These days, there’s always a reason to celebrate – a new puppy, the arrival of summer (!) or welcoming new children to the neighbourhood. Don’t wait for birthdays to give you and your family a reason to host a party.
Need help getting the party started? Keep these tips in mind
1. Play detective and make planning part of the fun
Attending someone else’s bash with your children? Watch what happens, what works and what doesn’t. What is your child responding to? Make a mental list of all the little touches that transforms a mediocre party into a memorable one for all. When it comes to planning your own celebration, let the children choose 3 things from your list that they would really like.
2. Put your purse away
Think about creative ways to get guests in the party mood without incurring cost. Book-sharing parties have become quite popular. Just ask each child to wrap and bring one of their own books that they are happy to give away. Everyone goes home with a new story to discover (and not a sugar filled goodie bag!)
3. Know your audience
Does your child and his friends love outdoor games or do they enjoy staying indoors and making crafts? Knowing what’s age appropriate, but also what will keep kids engaged will go a long way to keeping the fun times rolling. If you have other nannies coming to the party with their children, share the load and agree to plan one activity or game each.
Some other great ideas we’ve seen include
BYOB Bike/Tricycle/Scooter Race (Ages 2 and Up)
Children will stay happily occupied with this obstacle course bike race. Just note on the invitations that it’s a BYOB (bring your own bike) party, and be sure to ask adults to bring their children’s helmets too. Have some extras on hand for those who forget. Create a short obstacle course and time each rider separately, or if it’s a large area, they can all go at the same time. You can find traffic cones at any major DIY store.
Bubble Wrap Races (Ages 3 and Up)
This game is fun and will having everyone giggling. Buy a large roll of bubble wrap and lay out a 2 metre piece of it in the garden or in an open space. Have each child cross the bubble wrap barefoot- the object is to get all the way across without popping any of the bubbles. If you want to make it more competitive, line up three sections and have teams race across to the other side. The team who cross without making a peep (or making the least pops) wins!
Photo Scavenger Hunt (Ages 4 and Up)
Photo scavenger hunts are fun and easy to adapt to any party’s theme and the ages of the guests. Sketch out a map and give children pictures of the clues to be found along the route. Along with each clue they find, there will be a small reward. If you’re having a pirate theme party, then clues could be chocolate coins, with a treasure chest of prizes at the end. Whoever finds the most items wins the hunt. Lists of items to hunt can include things in nature, items of a specific colour, or any theme related topic.
Mommy Wrap (Ages 4 to 8)
Divide children into small groups and let them pick someone to be the mommy (or have an adult be the mummy). Pass out rolls of toilet paper to each group and whoever wraps up their mummy using all the toilet paper the quickest, wins.
Drama Fun (Ages 5 and Up)
In this game, children create their own entertainment. Start by giving each child or group of children a grocery bag of props, which can include anything from kitchen items and costumes to make-up and assorted clothing. Then give them an allotted time for planning their ‘show.’ Each group then do a performance ending in lots of applause! The internet of course provides unending options, but don’t forget the old favourites such as pass the parcel and musical statues – and make sure adults play too!
4. Don’t forget the food!
Planning the menu may seem like the easiest task, but as many will tell you, choosing the right food can get tricky (especially with a crowd of picky eaters!). Here are some things to consider when creating a child’s party menu:
- 1. Factor in dietary restrictions and food allergies
- 2. Keep the menu as healthy as possible
- 3. Prepare food that doesn’t stain clothing
- 4. Choose food items that you can safely and swiftly make ahead of time
- 5. Ask other people to help you with the prep work- many hands make light work
Here are a few ideas you might like to try
Food on a Stick
Assemble little kebabs. You can make them ahead of time and this presentation never fails to please. Depending on the age of your guests, you can use skewers, coffee stirrers or lollipop sticks. Try mixing combinations like ham and cheese, tomato and cucumber or fruit.
Make some pizza bases and prepare a range of toppings ahead of time. (Make sure the oven is turned on!) Gather your guests around the table and let everyone personalise their own pizza ready for the oven (but make sure you let the little ones know that adults will be handling that!). Take photos to use as thank you cards after the party.
Clear the furniture away and spread a waterproof picnic blanket on the floor with a cushion for everyone to sit on. Serve the food in lunchboxes, sharing hampers or laid out in bowls for children to help themselves.
Decorate Your Own Dessert
Instead of the traditional birthday cake, try having a “Decorate a Cake” or “Birthday Muffin Contest.” You can provide lots of decorating products, like colourful icing and sprinkles. Give the children aprons and encourage the adults to work side by side with their children.
At the end of the day, no matter the games or the guests, with these tricks in hand your party will be the talk of the town for weeks to come…or at least until your next party bash.