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Please help me figure out a fun way to "pick teams"...

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My DD is having her first birthday party this weekend (7yo...not 1yo!) The games we are going to play are "team games." Does anyone have a suggestion on how I can divide the teams up fairly? The ages run from 4yo to 13yo...and, I don't want to have captains pick teams just in case the three 13yo end up on the same team!


For my son's first party a number of year ago...we played some games with partners and I did a "Barnyard Round-up." I whispered a farm animal to every child...there were two ducks, two cows, etc. Then, everyone had to "mingle" around the "barnyard" to find their partner...by making the sound of that animal. The catch was they had to make the sound softly. That way, I didn't drive our neighbors crazy...and, it kept a potentially chaotic activity very calm.




Any fun suggestions?




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I'd suggest there is no "fun" way to pick teams. So I'd make a "reasoned" (and totally private) determination of what kind of split might be most fair, and then "announce" the teams.


Otherwise you get the "last picked" syndrome, or if some other scheme is used, teams that may not be "balanced".


OK kids, here are the teams...



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Switching up is fun if you don't need the teams to be the same all the time ...

boys vs girls

lefties vs righties

boy lefties and girl righties vs girl lefties boy righties

blue shoes vs everyone else

light colored shirts vs dark colored

shortest vs talls

light hair vs dark hair (this is hilarious when adults are involved)

teens vs the world

adults vs kids

penguin lovers vs polar bear lovers

vanilla icecream faves vs choc ice cream faves

be zany....


if they're uneven, just have some go twice..

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Any fun suggestions?




I've done the barnyard thing, too. It's more fun to watch the teams find each other, than anything else!


For pairing, I've done nuts and bolts, or screws and washers. Everyone finds someone with a fitting pair. I picked up a cheapo set for $1 at a Dollar Tree that we keep on hand just for this purpose.


For two teams with 2+ people each, I've done scrabble tiles (pre-selected to fit the number of players). Everyone draws a tile, either face-down or face-up, and then I split the teams by consonants/vowels ... or A-M/N-Z. Similarly, you could number pieces of paper and have the kids draw -- divide teams into odds/evens or prime/non-prime, etc.


I've had kids select puzzle pieces, and separate them by inside/outside pieces ... or for pairings, find your partner piece (needs to be prepared in advance).


I've used a Twister spinner and let each kid spin - teams are formed by color or body part, whichever suits my needs for team division.


Draw checker pieces from a hat, for two teams: red and black.


Casually offer the kids a tray of snacks with two options (candy, like Tootsie Rolls or Smarties ... or cookies, like Choc Chip vs. Sugar ... or veggies, Carrot vs. Celery). Number of snacks should equal number of kids - the key is to not let them know they're being separated by choice, else teams end up skewed (by older kids who catch on quickly LOL). Have each kid select something until everything is chosen. Then tell them they've just been broken down into teams :)


Play "I've Never" (the rated-G version!) ... as the kids answer the questions, they'll separate into teams. For instance, say: "I've never been to Maine." People who have been to Maine would move to the side, forming Team A - those who have never been, remain in their spots as Team B. You'll have to ask 2-5 questions before the teams are evenly split. Sometimes you'll have to make a last-minute one-person adjustment to a team to even things out, but there's always an easy-going kid who doesn't mind switching teams to keep things even.


I know I have more, but that's all I can think of right now. I used to work in a City Rec department and this was something we tried to be creative about addressing. What's the theme of the party? That might generate other suggestions by some of this board's more clever posters :)

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Two sets of colored plastic markers in a paper bag, which each person picks out one by one? Or some variation of that?


That's what we do. I put Lego blocks of 2 colors in a bag & the kids draw a Lego. The color determines their team. If we have too many big or small kids on one team, I'll ask or tell a couple of them to trade teams. It has always worked well.

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In scouts we have the boys line up by height, shortest to biggest. Then we declare the first kid a 1, the second kid a 2, the third kid a 1, the fourth kid a 2, and so on, until every kid has been assigned to team 1 or 2. That distributes the size/skill of the kids fairly equally between the two teams.

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