Cowboys and miners and horses, oh my! When it comes time to throw a party for your little cowboy or cowgirl, a Wild West party is just the thing to thrill, delight and entertain. Once you've got the invitations and grub handled, western-themed games will keep the young crowd entertained while adding authenticity to the atmosphere to really immerse the kids in a full-bodied western experience. The fun of a romp through the Old West will have your child and his friends hollering, "Yee-haw!" as they giddy up through an unforgettable party experience.
The art of the quick draw captures many kids' imaginations with fantasies of fantastic speed and accuracy. Foam dart guns or marshmallow blasters are a safe way for your child and her party guests to practice this cowboy skill by shooting at targets or tin cans. They can try to hit a bull’s-eye or to get the most marshmallows or darts into a container. A game of horseshoes is another way to turn hand-eye coordination practice into a western-themed game.
An Old West party can fulfill rodeo-inspired dreams of being able to twirl a lasso like a cowboy. Using a rocking horse or old cowboy boots as the target, let the kids practice twirling and throwing the lasso to capture the "prey." Supervise the children at all times during the lasso game and explain that it is never safe to try to lasso another person. Young children who have trouble with the rope lasso can try tossing a large plastic hoop to ring the target, instead.
Relay races can help burn off excess energy at children's parties. Many traditional relays can take on a western twist with a little creativity and imagination. Use a dried corncob, toy wagon wheel, cowboy hat or stuffed horse to play a passing game, where the children attempt to pass the object down the line without using hands. Children can play a cattle-herding game where each person in turn tries to herd a rubber ball or balloon cow to Carson City with a broom, bat, old board or long stick. Each team has a certain number of cattle to herd and takes turns herding one at a time until all the cattle are in the pen. The first team to get all their cattle to the ranch, wins. Set up a slalom barrel course, maze or obstacle course and have teams race on stick horses to get all their team members through the course first.
Thoughts of the Old West also conjure up pictures of the gold rush and treasure seekers. Prepare some treasure, such as gold chocolate coins, plastic coins, pennies, faux jewels, small western-themed toys or chunks of iron pyrite (fools' gold). Hide the treasure in a hay bale; or fill a plastic tub or swimming pool with sand and water and stir in the treasure. Kids can have fun searching for a treasure in a haystack or panning for "gold" by sifting through the sand with a sand sifter such as a colander, metal pie plate or plastic flying disc; or you can buy a real gold panning sifter for an extra touch of authenticity.