least 15 minutes. Words mean reading and spelling, so do this for parties for kids age 8 to 10.
The game is to see how many words of whatever length they can make using the letters in “Happy Birthday Whomever”, with whomever being the name of the birthday child.
Have them play competitively in teams rather than doing it solo – it’s just more fun. Divide the group into two or three teams, depending on the size of your party. You probably don’t want more than about 7 kids on a team. Before they even know what the game is, have each team ‘elect’ a scribe to write down all their answers. Suggest that the scribe be the best speller in the group.
It’s best to put your teams in separate rooms after you’ve explained the game- so they can’t hear each other shout out their words. Provide each team with a sharpie and several sheets of newsprint or other large paper that can be tacked up on the wall. Write “Happy Birthday Whomever” across the top of the first sheet.
Give them 10 minutes to come up with and write down as many word variations as they can. Stop them with a whistle and have the opposite team count the other teams’ words to determine the winner. If they catch spelling errors, let those words be omitted from the final count. Feel free to point out spelling errors if you’re so inclined. Pencils would make the perfect gift for each team member on the winning team- nothing the other kids are going to get very upset about not getting.
As long as they’re fast paced and not too difficult, thinking games can make great party games.