ParentClick Santa Barbara

Not just any old birthday party


At the heart of a memorable kid’s party is a relevant theme and engaging activity.

Picking an exciting theme / activity combo can transport the kids to a magical place, making the party more fun for kids and less crazy for parents.

Selecting a Theme

  • To select a theme, make a list of 3 to 5 of your child’s current interests and then let them make the final selection. (You may want to do some homework on what themes you can easily get or make supplies for prior to giving them the list to choose from. :)
  • The theme can be based on something they’re studying in school, a favorite past time, an adored character, a favorite food… etc.

Ideas for Activities
Try to stay away from competitive games. Activities without winners or losers minimize friction and the need for prizes. It’s best if everyone can participate and feel like a winner. There are a variety of formats to consider.

  • Activity Stations – Create several stations that kids can rotate through for different activities. For example, a princess party may have one area to play dress-up, another for face painting, and another to make crowns and wands.
  • Obstacle Courses – Setup a series of physical obstacles that kids can go through sequentially. Like crawling through a tunnel, then jumping in an old pillowcase across the lawn, then limbo-ing under a stick, etc. For a Diego themed party they could be exploring the jungle and learning about jungle animals and plants along the way.
  • Make Your Own Projects – Select an art, craft or decorating project that acts as the centerpiece of the party. The crafts can also double as party favors. You can choose from several prepackaged, inexpensive craft kits or create your own. Preparing food such as sushi, pocket pies or ice cream sundaes is another form of craft to explore. For a horse-themed party, they could make their own stick ponies.
  • Games – Devise a non-competitive game. Scavenger or treasure hunts, charades and Simon Says are all fun choices. A treasure hunt with a map to follow is an excellent activity for a pirate party.
  • Interactive Entertainment - Hire or appoint an instructor or entertainer to put on an interactive show, such as magic, juggling, music or dance, in which the kids actively participate. A ballet class with tutus and ballet slippers can be a fun activity for a ballerina party.

Simple Execution

  • To make the logistics as easy as possible, set up all the pieces for the activity the night before and put everything out prior to guests arriving.
  • Designate someone else to be in charge of the activity, if possible. That way you can focus on greeting guests, putting out the nibbles and dessert, capturing the moment, ensuring all is running smoothly, and chasing after your little ones.
  • A little upfront work makes for a much smoother event that allows parents to really engage with the children and creates lifelong memories for all who attend.

[AUTHOR: Nicki Zuchowicz Horne, Peanuts Maternity & Kids]

April 13, 2014

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