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We realized a few days before Josie’s birthday party that the kids were old enough to play games this year.  We came up with a few simple games that were inexpensive, easy to put together and that kept the kids occupied between cake and party hats:

The Scavenger Hunt consisted of manilla shipping tags with hand-written clues tied to things around the house.  The older kids helped the little ones read the clues and they ran around finding tags until the final clue led them to a box with a small prize for each kid.  While three-year-olds may be able to play games, they are not good sports about just one prize for the winner, so we made sure each game had little thing for each person.

We had a Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Donkey game in our party supply box.  I thought it would be too complicated for them, but the kids had fun playing and laughing.  There may also have been some cheating.

The Pass the Package Game is similar to Musical Chairs.  A package is passed around a circle of kids while music plays.  When the music stops the person holding the package tears off wrappings until the music begins again.  This continues until the package is completely unwrapped.  We used streamers from the party store and I divided marbles from the dollar store into little plastic pouches for each kid: