Children's Birthday Party Ideas

A number of ideas that will help any parent planning a baby's toddlers or childrens birthday party to make the day fun for the kids with limited work from their side! Games as well as themes and 'busy' ideas.

I don't know about you, but the thought of having to deal with three of my two year olds closest friends is enough to fill me with dread. The thought of having to deal with thirty of the little critters is enough to send me straight to the gin bottle for the next three days!

However, having said that I took a job when I was eighteen and didn't know any better, organizing children's birthday parties for a fee. The little dears were all under ten and I learnt some valuable lessons about what one can do at a party (apple bobbing, coloring in), and what one shouldn't do (apple bobbing in winter, coloring in with paints, inside the house).

Theme parties for under-tens are great fun, in most cases more for the parents than for the kids if they are under five. Pirates and Princesses is a wonderful fantasy theme, as is Dinosaurs (recently a very popular if overdone theme), or a Gladiator theme. The key to a successful kids party is to keep it short. Not only will it save you endless wear and tear on your nerves as well as your house, but also the children won't get bored and get ratty due to being over tired.

Try and organize treasure hunts where they have to follow a picture or paper trail for the older ones, and the winner gets a prize. Face painting always goes down well, and if you can get your hands on a few teenagers to help you out, even better. Bubbles are a wonderful toy to give them to play with outside. (The kind you buy very cheaply at the local toy shop with a lid that doubles as a ring they can blow the bubbles through). Possibly a Party Pack for each child, with a container of bubble liquid, a whistle (you get to send them home with it), and a couple of sweets. Variations are balloons, facemasks or another little gift like crayons to keep them busy.

A number of games are easy to organize and fun for the kids. Try apple bobbing in the warmer months and remember to ask parents in advance to supply clean clothes. Get a bucket/ trough of water and split the children into teams. Place enough apples into the water for each child and without using their hands they must take an apple out of the trough. They inevitably get sopping wet, but what fun! Sack races (you provide a bag for them to run from point A to point B in), as well as egg and spoon races (place a hard boiled egg on a spoon, and they must run or walk from the start to the finish with it as well), are always cause for much hilarity from all the children, watching as well as taking part.

I recently attended a well-organized children's party where the whole thing was outside. There were picnic blankets (mostly plastic might I add), a washing basin, as well as a rinse basin. Plates of food for each child, and an outside table with paints, crayons and what looked like a forest of paper. There were also various balls of different colors, and other toys to keep them busy. It was only two hours but my child slept like the proverbial baby that night.

Of course children's parties mean that moms will also be there so make sure you have some tea, as well as a few civilized snacks like quiche or scones to keep them busy. Remember though that they are there in an observer capacity only so don't feel like you have to entertain them, your job is to watch the kids, a bit like a glorified baby sitter. I knew one mom who cultivated her kid's friends so that he would be invited to all the parties, when I questioned her on the wisdom of having to buy all those birthday presents her comment was that a minor expense for three hours of baby sitting and adult conversation was better than a fair trade!

A nice theme for an older party (if your nerves can stand it) is a pajama party, where each child gets to go in their sleep things and can stay the night. Girls tend to enjoy this more than boys, and all you will have to do is provide a safe place to sleep, make up or dressing up clothes for girls or a video to keep them occupied. Of course dinner is mandatory and most kids are more than happy with hot dogs, chips or pizza. Try and sneak some healthy food in as well like fruit salad and be aware of religious and dietary requirements.

Bear in mind that when your child reaches about twelve he or she will probably want to move onto discos or night parties. These should always be well supervised without being intrusive, but until you have to police kissing games enjoy Barney Parties, even if you can't stand the darn purple monster!

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