Category Archives: Educational party game ideas

Guess the object party game


On the internet you can find many pictures of antique and interesting objects that will make a great party guessing game.

The Victorian objects in the above picture are (from left to right):-

Cork shaper (hard to guess), this would be used in the 19th Century to reduce the size of a cork to fit into a wine bottle.

Corkscrew opener (easier to guess) from the 19th Century

Can\Tin opener (using a cutting motion) from the 19th Century

Sugar Cutters from the 19th Century. In those days sugar was sold in solid blocks (not granulated) and needed to be cut into small pieces, hence the expression ‘one lump or two’ when putting sugar into tea.

For a party you host, simply select and print suitable pictures of unusual objects from the internet. You can then stick the printed images on a wall and have the guests wander around making notes as to what they think the particular object is. Afterwards you can ask each quest to reveal their answers to each object.

For younger guests you might want to just hold the images up and have the guests make guesses as a group.

A game of 20 questions could also be incorporated with this activity. In this way you show a picture of an unusual object and the guests have 20 questions (which can only be answered with a Yes or No) to guess the object.

The pictures could also be of objects highly magnified (these type of images are also available on the internet). When photographed at close up some objects (example a toothbrush) are difficult to identify. The 20 questions game could also be used for the magnified objects and a combination of magnified and unusual objects could also be used in this activity.

If you are able to lay your hands on unusual (for the given audience) objects you could use real objects. I remember my own children (growing up in California) did not see a Christmas cracker until they were around 8 years old, when my mother (from the UK) sent some over for Christmas, we had a little guessing what it is?


A party game of Auction

There are not many entertaining party games that are educational but a game of Auction will encourage simple arithmetic and money management for all and provide insights into the value of everyday and luxury items. Best of all this game costs almost nothing to prepare and it is a lot of fun to play.

This version of Auction also involves some strategy as individuals try to out bid or ‘bid up’ each other.

The game of Auction needs to be planned ahead of time so that items for the auction can be selected and their value recorded. No real items (or money) are used, but the organizer will need to research items, and their selling price, that have recently been sold. The best place to get such information is EBay, you can choose expensive cars, watches, fashion dresses etc. You can also choose unusual objects (for example art, or fossils) or objects which most people know, have value (such Gold, Silver or Jewelry). In addition you can auction off a house or other property that has recently been sold in your area or in New York or somewhere where the house prices are unbelievably high.

Having researched the list of objects to be auctioned the organizer makes a card for each item, which has the name of the object on it with a detailed description to help the participants guess its value. A list of the object and price it sold for is also made and kept by the host, separately.

The party guests are then allocated an amount of money (each guest starts with the same amount of money). There is no need to give out ‘fake’ money (unless you prefer) as the participants can keep a running balance of their ‘cash’ by subtracting the amount they paid for an item. The idea is that at the end of the auction the person with the highest “net worth”  (that is item values plus money unspent) is the winner. In some cases, spending nothing and keeping the original amount might be good enough to win.  If you are auctioning off high value items you might need to start each player with a balance of $20 Million or so, to be able to cover the high end items. If you prefer (for younger guests) you might just auction off less expensive items like kids toys etc. and start each player with a balance of $500 or less.

The items are then auctioned off as with a real auction. There are no reserve prices as the idea is to ‘sell’ everything and the Auctioneer needs to get into the part to try and sell the items for the highest possible amount, although the Auctioneer should never reveal the items true worth. In order to get the bids started in the right ‘ballpark” a low‘ estimate’ can be given, i.e. this item is worth at least $10,000 so the bidding can start in a realistic range.

The party guests need to get a list of all items that are being auctioned off (with the low estimates also listed against each item) so that the auction bidders can plan their spending and strategy. A simple auction catalog (single page that list the items and low estimates) can be given out to each guest just before the auction starts. 

