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Planning Birthday Parties For Children

Updated on January 10, 2009

Tips for Hosting a Children's Party

A birthday party is a child's main social event of the year. That can make it pretty intimidating for a parent planning the party. However, there are really only three main things to keep in mind when planning your child's party.

First, know your child's interests. Your don't want to throw him or her a party that went out of style last month. (The younger the child the easier they are to please.) If you are unsure try to pick a theme that has withstood the test of time, like dress up parties for little girls.

Second, consider the age of your guests. For younger children keep the party short. They wear out more easily. If they are really young (one or two) opening the presents and eating the cake may be all the excitement they can handle.

Older children usually want a longer party. Consider the theme you are working with and time the party accordingly. Also, try to time the party in accordance with the activities you have planned. Too much unstructured time can be destructive to your home and peace of mind.

Finally, remember that as host, your job is to make sure everyone has a good time. With young guests this can be as simple as providing a gift bag to take home. For older children provide plenty of engaging activities. If an activity is not working out, don't be afraid to stop and go on to the next activity.

Party Themes

Sometimes carrying out a theme can be as simple as having appropriate decorations and cake. For my daughter's second birthday we had an Elmo themed party. We bought Elmo plates, cups, streamers, balloons and tablecloths. My daughter had a wonderful time just running from one item to the next shouting "Elmo!" However, as your children get older a little more planning is required.

Costume Party/Masquerade Ball

What little kid doesn't like to dress-up as someone they dream about becoming? Or, if you wanted to be more specific you could host a period dance like a 50's sock hop or a 70's disco.

If you are hosting a ball obviously the main focus would be dancing. Consider starting the party by teaching a few basic dance moves for those children who may not know how to dance. Serve the food buffet style so the kids can easily move between dancing and snacking. However, don't forget to have a few chairs set out for when they need a break to rest their feet. Decorated masks make fun parting gifts.

If you don't intend to have dancing have a costume contest. You could also have the kids try to guess who's who and provide a prize for the person lest recognized. Moreover, any basic party game, like pin the tail on the donkey, is more fun because of the costumes.

Dress-Up Party

If you are hosting a party for little girls, a dress-up party is always a treat. Any store that sells children's toys should carry Disney Princess costumes. Disney even makes matching accessories like tiara's and shoes. Or for a less expensive option, purchase some fancy clothes from your local second hand store. Just be sure to provide plenty of dress-up options for the girls. Also, remember that accessories make an outfit, so provide plenty of jewelry, shoes, scarves and hats.

Set up a "portrait studio", and take pictures of the girls in their various costumes. The pictures will make ideal parting gifts. Lip gloss, tiaras and magic wands also make excellent parting gifts.

Another option is to have a fancy dress dinner party. Then the girls arrive in their dress-up clothes. The girls will enjoy playing at being adults. Pick up some picture frames at the dollar store, and you can send each girl home with a framed portrait.

Ice Cream Parlor/Sunday Shop

"You scream. I scream. We all scream for ice cream." You chanted it when you were a kid and now your children can chant it as well. Instead of a traditional cake, purchase a large tub of vanilla ice cream and a variety of ice cream toppings. Don't stop with the traditional sprinkles and sauces either. Try some more exotic toppings like shredded coconut, mini M&Ms and gummy bears.

And if you are looking for a game idea, trying balancing ice cream scoops. Make "ice cream cones" out of cardboard. Divide the children into teams and give each team a "cone". One team member holds the cone, and the other team member tries to pile on as many "ice cream scoops" on the cone as possible. Toilet paper rolls make excellent "scoops".

Decorative sundae bowls make ideal party favors. There are also an infinite number of ice cream type candies if you'd rather send home goodie bags. Also, this party works well paired with a 50's theme and maybe even a little karaoke.

Make-over Party/Spa Party

If you have older girls, consider having a make-over party or spa day. Raid the clearance bin in the beauty section of your local drug store. Usually the more exotic colors are on clearance, and the girls will have more fun with a selection of wild colors. Don't forget to purchase applicator brushes for each party guest. Placed in a decorative bag or pouch, they make excellent parting gifts.

For a spa day invest in lotions, scrubs, nail files, clippers and a variety of nail polishes. The girls would also enjoy a selection of nail art if it fits your budget. Also, a selection of sandals and bathrobes will make the girls feel more like they are at a spa. Don't forget to have some movie options for the girls to watch while their nails are drying.

Medieval Tournament

Armored knights, jousts and sword fights...what little boy wouldn't have a good time? Whether the boys dress up or not you can still have a lot of fun with a medieval themed party. You can set your table up in traditional long table style were everyone eats on one side so they can be served from the other or you can create a round table like Arthur.

Have the boys arrive in something they don't mind getting dirty. Then set up a hanging bucket of water in the yard. Using bicycles as horses and pool noodles as lances have the boys charge toward the bucket and attempt to knock its contents onto the other knight.

Another idea is to create swords and shields out of foam rubber. Then dip the end of the sword in some water soluble paint and have a battle. The boy with the fewest hits on his person when time runs out will be declared the winner.

Purchase award ribbons or certificates to hand out to the participants. They make excellent party favors.

Splish Splash Party

Another party idea geared more toward the male gender would be a water fight. Invest in a number of squirt guns and water balloons. You could divide the boys into teams with the object of protecting a flag or just let them go at each other in one giant free-for-all. Just be certain they have plenty of ammunition. The squirt guns will also make excellent parting gifts.

If you party isn't in the summer, you can modify this idea using Nerf dart guns, paintball guns or laser tag.

For more themed party ideas visit Birthday Party But whatever your theme, invest time in your child's interests and make sure the kids have a good time and your child's party is sure to be a big hit.


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      scheng1 8 years ago

      This is the kind of event that McDonald's is extremely good at.