Birthday parties-the very thought sends some mums into orbital panic while for other mums, it signals their brain’s creative juices to plan the ultimate gathering for their children and their friends. Which one are you?
If you are in the majority, you’re somewhere in the middle. You look forward to giving your child a birthday bash they’ll enjoy, but you get stuck in the planning stages. Well…never fear, the birthday party planning page is here!
The basics of a child’s birthday party are games, food, gifts and presents. Oh, and don’t forget the goody bags for guests. Nothing extravagant or lavish is necessary. Limos, a three-ring circus or $100 hockey game seats are unnecessary.
A party with a theme is fun and is easier to plan than a random event. Themes for a toddler’s party use plates, cups, balloons, cupcakes…everything in the child’s ‘obsession’; cowboys or Barbie or trains or circus animals or…you get it.
As a child gets older, the theme will take on added meaning by including games centred around the party theme. Here are a few tried and true winners your kids are sure to enjoy…
- Wild West Party: Games can include lassoing large stuffed animals, going on a treasure hunt for stolen gold (choc. coins), relay games on stick horses, and pinning the tail on the horse or donkey using bandanas to shade their eyes. Serve root beer floats, hot dogs, baked beans and s’mores or cake in the shape of a boot. Party favors can include boot-shaped mugs or bandanas filled with trail mix, a sheriff’s badge, and saltwater taffy.
- Sea World Party: Make crafts using sea shells and sand art. Water games are always popular with kids, as are bubbles and piñatas in the shape of fish or mermaids. Snacks can include gummy fish, goldfish crackers and cookies in the shape of fish or mermaids with blue or clear soda. The perfect party favor or a party such as this is an inexpensive goldfish (live) in a small container with a small baggie of goldfish food. If you aren’t crazy about the fish idea, swim rings and goggles are always lots of fun for everyone.
- Trains: Pay a visit to the appliance store for some (free) large appliance boxes. Decorate them with paint and crepe paper streamers to look like the cars of a train. Serve grilled cheese sandwiches, apple slices, and cupcakes and juice boxes. Games should include pinning the engineer to the train, coloring pages, hot-potato or musical chairs (use train sounds) and relay games putting on engineer’s overalls and cap. Give each guest a wooden train whistle and cap or a book about trains.
- Carnival: Games are easy-ring toss, fish pond, rubber darts, pin the nose on the clown, piñatas and balloon stomp or relay. Face painting is always fun, too. Foods to serve include cotton candy, popcorn, ice cream and animal crackers with chocolate milk to drink. Party favors can include magic tricks, glow sticks, bean bags and sunglasses.
- If your child’s birthday falls near Christmas, serve traditional Christmas goodies. Instead of games, take the children caroling in the neighborhood or at a nearby nursing home, then come home to decorate giant sugar cookies or Christmas stockings and ornaments.
- Nature or Wildlife: After making bird feeders or plaster casts of leaves and/or shells, go on a nature walk or visit the local wildlife center. An old-fashioned game of “Barnyard” is as fun today as it was years ago. To play: each child one of 4 animal sounds. When you say ‘go’, children should start making their animal sounds at the same time-walking around trying to find other children making the same sound. Each group of children making the same sound should link arms. When everyone is with a group, the game is over. Juice, trail mix, animal crackers, gummy worms and raw fruit and veggies make the perfect snacks for such a party. Little bags of plastic critters, gummy bears and bug house or miniature butterfly net are appropriate favors.
- Older girls will enjoy decorating t-shirts and headbands or having a ‘fashion show’ using dress-up formals you’ve gotten from the resale shop. Serve fancy sugar cookies or cup cakes, fruit slices and juice or soda in floral paper cups. Miniature velvet bags of costume jewelry, lip gloss and nail polish are wonderful favors for a party such as this.
Destination parties are the perfect solution to any birthday party quandary. They are fun for the kids and your house comes out unscathed. The following list of suggestions should put a smile on a child’s face.
- Kiddy Arcade. The party plans offered at places such as this include food, drinks, cake and game tokens.
- Pool or water park. For the price of admission, the kids get all the water fun they can handle. Just be sure you pack plenty of sunscreen. And what’s really great….the lifeguards are there to help keep an eye on everyone. A light snack is all that’s needed and you can even take the gifts home for your child to open later.
- Zoo. Take the kids to the zoo and treat them to a sea lion show or animal feeding.
- Bowling, skating, corn maze, petting zoo or discovery center parties are fun and provide an element of either education or physical exercise.
Happy Birthday to you and your child!
For more articles on kids’ parties, see: