Dance party game ideas for any theme for adults or kids

Party games can provide loads of fun to break the ice and get a dance party moving. These ideas contain some classics adapted to dance parties, and ideas on how you can adapt them to various popular party themes pretty easily by tweaking names, decorations, props or prizes.

Games don’t have to be just for kids – they can really liven up a bachelor/ bacelorettes, a baby shower, 30th or a 60th 60s disco! Just crank up the humour a level to suit your guests, and make the prizes appropriate to the group – adults enjoy cheeky forfeits or having to drink something interesting, teens enjoy silly dares, and almost anyone likes a small chocolate….

Musical Islands

This is a bit like musical chairs, but with some kind of ‘island’ instead of the furniture.

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • sound system – preferably with a remote or cellphone soundtrack plus blutooth
  • dance lights
  • islands made of paper (one fewer than the number of players and just big enough for one person’s feet. e.g. A4 sheet of paper). This is where you can tweak for your theme, e.g. neon paper for a glow in the dark party, or pictures of plants for a Plants vs Zombies party, sparkly mats for sophisticated bridal shower party fun, etc.
  1. Place the ‘islands’ on the floor – one fewer piece than the number of players. Everyone is instructed to stand OFF the ‘islands’.
  2. When the music starts, everyone has to dance – nice and actively, no bouncing bums on the spot!
  3. When the music stops, everyone has to rush to get onto an island. Whoever is caught without an island is out, and one more island is removed.
  4. This continues until you have a winner! I’ve found this works best if you have small prizes like a mini chocolates (or something theme-related) and you play the game a couple of times – it doesn’t take long, and its more fun to have a few gos than just one person winning a bigger prize.

Costume Catwalk

If you are having a themed party for any age, you can have a best outfit catwalk show on your dancefloor. I’d recommend doing this simply for fun at a younger children’s party, and only having a best costume and best catwalk act winner from tweens up, as the little ones get hurt feelings, while older kids and adults enjoy vying for the top spot.

Everyone has to dances in a circle and you have a judge or panel of judges to vote on the best outfit. Each contestant has to exaggeratedly model their outfit accross the centre of the circle and spin it out a bit, so it’s not just a passive thing.

Fun songs for older adults are ‘I’m a Barbie Girl’ (there’s an updated ‘Im not a Barbie Girl’ too!) or ‘I’m too sexy for my shirt’, or ask people to whisper to the DJ what they want their entrance song to be. Mine would definitely be ‘All about that base’ by Meghan Trainor!

Knights, knaves and horses

This is an old medieval theme game which you can adapt to other themes, using your imagination, e.g. ‘moms, dads and babies’ for a baby shower, or ‘Elsa, Anna and Sven’ (with appropriate actions) for a Frozen party theme.

This was a popular dancing game with older teens when I was one, and we were divided into boy and girl pairs, where the boys had to do the ‘heavy lifting’ and be the knights, knaves or horses. We’ve played a version very successfully with tweens at a birthday party too, and didn’t make it a gender thing for our kids – I think it was actually more fun, as each pair also had to figure out who was going to do what, with much resulting hilarity.

instructions

  1. Basically, there is a ‘caller’ in control of the music, a bit like for musical chairs, and you need an odd number of players, e.g. – 7/ 9/ 11….
  2. Everyone has to dance until the music is suddenly stopped – and then the caller says either ‘Knights!’ ”Knaves!’ or ‘Horses!’
  3. Everyone has to quickly find a partner and perform the appropriate action.
  4. For ‘knights’: one partner must kneel with one knee up, so the other person can sit on their knee.
  5. For ‘Knaves’: the one person must piggy back on the other.
  6. For ‘Horses’, one person gets down on all fours, and hte other one stands over their back.
  7. Anyone caught without a partner, or doing the wrong action, or the last pair to hook up, is out, and you start up the music and continue until you have a winning pair.
  8. If you have an even number of players, you just have to speed it up and pick on whoever gets it wrong or is too slow- a bit more like musical statues.

