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Pass the Parcel Game for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Written by: Kokotree

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Pass the Parcel Game

What is Pass the Parcel Game?

The Pass the Parcel Game is a popular children’s activity where participants sit in a circle and pass a multi-layered wrapped parcel while music plays. When the music stops, the child holding the parcel unwraps a layer to reveal a small toy or message.

The game is entertaining and helps in developing fine motor skills, patience, and anticipation. Ideal for parents and teachers, it can be easily adapted for toddlers and preschoolers for educational or recreational purposes.

Educational App for Preschool

What You’ll Need to Play Pass the Parcel

To set up the Pass the Parcel Game, you’ll need the following:

  • A Parcel: A small box wrapped in multiple layers of wrapping paper or cloth
  • Small Toys or Messages: Placed between the layers for children to discover
  • Music: A music player or instrument to control the rhythm
  • A Circle of Participants: Children sitting in a designated area
  • An Adult to Control the Music: Usually a parent or teacher

Objective of the Pass the Parcel Game

The main objective of this game is to engage children in a fun activity that requires active participation, attention, and coordination. The child who ends up with the last layer of the parcel may often receive a special reward or message, adding a thrilling element of anticipation to the game.

How to Play Pass the Parcel

Here’s how to conduct the Pass the Parcel Game:

  1. Prepare the Parcel: Wrap a small box in multiple layers of paper, inserting small toys or messages between each layer.
  2. Gather the Players: Have the children sit in a circle.
  3. Start the Music: Begin playing music and instruct the children to pass the parcel around the circle.
  4. Pause the Music: At random intervals, stop the music.
  5. Unwrap a Layer: The child holding the parcel when the music stops unwraps a layer to reveal a toy or message.
  6. Resume the Music: Continue playing music and passing the parcel until all layers are unwrapped.

Skill Development from Playing Pass the Parcel

The Pass the Parcel Game helps in multiple areas of skill development, making it a worthy addition to the list of games for kids:

  • Fine Motor Skills – Unwrapping the parcel requires precise movements, enhancing fine motor skills.
  • Patience and Anticipation – The suspense of waiting for the music to stop teaches patience and builds a sense of anticipation.
  • Social Skills – Taking turns and sharing the spotlight helps to develop social skills.
  • Rhythmic Awareness – Listening to and passing the parcel to the rhythm of the music can cultivate a sense of rhythm.

Variations of Pass the Parcel Game for Kids

To add a twist or more educational value to the Pass the Parcel Game, consider the following variations:

  • Educational Messages: Insert educational facts or questions in the layers to make it a learning experience.
  • Theme-Based: Choose toys or messages that align with a particular theme, like animals or seasons.
  • Hot Potato Style: Instead of rewards, insert mild challenges that the child must perform before the game continues. Check out our post about the Hot Potato Game for more details.

Tips for Parents/Teachers Playing Pass the Parcel

  • Control the Pace: Vary the length of the musical intervals to keep children engaged.
  • Inclusion: Make sure every child gets a turn to unwrap a layer for a rewarding experience.
  • Safety First: Ensure the toys or objects in the parcel are age-appropriate and safe for children to handle.

Common Questions About Pass the Parcel

Q: Can Pass the Parcel game be played with a small group?
A: Absolutely! The Pass the Parcel Game is flexible and can be played with as few as three players.

Q: How can I adapt Pass the Parcel for toddlers?
A: For toddler games like this, use softer and safer materials for wrapping and choose simple, age-appropriate toys.

Q: Is it possible to play without music?
A: Yes, you can use a timer or verbal cues to replace the music.

Q: How many layers should the parcel have?
A: The number of layers can vary based on the number of participants. Aim for at least one layer per child.

Safety Precautions When Playing Pass the Parcel

Ensure that all objects inside the parcel are safe for children to handle. Avoid small parts that could be choking hazards, and ensure the area where children are seated is free from tripping risks.


The Pass the Parcel Game isn’t just an entertaining way to pass the time; it’s a beneficial activity that nurtures important life skills in children. Given its versatility, it’s an ideal choice for both parents and teachers who are looking for engaging preschool games. So why not grab some wrapping paper and small toys and try the Pass the Parcel Game today? Your children will have a blast while honing their fine motor skills, patience, and social abilities.

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