Retro birthday party games: the HoneyKids top 10 list of traditional ideas for kids

Retro Birthday Party Games
Enjoy some nostalgic fun with our Top 10 list of back to basic games and activities. Time for a retro party!

If it’s that time of year again and you’re looking for kids’ birthday party ideas, HoneyKids is here to help. If you want to celebrate with a birthday party that’s unique, hark back (way back), to simpler times with a retro bash for your child. Just as the cardboard box gets more attention come Christmas than the wildly expensive gift it housed, your kid doesn’t need you to hire a laser squirmish arena to have the best birthday party of their life.

We’ve done a bit of an office poll and enjoyed reliving our fave childhood party games. Here’s our Top 10 list of retro party ideas that are easily pulled together without much planning, and are sure to entertain those little party animals.  Tie a bunch of balloons to your front gate and let’s get this party started…

1. Snakes on a string
Tie some yarn between two trees and suspend your food of choice on long pieces of string (jelly snakes or cinnamon donuts work well). Tie the little terriers’ hands behind their backs and line them up. First one to gobble their treat wins! It’s hilarious viewing for parents.

2. Cutting flour
Tightly compress flour into an ice-cream container, turn out the flour cake on a tray and top with a wrapped treat. Starting from the outside, each kid takes it in turns to slice away slivers of the flour cake (with a butter knife). The winning child who eventually knocks the prize off its perch gets to dig through the flour for the treat – messy play with an added surprise? Huge hit with the tiny ones!

3. Pin the tail on the donkey
For a trip down memory lane get your hands on an 1950s-style sketched donkey, tail and blindfold set. Stick the poster on the wall and arm each child with a tail (we used drawing pins in the old days but this lead to a few “accidental” pricks in the backside, so our suggestion is Blu Tack). Don each child with the blindfold, give them a spin an aim them in the general direction of the donkey. The tail pinned closest to the mark wins. Peekers disqualified.

4. Pass the parcel
Wrap a prize in layers of newspaper, one layer for each child. Gather the kids in a circle, turn on some tunes and watch them pass it around like a hot potato (or verrrry slowly, if they’re strategic). When the music stops, the lucky one holding the parcel rips off a layer and is rewarded with a small trinket. Continue until you come to the major prize round (you’ll know as you have cleverly wrapped it in bright paper). Drag out the final round as long as you like!

5. Musical chairs
Make a circle of chairs or cushions (one less than the number of guests), and get the kids to boogie to some fun music. When the music stops, the race is on to get a bum on a seat. The child left standing is out. Take away one chair/cushion each round and watch the numbers, and dance moves, dwindle. Last one sitting is the winner.

6. Animal heads
You’ll need headbands, cardboard squares, sticky tape and textas for this guessing game based on the adult version ‘Which Celebrity am I?’. Draw enough cute animals on cards for each player and stick to a headband. Simpler yet, you could draw on Post-it Notes. Ask each player to pull out a headband/note from a hat without looking and pop it on their noggin. Each child takes it in turns to ask questions about their animal, such as ‘Do I have fur?’ Winner is the first to guess their animal.

7. The chocolate game
Place a block of chocolate on a board, a knife, fork, hat, scarf, gloves and a die in the centre of a circle of kids. Take a moment to watch their minds boggle. The first child to roll a perfect six must, fast as lightning, throw on all the clothes and try to cut and eat the chocolate piece by piece. They continue this awkward pursuit until the next child rolls a six, and they have a chance to take over. Think movie montage meets chocolate indulgence.

8. Bobbing for apples
Fill a large tub with water and fresh apples, tie the kids’ hands behind their backs and get them to catch a floating apple with their toothy pegs. Do in in groups or individually – the one to catch the apple in the quickest time wins! Good, clean and healthy fun!

9. Disco statues
Put ABBA on repeat, splash a little hair chalk glitter in their hair and get dancing. When you pause the music, each groover must freeze still like a statue (or sit down if they are toddlers). The last to freeze or sit is eliminated, and the rounds continue until you crown one of the kdis the king or queen of the dance floor. Be sure to take video evidence for that 21st birthday speech!

10. Duck duck goose
We love duck duck goose for its old-fashioned charm and simplicity. Sit all the kids in a circle. One child stands up and walks around the the circle calling out the name of an animal (for example, mouse) while touching each child on the head. Suddenly they scream out a different animal name (eg cat) and run for their spot. The kid nominated as ‘cat’ jumps up and tries to catch them before they safely sit down. If they can’t catch them, it’s their turn to choose an animal and the process starts again. Expect plenty of squealing…

We bet you’re now mentally adding to this list with your personal favourites. Now you’re feeling all inspired, why not go the whole hog and style a retro-themed party? Invites, food, decorations, party favours and outfits can all be designed to fit your whimsical old-school vibe. Ah, the good ol’ days.