Since boys and girls are intrinsically different, so are their birthday parties. Unlike their girl counterparts, boys are more interested in games and competition than opening presents and socializing. They're active and curious. If your boy and his friends fit into this category, you'll have a job keeping them busy and entertained for the duration of the party. Luckily for you, the following games are great for active boys. Keep in mind they are most appropriate for boys ages 4-12.

1. Toilet Paper Mummy Game

Split the group into teams of three or four. Arm each team with two rolls of toilet paper and let them choose which team member will become "the mummy." When you say "go," the other team members should wrap the mummy as quickly and completely as they can with the toilet paper. You can choose whether to judge the end result by how quickly the mummy was wrapped or by how completely his body was covered.

2. Birthday Cake Scavenger Hunt

Instead of just delivering the cake to the boys, make it a game by providing them with clues to send them scurrying around the house or backyard on a scavenger hunt. You can split them into teams or have them search as a group. With each clue they find, they should receive another goodie for their goodie bags. Make sure to hide the cake somewhere where it's under adult supervision - overeager little boys can be dangerous if set loose around unprotected cakes.


Jelly Bean Face Plant

For this activity, all you need is one plate per boy, jelly beans (or some other small, hard candy), and whipped cream. You can probably see where this is going. On each plate, pour 10 of your hard candies, and then pile on the whipped cream. The boys have to sit on their hands or keep their hands behind their backs and use only their mouths to search the whipped cream for the candy. Whoever finds all 10 candies first, wins. Beware - this is a very messy game. You may want to put an apron or bib on each boy, cover the ground with a plastic tablecloth, and remind them not to eat the candy when they find it.


What am I?

This is an easy game to prep for, but it will work best for older boys. When the boys first arrive, have a table laid out with index cards and markers. The boys can write whatever names or objects they wish on the cards. Each boy should make 3-4 cards. When everyone has arrived, shuffle the cards then draw out enough for one card per boy. Do not let them see what their cards say; instead, tape one card to each forehead. Then, set the boys free to ask each other questions about what his card says. The other boys can only give "yes" or "no" answers. For younger boys, make the cards ahead of time but use pictures of characters or animals instead of words.


Digging for Treasure

This is a great outdoor activity. You'll need two kiddie pools, two large tarps or, at the very least, two big buckets. Fill your dig sites with sand and then bury 40-50 pennies in each. With the boys separated into two teams, have them line up in two lines. On "go," one boy from each team should run forward and search for a penny. When he finds one, let him run back and tag his next team member. Each round should last about 5 minutes (add or subtract time depending on the number of team members). Team members should take as many turns as they have time for. The team with the most pennies at the end wins.

Birthday party games are known for being "lame" and "boring." Don't let these epithets be applied to your son's next party. These games are sure to keep your miniature guests busy and entertained for hours.

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