How to Turn a Dozen Kids with Tennis Racquets into a Smashing Birthday Party
Ace This Year's Birthday Bash with a Grand Slam Victory!
Whether you are a tennis playing family or not, planning a birthday party for 7-10 year old kids with a tennis theme is easy and comes with an extra bonus just for you; the kids, and the mess, will stay outside!
The kids won't be the only ones having fun with this party theme. Making a tennis racquet and tennis ball shaped foods and decorations will be a blast, and these simple tips will help you ace this year's birthday bash with a grand slam victory! Sorry, just had to do it. Let's get started...
Photo courtesy: Flickr/AtomicTaco
Let the Games Begin!
The most important aspect in a kid's party is the food, right? Wrong; it's the games that tire them out so they will sit and eat their food!
1- Remember playing Simon Says when you were a kid? How about giving Simon a little tennis spin? On a tennis court or driveway, line up all the kids in front of you in a horizontal line, each holding a tennis racquet and a ball - be brave! [Hint: look for used kid-sized tennis racquets online, at Goodwill, or at tennis specialty shops.]
You, being Simon, call out commands, such as, "Simon says bounce the ball on your tennis racquet", or "Simon says stand on one foot and hit the ball to me"; in the middle of one of these actions, call out "Simon says freeze!" Change the commands according to the kids' skill level; if they know the game of tennis, actions might be a serve, forehand or backhand. Same rules apply as a regular game of Simon Says.
2- Balloon Tennis offers two kinds of fun. First, the kids get to make their own tennis racquets; secondly, they get to play with them. Supplies: one paint stick for each kid [free at Wal-Mart], plain white paper plates, colored markers, strong packing tape, and balloons in assorted colors. Each kid gets a paper plate and a stick; have them use the markers to decorate their plate any way they would like, maybe writing their name on their 'racquet', then securely tape the stick to the back of the paper plate; voila! A tennis racquet! Pair them up into doubles and have them hit the balloons back and forth with their homemade racquets. The winning team is the one whose balloon never hits the ground. Time the play, utilizing a board game minute timer.
3- What kids party wouldn't be complete without a piÃ±ata; a tennis ball piÃ±ata that is? Fill the piÃ±ata with assorted candies and let the kids whack it with old tennis racquets.
4- For a 'no holds barred' tennis party, hire a tennis coach for an hour or so to teach the kids basic lessons at your local tennis courts. Who knows, you may spark some interest into the next Roger Federer!
Note: Don't forget to let the parents know the kids will be playing tennis-type games and will be outdoors so the kids will arrive coated in sunscreen, and toting a tennis racquet if they have one.
Decorations Make the Party Festive
There are two ways to go with decorations; the easy way or the hard way; you choose.
The easy way is to purchase a tennis themed table cloth, napkins, and matching paper plates. Everything looks very cute and you turned it out in no time flat. After all the planning, shopping, invitation sending, organizing, shopping, phone calling, shopping, and food prep, I'm thinking this is the way to go.
However! If you have lots of helpers and feel particularly crafty, grab the duct tape; here we go!
Cover a picnic, or rectangular table with dark green felt or a table cloth. A Ping-Pong table will also work. Using white duct tape, mimic the lines on a tennis court on top of the table covering. Assemble a Ping-Pong net down the center for authenticity, and you're done! Easy-peasy! Bright yellow plates, cups and napkins will look festive on the green covering.
Balloons - everywhere! Tie them to the back of chairs or around the yard, and be sure to mix in some Mylar tennis shaped balloons, too.
Given the age of your guests, the food for this party should not only tantalize their young taste buds, it has to be fun to eat too.
Meet your new BFF; tennis racquet and ball shaped cookie cutters! Use them to make tennis racquet shaped PB&J sandwiches. Use a small circle cookie cutter and cut 'tennis balls' out of melon slices, spear them onto Popsicle sticks, add a bag of chips and it's tennis fun for lunch! Game. Set. Match.
Small hands love cupcakes, and a display of bright yellow tennis ball cupcakes will surely be a hit. Bake white cupcakes in dark green cupcake liners and frost them with white icing. To decorate, while the icing is wet, dip the cupcakes upside down into a bowl of yellow jimmies; this will give the cupcakes that fuzzy ball look. For the lines on the ball, use a white frosting pen.
Note: Please be sure to check with each kids parents for possible peanut allergies, and skip the 'P' element on some of the sandwiches if necessary.
OK, We're Winding Down
When the games have been played, the gourmet tennis lunch and cupcakes have been devoured, and a wall of mini-vans and SUV’s become the new view from your front window, you know it’s time for the kids to be packing up to go home and your cue to hand out the party favors. Whew!
In keeping with the tennis theme for your party favors, think personalized sun visors, but hand them out when they arrive so they can wear them for the festivities.
Cellophane bags tied with a big ribbon bows, or plastic, see through Chinese take-out cartons filled with foil wrapped chocolate tennis balls, gummy tennis racquets, and temporary tennis tattoos will have them chatting up your party for days.
More information to help you pull off the prefect tennis party!
- Balloon Tennis
What the kid's homemade tennis racquet will look like.
- Tennis themed party decorations and more
This is a fantastic website! You will find a lot of items to help you set the perfect party scene, and temporary tennis tattoos for the goodie bags.
- Cookie Cutters
Reasonably priced tennis racquet, and tennis ball shaped cookie cutters.
- In Suzi's Words
You may also enjoy reading and following my blog!