As a parent of young kids, you’ll know how difficult it can be to keep their busy minds amused, especially at birthday parties and especially when the cake and ice cream induced sugar highs kick in.

If you just so happen to be the host of one such party, remember: panic slowly, plan appropriately and impress the other parents by pulling out all the stops with these cool kids games!

Mind the monsters
This game is fun for everyone and pits the kids versus the adults. The only thing you’ll really need to play this game is a wide open space and your best monster impersonations. What you need to do is get all the kids to line up on one side and have two or more adults morph into monsters in the middle.

The objective of this game is for the kids to get to the other side of the area without being caught. If they’re caught, then they too become a monster and should behave accordingly. The remaining kids keep running back and forth until only one survivor remains.

The lava leap
Some of the best party games involve getting kids to use their imaginations and this one will definitely prove amusing.

In this game, you’ll want to litter a wide open area with pillows, duvets, blankets and other squishy things. Then, add a little drama and tell the kids that the floor is molten lava: the more convincing you are, the better they’ll respond.

Then, equip each kid with their own pillow to use as a bridge between the bigger islands. To win, the kids have to work together to get from one side of the room to the other without any casualties. If someone falls into the lava, they have to start over.

Move to the music
Similar to musical chairs, the objective of this game is to move to the music until the music stops. Then, depending on the age of the kids, they can either sit down as quickly as possible or freeze in position. The last dancer to freeze or sit down is eliminated until one little lad or lady is left.

Additional provisos can be included to maximize the amusement, such as freezing into the form of an animal, object or letter.

Water balloon pinatas
This game is great for those summer birthday parties where the kids and parents don’t mind getting a little drenched.

All you need to do is fill a bunch of balloons with water, string them up in the garden, give the kids a long, blunt object and let them swing for the fences. Continued adult supervision is recommended, however, as kids do tend to get carried away with the good ol’ pinata. And make sure you’ve got plenty of pinata replacements because the kids will surely enjoy this one.

No matter the age, season, or occasion, there are numerous ways to keep the kids amused. All it takes is a little bit of imagination and some elbow grease.