Themed party games for sports-loving kids

Whether you’ve got a kickball fanatic or a budding soccer star on your hands, choosing the birthday-party theme for your sports fan is a no-brainer. There are tons of fun sports-themed birthday party games out there, and there’s no need to stick to one sport when choosing the activities for your little one’s big day. From soccer-themed party games to kickball games for kids, there’s a ton of fun to be had for all your guests. While an outdoor birthday party theme affords more options for full-on games, there are plenty of indoor options to choose from, as well.

The warm-up

First up, the warm-up, of course! Have an adult dress up as the coach and lead the kids in some fun and even silly stretches. Play fun music to pump them up (Jock Jams, anyone?). The “coach” can give the partygoers tips for the games ahead and end it all with a fun cheer for the birthday kid.

Kids lined up for a race outside
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All-star introduction

Use crepe paper (easier to break through) and make signs for each child in attendance. If you decide to go with regular paper, cut perforation lines to make it easier to rip. Announce the child’s name and a fun little prewritten bio about them as they tear through the paper just like in the big leagues.

Kickball games

Kickball is a classic for a reason. It’s easy to set up in your yard or on a playground. Stick with the classics or mix it up. For continuous kickball, make sure to have four balls and a large container. Place the container (a tote or bucket works well) where the pitcher will stand. You’ll need to set up an extra base to use as the home plate. One base is for kicking and the other is for scoring. First, the team that will be kicking lines up at the kicking plate, and the pitcher rolls the first ball. Once the first ball is kicked, the kicker starts running the bases and the pitcher keeps pitching to the next player(s) in line.

You can also simplify the game by putting only one base at the second-base mark. Instead of running all the bases, the kicker runs from home plate to the base and back home. The kicker is permitted to stay at the base if they need to during their play, but they have to run when their next teammate kicks.

Another good twist to traditional kickball is to add in an activity at each plate. These can range from something simple like jumping jacks or push-ups to something a little more complicated like repeating a tongue twister or answering sports-trivia questions.

Soccer games

Have each kid line up in front of a ball and kick the ball as far as they can one at a time. The farthest kick wins!

Dribble obstacle courses are definitely best suited for outside. Arrange the cones ahead of time. Separate the partygoers into two teams and have them dribble alongside one another. Once they finish dribbling, they kick the ball to the next team member. The first team to finish wins!

Boy holding a soccer ball with a bow at a party
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Ball toss

This works well for an outdoor party but can be adapted for indoors, as well. If you’re celebrating outside, you can use a large tarp or sheet and cut out holes with point values. The kids toss a football through the holes to score points. This works indoors with a smaller tarp or sheet and Ping-Pong balls.

Hot ball

This game is a little bit hot potato and a little bit musical chairs. First, ask the guests stand in a circle and toss a ball back and forth until the music stops. When the music stops, everyone freezes just like musical chairs or freeze dance. The player holding the ball when the music stops is out. Start the music slowly and increase the tempo as the rounds go on to up the competition. Last one standing is the winner!

Water balloon baseball

Make sure to tell parents that their kiddos should bring bathing suits and towels to the party for this fun birthday game. Fill up a bunch of water balloons and put them in a kiddie pool. Set up a baseball diamond and have the children hit them with a Wiffle Ball bat. Three exploded balls in a row is a home run!

Kids having a water-balloon fight outside
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Obstacle course

Use pool noodles, hula hoops, and cones to set up an epic obstacle course in your own backyard. For some added fun, you can incorporate kiddie pools at the end for a splashy finish.

Pin the goal

For a fun riff on Pin the Tail on the Donkey, use a field or court instead depending on the birthday child’s favorite sport. Have the children try to pin the ball in the goal or basket while blindfolded.

Awards ceremony

Create a podium using step stools of varying sizes (or if you’re feeling crafty, you can build your own). Present the winners of each sporting event with a medal and play fun music during the presentation. Pro tip: Make sure every child gets a medal to keep things fun for all!

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