I like to have a variety of games and a prize or two for the winners.
Prizes: I go to the dollar store and grab things that make cute prizes like scented soap with sponge, mini-photo albums, stationary chocolate candies, girly items wrapped in pink and for boys I'd wrap in a blue, candy, mini basketball with over trash basket, water guns, humor prank toys and one that for some reason they love and find funny is the giant calculator.
Games: It's a tradition for me to make a crossword game which you can personalize and print out online for free at mycrosswordmaker or puzzlemaker.com. The category would be, of course, about the birthday boy-girl. For example I would ask what is Mikayla's Grandfather's nic name? The people who know her best would have the advantage of winning or fastest people to go about and ask - which is a fun way for people to meet and mingle with the family members.
Then I'd have other games like I would draw a treasure map (I like to go all out by drawing out the property lot with directions on how to go about N, E, S, W and the number of steps. Then I crumble, and IRON the map to create old look with little browning burn holes! For the treasure that they're looking for would be a small item like a little locket with my daughter's picture in it.
I also like to play Charades, Musical Chairs for adults with a child in their lap, Blindfold dressup (where you can't see what you are putting on and how - fun for boys and girls) and Freeze dance.
Then some games that are simple like throw the ping-pong ball on the basket or if it is a babyshower throw diaper in trash which female seem 2 score more then men!
All these games can be played without having to really purchase anything except the prizes. The more creative you get with games the more fun. Like for freeze dance you can also have the kids tie 2-4 balloons to a rubberband and slip it on each ankle and everytime the music stops the person with most of their balloons pop falls out. So on until down to the winner (untouchable)!
Hope You Enjoy!
By Michelle Bayquen from San Jose, CA