Fun and Exciting Party Ideas for Children
Perhaps your child’s birthday is right around the corner and you want to plan something special. There is nothing more fun and adventurous than a birthday party with an exciting theme. Parties like these are enjoyable for everyone who attends and can be gratifying to plan and execute. Below is a step-by-step guide for planning a theme birthday party that will impress your guests and impact your child for years to come.
Decide on a Theme. Maybe your son is into baseball or your daughter likes princesses. Perhaps there are several activities or fictional characters your child fancies. To pick a party theme, begin by making a list of your child’s interests, involving them in the brainstorming process. In going through your list, you will find that some hobbies or childhood favorites will spark a plethora of party ideas, while others will leave you blank. Go with the idea your child is most interested in and the idea you feel would be the easiest and most fun to pursue. Regardless of the choice, your child’s theme should be age appropriate and built around something your child enjoys.
Select a Date and Time. The most convenient time to plan a child’s birthday party is on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Parents’ schedules are usually more flexible on weekends and a party in the afternoon allows for families to continue with their other plans in the morning and evening, which results in a higher attendance of your child’s friends. Be aware of any special events in your community or holidays which might conflict with your party. You may need to adjust your plans to accommodate for such interferences.
Choose a Location. When choosing a location for the party, consider whether the facility will be an appropriate size to host the number of children who will be attending. When I planned my daughter’s Tinkerbell – Peter Pan party, we turned the living room into Pixie Hollow and the kitchen into Captain Hook’s Pirate Ship. The sparkling lights, oversized mushrooms and fairy wings were charming and the parrots, skulls and gold coins provided something for both genders to enjoy. However, so many children showed up that our small home could not handle the crowd comfortably. In contrast, you would not want the facility to be too large, giving the party an empty feel and hindering the interaction between the children. You will also want to make sure your location is applicable to the theme. For instance, if your child is interested in having a Sponge Bob party, consider having a backyard water fight or a trip to your local public pool.
Plan Activities. Many parents do the usual cake, presents and goody bags, while the parents mingle and the children are left to play on their own. This is appropriate for a simple party but, if you are wanting to give your party an added flair, plan a few short party activities focused around your chosen theme. For an Autumn party, you might paint pumpkins or bob for apples. If you choose a Mexican theme, hang a pinata and play pin-the-tale-on-the-donkey. Just a couple of fun games can leave your child’s friends talking about the fun they had for weeks to come. A year after my child’s fifth birthday, I had another mother come up to me and tell me again what a great time her little girl had at the party and that she still talked about it occasionally.
Design and Send Invitations. Parents receive dozens of birthday party invitations each year. Make your child’s invitations stand out and create excitement about the party by designing unique and theme specific invitations. For my daughter’s Rockstar party, we turned the invitations into backstage passes and encouraged the children to wear them the day of the party. Obviously, the invitations should provide the usual who, what, when, and where, such as the name of your child and the date, time and location of the party. But, you will also want to include specifics of the party, which I like to refer to as "teasers." This is your opportunity to advertise the party and peak the children’s interest by telling about door prizes, games, special guests, etc. This is a great way to make sure your child’s party is one everyone wants to attend. Make sure you send the invitations out early enough for the families to plan but not so far in advance that they forget about the party.
Prepare the Menu. A party menu designed around a chosen theme can be a lot of fun. If you are hosting a Fall party, have a pumpkin-shaped cake, roasted hotdogs, s’mores, apple cider or hot cocoa. If your daughter prefers tiaras and princesses, serve tea, fresh fruit and pastries. For a Pirate party, serve parrot legs (chicken legs) and pirate teeth (cornnuts). This is an area of the party in which you can use creativity and imagination to turn ordinary foods into theme specific treats.
Put Together Party Favors. Never let your child’s friends leave empty handed. Now, that does not mean the party favors need to be expensive. Dollar stores and novelty websites are a great source for finding small gifts that can be purchased in quantity. Squirt guns could be sent home for a beach theme, wands or card tricks for a magic theme, or shredded bubble gum and baseball cards for a sports theme. Use your imagination and send the children home with a small treasure to remember the fun they had at your child’s party.
Decorate. Party decorations can be as simple or elaborate as you desire. If your son is having a basketball party, a gymnasium would probably not need many extra touches. If you are planning a jungle theme, however, you could decorate much more dramatically by hanging paper vines from the ceiling, setting out live plants, and arranging stuffed monkeys and snakes around the room. Background music can also help set the party mood. For my daughter’s rockstar party, we had "Party in the USA" playing over and over while the kids walked in on a red carpet. It set a spirit of excitement as soon as they walked in the door.
Double Check, then Host and Enjoy. Once everything has been set in motion, it is a good idea to go over a checklist prior to the party to make sure everything is in order. Have everything ready to go ahead of time so that, on the day of the party, you can relax and go with the flow. Things may not always go according to plan, but the children will never know the difference. Host the party and make an amazing memory with your child!
Birthdays are special times during the growing-up years. Once they have passed, that time is over and can never be regained. This is why making a lasting memory is so important. Your child will probably forget what kinds of gifts were received, but will never forget how special he felt or how his parents went out of their way to make sure everyone had a great time at his theme birthday party.