Planning a party for a group of fifth graders can be challenging, especially when the party guests have reputations for being picky. With the right party games, however, you can avoid having any young guests leave early and keep them happy and smiling the whole time.
Give each child a piece of paper and direct them to write something about themselves on it, anything from "My favorite movie is 'Cinderella' " to "I have brown eyes." After they've finished, tell them to crumple the papers into balls and throw them in an area on the floor. Then, instruct them to select a paper (not theirs) and read what's written on it. The players then have to figure out whose message they have by talking among themselves and using detective skills. The game ends once all the players find who wrote the messages.
For a more challenging version of the classic parlor game, prepare ahead by coming up with several categories, such as amphibians, plants and animated movies. Under each category, come up with five charade ideas fitting that theme. Write each idea on a separate slip of paper, keeping all the slips in a pile corresponding to the categories. Group your players into teams of at least three people and separate them around the room so that they can't hear each other. Tell the groups to pick one player to start. Give each starting player a set of charades in a particular category. He then has to act out the charades until all of them have been guessed. The team then has to guess the category the charades fall under. Once everyone has completed their charades, the teams switch category sets and start another round. Time each round to see which team completed its categories the fastest. That team wins the game.
Guess the Food
Pick out foods from your refrigerator that the kids probably like (cookies, birthday cake, pineapple) and some that kids notoriously dislike (peas, broccoli, other vegetables). Cut each type of food into small pieces. Seat the players around a table and put a portion of one type of food in front of each. When you say "Go," the players have to figure out what food they have by eating, smelling and touching it. The first player to correctly guess the type of food gets a point for that round. Continue with as many rounds as you have food. The player with the most points at the end wins the game.