Party Games

Read about being a mother of 12 as our resident 'Supermom' shares her wise parenting advice.

It's only in recent times that I discovered I have the reputation of being a super party mom. My adult children have shared reminiscences of birthdays past as well as letting me know that their schoolmates used to beg and bribe for invites to our parties. Such was the fame of these events. The success credited to the birthday parties I have made and continue to make for my 12 kids can be attributed to the party games we play, plus the prizes I give to the winners.

I try to set up games that burn up excess energy and alternate them with more sedentary games and games of chance. Some kids are shy or not good in the competitive arena. You want all the kids to have a chance to be a winner and you want them to have used up their excess energy so that they're calm enough to sit and eat cake.

Dance with your hands up

Pick out some upbeat dance music, at least a half an hour's worth, and tell the kids they have to dance with their hands up in the air. They have to keep their elbows as straight as possible. If there's a break between songs, they have to keep moving in place, and under no circumstances can they put their hands down. This is not as easy as it sounds. Losers sit down on the sofa. The last one standing gets to pick out a prize from your prize bag, but no peeking.

Dress up

Make a pile of clothes for each kid. Each pile should hold similar clothes, such as watch cap, scarf, sweat pants, sweat shirt, and mittens. Whoever manages to put on all the clothes in his pile first, wins!

Guess how many beans

This is the last game, played at table during the refreshments, and the last chance to win a prize. In the center of the table, you will have placed a jar filled with dried beans you counted beforehand (some of my kids have suggested that if I just chose a number, no one would be the wiser, but that's cheating). Bury a slip of paper with the number of beans written thereon inside the bean jar. Go around the room and have the kids guess the number of beans. Make sure you write their names. The closest to the number without going over is the winner.

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