Expending energy is ALWAYS a good thing at a kids birthday party, and dancing does it really well. Doesn’t matter if they’re little or big, it works. Outdoors or inside- doesn’t matter.
For the little ones, freeze dancing is an old standby and that’s because they love it and it shakes out their sillies. Adjust it to your theme with the music you use (download it if you can): the bar scene music for your Star Wars party, Satie’s ‘Carnival of the Animals’ for your Jungle or Safari Party, a royal trumpet for your Princess party, Don Ho for your luau party.
The big ones are a bit more difficult, but you can still make it work. Use their favorite music, it might cost you a few 99 cents on iTunes but it will be worth it. No matter if your party is mixed gender or all girls- just don’t try this with all boys.
How do you turn it into a contest for the older ones? You give each child a ballot to vote for the best dancer, and they can’t vote for themselves. Give them 2 or 3 abbreviated music numbers to dance to, and they vote after each. Make a ballot box out of a liquor box with a slit for their vote cut into the top and graphics from the web pasted onto it. After the last vote, have the kids choose an election monitor to count the ballots. Have a small prize for the top three winners. Move on to your next activity, which might just be something requiring more thought than energy- to take advantqge of all that energy they just burned off.
Your party games don’t really have to be games at all- just something fun to do that you turn into a game with a little competition. Works every time!