The Old Fashioned Birthday Party

The Old Fashioned Birthday Party
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Birthday parties are always a challenge for the frugal Mom each year. It gets harder and harder to compete with the latest kid's restaurant of choice. I believe that despite what children may think they want, a party at home with good food, games and door prizes will be the one that is remembered throughout their lives. I have several old fashioned games that have been updated for the contemporary kid. These games are great for any age group. After all, let's not allow our kids to grow up too fast!

Brownie Eating Contest

You will need:

One homemade frosted brownie for each kid

Paper plates

The kids kneel on the floor in a circle, with their hand behind their backs. A paper plate with a brownie is placed on the floor in front of them. On signal, they lean forward and eat the pie as quickly as possible. The first one to finish their brownie and pick the plate up with their teeth is the winner. You can also have a special prize for the kid with the messiest face. Be sure to take pictures!

Gummy Bear Hide and Seek

You will need:

Paper plates

One Gummy Bear for each kid

Corn flakes

Hide one gummy bear in a mound of corn flakes. Have the kids stand in front of table with their arms tied behind them and the plate in front of them with the cereal. On the signal each player tries to dig the gummy bear out with their teeth. The first player to lift their head with the candy between their teeth is the winner.

Gather the Candy

You will need:

wrapped small candy such as sour balls, Tootsie Rolls, Jolly Rancher type candies or butterscotch pieces.


Spread the candy around in a large circle marked out on the floor, or a clean plastic tablecloth. Each player is given two toothpicks and a small paper bag. On signal, the players try to lift, chopstick style, as many pieces of candy into their bag as they can. When all the candy is gathered, the one with the most wins. The kids keep their candy, but the winner receives a small prize.

Biggest Smile Contest

The kids line up, and each one smiles as wide as they can. The birthday person measures the width of each smile with a ruler or tape measure! The kid with the biggest smile is the winner. An extra touch would be to take a picture of each child with an instant camera and post it on a bulletin board for the day, then send it home with them later.

The following two games didn't need updating! They are from 1940's, and still bring fun and giggles.

Battle of the Oranges

Divide the kids into pairs. They will battle one pair at a time. Each warrior is armed with a tablespoon on which an orange is placed. At the "go" signal, they will try to knock the opponent's orange off the spoon, using only the one hand which hold the spoon and orange. The winner is the one left with their orange on the spoon!

Clothes Pins in the Bottle

Place a milk bottle (or other jar with a small opening) on the ground or floor. Let each kid try dropping ten clothespins into the bottle. See who can make the best score. Note: Yes, you can still buy clothespins in the supply section of most grocery stores!

Door Prizes

Finding wonderful door prizes is easy! All kids love bean bag animals (even if they aren't the collectible ones), which can be found everywhere. Bags of plastic bugs and animals are a good choice, as well as inexpensive story books. Bandannas are a fun choice too. Red ones for boys so they can pretend to be cowboys or pirates. Pastel ones are great for girls because they become a fashion accessory. In the housewares department you will find many fun smaller boxes and containers that could be used as treasure boxes for nature finds or other collectibles. Visiting an educational or nature store will give you even more ideas, such as a bag of gemstones. They are beautiful and boys or girls would love them!

Birthday parties are special events which create memories that will last forever, both for the birthday child and the guests. I can assure you that a creative unique party with old fashioned games and door prizes will be remembered longer than an annual trek to the pizza restaurant. Plus, it will possibly elevate you to the status of The Coolest Mom in the World.


About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at


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