Party games are just plain fun. But, they can also provide a rich learning environment where your child is gaining new skills alongside his friends. This circle game practices patterning and flexes your child's memory. It works best for 4 to 6 kids, but it can be adapted for larger groups.
Once seated in a circle, review with kids the definition of a pattern — something that happens over and over again. Then explain that you are going to play a memory game with patterns.
You start: choose an action or a noise, such as slapping your knees twice. Now, it's the person to your right's turn. He must slap his knees twice, as you had done, and then add his own funny action, let's say he flaps his elbows like a chicken. That, then, is the pattern: I slap my knees, I cluck like a chicken, I slap my knees, I cluck like a chicken, etc...
Then the third person goes around and adds his own action to the pattern. Everyone will go around the circle and pick a funny action or noise, but they must remember what comes before it.
Once everyone has gone around the circle adding to the pattern, everyone must do the complete pattern at the same time together.
Do another round with a different pattern. Running out of ideas for funny actions. Here are some suggestions:
Wiggle your nose
Mime shampooing your hair
Shake your head
Jump straight up in the air
Bark like a dog
Whistle the first line of "Mary Had a Little Lamb"
Do a funny dance move
Because this game is so physical, kids most likely won't even realize that they're learning about patterns!