Birthday Games for 9-Year-Olds

by Nina Makofsky

Planning a birthday party for a 9-year-old child may feel overwhelming, with details such as deciding a theme, choosing the space, decorating, cooking and planning. However, long after the guests have digested the food and broken their party favors, they will remember the party games and activities. Plan a series of competitive, cooperative and creative games that keep the guests in a party mood.

Types

Forget about Duck Duck Goose and Farmer in the Dell. Most 9-year-old children prefer more complicated or creative party games. Outdoor activities like Ghost in the Graveyard, Capture the Flag and Blind Eagle keep children moving and participating. Competitive sports, like softball, dodgeball and soccer, work for larger groups. Games of logic and language, such as 20 Questions and Pictionary, make an indoor party more spirited. Board games, like Battleship, Sorry, Clue, Scattergories and Cranium, help party guests settle down and focus.

Function

Children's party games typically stress participation more than skill. Some silly games have no real end, so no one wins or loses. In Blob Tag, in which the person who is "it" tags people who then join hands with "it" to form a blob and continue chasing other players. In a treasure hunt, children work as a group to solve riddles or read a symbolic map and find a large treasure that includes prizes for everyone.

Time Frame

Unlike younger children, 9-year-old children have a longer attention span and the capacity to strategize. Meet their level by planning hours-long activities, such as a role-playing game or a murder mystery that they must solve. A scavenger hunt that sends them through the neighborhood to find bizarre items may last an hour. Fill the spaces between games with less-structured activities, such as building with Legos, constructing fairy houses, drawing comics or making puppets.

Misconceptions

You do not need to purchase lots of supplies for birthday party games. Use old tin cans and homemade bean bags to create a carnival game. Set up an obstacle course involving water, sand and mud in your backyard, or use a neighborhood playground. A few balloons and clean spray bottles provide the ammunition for a water fight.

Considerations

Children will expect prizes for the party games. Keep the prizes simple, such as marshmallows or candy. If you do not want to give out sweets, you can award children with balloons, small bouncy balls or stickers.

About the Author

Nina Makofsky has been a professional writer for more than 20 years. She specializes in art, pop culture, education, travel and theater. She currently serves as a Mexican correspondent for "Aishti Magazine," covering everything from folk art to urban trends. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Mills College.

Photo Credits

  • grandfather and grandson play hide-and-seek image by Pavel Losevsky from Fotolia.com