7 min read
Planning a birthday party soon?
Once the party date and guest list are decided and you’ve got a plan for food and cake, it may occur to you...
What are people going to do during the party?!
Games abound for kids parties, but it gets harder when you're having a party for adults, teenagers, or mixed ages.
To help get your guests mixing and mingling and having fun, consider birthday trivia as an activity. It’s easy to play, requires no special equipment and allows everyone to get involved—from kids to grandparents.
Keep reading to learn more about birthday trivia or click on a link below to jump to a particular section.
To play birthday party trivia, each guest receives a sheet of paper with questions about the birthday person. The questions are meant to be quick to answer, potentially thought-provoking and might just start a debate among people.
For example, a few trivia questions might be:
When they were a kid, what did they want to be when they grew up?
What is their superpower?
What place would like they most like to visit?
Most people will think the goal is to provide as many correct answers as possible.
The real purpose of birthday trivia?
An entertaining activity for party guests to celebrate and share stories about the birthday person. In fact, birthday trivia delivers three doses of fun:
1. Easy to Play -There’s no special equipment required, and you don’t need to explain the rules. Between school and doctor’s appointments, we’re conditioned to know that blanks on a paper need filling in.
2. Inclusive Party Game -Whether the party guests are aged 12, 22 or 82, EVERYONE can play. If a guest is not able to read or see the print, someone can ask them the questions about the guest of honor.
3. Flexible Activity -You choose the number and type of trivia questions. Provide open-ended questions or opt for multiple-choice answers. Let guests complete the sheets as they arrive or see who can answer the most questions in the next 5 minutes. Whatever works best for you and the birthday party.
4. Great Game for Guests to Get to Know Each Other – Adult birthday parties often involve guests who haven’t met. Birthday trivia provides a low-risk way to get guests out of their cliques (neighbors, friends from work, childhood friends, etc.) and talking. Discussing one of the trivia questions with an unfamiliar party guest is sure to be more interesting than trying to make small talk about the weather.
5. Negligible cost – Birthday trivia is friendly to any budget. If you’ve got some paper and pens, you’re good to go.
6. Creates a fun party memory for all - The shared experience of birthday trivia provides insights into the Birthday Person, as well as how others see that person. As for the Birthday Person, they’ll smile remembering the nice things that people said.
BONUS! Trivia can be done while social distancing, which hopefully will be but a memory by the time you read this!
For those of you wondering, “Isn’t there an app for this?” or “Do I need a separate pen for each guest?”
It’s always up to the host to decide what goes at a birthday party.
When I host a party, I want guests to be interacting with each other, not heads down on their devices. Plus, a simple sheet paper and pen/marker need no explanation or WiFi password, and they work regardless of the brand of smartphone you own. 🥳
Consider how and when you want to include the trivia in your birthday festivities. There’s no right or wrong way, but it’s helpful to decide before the start of the party. Some ideas that I've seen work well:
1. Use birthday trivia as an icebreaker for your guests
Ease the social anxiety of walking into a party with birthday trivia! (I once read that people would rather go to the dentist than walk into a party.)
Simply set out printed sheets of trivia and writing utensils in an obvious spot, such as near the bar or wherever you have drinks. Guests can grab a beverage, see how many items they can answer and before you know it, they're asking the person standing next them for help answering a question.
2. Play Birthday Trivia Before the Surprise Party Starts
Surprise parties can be polarizing--people either love 'em or hate 'em. No matter which side of the debate you fall on, everyone can agree that the time spent waiting for the guest of honor to arrive always seems to drag on and on.
Fill those awkward minutes with trivia questions!
An added benefit? Completing answers to questions can be done quietly so as not to give away the surprise.
3. Birthday trivia can provide a great transition activity after the meal and before birthday cake.
As guests are finishing up a meal, there tends to be a lull in the party. Some people are still eating, others are deep in a conversation with the person next to them, and efforts might be underway to start clearing the dishes. Bringing out trivia helps get everyone back on the same page. Plus, it works out well to have the guest of honor reveal the answers as cake is being served.
4. Decorate with Birthday Trivia Questions
For party décor that doubles as a conversation starter, use trivia questions!
Place various photos of the birthday person out and add a speech bubble above with the question. Some examples you might see at an adult’s birthday party:
-A picture of the guest of honor at their high school prom with a trivia question above it, Who was their favorite band/singer in high school?
-A picture of the guest of honor at the beach asking What is their dream vacation?
-A picture of the guest of honor holding their first born with a note, What was their biggest surprise about parenthood?
You get the idea. 😀
Pssst! Looking for more birthday party decor, check out our birthday party kits and centerpieces.
To create your own trivia questions, think about topics you might cover on a long road trip or how you might describe the Birthday Person to a friend.
Here’s a checklist I’ve developed over the years to help make birthday trivia as entertaining as possible:
✅ Ask questions about the Birthday Person’s past, present and future-Thinking about these phases of life is timely for a birthday celebration. Additionally, including questions from various chapters of the person’s life means a wider range of guests are likely to know the answers. Sure, Aunt Helen may know what the Birthday Person wanted to be when they grew up, but she’s less likely to know what movie/show they recently binged on.
✅ Include a mix of objective and subjective questions-Asking only about the facts of someone’s life (What was their first car?) results in “right” and “wrong” answers, which might leave some guests feeling like they’re back in school.
I’ve found some of the most interesting conversations result from queries like, If the Birthday Person were an animal, what animal would they be? or What reality TV show would win the Birthday Person win? These questions
✅ Have some unexpected questions to surprise the Birthday Person-Keep them on their toes too! Ask something unexpected like, What childhood sitcom could the Birthday Person have been on?
✅ Sprinkle in a few unexpected questions to surprise the Birthday Person-Keep the guest of honor on their toes too! Ask something unexpected like, What childhood sitcom did the Birthday Person secretly want to be on?
✅ Keep the questions positive –Maybe I’m old fashioned or just want to avoid hurt feelings, but a birthday party isn’t a great place to intentionally ask someone about their biggest regrets, messy family dynamics or how many rejection letters they received while trying to land their first job. Save those conversations for another time.
✅ The more specific the question, the better-Questions that are too broad tend to lead to requests for clarification which means one more demand on the host. Besides, birthday trivia is meant to be a fun party game.
For example, Where did the Birthday Person live after college? might prompt someone to ask an apartment, a house, a hotel, an AirBnB; with a particular friend or family member...
Instead ask, What city did the Birthday person live in right after college graduation?
Hopefully, birthday trivia adds some entertainment to your party, so EVERYONE is a winner.
Since everyone can’t be in the top half of partygoers... 😉
I suggest one of the guests act as “emcee” and ask others how they answered the questions. The guest of honor can bask in the glow of the partygoers and reveal the answers. Be prepared for people to start laughing and telling stories...after all, a birthday party is filled with people who love the Birthday Person and have probably been a part of some of the stories.
There always seems to be someone who says, “I answered the most questions correctly. What do I win?” Feel free to award them a prize of your choosing, or just let them choose which slice of birthday cake they want!
Birthday trivia works well on FaceTime, a Zoom call, Google Meeting or any other videoconferencing platform. Birthday trivia is the perfect activity for these virtual celebrations because:
We're so glad you're here! Birthday Butler helps make celebrating easier and more convenient.
Get great party ideas & gift ideas delivered to your inbox every weekend!