Girl Playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey

DIY Pin The Tail On The Donkey Games for Every Season

Remember playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey games at birthday parties when you were a kid?! It was FUN!  Children’s parties these days seem to have gotten more grand for many, but that simple old school game is still a hit with children of all ages!  

Traditionally a birthday party game featuring a donkey missing a tail, but pin the tail on the donkey has the potential for so much more!  Since lots of birthday parties are now grand affairs, the poor donkey has been set aside by many.  But not you – you know it is fun and your kids will love it!  So who needs a party?!

Pin the tail on the donkey is also a perfect rainy day activity to do at home with your toddler or preschooler for no reason at all!  Just lose the donkey and its tail and instead tailor the fun to the season and what your kids are interested in and you’ve got an awesome craft activity and game!  

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What??? No Donkey?! 

Making a new toy like this game is fantastic for those ho-hum, nothing interesting going on days.  The popularity of this activity all comes down to one design choice:

WHAT WILL YOU PIN ON WHAT?!

A traditional pin the tail on the donkey doesn’t really work when introduced out of nowhere.  Not many toddlers and preschoolers are going to randomly get excited about a donkey.  Although my own 2 year old does run around lately shouting “hee-haw” after seeing one at a local farm recently! 

Pin the tail on the donkey is fully customizable with a little creativity – or the list I’m providing for you below!  Make it about anything that will create interest from your child.  

child playing pin the nose on the snowman
Pin the Nose on the Snowman is a great Christmas game!

Add a little hype and excitement built up by your own example of being so excited to do this with your child and you’ll get requests for playing it again and again!  No kidding, this has happened several times at my house!

Keep reading for a list of over 25 pin the tail on the donkey themes organized by season!

How to Make a DIY Pin the Tail on the Donkey Game: 

Materials:

  • construction paper
  • scissors
  • paint tape
  • poster board or wrapping paper (optional depending on your theme)
  • crayons/markers/paint (optional, but if you’re painting I recommend these Crayola paints)

That’s it!  No fancy art supplies needed.  No expensive craft materials needed.  This game will have your little ones having lots of fun playing for just pennies!  

Method:

  1. Choose a theme shape like the summer flower from the list below.
  2. Follow the sketch and cutting instructions for shapes needed and how many of each you need.  If your child is old enough to cut, draw some simple shapes for them to be helping while you cut the others. diy pin the flower shapes  
  3. Lay out the shapes loosely on the floor so your child sees the shape all together. They can help with the last step more if they understand how it all fits together. 
  4. Take pieces from the large shape and add details by colouring or painting on each.  This is optional, but can be a lot of fun for some themes.  It can also be a way to get around not having the right colour paper!
  5. Tape the pieces to a wall at a good height for your child.  Your child can be in charge of passing you the pieces.  Leave the pieces to be pinned off the wall.paper flower on wall ready for petals to be added
Paper Tips:
  1. Cut multiples of the same shape at once by folding or layering paper.
  2. You don’t need large paper for large pictures. Lay multiple pieces of construction paper out side by side.  Draw your shape pretending the papers are attached.  Cut each paper then tape them on the wall together to look like one big shape. 
  3. The back of wrapping paper is perfect for this project if you do want bigger paper. Your child can colour it the correct colours!

Crafting Time:

The time for this activity can be as short as 5 minutes or as long as a half hour! It just depends on how much detail you include. 

  • Just cutting plain paper shapes? 5 minutes and mostly mom effort. 
  • Offering crayons or paint to add decorations and details? A lot longer and more child-focused. 

Think about it – that’s up to a half hour of engaged time with your child sitting in one spot!  Yes, physical activity is healthy and awesome, but you know what? As a mom, sometimes sitting in one spot is HEAVEN!!!  

You even have a built in next step activity of actually playing the game.   It’s a two-in-one craft and toy and a definite mom effort vs. kid fun balance winner!

