Kids Games for a 3-Year-Old's Birthday

Updated April 17, 2017

The key to throwing a successful birthday party for a 3-year-old is to keep it simple. Children will enjoy a gathering with their close friends and family with just a few simple party games. Keep in mind that the typical 3-year-old's attention span is about 10 to 15 minutes, according to the Kids Growth website. Plan fun games and activities that keep children moving and will not exclude anyone. Be sure that each child at the party has the chance to be a winner at each game you plan.

Freeze Dance

Be sure to have a wide open space for this game. Turn on some fun dancing music and invite children to dance with you. Explain that you are going to play a freezing game and that children will have to use their listening skills. When the music stops, the children must freeze like statues until the music starts again. When playing with 3-year-olds, it is best not to call anyone "out" if they don't freeze completely. Allow all children to play until they tire of the game. If you must give prizes, try to give each child a prize for something different such as "Best Freezer" or "Most Unique Dance Moves."

Balloon Catch

This game is similar to a water balloon tossing game, but made a bit simpler to be appropriate for a 3-year-old's party. Have each child choose a partner and give each pair an inflated round balloon. Start the game with each pair of children standing very close to each other, tossing the balloon back and forth very gently. When children have mastered this, have each member of the pair take a step backward and continue tossing the balloon. Continue to have children step backward and toss the balloon back and forth until only one team remains. When pairs are called "out" of the game, have each child practice tossing and catching a balloon on his own until the game is over.

Marshmallow Race

Split the party guests into two teams. Give the child in the front of the line on each team a large metal spoon with a marshmallow on it. When you say go, the front child must move quickly across the room with the marshmallow on the spoon and successfully drop the marshmallow in a bowl before returning to her team and giving the spoon to the next child in line. The party guests may need adult help with this game. Be sure the teams are evenly matched before you begin the race.

Over Under

Keep the party guests in the same two teams they were in for the previous game. Have children line up in a straight line with a few inches between each child. Give the first child in line an inflated round balloon. When you say go, children will pass the balloon through their legs to the person directly behind them in the line. When the last child in line receives the balloon, he will pass it over his head to the person in front of him, and so on until the balloon reaches the first child in the line. Party guests may need adult help with this game. For a more challenging activity, the first child can pass the balloon through her legs, while the second child will pass it over her head and so on down the line, alternating the method of passing with each child.

Parachute Play

You don't have to have a real parachute for this game, as you can use a large fitted bed sheet. Place a beach ball in the centre of the parachute and have children move the parachute together to make the ball bounce as high as possible. Add more balls and see if children can keep them all contained within the parachute. Give some specific directions for children to follow as a listening game such as "Lift the parachute over your head" or "Shake it fast."

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About the Author

Kara Bietz has been writing professionally since 1999. Her professional observation work has appeared in the early childhood education textbook "The Art of Awareness" by Margie Carter and Deb Curtis. Bietz has worked in the field of early childhood education for more than 16 years. She holds an Associate of Applied Science in child development from Mesa College.