Pass the Ball

For this you need a smallish ball, orange or balloon (or try something to do with your theme, but preferably something round and smooth and not too hard or too small). A neon balloon or tennis ball is ideal for a glow in the dark party.

You also need great music and dance lights, and someone who is the referee.

instructions

  1. Everyone has to dance in a circle and keep moving!
  2. One person is given the ball.
  3. Everyone has to keep passing the ball around the circle, but without using hands or feet and without dropping it, or you have to start all over again.
  4. Its most fun if everyone tries to carry on dancing as it goes, but the embarrassing positions people get themselves into tend to leave everyone a bit helpless with laughter…
  5. Kids can be offered a treat each as a reward for completing the task, and adults can be offered a drink. They may need one!

Simon Says (and variations)

For a straight dance party, get your lights and music going, use a mic, and call out some disco moves to test everyone in a game of DJ Says: e.g. “DJ says, ‘Do the twist!'” or “DJ says, ‘Do the floss!'”

If you’re doing a 60th or 70th dancing – through- the decades party, you can look up major dance moves from each decade. Just be prepared to do a demonstration before the game starts, just in case memories need jogging!

Just remember the basic rules – you call out ‘Simon says’, and they must DO the action, but if you don’t say ‘Simon says’ and just call out the action, and someone does it, then they are out. Picking up the speed and switching back and forth between ones you’ve already done tends to get everyone confused in the end!

Have a few particularly tricky ones for those last older kids or adults in the game, to get them a little flustered and get to a winner.

With younger kids, play it really straight and be prepared for more than one round, to give a small prize to more than one kid (consider using the winner of each round as the caller for the next one).

Last person standing is, of course, the winner here!

Dance Charades

Basically play like normal charades, and choose words, film or song titles, character to match your party theme.

Make a set of charades cards and print them out. You want to get people dancing, so you can have dance moves for a particular decade, dancing to mimic a particular pop star (or another character suited to your theme, eg dance like Easter bunny vs Easter chicken or do an egg roll dance, a superhero (Spiderman, Batman, Black Panther) or Disney princess (Meredtith from Brave, the Little Mermaid, Mulan, Elsa…) , and everyone has to guess who you are or the name of the dance move.

Adults and kids might enjoy dancing like a particular animal and everyone has to guess what animal. Ideas: camel, alpaca, sloth, elephant, tiger, kangaroo, duck, wolf…. (depending on the age of kids, you can get more or less exotic mixes of animals – for younger kids, it might be best to stick to common local or zoo animals. For older kids or adults, you might try some weirder challenges like the sloth or a reindeer).

You can either get the whole group guessing and each person takes a turn (recommended for younger kids, to take the competition stress away), OR, for older kids and adults who enjoy the competition, set it up like a proper charades game. Write your characters or animal names on small cards and divide your guests into two teams. You give the first volunteers from each team a card and they have to get their team to guess. Whoever guesses gets the next card… and so on until you have the first team to finish.

Ministery of Silly Dances

This would work well along with other ideas for people over 40, who will know all about the Monty Python Ministry of Silly Walks skit. If you like the idea and want to try it for kids, I’d either suggest watching the skit with them first, or if they are doing a ‘Mr Men and Little Miss’ book theme party, you could play with doing silly dances for Mr Silly at the Nonsense Land Disco (Which I just made up, but it ties in nicely with the Nonsese Land’s trophy for the silliest idea in the story).

The game is simple. Someone is the representative of the government Ministry of Silly Dances, and everyone has to have a turn to apply for a government grant to develop their silly dance. The silliest dance wins the grant, which is the game prize.

It helps enormously if the government representative is able to set the tone the way John Cleese does in the skit and make suggestions to improve the silly walks presented, which the ‘grant seeker’ then has to try to copy as well. Bonus points for coming up with dreadful academic names for individual moves.