How to Play Pin the Tail on the Donkey:Child Playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey

  1. Blindfold your child.  We use a winter hat pulled down over the kids’ eyes or you can also get some cool blindfolds to up the excitement level. 
  2. While holding a  missing picture piece (with tape ready to stick), turn your child in a circle finishing pointing toward the wall with the picture to be pinned. Depending on age you can spin multiple times or even not at all.
  3. Your child walks forward and pins their piece wherever their hand FIRST touches the wall! 
  4. If multiple children are playing, they can write the first letter of their name on their pinning shape to easily know who owns what at the end.

Number three is important! Without it your child will start to feel around for where the item should go based on what they feel on the wall.  First point of contact is where they pin. 

This gives the game more opportunities for giggles over floating hats and lots of other funny outcomes!

Another great game to turn blah days into ta-da days is this MYSTERY FOOD GAME!

Ways to Play DIY Pin the Tail on The Donkey Games

Traditional Pin ONE Thing: You can pin the one obvious thing like the traditional tail on the donkey or the witch’s hat or the snowman’s nose.

Pin Multiple Parts: Choose the part of the picture that has multiple pieces and try to pin them all on in their spots like the sun’s rays or a flower’s petals. 

Both ways work for multiple kids – just take turns with the one thing or everyone gets their own for multiples.  Both also work for one child, but if you want the game to naturally last longer with one chid then I’d go with the multiple pieces.  

All In One: Play each the theme picture all the different ways as possible to get the most out of the game. 

For example, the summer flower.  Start by pinning the petals on the center. child pinning petal on a flower

This will take awhile and probably give some great silly moments seeing the petals all over the place like this:pin the petals on the flower

Later on in the day you can suggest coming back to the game to play it by pinning the center circle in its spot at the middle.pin the center on the flower

Even later, why not pin the leaves on the stem?!  Make a face for the flower and you can pin eyes and mouth too!

This is why doing pin the tail on the donkey games as a DIY is better than buying it.  ALL the parts are moveable so any of the parts can be pinned.  Each themed game is actual many games!

Need another cool paper craft + game combo?!

Check out this easy TODDLER FISHING GAME!

Seasonal Shape Ideas + Cutting Instructions:

Every season has so many ideas possible.  Here is a list of 25 easy custom “Pin the Tail” games that you can make today they are so easy!   Each season has a simple sketch of what the ideas look like and a description of what pieces to cut is included for each game shape. 

Remember, the goal is keeping it simple to keep it fun!  There is no right size or specifics – whatever works for you works for you!  

Summer DIY Pin the Tail on the Donkey:

summer sun bug and castle pin the tail games

Summer Flower – Cut a medium sized circle, several petal shapes, some skinny green rectangles to make the stem and two large green leaves. 

Ladybug – Cut a large red oval, a black oval head and several smaller black circles for spots to pin on.

Sunshine – Cut a large yellow circle and several long yellow rectangles for the sun.  Add black sunglasses and a smile to have more pinning options!

Build a Sandcastle – Cut brown castle shapes and try to pin them stacked one on top of the other!  How high can you go?!

Fall DIY Pin the Tail on the Donkey:fall leaves, apples and pumpkins pin the tail games

Leaves on a Tree – Cut a piece of brown paper in half lengthwise for the trunk, cut several long brown rectangles of varying widths and arrange them to look like branches off the trunk.  Cut any amount of leaves of different colours.  Pin the leaves anywhere on the tree.

Apples in a Basket – Cut one simple bowl-shape basket and several red apples (circles work!).  Pin them in the basket.

Pumpkins on a Vine – Cut long green rectangles to make a vine across the wall.  Cut some short green rectangles to put off the main vine as the targets for your pumpkins.  Cut as many orange pumpkins as you did target spots.

Halloween DIY Pin the Tail on the Donkey:

halloween pumpkin, cat, potion and witch pin the tail games

Jack-o-lantern Face – Cut one large orange pumpkin (poster board may be useful for this one) and black triangles for eyes and nose and a black smile.  

Witch Face – Pin a Nose/Hat/Mouth – Cut one large green oval face, black witch hat, triangle green nose, black mouth, several long purple rectangles for hair. 

Pin the Tail/Ears/Eyes on a Black Cat – Cut one large black oval body, black circle heat, two black triangle ears, four black rectangle legs, one long black cat tail shape, two yellow eye shapes. Pin any and all parts!

