Last weekend we celebrated my daughter's fifth birthday party with a beach themed party. Whilst I had managed to hire an affordable, small venue with a large garden, I left hiring an entertainer to the last minute. Consequently, there was no one available so, I thought to myself, how hard can it be to entertain 24 children for two hours?
When I was young, it was the norm for the parents to do all the entertaining, arrange the games and keep the kids happy. And I absolutely loved them. So despite my trepidation, I decided to emulate my childhood parties. Including a little 'eighties throw back. Curious as to what that might be? Then keep reading!
Given that balloon modelling or puppetry are not skills I possess, fun party games were always going to feature heavily during my two hours of entertainment. However, I was a bit concerned that some children (mine included) may be reluctant to get involved for fear of losing.
So my Grand Plan was to make the children earn their party bags. Instead of getting a party bag at the end of the party, they received an empty one (with their name on it) at the beginning. Then for every game they participated in, they received a gift to put in their party bag.
Children that would normally shy away from games were incentivised to get involved. There were no losers. No tears. No sitting on Mummy's lap. Just 24 winners with full party bags.
Below was the plan for the day, including detailed descriptions of some of the fun beach party games we played:
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11.00 am Arrival
On arrival, I offered each child either a flower garland (I found 24 garlands for £6.99 on Amazon) or oversized sunglasses (from the local pound shop).
11.00 - 11.15 am Decorate your own party bag
Each child had their own party bag on which I had written their name. The first 'game' was to decorate it. I laid out a table with pens and some foam beach stickers which I picked up from Baker Ross.
11.15 - 11.30 am Treasure Hunt
Before the party, I hid five plastic boxes. Each box contained 24 stickers of one colour. The children went on a treasure hunt to find the boxes. Once found they stuck one sticker from the box onto their party bag. When they had five different coloured stickers they headed back to me to claim their prize.
11.30 - 11.45 am Sharks (more commonly known as Hedgehogs)
All the children walked around in a large circle. When they heard the word 'shark' they curled up into a little ball and closed their eyes. I then hid one of the children by throwing a beach towel over them. I asked the other children to guess who was under the towel. It was hilarious to watch as they tried to work out who the missing child was only to find that the person they thought it was, was standing right next to them. They loved this game and they all wanted to have a go at being the one hiding under the towel.
For this game to work, the children need to be aware of the other children's names. You can either do this by giving each child a name sticker on arrival and/or asking them to take turns saying their names loudly before starting the game. Again, after the game, they won a prize for taking part.
11.45 - 12.00 pm Pin the Coconut on the Palm Tree
The classic game of Pin the Tail on the Donkey with a beach party twist. I collapsed a large box and painted a simple palm tree onto it a couple of nights before the party. I then attached this to a tree with a couple of tacks. My daughter had requested sparkly coconuts so I cut out some circles in glittery pink and blue card and attached a bit of Blu Tack to the back.
Then on the day of the party, I asked the kids to line up and take turns at being blindfolded before attempting to pin a sparkly coconut onto the palm tree. I was amazed at how patiently they all waited. The coconuts didn't stay on particularly well, so after they had pinned them on to the palm tree, I wrote their name on the palm tree. Again, after taking part they each received a gift to pop into their party bag.
12.00 - 12.15 pm Beach Ball Hula Toss
This game I made up the day before! It is a very simple game of throwing a beach ball through one of three different sized hula hoops. I bought the hula hoops from the local pound shop and a cheap beach ball. Then on the day of the party I asked three parents to help out and hold the hula hoops at different heights.
Each child then had two goes at trying to throw the ball through a hoop. They got one point for getting it through the large hoop, two points for the medium hoop and three points for the smallest hoop. In reality, we didn't score them at all. It was more a guide as to which hoop was more tricky. This game went down really well, and they kept coming back for more. Again, after taking part they were each given a gift to add to their party bag.
12.15 - 12.30 pm Lunch
I served lunch from little yellow boxes on blue table cloths (to resemble the colours of the beach). Each box contained half a cheese and cucumber roll and half a ham and cucumber roll. In addition to the rolls, I added a packet of Pom Bears, a pot of jelly and a spoon. The boxes were too small to hold a drink so small bottles of flavoured water were put in the middle of the table. If you decide to have a buffet style lunch instead then this generally takes a bit longer, so allow an additional 15 minutes.
12.30 - 12.45 pm Cake and free time
My daughter, for some inexplicable reason, is not a fan of cake. So my mission was to find something sweet and cake-like that she might eat. I showed her a few cake photos on Pinterest and she finally relented and agreed to eat cake if they were cupcakes and covered in Smarties. Taking into account the beach party theme we finally settled on a Fish Cupcake Cake. It was super easy to make and it went down a storm. In fact, there was only one slice left for which my waist line is eternally grateful.
We sang happy birthday and cut the cake. I then left the children to their own devices for a while so that the food could go down and they could have a bit of time to themselves without me bossing them around.
12.45 - 1.00 pm Mini disco
We played some music, stuck on the disco lights and watched the children dance around to the Moana soundtrack. Towards the end of the party, I grabbed a few parents, informed them of my crazy plan and then asked them to stand up in front of everyone and teach the kids how to dance to Agadoo (a 1980's kids party classic). It was hilarious. Some kids just stared in utter bewilderment, others got really involved. Either way, my husband and I have decided that we are going to end all our daughter's parties like this until she turns 18!
1.00 pm Home time
Everyone left, taking with them their well-earned party bags which I topped up with a bag of sweets on the way out.
All in all, it went really well. Everyone seemed to have a good time, everyone got involved in the games and the best bit? I saved a fortune on entertainer fees. Around here, an entertainer costs about £200, however, I probably only spent about £12 on the games. Of course, there was a bit of preparation in setting up some of the games but nothing too time-consuming.
The only other thing to bear in mind is that sometimes the games are quicker than you think. Whilst, I had factored in 15 minutes per game, in reality, some were a bit shorter so it's good to have a couple of other games up your sleeve. If you want some other party game ideas, then check out my Top 10 Party Games for 5-year-olds. Or perhaps you are curious as to what beach themed party bag fillers we gave out as prizes?
Over to you
Have you got any other fun beach party games that you would like to share?
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