A kid’s birthday party should center around the guest of honor. Before planning a cool new location or making a laundry list of activities and supplies, sit down with your child and brainstorm different elements of the birthday party. You may have to remind children to consider activities that include everyone, especially if the party guests span various age groups. Determine a schedule together, and prepare yourselves to throw out the schedule if the guests have different ideas.
Most children’s birthday parties share similar elements. Before the party, you send invitations, decorate the space, prepare food, set up activities and stock party favor bags. When the guests arrive, they play games, eat cake, blow out candles and open gifts. Within these basic features, however, you have a myriad of variations. In general, an outdoor birthday party requires less intense planning and some simple equipment for water games. An indoor party will need more decorations to brighten the space and activities that absorb the guests.
Birthday parties for toddlers and young children tend toward simpler decor, with a few select guests and a time limit of a few hours. Parties for primary grade children often have themes, including fairy tale characters, nature, favorite cartoon characters or special settings, such as the beach, the rain forest, under the sea, the circus or a carnival. Tweens and teens often prefer activity-oriented festivities, like paint tag or karaoke, or parties in a special locale, such as a water park or a movie theater.
Parties should include all the guests. Rather than playing competitive games and sports, which tend to exclude people, plan activities such as breaking a pinata, building sand castles, having a water fight, doing magic tricks, building with Legos, going on a group treasure hunt or playing dance games. A performance by a magician, storyteller, puppeteer or a clown keeps the vibe cheerful.
You do not need a large budget to plan a child’s birthday party. For decorations, hang streamers or scatter sequins over a plain tablecloth. Have guests paint a banner in honor of the birthday child. Serve cupcakes that children decorate themselves with colored frosting, sprinkles, miniature marshmallows, crushed cookies and gummy worms.
A well-planned birthday party makes for wonderful memories for the birthday child as well as the guests. Take photographs or film videos to remember the occasion. Have friends and family sign a group card or page in a scrapbook to remind your child of all the loved ones who attended.
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