Potion Ingredients in the Cauldron – One big black cauldron shape using poster board or multiple pieces of construction paper so it’s nice and big! Cut colourful ingredient shapes like a snake, a leaf, a bone, etc.  to pin into the cauldron.

Christmas DIY Pin the Tail on the Donkey:

Santa, elf, reindeer, nativity and lights pin the tail games sketch
A quick sketch of the ideas and shapes – Trust me, Santa looks much cheerier once properly drawn and with colour hahaha

Pin the Hat/Beard on Santa – Cut an oval face and draw on eyes, nose and smile.  Cut a red triangle for a hat and add a white circle pompom and white rectangle hat trip.  Cut several white paper circles or rectangles to pin on all together and form the beard OR make the whole thing smaller and use white cotton balls!

Pin the Hat/Ears on an Elf – Cut an oval head and draw on eyes, nose and smile.  Cut two pointy elf ears and a triangle elf hat to pin on the elf face.

Rudolph’s Nose & Antlers – Cut one reindeer head, one circle red nose and two antler shapes.  Draw eyes on the head and then pin the nose and antlers on the reindeer!

The Star Over the Nativity – The simple way: cut one large stable shape  and one large star shape to pin over it.  The big project way: Cut silhouettes of everyone in the nativity scene and pin them all in place.  Leave it up to decorate a children’s wall for the season!

Lights on the String – Cut a long snake-like shape to be the light cord.  Cut several squares to place along the cord shape.  Cut the same number of different coloured light bulb shapes to pin in their places along the cord.

 

Winter DIY Pin the Tail on the Donkey:winter snowman, icicles and clothing pin the tail games

Nose/Hat/Scarf/Buttons/Arms on a Snowman – Cut one very large circle and one large circle for the body.  Cut a triangle hat, scarf shape, brown rectangles for stick arms, small black circle buttons, eyes and mouth and one orange triangle nose. 

Icicles on the Roof – Cut out one large house shape (this one is a great project for a longer craft time.  Your child can decorate the house!  Cut several long triangle icicles to pin along the roofline. 

Pin the Winter Clothes on Your Child – Poster Paper or wrapping paper is best for this one! Your child needs to lay down and you trace their outline.  Cut appropriate size winter clothes for the outline – sweater, jacket, mittens, hat, boots

 

Spring DIY Pin the Tail on the Donkey:spring rainbow nest chick and tulip pin the tail games

Pin the Rainbow – Cut long rectangles of all colours of a rainbow  and one large white cloud.  Pin the colours to come out of the cloud in order or just one that’s missing.

Eggs in the Nest – Cut one brown nest shape and a bunch of light blue robin egg shapes to fit in it.

Chicks in the Eggs – Cut several egg shapes and cut them in half with a jagged line to make a cracked egg.  Cut some 

Pin the Tulip – The number of pieces you cut depends how many flowers you want.  You could do one giant one or several medium size tulips.  Skinny rectangle(s) for the stem, bit leaf shapes, tulip top shape (like a cracked egg) in multiple colours.

Easter DIY Pin the Tail on the Donkey:easter bunny, basket, bird and chick pin the tail games

Pin the Ears/Nose/Whiskers/Carrot on the Bunny – 

Eggs in the Basket – Cut one basket bottom, one arch basket handle and several eggs of different colours.  This is a great example of one that the craft time can be longer.  Have your child decorate all the eggs first!

Beak/Wing/Feet on the Chick or Bird – Cut a large chick shape and a small orange triangle. 

 

 

child playing pin the petals on the flower

The main thing to remember with all of these fun theme shapes is to keep it simple!!!  Let the details be added by your kids at craft time.  The actual cut shapes can be simple shapes making life easier for you and actually perfect for sneaking in some math learning too!

Does Santa actually have a rectangular or circular beard?!     Nope!

Will it look enough like a beard in the end?     Yep! 

Will your child have lots of fun playing?    Yep!

THATS ALL THAT MATTERS!!

So have some fun crafting, save a few bucks and create the best pin the tail on the donkey game ever by making it custom for your child!

Share with your mom friends!

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