One of my favorite things about being a mom is planning and hosting children’s birthday parties.
I love to plan parties and host them at home with all the traditional stuff: pinata, musical chairs, freeze dance, games like Pin the Tail on the Kitty Cat, face painting, a moon bounce, and even though it might be chilly, swimming and bobbing for apples.
Hosting parties at home can be exhausting, but I always seem to have my BFF there to help me along the way, and to stay afterward and help me clean up.
I love everything about celebrating a child’s birthday, right down choosing a craft to make, to the pizza, cake, and the goody bags!
Ella’s birthday parties are a little trickier to plan since her birthday is in November so it’s often cold and raining. One year when we had a moon bounce, even though it rained:
The big challenge for me with kid’s parties is that I am the world’s worst cake baker. One year I tried to make a “simple Frankenstein cake” but it collapsed and became truly monstrous. It took me a few years of trying to recognize that baking is just not a strength, ahem.
So now we have a friend’s dad bake Ella’s cakes. And this dad can bake. He made this Barbie cake for her 5th party (isn’t it amazing?):
And he made this one for her elephant-themed party (can you believe he’s a dad, and doesn’t do this professionally?):
Luckily, Fiona loves the simple, gluten-free Smiley Face cake I make for her so we do this one every year (and it’s simple enough for me to make, thank goodness):
Our all-time favorite party game is musical chairs – even my 10-year-old loves it:
My friend Erin owns an event planning company, and is one of the most creative people I have ever met – so her children’s parties are nothing short of amazing. For one of her children, she has an annual “Where in the world is…?” theme, so every year my kids get a mystery ticket in the mail with a clue as to the location of the party. This year’s theme was “Brazil.” She created a magical Brazilian tree made of lights in the forest for it:
One year her theme was Hawaii, so of course there were boogie boards:
And she had an Aloha cake, and an exploding volcano cake (which she made, ahem! and it actually exploded!):
One year she transformed her entire front room into a fancy tea room to host a tea party-themed birthday for her daughter. She hung pink, silky drapery all over the room, and draped card tables in more pink, and used real china teapots and cups. Everyone got to decorate their own cupcakes, ate dainty tea sandwiches, and had lemonade tea!
Tea parties are a wonderful theme for four and five-year-old girls – they can arrive at the party in their princess costumes, or play dress up at the party and put on a fashion show, and they can take their tea cups home as gifts.
If your child has an October birthday, a popular party for kids age 9 and older is the Haunted House party, which we did for Fiona’s 9th birthday – we transformed the storage room into a haunted house. We had a CD of Spooky Sounds playing, sprayed a bunch of spider webs, added some spooky grave stones and body parts, and invited the kids inside to explore it in pairs.
At the entrance we had taped a bunch of Hefty garbage bags that we had cut into streamers to give them an extra-spooky sensation that they were entering a scary zone (and oh boy, were they!)
Inside, they had to walk past what they assumed was a big frozen zombie statue sitting in a chair to feel a tray of “eye balls” (olives), and “dead fingers” (hot dogs), and “worms” (cold spaghetti).
…but while they were trying to figure out what the dead fingers were, the Big Zombie jumped out of the chair and scared the bejeepers out of them!
…and after all the kids had gone in two by two, the Big Scary Zombie chased them around the garden. (I only recommend this for older kid’s parties, that zombie really scared the bejeepers out of some kids. Okay, alright, so one or two were crying and I still feel badly about that…)
Since Ella’s birthday is in winter, we have hosted some parties off-site at places like Little Gym (which was fantastic mainly because I didn’t have to lift a finger)…
…and we also had a Dance Party at the dance studio. The best thing about these parties for parents is that you can let someone else do the work, so you get to sit around with the other parents and chat, while the kids shake a leg:
Other ideas for off-site party venues are: bowling alley, ice skating rink, gymnastics party, Karate class, nature party in the forest, tree-top adventure park, going to the movies, or even an outing for a small group at a museum.
Next week we are going to what is probably going to be the most amazing and extravagent off-site birthday party ever. Ella’s friend is having 7th birthday – the American Girl Place in New York. Her mom rented a van and will drive a small group of moms and daughters up to New York (a four hour drive, but worth it) to spend the day at the AG doll store, where we will have lunch and can even get their AG dolls’ hair styled at the doll salon.
I mean, really. Talk about extravagant and fabulous! Parties sure have changed since I was a kid!
Anyway, in my opinion the best thing about off-site birthday parties is you don’t end up with a big mess!
Best Party Games:
- Musical chairs
- Freeze dance
- Pin-the-tail on the Donkey (cat, or elephant etc. – make your own!)
- Bobbing for apples (do it outside, preferably in swimsuits! It’s messy!)
- Red-light, Green-light.
- Freeze tag!
- For an older kids’ slumber party, you need a Ouija board! (-:
Ideas for Crafts/Misc.:
- For haunted parties, older kids can decorate Frankenpumpkins with nails, chain-smiles, thumbtacks etc.:
- For tea parties, decorate fancy cupcakes.
- Have a big poster board on hand with lots of pens so all the kids can sign it and draw a picture.
- Hire a face painter, or buy a do-it-yourself kit! Kids love getting their faces painted.
- Pinatas stuffed with candy and tiny toys are always a hit (pardon the pun) – just make sure you get one that doesn’t have a face, otherwise kids don’t want to bash it. (-:
- Don’t forget to take a group photograph with the birthday kid in the center.
- Balloons, always have balloons!
Linking up as usual with Monday Listicles.
You might also like...
Not An Actor
10 Things I Learned From Screen-Free Week
10 Things I’m Thankful For
I Miss These Things