When an item has been purchased the item card and price paid are given to the highest bidder (the real value of the item is not disclosed until the end of the auction). It is up to the players bidding to know how much money they have left (by keeping a balance) and bid accordingly. If a player spends more money than they have, then their last item purchased is re-auctioned. For younger guests it is advisable to have an older person assisting with the arithmetic.

At the end of the auction, the value of the items is revealed and each person can then calculate what “net worth” they have in items and cash. The person with the highest net worth is declared the winner.

Treasure hunting ideas for educational party games


Although presenting some basic math and word problems to a group of young kids at a party might not always go down well, to say the least, the following activities incorporate an educational element that the kids might just enjoy as they ‘hunt for treasure’.

The basic treasure hunting game structure

To play this basic treasure hunting game you will need to give each guest a card that has something like “Go to the next blue spot” and a number on it. On the ground you make a trail of colored ‘spots’ that the kids walk to when it is their turn in the sequence, which is represented by the number on their card. The trail of colored spots are pre-prepared placements of six main colors in any order (e.g. blue, green, blue, red, yellow, white, blue, black, blue….), but only by following the instructions on the cards in the correct sequence will the treasure be ‘found’. The last guest has ‘Lift the next red spot’, or some other color and that is where the ‘treasure’ is. This game involves each child following the instructions with the other guests ‘double checking’ the move. Each new ‘move’ begins at the last colored spot that the previous guest was standing on (or near, since these will be frail paper or card ‘spots’). Only the child who has the next numbered card in the sequence can make the move and then after they have moved they can show the rest of the guests their card so the move can be ‘confirmed’ by all. The last card can be given to the birthday girl or boy, if appropriate, and the rest of the cards can be shuffled and given out at random. If there is no ‘special’ person that you want to give the last card to, then all of the cards can be given out at random. Also, with the same basic trail, you can make three or four ‘variation’ packs of cards with different sequences arriving at a different destination with a different ‘treasure’ under the last card in the given sequence. The treasure should be an interesting (possibly matching the party theme) picture of something that is also noted on the last card itself, so that if you have prepared multiple ‘sequences’ you will know if the treasure matches the correct result. All you need to do is to work out the correct sequence instructions and prepare the cards, ahead of time, which is quite an activity within itself!

The same treasure hunting game structure with letters and words

Another variation, that is slightly more educational, involves you laying out large letters that form a trail (these can be printed or hand drawn) . You then give each child a numbered picture, the pictures are of a dog, cat or other simple objects. Then, in numbered card sequence, your party guests spell out the word for the picture that is on the card and stop on the trail at the last letter in the word. The next guest takes over and these steps repeat until the last guest arrives at the ‘treasure’. This game will need supervision and some prompting from the hostess, and of course the party guests can ‘help’ each other. This game is slightly more complicated than the first but follows the same basic game structure as the colored spots. The layout of the letters can be simple or complicated, for example the trail sequence a,c,d,d,g,o,g,f for the picture word ‘dog’ has the guest standing on the last letter ‘g’ in the given sequence, if they start from the letter a.

The same treasure hunting game structure with numbers and simple math problems

This one is the most difficult of the three and involves giving out a numbered sequence of cards with a simple math problem. For example “What is 3 + 2 ?”. The guests follow the cards in sequence, as with the other games, only numbers are laid out as the trail. The guest with card number ‘one’ looks at their math problem and then goes to the first number that matches the answer. The next guest starts at the answer of the first guest then reads their math problem and goes to the next number that matches their answer. The game proceeds, as with the previous games, until the guest who has the last card arrives at their answer, which has the ‘treasure’ under it. This last game takes a little more preparation but, hopefully, will get the kids doing a little math ‘along the way’.

Over the years I have researched many party ideas in particular educational games that would be suitable for birthday and other parties. I have found that by having a large supply of these games, in reserve, I can adopt a play, repeat or discard strategy depending on how well the games are going. If things are going badly, for whatever reason, I just move on to the next game or activity until I find one that is well received then I repeat that activity a couple of times. Also, if the task is a little complicated and you suspect a guest might become flustered, have the guests form small teams to help each other out.