Bike parties are a great low prep and easy to host party idea but if you are worried that there may be a need for more structured activities or your children like to have games (with or without the possibility of prizes) here are 5 great games that will keep the little riders happy.
1 – Races
Scout the area you are holding your party either beforehand or during the start of the party and decide on a course. You can make it a straight line, long or short, circular or following any paths that are near. Mark the start and finish lines with cones, balloons or similar. Before the races begin walk the course with all the kids so they know where they are going. Explain any rules you have i.e. no bumping bikes or touching other racers and let them know how you will be starting the race i.e. whistle or yelling go.
Depending on the age of the kids and how they handle competition you can run heats then finals with an overall winner receiving a prize or trophy. You could also do them just for fun or hand out prizes to the winner each time a race is run.
If you plan to hold races be aware that there is a greater chance of injury as kids will ride as hard and fast as they can. Make sure your course is wide with no bottle necks or there will be crashes and possibly tears. I also recommend having prizes as that’s what the kids often think racing is all about. Prizes don’t need to be big and expensive, they can be a fun size chocolate bar, a certificate printed at home with their name on, a bottle of bubbles or a mini trophy from the craft store.
2 – Obstacle Course
Many factors of obstacle courses are the same as races – scouting helps, walk the course with the kids, explain all the rules, clearly mark everything and be aware of the greater risk of injury.
An obstacle course will require a little bit of preparation to make it work well. Some obstacles will be naturally occurring such as hills and there will be obstacles you put in place. It’s up to you if the obstacles will all be done on the bike or if there are some that the kids will need to get off the bike and complete then get back on and keep racing. On and off obstacles are more suited to older, confident riders than learners.
Ideas for obstacles on bikes include poles to ride between like slalom skiers, hills to go up and down, small jumps, mud/water puddles if you are feeling adventurous. Off bike obstacles can be anything you think of! Throwing a beanbag in a box, drawing a face in the dirt or on butchers paper, jumping for a tag hanging from a tree, doing 10 jumping jacks or blowing bubbles.
If you are having off bike stations it would help to have an adult at each one to help if needed and to direct traffic for incoming and outgoing riders. You could even team up the obstacle course with a scavenger hunt.
3 – Scavenger Hunt
A scavenger hunt is a where there are a list of items that need to be found. This can be competitive or just for fun. It can also be a team game or solo players. Judge what works best for your age group.
To make it competitive you can have the winners as those who finish first, those who get the most items within a time frame or each item is worth points with trickier items being worth more so the winner has the most points at the end of the time.
For a non competitive version simply have the kids find all the items. To spice it up a little the items they are finding could comprise the party bag or be part of a puzzle to be solved that reveals the birthday cake or a lead into the next game.
You could make up your own list of items to find or find a list on the internet and print them off. It’s recommended you have a copy for each team/person and a pencil for them to mark off things as they find them. It would also be handy to have bags or buckets the kids can hang off their bikes to hold the list, pen and items as they ride around.
If you want it to take up a bit more time have the team bucket at a central location with the list and each time they find an item it has to be returned before the next one can be found.
Another version for older kids would be to just write the location of each item i.e. next to the swing, or to take a photo with a smart phone (if available). This way you aren’t ending up with items to dispose of or hide before the party. Nature based hunts avoid this too as they use what’s already there such as ants, flowers and lady bugs.
4 – Relays
Relays are a good way to involve all the kids in racing without singling out one fast rider every time. They are easy to set up and don’t require much prep work.
Mark a start/finish line and mark the switch point. If you are on an oval or big open space you could do a relay like runners and have them go in a circle, if clear space is less available have them do a relay like swimmers and go back and forth. Try and have the teams as even as possible but if numbers don’t split equally see if some kids want to go first and last to make up for the missing rider.
Prizes are optional or you can do one at each race or do the finals and have an overall winner. Races relays and obstacle courses can all be run as many times as you want/need without any extra effort on your part.
5 – Parade
A parade is more appealing to the younger age group and could take as much work as you like.
On the invitation you could ask kids to come with their bike decorated for a parade and have them do it before the party. Another option is you incorporate it into the games section by providing streamers, balloons, tape, card and textas for them to decorate with. Make sure you have garbage bags for an easy clean up.
Have a camera on hand and take photos of their wonderful creations. You could take an individual photo of each rider and use it as a thank you if handing them out after the party or maybe you have an instant print camera and could do it all on the day.
Have the kids ride their bikes slowly around all the parents while the parents cheer and clap for them. Nothing makes a kid feel awesome than being told their work is fantastic by everyone there.
What is your favourite game in the list? What other bike games could you add?