Birthday Party Games of the 1950s & 1960s

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During the 1950s, popular children’s toys included the Slinky, Silly Putty, Mr. Potato Head, Pick-up Sticks, and toys associated with Dale Evans and Roy Rogers. During the 1960s, Barbie and G.I. Joe took center stage in children’s toys, and skateboards and slot cars gained in popularity. Birthday party games of the 1950s and 1960s involved a variety of activities that relied on individual skill and teamwork.

Party games from the 1950s and 1960s have become classics.
Party games from the 1950s and 1960s have become classics.

Clothespin in the Bottle

This game of aim requires a steady hand, a glass milk bottle and wooden clothespins. Any large plastic bottle with a 2-inch opening can replace the milk bottle. Direct the kids to kneel on a chair and steady their arms on the back of the chair. Place the bottle on the ground directly below their hands. While keeping their hands at the height of the chair's back, have the children each try dropping 10 clothespins, one at a time, into the bottle. The child who get the most pins into the bottle wins.

Kids can drop clothespins into a bottle to win a prize.
Kids can drop clothespins into a bottle to win a prize.

Pin the Tail on the Donkey

Give each child a paper donkey tail and have him wait his turn to wear a blindfold while trying to pin or tape the tail onto a donkey poster. Giggles will ensue when each contestant receives three disorienting spins in a circle prior to the attempt to pin the tail. Variants of this game include pinning bows onto a photo of the party girl, pinning a tail onto a lion, or placing the child’s first initial onto the front of a T-shirt.

Kids wear a blindfold to play "Pin the Tail on the Donkey."
Kids wear a blindfold to play "Pin the Tail on the Donkey."

Balloon Relay

In this action game, each child receives a balloon. With the kids divided into two teams, the first child runs across the room or yard and pops her balloon by sitting or stepping on it. When the balloon pops, the child runs back and tags the next person on the team, who runs and pops her own balloon. The first team to finish popping the balloons wins.

Kids can pop balloons in a relay game.
Kids can pop balloons in a relay game.

Egg Relay

An outdoor game guaranteed to cause giggles, an egg relay uses raw eggs and teaspoons. With the children divided into two teams, each child receives a teaspoon. The first person on the team is given a raw egg to carry in her spoon. Each child carries the egg around a designated point, then transfers the egg to the next person’s spoon without touching the egg with her hands. The team that breaks the fewest eggs wins.

Kids carry a raw egg in "Egg Relay."
Kids carry a raw egg in "Egg Relay."

Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger hunts create excitement and a sense of adventure. In teams or individually, ask the children to collect as many items on the list as possible. The list can include rocks, a teaspoon, an item displaying the initials of the birthday child’s parent, or a picture of a specific animal or person.

Scavenger hunts have changed since the 1950s and 1960s.
Scavenger hunts have changed since the 1950s and 1960s.

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