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Simple Pass the Parcel Ideas for Kids

Pass the Parcel is one of those fun kids’ games that’s always a hit at parties. It can also be a great learning game for the classroom.

All you need is a little imagination, music and some kind of wrapping paper and you’re good to go.

Here are some Pass the Parcel ideas. There are some gift ideas, different ways to play the game, and a few soundtracks.

How to Play Pass the Parcel

The basic rules of the Pass the Parcel game are simple:

Children playing pass the parcel at a birthday party.
  1. The children sit in a circle.
  2. They pass around a parcel that is wrapped in multiple layers, while music is playing.
  3. When the music stops, the child who is holding the parcel must unwrap one layer and take their prize, or perform the action (forfeit).
  4. Continue until the last person unwraps the last layer to reveal what’s inside.

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Pass the Parcel Gift Ideas

You can play this game with or without gifts. If you choose to use gifts, find small, inexpensive items that can be concealed in the layers.

Here are a few ideas for prizes/gifts:

  • Packs of stickers
  • Small notebooks
  • Fun pens or pencils
  • Boxes of crayons
  • Bouncing balls
  • Slinky spring toys
  • Squishy toys
  • Fidget toys
  • Bubbles
  • Slap bracelets
  • Chalk
  • Yo-yos
  • Marbles
  • Sticky hands
  • Small puzzles (there are some downloadable ones in the set of printables at the end of the post)
  • Keyrings
  • Small books
  • Pencil erasers

You can find lots of small sets of party favours online, like these:

56 Pcs Pop Party Favors for Kids, Fidget Treasure Box Toys, Classroom Prizes, Pinata...
  • 【Assortment Party Favors Toys Set】Including 1 Pop Fidget Ball, 3 mini pop fidget toys, 3 pop bracelets, 4...
  • 【Ideal Kids Prizes and Gifts】Very decent present for kids. They will be excited and enjoy these prizes and...

10 Pass the Parcel Ideas for Kids

Here are some simple Pass the Parcel game ideas to try with kids. Change them to suit the age and maturity of your kids.

Kids playing pass the parcel. Text reads "10 simple pass the parcel ideas".

Remember, for young children, it’s best if everyone receives a turn and a gift. There are also fun ways to play this game without gifts.

1. Classic Pass the Parcel

To play the classic version of this carpet game, wrap a gift, then keep adding layers, leaving a gift in each layer.

Make sure there are as many gifts as there are children.

Play some fun music in the background. There are some examples of suitable music tracks at the end of this article.

This game is excellent for building listening skills, midline crossing and many other skills.

2. Guess the Animal 

For this version of Pass the Parcel, place a picture of an animal inside each layer. 

When a child opens the wrapping paper, they must act out the animal in the picture and see if anyone can guess the animal.

This makes the game fun and interactive and will encourage lots of giggles.

Make sure the last animal inside the last layer is very interesting, either very challenging or just fun to act out.

3. Treasure Chest

This version is easier to play with younger kids, to make sure everyone gets a toy, and to keep their attention throughout, instead of losing their attention each time a toy is unwrapped.

Place all the toys into a small box (or a small treasure chest if you have one). Make sure there is one per child. Preferably make them all the same.

Wrap the box in multiple layers and play the game. When the last child finds the “treasure,” that child can hand out a gift to each child.

Child opening a gift box

4. What’s Inside?

For this version, instead of wrapping gifts, choose any object such as a toy, a musical instrument, or a book.

Boy finding toy car in his gift box.

Give the kids a riddle that doesn’t give away too much info, such as “I take people to faraway places.” Wrap the item in multiple layers and play the game. 

Each time a child is about to take a layer off, they can have a go at guessing what’s in the package. The child who takes off the final layer reveals if anyone guessed correctly.

5. Colour Parcel

Teach young kids colour recognition by wrapping each layer in a different colour paper.

Very young kids can name the colour as they take off their layer, and older kids can try to guess what colour is under the layer they are about to take off.

Don’t use the same colour twice. This means kids must take note of what colours have already been unwrapped and try to guess a new colour. 

Hide some colourful gifts in the final layer for everyone.

6. Listening Game

Build listening skills by telling children to listen for a specific word or phrase in the song. Every time you hear that phrase, the person holding the parcel may remove one layer to reveal a gift or task.

7. The Story Continues

Get some creative and thinking juices flowing with this game, suitable for older children.

In the inner layer of the parcel, hide a character who will be part of a story – such as a bear or an elephant. Fluffy toys, dolls and figurines will work well for this.

Girl finding teddy bear in her gift box.

Start the story: “Once upon a time there was a bear who had a red bow around his neck. He went for a walk in the woods.”

Then pass the parcel to the next child, who takes off a layer of paper and continues the story by adding the next part to it: “He heard a strange sound and felt scared.”

Continue passing on the package until the last person reveals the character.

Let the story go in whatever direction it takes. It could be fun, interesting, or completely ridiculous.

8. Number Fun

This game takes a little more concentration but is a great way to develop number concepts and one-to-one correspondence.

Place a number inside each layer of the parcel. The number represents how many children the parcel must be passed to. 

So, if the number says “5”, the children all count together as the parcel goes from one child to the next. The fifth child can then unwrap a layer and see the number they have to count out. 

To ensure everyone gets a turn, if the number lands on a child who has already had a turn, they have to pass it to the next person. Hide a small gift for each person in the final layer.

9. Pass the Parcel Forfeits

Another way to play the game is to include forfeits, dares or tasks that a child has to follow inside each layer.

Depending on the age of the child, these can be very simple, or more daring and challenging for older kids. You can even use picture cards for young children who can’t read yet.

Here are a few examples of silly Pass the Parcel tasks:

  • Clap your hands and turn around.
  • Sing the Happy Birthday song.
  • Pretend to be an angry monkey.
  • Do a silly dance together with the person next to you.

10. Ideas for Wrapping the Parcel

There are many ways to wrap the parcel, and using different textures and colours can make the game interesting.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Wrapping paper with fun prints
  • Plain coloured paper
  • Tissue paper
  • Newspaper
  • Cellophane
  • Brown paper

Pass the Parcel Music Ideas

Here are three soundtracks to get you started:

  • Pass the Parcel (The Wiggles) – Play this song in the background. There are regular pauses so you don’t have to stop the music manually. Listen to the tune on YouTube.
  • Birthday Party Music – Play this fun birthday party music with stops. It can also be used to play musical statues and musical chairs.
  • Children’s Party Fun – This is a soundtrack of upbeat music that can be played for a game of Pass the Parcel at a party or in class. This one should be manually paused.

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Need more ideas? Here are the top classic games for kids.

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