I’d suggest offering a particularly juicy prize to the adults, like a bottle of wine, and giving everyone a few minutes to come up with their individual walks before the public attempt. For the Mr Men and Little Miss party, you could get creative with a trophy or offere a conventional party game prize.

For an end of year office party involving anyone in a university or other company that has to frequently deal with government grant applications, this is deeply therapeutic and gasp-for-breath fun!

Music with silly lyrics can make this even more fun. This is very easy to organise if you have a smart phone and speakers with bluetooth capability. Chat to us at Simply Sparkles if you’d like to use our equipment, and we can show you how easy breezy this is!

Interpretive Dance Pictionary

A bit like with charades and Ministry of Silly Dances, this involves lots of silly fun for adults and teenagers, where you give people standard Pictionary game cards, and ask them, instead of drawing, to try to explain the word or phrase with interpretive dance. This works well if you or a friend are prepared to demonstrate, and you have a fun group of friends who don’t mind being very strange for a laugh!

You can make this game even better if you have someone operating disco lights and party sound using bluetooth and a cellphone with Spotify or iTunes, so contestants can quickly hunt for a good backing song for their dance and use smoke machines, lasers or strobes to add to their dance’s atmosphere!

Keep in Touch!

Please let us know how your dance games went, and any variations or new ideas! We’re always looking for ways to help our party lights and sound hire clients have more fun, and share these ideas with them as part of our service.

Contact us if you would like advice for your party set up or if you’d like to hire lights, sound and other party accessories. Delivery is free in Somerset West and Strand! We’re here to help make your party Simply Sparkle!

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Bubbles!

To give your party that happy, bubbly feeling, we’ve added a fabulous bubble machine to our party hire services! Do I hear a few squeals of excitement? Oh wait, that was me.

Ahem, as I was saying… this nifty little machine has LED lights inside that change colour, to add extra rainbow dazzle, day or night (and keep your inner unicorn prancing).

If you just can’t blow the bubbles fast enough for the kids, or the birthday girl’s entrance, then this baby will keep ’em coming and delight your friends and family with a magical shower of pretty bubbles. And of course it adds that extra bit of celebratory fun to any dance party, whatever your age.

The machine hire price includes a couple of 250ml bottles of special bubble fluid that goes a long way. It’s also non-toxic, for that one friend who tries to pop bubbles with his mouth.

If you hire the bubble machine in addition to the disco lights package, it handily attaches to the same professional disco lights stand, for extra ease of use.

Glow in the dark party ideas

Glow in the dark parties, using black light UV lighting and neon or white clothes and decor, are all the rage with teens, pre-teens (or tweens) and younger kids as well as adults. My daughter had a glow in the dark dance party for her 12th birthday and we had such fun with the black lights we’ve added to our Simply Sparkles packages. We’ve all been going a little nuts researching things, trying out paint supplies and running around the house plugging in the black light to see what gets that glow in the dark wow factor!

You can have SO much fun with this as a basic theme all on its own, as part of a dance party (especially an 80s disco), or by using elements to jazz up your decorations for a futuristic or retro space / computer game (e.g. pac man) or fantasy parties like unicorn or fairy themes.

All you need is some imagination, a good strong black light (it’s which is a particular type of UV light spectrum that works much better than straight UV) some cool neon and white decorations, and UV, glow in the dark, neon or black light body paint or craft paint. A strobe light can add an extra touch of fun.

general tips

You’d be surprised what can glow in the dark, including tonic water (with quinine), so you can make the coolest glow in the dark cocktails for adults (GNT, you beauty!), or alcohol free mixes for kids, and even glow in the dark jelly (tip: replace the cold water in the recipe with tonic water and use litchi flavoured jelly from Pick ‘n’ Pay, as it is a pale white)! This only shines if close to a UV light and it does change the taste a little, so its best in small quantities. It is the quinine in tonic water that makes it glow, so check that this is one of the ingredients. When you add tonic water to the hot water jelly mixture, it tends to froth up quite a bit. Let the warm mixture cool a bit or at least make sure you are using a big container with room for the foam. The foam does settle down after a bit so you get a normal, smooth jelly.

