Who Should Win the Main Prize of Pass the Parcel?

Is there an unspoken rule about who wins the main prize?

Is there an Unspoken Rule about who Wins the Main Prize?

Pass the Parcel is one of those classic party games that you either embrace or steer clear. Many variations of the game have evolved over the generations. With so many alternatives on how to play the game, it can easily be destined as a game for the too-hard basket. If you’ll be playing this circle game at your next birthday party, you may be thinking this question – “Does the birthday boy or girl win the main prize of pass the parcel?”

The word-on-the-street thoughts that most parents go along with… is No, the birthday person doesn’t have to win the main prize. Parents generally feel that the birthday person gets enough presents.

As a Mum of two boys, I remember the surprise I felt when I heard that the birthday boy at a 5 year old party was getting the last prize. I was taken aback by this thought, as it’s so different to how I play the game.

From the party guests (kids’) perspective, the game loses its appeal – surprise, turn taking and fun – when they know the birthday person wins the prize. As an adult, how would you feel if you knew the birthday person needs to win the game?

Having a party guest as the winner is a more popular and fairer option amongst party-hosting parents.

Then who should win the main prize? Like the game itself, there are lots of alternatives to this pinnacle position in the game. It’s really up to what makes you, the party host, feel most comfortable. Consider the children’s ages, the personality of your little one and how many kids are at the party.

Here are some ideas from other parents about how the main prize of pass the parcel could work:

The Main Prize Winner is Random

To truly-ruly play pass the parcel by the rules means the music controller would have absolutely no idea which child receives the parcel when the music stops. The winner is by pot luck. During the game, one child may unwrap three prizes whilst other children may miss out altogether.

The Main Prize is a Shared Prize

Thinking differently about the main prize is another option. Some parents have suggested that the main prize isn’t for a solo winner. Instead, it’s a group win. For example, the main prize could be a block of chocolate they can eat and share at the party. Or it could even be a clue for the party game to play. In the She’s a Gem Pass the Parcel, the main shared prize lead to another party game.

The Main Winner is Based on Preferred Social Behaviours

The quietest/ shy person or the most well behaved person wins the prize. This is like using the game as a reward system for encouraging preferred social behaviours or recognising the more reserved children. I can see why parents would like this approach, but I’m not sure that it’s really beneficial. As a teacher, I’ve learned that sometimes quieter children don’t want the attention of getting the main prize. Giving the main prize to the “most well behaved” is about rewarding expected social group dynamics.

Whichever approach you follow, choose the one that works for you, your child and their friends. For tips on how to play pass the parcel, read more here in this blogpost. Most of all, enjoy playing one of the best classic party gamespass the parcel!

Some links in this post click through to various partners. When you make a purchase, I may earn a commission. Affiliate programs include, but are not limited to the eBay Partner Network (Australia and International), Amazon and a variety of Australian online shops.

Wondering where to buy pass the parcel party game? Party Ideas in a Box has your party game planning sorted! Choose from our range of pre wrapped pass the parcels here. Be inspired to create your own, as outlined in this blogpost. For pass the parcel prizes, click here to Party Ideas in a Box, or click here and here for a large variety of prizes to suit your party theme.

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