Challenges in a Bottle


Category: Active

Venue: Indoor or Outdoor

Time: 15-25 minutes depending on number of challenges

Ages: 5-7


Plastic soda or juice bottle with large opening

Note cards or small slips of paper

Pen or marker

Prizes (1 per guest)



On note cards or small slips of paper, write the challenges. Samples are given below, plus you can add your own. The older the children, the more challenging the tasks can be. Make them difficult, but not impossible. Let your birthday child make up some to challenge the guests.

Fold the written challenges and put them inside the bottle. Fold them small enough so they can be shaken out of the bottle. (Be sure the inside of the bottle is dry so that the cards don’t stick.) Screw on the top.

Sample challenges:

1. Rub your tummy and pat your head at the same time for 30 seconds

2. Hug two children

3. Hop on one foot while counting to five (or more for older children)

4. Shake hands with three children

5. Act like a cat or dog

6. Act like a snake

7. Walk in a circle behind the guests while patting your head

8. Walk backwards around the circle while patting your head

9. Sing the happy birthday song

10. Shout “happy birthday” in your loudest voice

11. Count to ten (or more)  in a whisper

12. Act like a very scary monster


Begin the Activity:

Have the children sit in a large circle on the floor with plenty of space in the middle to perform the challenge. Place the bottle in the middle of the circle.

Note: If there are shy children who are reluctant to participate, assure them they can be “watchers” until they are ready to play. Let each child state whether they want to be a “watcher” or “player.” Most of the watchers quickly change their minds after they see how much fun it is.

The birthday child starts the activity by spinning the bottle until it stops. Whoever it points to will pick up the bottle, open it, and shake out a challenge card. The child will read it (or you can read it if the child is a non-reader) and then perform the task. The child also has the option to pass. The children in the circle will respond with thumbs up if the task was performed correctly, or thumbs down if not. If thumbs-up wins, the child keeps the card.

The child who just completed the task will close the bottle and spin it again for the next task challenge. Proceed as above until all the challenges have been performed. If the spinning bottle stops at a child who has already had a turn, spin again. Be sure that everyone gets at least one turn.

After all the challenge cards are gone, the guests tally up their cards. Everyone who has at least one card (which should be everyone) gets a prize.