Whether you’ve got 3 five-year-olds or 10 eleven-year-olds coming to your house for a birthday party, there are two essentials for maximum party success: food and activities.
A theme can help to structure the birthday party
A theme will make it easier for you to plan and manage. Everything from the snacks to the decorations to the games can be focused around the selected theme. So, if you’ve got a wee Paw Patroller in your home, or perhaps a sports fan, pick a theme to make your job a little easier.
When it comes to keeping the kids busy for the duration of the party without the cost of booking the local indoor playground for three hours, you have a lot of options to choose from!
Got a backyard?
Forget the bouncy castle rental! For younger kids, all you need for a great backyard party are some classic fun fair-type games that kids will love. You can use easy prizes, like stickers, to the up the challenge of the games! Some exciting examples are:
- Water bottle bowling — use plastic water bottles to make a little bowling alley!
- Bean bag toss
- Old school games, like Twister, are still a huge hit!
- Egg and spoon races — just remember to use hard boiled eggs!
- Do the limbo — all you need are some great tunes and a stick for kids to limbo under! Keep lowering the stick to see who can make it!
- A great game of statues — play the music loud and get the kids to wiggle. When the music stops, hey have to stay still like a statue! The last one who doesn’t move during the music breaks wins.
- A good, old-fashioned treasure hunt
- A piñata is a classic favorite that kids of all ages can enjoy!
With a big group, this might be best accomplished outdoors to minimize the mess! All you need are some paints, brushes, and canvases. Just make sure the paint is washable and everyone has a smock to wear. Each kid will get to take home a great souvenir from their time.
If you’re not big on paint, craft parties in general are great choices. You can choose to get the kids creating simple sparkly wands and crowns, making DIY slime, or even an at home ‘stuff your own teddy bear’ event. The only limit if your imagination! Make sure that you have enough adults on hand to help out with little kids, but otherwise have a blast!
Ask your guests to come in their favorite dress up clothes! Whether you pick a specific theme—like your favorite zoo animal, princess, etc—or just let the kids come as whatever they want, there is a ton of creative fun to be had in costume! Have an extra few pieces on hand for kids who may forget as well.
You could have a roomful of princesses, pirates, or even dinosaurs! Bring in a face painter to give each kid a new look, or hire a character from your kid’s favorite movie. They’ll come in and get the kids singing and dancing for an unforgettable experience.
What about tween parties?
Set up a photo booth — set up a corner of the room as a photo booth, with a backdrop. You’ll want to have lots of props, like sunglasses, fun necklaces, and more for the kids to use in the pictures (the dollar store can help you there!). Take a lot of shots and send each kid a few so that they have a great memento of the fun.
Host a dance party — set the tunes to LOUD, place a disco ball in the right place and let the kids burn off all their energy dancing to the latest and greatest songs! Make sure to have lots of snacks and drinks on hand for when they need a break.
Movie night — movies, popcorn, and sleeping bags? SO fun! A great twist at the right time of the year is to make it an outdoor movie, like a drive-in! Add in some spa fun for a group of girls or some video game competitions for anyone at intermission.
Want to combine food and fun?
Build your own pizza is always good! Mini-pitas make a great base and only take a few minutes to bake up nicely!
You can create some great food fun by having a supreme ice cream sundae bar, with toppings galore. Each kid will make their own dessert just how they want it.
Another option is cupcake decorating. This is a great substitute for the traditional birthday cake, so that each child gets to spend a little time making the perfect mini-cake for themselves. Lots of candy toppings and different colored icing will make it super fun!
The goal with any party is to keep the pace moving, with lots of snacks and activities to keep the kids going until their parents pick them up. Then, it will be time for you to put your feet up a little, and pat yourself on the back for hosting a great party!
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