If you're planning to celebrate your child's birthday by throwing a beach-themed party, inviting your guests to play a few of the following 15 unique luau and party games for children is a surefire way to guarantee that everyone has a great time.
1. Seashell hunt: Purchase a bag of seashells from a craft store, and hide them in various places throughout your backyard. Give the guests 20 minutes to collect as many as they can before time runs out. The kid with the most seashells at the end of the game wins a prize.
2. Hula-HoopR contest: Hand out colorful Hula-Hoops to each of the kids, turn on some Hawaiian music, and have them spin the Hula-Hoops on their hips for as long as they can. The child who can do it the longest gets to pick a prize.
3. Limbo: Purchase a limbo kit from a party supply store, and set it up in your backyard. (Or, have two adults hold each end of a broom or other long bar.) Line up the partygoers and have them each wiggle their way under the bar. The guest who can go the lowest without falling backward or knocking down the bar wins.
4. Sand castle contest: Fill a sandbox with fresh, clean sand and divide the kids up into teams. Provide each team with a bucket of water to moisten the sand, and let them build a sand castle. Ask the birthday boy or girl to score each sand castle on a scale of 1 to 5. The team who had highest-scoring sand castle wins.
5. Decorating flip flops: Buy an inexpensive pair of plain flip flops for each of the kids at your child's luau party as well as a variety of colorful artificial flowers, beads and jewels. Then, allow the kids to glue the decorations on their flip flops and take the party favor home to enjoy.
6. Beach ball bowling: Buy several small, inexpensive beach balls and blow them up. Divide the guests into teams, and set up plastic bowling pins in formation. Let the kids take turns rolling a beach ball toward the pins, keeping track of how many pins each kid knocks over. The child who knocks over the most pins gets to pick a prize.
7. String your own leis: Purchase yarn from your local craft store as well as an assortment of artificial flowers in a wide array of beachy colors. Let each child pick out her favorite flowers and string them onto the yarn to create a one-of-a-kind homemade lei. Tip: Be sure to poke a hole through the middle of each flower before the party begins so the children can thread it through them by hand without having to use a needle.
8. Suitcase memory game: Fill a suitcase with several beach-themed items, such as sunglasses, flip flops, towels and sunscreen. Lay it open on a table with each item in sight, and give the kids a few moments to look through the items inside. Then, close the suitcase and ask each child to write down all the items she can remember. The one who remembers the most items correctly wins.
9. Beach volleyball: Set up a volleyball net in your backyard, and use a brightly colored beach ball for the kids to bat back and forth. Turn on some Hawaiian music while they play, and be sure to provide plenty of fun drinks to keep the kids cool.
10. Photo frames: Pick up a simple, dollar-store photo frame for each guest, and hand them out as the kids arrive. Set up a table with colorful, beach-themed scrapbook stickers, and let the children decorate the frames. Take pictures of the guests during the party, and print them off on your computer before the party ends so each child can take the keepsake home.
11. Hawaiian dance lessons: Hire a dance instructor to teach the kids how to perform the hula dance properly, or purchase an instructional video and let them view it on a big-screen TV while dancing along with it. Once they've learned some moves, turn on some Hawaiian tunes and let them dance the day away.
12. Fashion show: Invite each of your guests to show up in a beach-themed costume, or provide plenty of beachy clothing and accessories, such as grass skirts, leis and funky hats to choose from. Let the kids assemble the items to create an outfit and walk down a runway to show off their costumes.
13. Tie-dye T-shirts : Set out trays of tie-dye paint, and give each child a plain white T-shirt to dip into the colors of their choosing. Hang the T-shirts out to dry during the party, and let the kids take them home when the festivities are over.
14. Coloring contest: Purchase a beach-themed coloring book, and let the birthday boy or girl pick out a favorite image. Tear out that particular page and make enough copies for all the guests. Hand out the images along with some crayons or markers, and let the kids color them. Allow each child to vote on the artwork that they like the best, other than their own. The child who colored the picture with the most votes wins a prize.
15. Beachwear relay race: Divide the guests into two teams and line them up on one side of the yard. Put two beach bags full of beach clothes and accessories at the other side of the yard. Give the leader of each line a beach ball and have them place it between their knees. The first child in line must run to the pile of clothes while keeping the beach ball in place and put on an item before running back to the other kids. Let the kids take turns running with the beach ball to put on an item until the bag is empty. The first team to empty its beach bag wins!