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A Parents Guide To Planning Kids Birthday Parties

Updated on August 21, 2016

Planning A Birthday Party That Gives Kids The Chance to Play And Laugh

When it comes to children's birthday parties, money is not everything and in this high-tech age, the best parties are those that give the chance to play, laugh, engage and use their imagination. Shy children should never be pressured into joining a game instead, let them decide when they are ready to play.

  • Younger kids might like an adult to help them with an activity if they are feeling unconfident, or you could get an unwilling child involved by asking them to hand out prizes or food.
  • You can also expect an occasional tantrum or outburst of tears, from young children in particular.
  • Excitement meet tiredness and an excess of party food can all contribute to a meltdown. If this happens simply try a change of pace or activity or even a little time out in a quiet room with an understanding adult.
  • Losing your own temper will do nothing for the party mood. When dealing with aggressive or rude children, stick to your guns and simply let them know what is acceptable.
  • If a child is ruining the fun tor others, explain that if they cannot play properly then perhaps they should not play at all. Again, a change of activity can help change the mood children do not want to play a particular game, do not force them. Just chalk it up to experience.
  • Always have a couple of extra game ideas up your sleeve, just in case you run out of things to do, and as an emergency backup have some paper, pens, toys and puzzles on hand. These will also be handy for any children who do not feel like participating in organised games treasure hunt.


Age Appropriate Birthday Parties For Children

If your child is under five years old, balloons and streamers will be enough to set the scene, and food will be for the adults, so you can simply cater as you would for a normal occasion. Similarly, teenage children are likely to have their own very strong ideas about they want and traditions such as party games may no longer be on the agenda. Preschooler parties can be kept fairly simple where both food and activities are concerned. Once children reach 6 years of age, on the other hand, there will be quite a few parties and are likely to involve the birthday child. When planning and suggesting a few ideas feel comfortable in letting the guest of honour choose one. By the middle to late primary school, your child might be quite ambitious. At this age, kids are less interested in traditional party games than in activities related to their interests or in simply socialising. Where parties are concerned, anticipation is half the fun. So as soon as your child is old enough, get them involved in the process too chances are they will have some definite ideas about what they do and do not want. Think too about other parties you have been to and what worked, what did not and what suits your own circumstances and budget.

Birthday Parties For Older Children

Kids aged 6 to 8 love all sorts of games and are mostly better equipped to deal with competitive activities. They also tend to enjoy simple projects such as silly or spooky stuff and imaginative or energetic play such as cowboys and Indians, or alien battles, and fun sports. From around age 9 onwards, children are less in organised games interested. They are likely to enjoy activities centred around pop cultures such as dance and movies. They also enjoy decorating T-shirts, making jewellery other accessories in many or cases, sport, and, a sack of surprises with surprises for each guest and hide these in a decorated bag or box.

Away From Home Birthday Party

The greatest part of an away from home birthday party is that you do not have to deal with the messy aftermath. You can simply go home and put your feet up with a well-earned cup of tea. Holding the party elsewhere does take some planning, though, particularly you are supplying the food yourself, in that case, the simplest option is to plan a picnic as part of the party for example, a trip to an observatory could be followed by lunch in a nearby park, complete with moon cake, star shaped sandwiches and green space juice. It the weather is bad on the day. The picnic can simply be taken home and eaten there. Try not to get too ambitious, and remember to pack essentials such as wet wipes and a first aid kit. You should also make sure that your picnic location has a toilet and barbecues if you are planning on cooking. Keep numbers limited and have enough adults on hand to supervise all the children particularly if they are playing a sport or doing something energetic.

Hiring A Birthday Party Venue

If you are hiring a venue such as a play centre, check the cost per child and exactly what is provided. Also ask whether you will be charged extra for any parents who stay and use the service, or for any setting up. Find out when and how payment is due on the day by credit card, or ahead of time. Ask for specific details of the services provided and for any information. Make sure you know the duration of the activities offered, and that they are age appropriate for your guests. Check whether guests need any special clothing or parents are expected to supervise activities. If not, ask how many supervisors there will be for the children and if staff have first aid knowledge. You can cut costs substantially by catering yourself, but not all venues allow if they are providing food, find out what will be offered including the birthday cake. Check the menu for any common allergy foods.


Activities Suitable For Preschoolers

Treasure Hunt
Hide sweets toys, chocolate coins or objects related to the party theme around the garden and let the kids race to find them. For older children, split them into teams and give each a list of hidden objects: the team that finds the most wins. Provide cryptic clues as to where each treasure is to be found. At that location, hide another clue. And so on.
Mr Wolf
In this game a child is selected to be Mr Wolf, who stands a few metres away with his back to the other children. The children must creep towards the wolf and ask, What’s the time, Mr Wolf? The wolf will eventually yell "Dinnertime” at which the children run away to avoid being eaten, The first child caught becomes Mr. Wolf for the next round variation charge Mr. Wolf into sleeping Beauty or some other character that suits the party theme.
Pass the Parcel
In this popular game, a treasure is wrapped in many layers of paper usually with a small treat tucked between each layer. While music is played, the children seated in a circle pass the parcel from one to another. When the music stops, the person holding the parcel unwraps a layer. Within each layer, include an instruction such as "Pass to the closest girl or "For the tallest boy order children might also enjoy having to carry out a task before claiming the trinket these could include doing a silly walk or relevant to the party theme.

One or two simple games are usually enough, Bear in mind that games involving winning and losing can cause upsets. In fact, it is sensible to include at least one game where everyone "wins" something.

