So your baby is growing up and you face a birthday party with a child who is learning to tantrum and you have visions of all the guests ( being two years old or roundabout ) having tantrums all at once! AARGH! The vision has you filled with dread.
It’s probably too early to play traditional party games at your party.They take a certain degree of reason to be considered successful.Pass the parcel will probably result in a few tears as ‘sharing’ is probably not one of a two year old’s best skills. They understand that in pass the parcel you get a prize if you have the parcel, so hold on to it and refuse to let it go, music or no music. It’s all pretty understandable. If you are going to play musical bumps/statues, understand that this age group will not understand the concept of being ‘OUT’ so be prepared to act like the silly grown up and not be able to see who is out. Basically it’s just an excuse to dance to some music. You will have to lead the statues quite visually, giving the children ideas of what an elephant, etc will look like when the music stops so expect to make some funny faces all in the name of fun.
Soft play toys and/or a bouncy castle and/or ball pool is probably a better idea than party games at this age. If your budget doesn’t stretch to hiring out this equipment, don’t despair. A really nice alternative is to play some simple circle games where everyone is a winner and no one is out or gets a prize. ( Sometimes ‘winning’ a prize can be counterproductive and end in tears or with tantrums of ‘don’t want that , I want what Johnny has’. )
CIRCLE GAMES: Fun where everyone is a winner.
Ring a Ring a Rosies is a lovely simple traditional game and is also a VERY useful way of getting the children into a circle for a picnic tea round a cloth or at any time when you require them to sit in a circle. Have you ever tried herding reluctant two year old’s into a circle before? It sounds simple enough but can take a lot of time. Just say we’re going to play Ring a Ring a Rosies and hold out your hands to invite children and mummies /daddies to play. Once everyone is holding hands, the parents can encourage the children to hold hands with each other once the confidence has grown, and then you can start to play.
Ring a Ring a Rosies
Ring a ring of rosies( circle around to the left or right)
A pocket full of poseys
Attishoo ( mime a sneezing action)
We all fall down! ( Fall down and sit on the ground)
( Alternative extra verses)
Picking up the daisies
Picking up the daisies
We all jump up!
The cows are in the meadows
We all jump up!
Fishes in the water
Fishes in the sea
We all jump up with a 1 2 3 !
( fun alternative for a pirate themed party is this:)
Ring a ring of pirate ships
A pocket full of cutlasses ( wave your imaginary cutlass)
Hoist up the mainsail ( pull up imaginary rigging)
We all jump over board. ( Hold nose and jump )
Crocodiles in the water
Sharks are in the sea
Jump out the water with a 123!
The Farmer’s in the Dell ( one child stands in the middle of the circle as the farmer the others circle round singing)
The farmer’s in the dell , the farmer’s in the dell
Ee aye , Ee aye, the farmer’s in the dell.
The farmer wants a wife , the farmer wants a wife ( the person in the middle chooses a child from the circle to join them in the middle)
Ee aye , Ee aye , the farmer wants a wife.
The wife wants a child ( the ‘wife’ chooses another child ..)
The child wants a nurse ( and so on)
The nurse wants a dog ( child chosen mimes being a doggy, on hands and knees)
The dog wants a bone ( doggy chooses another child or preferably is encouraged to choose an adult in the circle , you’ll see why in a minute)
We all pat the bone, We all pat the bone( everyone from the circle comes into the middle to gently pat the ‘bone’ on the head.)
Ee aye , Ee aye , we all pat the bone.
If you have the energy /space /inclination it is always great to have game of Hokey Cokey. There’s nothing like it for getting the party spirit going and it’s such a nice game for the children to have fun with grownups on their own level.
Just be careful of the surge forward , monitor how hard people pull, and if there are older siblings involved, press upon them to be gentle with their siblings as it is very tempting to pull people over…
Hokey Cokey ( everyone join hands in a circle )
You put your left leg in ( leg towards the inside of the circle)
Your left leg out ,
In out , in out ,
You shake it all about
You do the hokey cokey and you turn around ( hold hands together in prayer motion and rock them back and forth, then turn your whole body around . )
That’s what it’s all about!
Ohhhhhhhh, (GENTLY rush into the centre of the circle , everyone together)
Hokey Cokey Cokey ( Back out again)
Ohhhhhhh ( Rush in again)
Hokey Cokey Cokey ( out again)
Ohhhhhhh ( In again)
Hokey Cokey Cokey (out again)
Knees bend arms stretch
Ra Ra Ra ( Clap three times)
( more verses, follow the instructions in the song and repeat as above)
You put your right leg in etc…
You put your left arm in.. etc
You put your right arm in ..
You put your bottom in ( this always raises many a smile and giggle, especially when we get to the shake it all about bit! )
You put your whole self in , ( Jump in )
By the time you have completed this, I can guarantee you will most probably collapse in a red faced satisfied heap on the floor. Who needs a gym subscription when you have children?
Puppets are great for two year olds parties. Toddlers are able to focus on a more formal puppet show by this stage. An hour’s session should suffice, but do remember that sometimes young children require a little bit of ‘get to know you ‘time before they get into their groove. If you would like support with your party, maybe a full two hour party with an entertainer wouldn’t be a bad investment for peace of mind.
Again, the secret is KEEP IT SIMPLE.
For minimum tantrums, keep the present opening till the end of the party when the other guests have left. Too many times I’ve seen very upset party people crying because their friend played with their new toy. Remember sharing isn’t easy. This is a social skill that takes practice and time. I like to impress on boys and girls that sharing is what ‘big boys and girls’ do. We all know how little children strive to become big boys and girls, a little impetus to learn to share never harmed anyone!