Sometimes even the most engaging game of charades feels dull; that's when it's time for games that get guests out of their seats and energized. Don't force everyone to participate in every game, and provide different types of physical games. Go for a mixed-bag of games or pick games that match your party's theme, such as limbo for a tropical party and relay races with eggs balanced on a spoon for a spring party.
Still learning about their bodies, young children get a challenge from any and all active games. Dramatic games call on children to portray active characters, such as people marching in a parade, climbing a ladder, chopping wood, skating or jumping rope. For competitive games with ribbons and stickers awarded to both winners and participants, lead the children in running and hopping relay races, an obstacle course with cardboard boxes to run around and jump over, and bowling with milk cartons.
An Olympics-style event with the long jump, dashes, hurdles and throwing contests tests the skills of older children. Award ribbons, certificates or small toys as prizes. For games without prizes, play "Crows and Cranes," with two teams lined up facing each other about 5 feet apart with a safety space behind the lines. When you call out either cranes or crows, whichever team you've called chases and attempts to tag members of the other team before they run back to safety.
Challenging and cooperative games give party guests a shared experience and a task to solve together. Begin with an easy game such as "Sitting on Laps," where everyone stands in a tight circle facing in one direction with their shoulders facing the center of the circle; slowly and simultaneously, everyone attempts to sit on the lap of the person behind him. Both success and failure should create camaraderie. Building a human pyramid creates the same energy for a large group, while passing an orange held in place under your chin to another person creates a challenge for two-person teams.
If your party is outdoors, any team sport such as badminton, touch football, volleyball or a tug-of-war keeps teens and adults on their toes. Indoors, challenge your guests with boot-camp competitions, awarding prizes of water bottles to the men and women who do the most sit-ups or push-ups or who can stand on one leg for the longest time -- or divide your guests into teams of two and see which team can keep a balloon in the air for the longest time. Award bottles of sports drinks or sweat headbands to winning teams.