Pass the Parcel is a classic party game for a simple reason, it works! Kids love it from 3 year olds to 7 or 8 year olds love it! I even have a couple of versions for older kids too! I personally don’t use pass the parcel at my parties but only because it takes up too much time for me to use. However I feel like it is a brilliant game for parents to use at parties because it takes up lots of time, involves everybody whilst offering lots of fun and everybody wins prizes, you cant ask for much more in a game.
Classic Pass the Parcel
Before the party wrap a small gift (bubbles, whistle, pack of sweets etc) in gift wrap. Tip: don't use too much tape as young children need to get into it. Then add another prize and wrap that up on top of the first. Keep going until you have enough prizes for every child. If you’re not sure how many children you have coming to the party then first use my guest list below (keep scrolling down the page for it) and secondly make a few extra layers on top of how many you expect to arrive. The birthday child can always win an extra prize along with their best friends or a shy child or even someone that has been super helpful. Another top tip, number each layer in the top corner so you know how many layers are left whilst they are playing.
Playing the Game: Get everyone sitting in a rough circle, it doesn't have to be exactly a circle but using a round mat/rug will help. Start with the birthday child and when the music plays the kids pass the parcel, when the music stops the child rips open a layer to reveal a prize, this continues until everyone has a prize. Remember you control the music and as such control who wins and when. Tip: rather then leave the stopping and starting to someone else try using a remote control for the music, Stay away from infra red remotes Ibecasiue they need line of sight to control the music and at a busy party this may be difficult. Bluetooth remotes are really good these days and can even connect to iPad’s and Phones. RF (Radio Frequency) remotes will also work nicely but they seem to be harder to find these days.
Easy Peasy Version
Use a fun lunch box with a zipper like the one opposite, fill it up with small prizes, no wrapping required. Very important with this version is to not sit down with the children but to stay outside the circle and when the music stops, YOU need to undo the zipper and tell the child to pick ”A” prize. Otherwise some children will grab a bunch. This works best with small toys as prizes but it is a much quicker version than the classic version.
This is ideal for children aged 6+ and I have a way of doing this for children over 10yrs too. Wrap each prize in two or three layers of wrapping but not neatly though, using plenty of tape. You want it to look roughly like a ball like the one below. The idea is the same as the classic pass the parcel but this game is much tougher and more interesting for older kids, they can even stand in a circle rather than sit. To make this game have a faster pace, use a dice. When the music stops the child gets to unwrap the parcel and gets to keep as many prizes as they find whilst the child next to them rolls the dice, once they roll a six the music continues and they continue to pass the parcel. This can make the game longer and can be much more manic particularly towards the end with the last few layers. To make this work for even older children 8-13yrs wrap the prizes or sweets in cling film with tape (as pictured), this makes it a lot harder to un-wrap.
For older children and for smaller parties try this. I saw this idea at a 7 yr olds party and thought it was great. What you need, a large slab of chocolate, one of those really big bars, the bigger the better, oven gloves, tray and a knife but nothing too sharp, a butter knife should work and a dice. The tray with the chocolate, gloves and knife is passed around to the music when the music stops a child puts the gloves on and tries to cut a piece off of the chocolate , every piece they cut off they can eat. The child next to them rolls the dice until they get a 6, then the music comes back on and the tray gets passed around again. This went down a storm at the party I was at and againit gets manic towards the last few squares. To make this even harder put the chocolate bar in the fridge overnight the night before.