Tonic water ice cubes glow amazingly well, and make an interesting addition to drinks.

Things we have at home that glow in the dark under the Simply Sparkles black light UV: a white plate, Bastion glow paint, black light glow face paint, highlighter and Sharpie, tonic water. Cool, hey?

For a list of interesting things that glow in the dark (with pictures), check out this website: science notes.

Local suppliers and resources in South Africa:

PAINT

You can buy black light and neon body and craft paints at most PNA shops and other craft/ art supply stores like the Crafters’ Inn in Somerset West, or at a local Chinese shop that stocks party costumes, like China Town at Somerset Mall. If you are ordering larger quantities, it is worth checking out a local direct supplier like Bastion paint. Don’t forget ordinary neon felt tip pens and highlighters will also make fantastic signs and other decor!

There are four kinds of paint that work well. Most are available as either body (or face) paint OR craft paint. You can’t mix and match because of the chemicals, so check the label carefully.

  1. straight neon or white paint (which are bright even without the light so can be used again for sports events, etc.
  2. glow in the dark or UV glow paint
  3. Black light glow paint which is amazing and gives you a bigger colour range, including blue.
  4. Invisible UV paint (also useful to secretly mark expensive items in your home or bicycles) which only shows under UV light (I’ve been able to find this at PNA and online at Bastion Paint

DECORATIONS

Neon slinky springs (to hang down in spirals), reusable paper lanterns (white is good, paint them if you can’t find neon colours, or stick neon stickers on them), bunting and glow sticks are all usually available at your nearest Crazy Store or China Town.

We try to consider the environment (as well as our budget) and buy more of the kind of decor we can reuse or recycle (like the paper lanterns and bunting, which come out in various guises at lots of different parties) and fewer of the items that can’t be reused or recycled (like glow sticks or balloons). Remember some things you already own will seriously ‘pop’ in the UV light, like white serving platters and white picture frames, and anything neon like a frisbee or hula hoop, or neon post-it notes. When in doubt, buy cheap neon dot or star stickers and put them on all kinds of things. Our paper lanterns for a recent party didn’t glow much, so we just added the dot stickers and they looked amazing, with or without the lights.

Locally, CAB foods sell individual balloons (to avoid waste getting more than you need) in lots of neon colours that work well with our lights, like violet, blue, green, pink and yellow. They need to be fairly close to the light (in the same half of a larger room) to really zing., and the colour description must say ‘neon’ not just ‘bright’ or ‘electric’. Here’s what they look like deflated, in the day time and with the black light in a darkened room (the spotty one was from a packet of balloons at the Crazy Store:

Glow in the dark tape can be bought online at takealot. So can lots of other glow in the dark pens, toys, craft paint and glow sticks. They also stock glow in the dark pebbles in colour or green – or order some glow in the dark paint and paint garden pebbles. The glow in the dark paint needs to be ‘charged’ by daylight or lights in general and can fade with time. This doesn’t happen with the UV light – it gets supercharged and stays shiny, and a little paint goes much further under UV light. For instance, in the painting below, it glows without a UV light when the room is completely dark (it can’t be photographed), but even in the daytime you get a really cool glow if there is a proper UV light on it (and I can get a photo of it – yay!).

A painting I made on canvas for my son’s room with glow paint doubles up as Space party decor with a UV light

GAME PROPS

Game props can easily be made out of things you already have, with a few extra supplies like ordinary neon or white duct/ masking tape or glow in the dark tape from takealot. E.g. Bowling skittles made from plastic coke bottles filled with a little water, and wrapped in tape or painted to glow in the dark or tin cans decorated with the tape or white/neon dot stickers, and white tape used to mark the ‘bowling alley’.

