Continuing with the party theme in honour of ‘The Ultimate Blog Party ’08’ I thought I’d crank up the old brain and see if I could dig out some of the info that has been long stored away, from my life before kids.
Before the girls were born I was a preschool teacher, and on the weekends a friend and I used to plan and run parties for kids. Back then, we went all out for the parties. They always had a theme and were planned down to the last detail. I remember a particularly great ‘Witches’ party complete with cauldrons of jelly slime! Now that I am a parent, the idea of a full on themed party seems way too much, so I stick with small parties and fun, easy activities.
Here are a few ideas to keep kids parties simple but fun!
Simple craft ideas are perfect for a birthday party. There are so many easy craft ideas there is sure to be one to match any theme and any ability. The tip here is to keep it open-ended and easy so that everyone can jump in and have a go. Complicated instructions or rules spoil all the fun for small children but older children will enjoy more complex activities. Make sure to put on the invitations if you will be doing messy activities and ask people to bring a smock, or provide aprons as party favours.
Decorate paper crowns or hats – pre-cut the crowns or make simple cone shaped hats before hand out of sturdy cardboard. (If you make crowns, measure each child’s head as they arrive and staple the crowns to fit) Supply a glue stick for each child and large containers of pasting materials. Cut up paper shapes, coloured patty pans, bits of paper streamers anything that will stick easily.
Thread necklaces – you can buy a variety of cheap threading items or collect up various items and put large holes in them. Whipper-snipper plastic cord works well as easy threading string for young children or you can buy coloured plastic ‘string’ at most $2 shops. For older children buy a cheap bucket of beads and let them create!
Decorate paper ‘goody bags’ – buy plain white paper backs and supply markers, stickers, glue and pasting items etc. Then allow the kids to choose items to fill them
Paint a giant mural – There are loads of fun painting activities you could try, or simply use good old fashioned paint with brushes. Paint on an old white sheet or a large roll of paper. Outside attached to the fence is a good option to cut down on mess.
Everybody Plays, Everybody Wins
Small children have trouble ‘waiting a turn’ as well as following ‘rules’ and perhaps even dealing with winning and loosing. Make it easy on everyone and try to pick activities where everyone can join in and where everyone comes out on top in the end.
A treasure hunt works with just about every party theme you can imagine, or no theme at all. It can be as simple or complex as you make it. Everyone gets to play and everyone gets to find a prize. Try hiding various items around the yard for children to find – small plastic animals are great for this! This is particularly good for a mixed age group of children as it is easy for adults to help little ones join in and be successful – especially if you know where the goodies are hidden!
The old ‘Eat the doughnut hanging on a string game’ also works well. Everyone plays, everyone gets to eat their doughnut (or other more healthy food that can be hung from a string!) and everyone looks silly and giggles a lot.
You can even make some of the more traditional party games more inclusive. If you want to play pass the parcel have every layer that you unwrap have a small surprise in it. Dancing games can be fun, especially if you give out certificates for things like ‘the craziest dancer’, ‘the loudest dancer’ etc
Probably best done with a smaller group of children, there are lots of simple no bake options that even young children can manage. How about making chocolate truffles, or icing and decorating pre-baked biscuits? Decorate a gingerbread house. Make individual mini pizzas. Mix ‘mocktail’ drinks and add fancy accessories such as straws, fruit slices and umbrellas.
How about organising a game of cricket? Or T-ball? Kids v’s adults is always good for a laugh and means that the loosing side (of course the adults) don’t get too disapointed.
There are lots of funny relay race activities you could try. Running with a balloon between your legs, passing a tennis ball under your chin, three legged race… Again make it kids v’s adults for even more fun!
If the weather is warm go for some water games! Even if you don’t have a pool you can still have fun getting wet with games like ‘drip drip drop’ – it works just like ‘duck duck, goose’ but as you walk around the circle with a cup of water dripping a ‘drip’ onto everyone’s head until you get to the person you choose (the goose) then you ‘drop’ the whole cup on their head and run!
Go on Holidays
That may sound like and odd name for a party game, but that’s because it isn’t a game. I am deadly serious. Avoid all the stress and hassle and go on holidays.
When the Twinadoes turned three, instead of a party we planned a family holiday to coincide with their birthday. We went to Queensland to visit some of our very bestest friends. If that wasn’t enough of a party on it’s own, it just so happened that my best friend works for Australia Zoo and took us all for a personalised guided tour with all the added bonuses knowing someone ‘on the inside’ can get you. The girls hand fed the elephants twenty times, patted alligators, snakes, walked with a wombat, fed twin baby goats and had the time of their lives. No party could ever top that and even the adults had a good time!
More party themed posts to come!