I'm a bit of a nut when it comes to kids parties.  I REALLY get into themes - from the invitation to the party favors...just wait there will be more posts eventually.  But as much as I try and make each party special, 
there are a few games that we play over and over because:
 #1 They are easy 
#2 They are cheap 
#3 The kids love them!

If you are having an outside party these all work...and most can work inside...other than the water and candles!

Squirt the Candle
Like the picture above and as the name suggests...all you have to do is get votive candles, a few squirt guns, a bucket of water and a helper old enough to "run it."  We usually had kids compete 3 at a time.

Balloon Pop Surprise
Just put a small prize in each balloon before blowing them up, e.g. for a pirate party we had skull rings in each balloon, and one special balloon had a key to a treasure chest, two "stinker" balloons we filled with shaving cream..he, he!  You can store all the blown up balloons in large black garbage bags.  Hand one balloon to each child count to three and watch them try to pop 'em however they can.  Most kids sit on them, some try and hop on them... with hilarious effect.

Pass the Present
Using different colored tissue paper, wrap a little present then add another present and wrap with another color and so on...the present should have as many layers and prizes as there are kids.   It's kind of like hot potato, sit in a circle, play music, when it stops the kid holding the present gets to peel off a layer, claim their prize...and move out of the circle.  To keep it moving fast the kids should know that the "last" prize is the biggie.  I usually fill mine with crayons, plastic rings, tattoos, silly straws, whatever.

Water Balloons are awesome.   Use them for several games...the most popular: the water balloon toss.  Like an egg toss, but with water balloons.  Everyone partners up, lines up, and on the count of three, tosses.  If your balloon didn't break you're in.  You take a step backwards and repeat...until there is a winner!

We also use water balloon in relay races; you have to run to the bucket of water balloons, toss a balloon at a tree and hit it before you can run back to the team and tag out the next guy.


Luckily we have a deep back yard and a water balloon launcher.  We usually end parties with the kids getting to try and launch water balloons at a target (a tree with an X on it.) When it's warm (it was not in this picture...unusually cold for May!) kids often like to try and get hit by the balloons...yikes...not for me!

When in doubt: Limbo! I don't know why, but they all love it.  Ridiculous and we play even when we're not having a luau theme, they like it so much!