You can use things you already have in unexpected ways, like any glow in the dark items from your kids’ bedrooms, or games like Twister – we just drew over our existing twister mat with matching highlighter colours. They don’t show up in ordinary light but look pretty cool in the UV light. Some laundry detergents glow in the dark, so experiment with that in your skittles etc. too! Office stationary supply shops (CNA, PNA. Waltons) have loads of large star burst shapes in neon colours (intended for sales displays) as well as neon cardboard for musical island (stand up musical chairs variation) games. Neon highlighters can be used as relay baton sticks for races, and so on.

Hot wheels car races or remote control robot races or obstacle courses are extra fun with a UV Light adding atmosphere. Glow stickers from crazy stores or Takealot will seriously pop!

OUTFITS

White clothes, shoes and accessories are a great place to start, as these automatically stand out in the UV light. If you don’t own anything and don’t want to spend a fortune, try Pep stores school sections for some inexpensive white vests, white canvas shoes and T shirts to play with. Pearls, some diamonds and of course white plastic jewellery will also stand out, so wear the bling that will have some zing!

Neon accessories from a costume shop are loads of fun. We found everything from fingerless fishnet gloves to tutus, flowery head bands and trouser braces in neon at the Somerset Mall China Town.

Money saving tip: buy a box of cheap white or neon office stickers in different shapes (dots and stars work best) and put them on your clothes, jewellery or shoes (the outfit will look fun and last the party).

Anything neon, including swimming costumes, hair bands, craft string, shoelaces and cheap plastic jewellery or beads and craft wire will seriously zing. An old 80s trick: cut tassel strips at the bottom of white/ neon T shirts and their sleeves and string on plastic neon beads before knotting. These swing and glow and add a lot of fun to a glow in the dark party outfit. They can be cheaply bought at craft supply shops. You can paint your own neon or glow in the dark clothes using fabric paint from PNA or craft supply shops like Crafters Inn. Takealot also sell neon fabric paint online.

All glow stick earrings, headbands and bracelets will also look extra special under UV. Check out a Crazy Store, PNA or Chinese shop, or order online from Takealot.

A word of warning from someone who has survived partying in the 1990s… white underwear will glow right through thinner clothing, so choose your outfit with that in mind (so at least it’s deliberate if it shows and glows!).

EDIBLE ITEMS

Apart from drinks with tonic water, you can try tonic water ice cubes. We’ve experimented with neon food colouring from CAB foods and found that really only the neon pink gel colouring truly glowed under our lights. The only other neon colour they had at the time of writing was neon green, but that looked like yellow-brown poo, which was NOT the look we were hoping for! White mints glow really well, and for some reason so does the plain background biscuit of Zoo buscuits, while the colourful bits and white animals (which we had hoped would glow), didn’t.

More reliable for your food, is serving it on white or neon plates. My daughter discovered a rather cool trick: neon yellow paper cups, decorated with yellow highlighter. The highlighter is invisible in normal light, but under the black light UV… it glows! She put a cute secret message on all the cups for her party, which the other kids really loved.

LIGHTS

Without a good black light UV light that spreads across a wide area, your glow in the dark party will not happen. The glow in the dark paints and decor items need to ‘charge’ with the light. Simply Sparkles offer a great black light UV for hire that can flood a large sitting room or garage with black light UV, and additional bulbs for other areas like a snack table. We have an additional two strobe lights for more UV effects. The main light can be set to move with your music’s beat, or to stay still during party games.

Check out some more great glow in the dark party ideas on Pinterest (seriously, how did we survive party planning without Pinterest???).

CONTACT Simply Sparkles party light hire if you would like to hire our glow in the dark lights, other disco lights and sound system. If you would like to commission a painting similar to the Space one or any other theme for your child’s bedroom or your theme party, please contact artist Marguerite MacRobert: margueritemacrobert@gmail.com