Very old, traditional party game, certainly in the United Kingdom, and almost always played to Music. You’ll need something to play music out loud and you can easily pause the music playing (while that sounds obvious and easy, not everybody has access to smart technology… and for point of reference this post was originally written in 2009. The days where tape cassette players were common and CD players were the height of easily accessible technology).
Young children (and older ones) love this game, although the very young might need some help as it can get quite competitive.
Have a chair for each person playing less one or two (ie if 10 people are playing have only 9 or 8 chairs set out). Chairs are typically arranged in two straight lines back to back, or in a single line with chairs facing in alternate directions, ie first facing forwards the second facing backwards, third facing forwards again.
Players walk around the arrangement of chairs waiting for the music to stop. When the music stops, players have to find a chair to sit down on (first person to sit in a chair, no pushing off and judges/adults decision is final, etc.). The player who does not get a chair is eliminated and take no further part in the game or further rounds. Each round, after a player is lost another chair is removed until only two players are left waiting for the last chair.
You might find it useful to place two markers (or adults) at either end of the lines which children or those playing have to go around to save children ending up circling a single chair.
There are some interesting variations to consider:by