Activities Suitable For Younger Children

Party headbands
This is a good icebreaker when guests arriving set up a table with a strip of coloured paper or cardboard for each guest, and s selection of craft materials such as tinsel, glitter, stokers, antennas glue and felt tip pens. Ask them to make a hat and simply wrap a around their head to check the measurement. It is important to choose games and activities that are age appropriate with preschoolers; things do not need to be too structured.
Scavenger hunt
A bit like a treasure hunt, but here the children use an objects outside. Make this as varied as possible: a feather a bottle cap, a chocolate, a flower, a sock, a blade of grass, etc. (obviously, you will need to hide some beforehand). For preschoolers, lay out the objects somewhere handy so it is not too hard for them. Provide a time limit so there is a real sense of urgency!
Sleepy Bees
This quiet game will help children unwind before they go home. Play some calm music and have the children walk slowly around the room. When the music stops, call out "Sleepy bees and everyone must drop to the floor until all bees have a prize.
  • Apple bobbing - Place a large basin or bucket of water on an outdoor table or bench (a wading pool also works well), Plop six or more apples into the water, then let the kids take it in turns to see how many apples they can remove without using their hands. Have plenty of towels available!
  • Karaoke - Preteens are likely to be into music and dancing, so karaoke can be a popular party activity. Equipment is available for hire or you may be able to Use your child’s favourite CDs or buy a specific karaoke CD, which will come music and lyrics. Do not force any shy children to do a solo, but encourage them to join in group numbers instead.
  • Limbo - This long-time favourite involves each player leaning backwards and trying to walk under a broom without touching it. The broom should be lowered a little after each round; stop music as the game is played.
  • Musical chairs - Set out a number of chairs or cushions in a circle there must be one less chair/cushion than there are children As the music plays the children dance around the chairs, and when it stops they must sit in a chair. The one who misses out is eliminated. Remove another chair and repeat, until just one child remains variations For a change, when using cushions, instead of eliminating the child who misses out on a place, get him or her to share a cushion with someone else, as another cushion is removed each round, the children be forced to pile together until they are all on the one small cushion.

More Fun Birthday Party Activities

  • Collect fifteen empty plastic drink bottles. Fill each with a little sand or gravel to weigh it down and spray paint to match the party theme. Set up the bottles in a triangle (three at the back, two in the next row, and one at the front, for a simple challenge). Each player stands on a line and throws a ball to try to knock down as many bottles as they can. Keep score at the end, the player with the highest score wins.
  • Slime surprise - In this game kids must pull out a variety of objects from buckets of slimy liquid. Makeup two buckets of slime by mixing soap flakes in water, and then add a variety of plastic objects spiders, bats, snakes, etc. Divide the kids into two teams in front of the two buckets, and give them a list of the different objects to be retrieved. The first players to dip their hands into the slime to try to find the first object on the list. Once this is found, the second players take their place and delve for the second object. The first team to find all the objects wins. This is incredibly messy, so hold it outside and consider providing aprons or old shirts to cover guest’s party clothes. Mix two packets of cornflour with some food colouring and enough water to make a more solid gooey mixture the goo begins to dry out, simply add a little more water. The mixture can be stored in a container with a lid.
  • Stage fright- Give two of the children a scene to act out. While they do this, one child from the audience calls Freeze and the actors must then freeze in position The caller takes the place of one of them, and the new pair must then continue the story in a different direction For example, the first duo may have frozen while dancing, but when the new actor steps in they start a sword fight.
  • Touchy Feely - First you need a box with a hole out in the side, a blindfold, and a variety of objects of different textures (cottonwool, damp sponge, soap, sandpaper, etc.). Each player, in turn, is blindfolded and then puts their hand through the hole to remove an object. They then have to guess what it might be. Award small prizes for correct guesses, or just enjoy the laughter.
  • Flippers race- This is definitely an outdoor game. Split the kids into two teams and give each team a pair of flippers, a mask and a (plastic) cup of water. The first player from each team stands at the starting line. At a signal, both have to don the mask and flippers and run (holding the cup of water over their heads) to a set point and back without spilling any water. They then have to pass the equipment and cup of water to the next team member, topping up the water as necessary.


The Birthday Cake As The Centerpiece

As the centrepiece of the feast, the birthday cake deserves a little thought and attention. For a quick and easy effect, bake it in a shaped tin these can hire from specialty shops or make several cakes and trim to form the shape you need, options include hearts, animals, numbers, and letters, as well as preschooler celebrities such as Thomas the Tank. Do not limit yourself to old standards such as jellybeans or silver balls or chocolate animals and shapes can be used to highlight a party theme, Liquorice can be used to mark out railway lines, or eyebrows on a and so on. Plastic toys can also be dragged out of the toy box and washed well and plated to top the cake. For example, ice your coca cola in Spiderman black in a red, then place a Spiderman action figure on the top, hitting against a bad guy or perhaps brandishing one of the birthday candles. Likewise, for Fairy Party ice the coca cola as a toadstool then sprinkle some silver balls around, then top with a figurine and simply pop it on top of a homemade cake. These are useful if your child insists on a character such as Elsa, Shrek or Harry Potter, which would be difficult to create yourself. Another option is to cut out a picture the character, laminate the card, and place of carefully on top of the cake. Decorate around the edges with candies.

Games Are Often The Highlight Of The Party

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A Child's Birthday Party

How To Let Someone Else Do It!

Even you hold the party at your own home; you may keen to hand the entertainment side of things over to magazines for contact details, or ask around for recommendations. You may also opt for hiring some equipment to make your party real y special, in this case, read the fine print carefully for any special conditions and make sure the supplier carries insurance for property damage and personal insurance. You should also check to see there are any heights, weight or age in its and what space or surface is required for the equipment. Finally, if the equipment is only being supplied and you are expected to operate it, be sure to get a set of operating and troubleshooting instructions. Hiring an entertainer, try to get references if possible. Ask if they are prepared to entertain, cost per head, their experience, and the requirements and insurance and so on.


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