Let me just give this disclaimer...we don't do big birthday parties every year. Baby turned 2 last week-and we just took the fam to-yes-Chuck E. Cheeses. And we didn't even eat there. We went early in the morning to beat the germ-y crowds, then went home for lunch and cupcakes.
But on the years when we do include our kids' friends, I enjoy the planning process so much! Creative birthday parties make birthdays especially memorable. But you don't have to ooze creativity to plan an extraordinary birthday. Choose a theme, get your invitations made and start thinking outside the birthday box!
We begin each party with greeting our guests with something to wear to at the party. This doubles as a take-home treat. For Belle's fourth birthday party, a carnival theme, we greeted each child with a colored t-shirt and a clown hat. My cousin, Care, has had her birthday boys greet their friends with straw hats, bandanas, and small binoculars at a safari party, and a hat, badge and whistle at a police party.
Once guests have been greeted and "dressed the part," direct them to an activity that the kids can jump into whenever they arrive. For preschoolers it may be decorating a hat or crown with stickers or coloring a picture. For elementary age kids consider an theme-related craft or playing ball outside. At our Carnival guests were directed to a table to decorate a wide tie and another table to get their face painted (by me or my mom), before stopping at all the carnival game booths.
When your ready for the party to begin, start with a few theme related, age-appropriate games and activities. Think of a way to do relays related to the theme. Care's police party tested each party-goer in a police training obstacle course, before playing Red Light, Green Light. The safari guests "hunted" animals in the backyard.
A Pinata-safari style!
Elementary age kids need activities, whether it's doing a craft or a game or a follow the leader type activity. Have kiddos make their take-home gift like necklaces or tiaras for a dress up party, or a stick horse or lasso for a cowboy party. Belle was recently invited to a Glad Scientist party complete with science experiments. How about hula lessons at a Hawaiian Surf party?
Once all your planning is done, enjoy your guests and your birthday child. It is not the perfect decorations or extravagant games or food that people everyone will remember. They'll remember the fun theme and warm home (or park!).
Belle's Noah's Ark third birthday. Each guest came dressed as an animal and played in our refrigerator box ark (ask local appliance stores for free boxes)
What was your most memorable party? What do you want your children to remember about their celebration?
Check back tomorrow. Care will give us her tips for saving money while throwing a memorable party!