In the United States, birthday party games are probably the most consistent and unchanging traditions there are. No matter what the social or economic status of the mother and father, a kid’s birthday party is probably going to have the very same events as his or her classmates, like Pin the Tail on the Donkey, Hot Potato, Pinata Whacking, and several more.
Hands down, Pin the Tail on the Donkey is one of the Western world’s most popular and common birthday party games. It is typically played by younger children who patiently take turns wearing a blindfold and spinning in a circle several times.
Once they have been thoroughly disoriented, the child must attempt to place a small tail onto a picture of a donkey. The player who pins his or her tail the closest to the animal’s rear end is declared the winner and receives a small prize. While historically the game has been played with small needles, many parents opt to use Velcro or tape instead to prevent injuries.
The game of Musical Chairs is played with groups of chairs and participants in medium sized groups. The chairs are traditionally placed in a circle together and there should be one less than the amount of playing children. An adult or other non player typically begins playing some music which signals to the participants that they should begin walking slowly around the chairs.
When the music stops, the players must all quickly find a place to sit and the person left standing is out. One more chair is removed and the game resumes until all but one person has been eliminated.
Pinatas are large hollow objects made from cardboard and papier-mache which are decorated with colorful pieces of tissue paper. The items can be either generic shapes such as squares and circles or made to resemble popular children’s characters. Prior to the party, pinatas are filled with pieces of individually wrapped candies and toys and then strung up so they hang several feet off the ground.
Another common and time consuming pass time is Hot Potato. It is a particularly popular game among parents of small children because it requires one easily acquired household item and is able to capture the attention spans of small groups of children. In it, participating kids sit in a circle and throw a small item, typically a ball or potato, to each other as music plays. When the music ceases, the child left holding the item, now dubbed a ‘potato’ is out.