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Birthday Party Activities

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from Micromom. Show Micromom's posts

    Birthday Party Activities

    My son's 4th birthday is coming up and I'm looking for ideas for party activities.  I'd like to have it at home, as the local places (Gymboree etc) are prohibitively expensive.

    The party would be small (5ish kids) because he's young and doesn't like a lot of chaos and noise.  Last year we inflated our small bouncy castle and let the kids jump, we served pizza and cupcakes.  Instead of goody bags, we gave each kid a small red kickball (he loves to play ball).

    I'd like to do something similar, and I'm looking for fun, affordable suggestions.  I'm considering things like a fun art project, a little dance party, or a scavenger hunt.

    I'm open to an activity (farm, bowling etc) if it's reasonable priced.

    Anyone have ideas to share?

  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Birthday Party Activities

    I always hoped the parties I went to at that age had pin the tail on the was my favorite (despite sucking at it).  I think they come with velco, now, so no worries about stabbing incidents, lol.  I think you have great ideas already...scavenger hunts rock at any age.

    Lots of places to go apple picking this time of year, and the orchard nearest me has a playground and lots of yummies including freshly baked dumplings, cider, etc.  I'm in the middle of nowhere so that's Brookfield Orchard, but there must be similar places all over, right?  The kids could go home with little bags of apples they picked.

  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from misslily. Show misslily's posts

    Re: Birthday Party Activities

    We used to do a scavenger hunt type game. It was a spider web. It takes a little prep. You get a different color yarn for each kid. Tie a prize at one end and "hide" it. then you string the yarn all over. You do it for each one and you end up with a spider web effect. They start at one end and follow their yarn to their prize. You do need a place to string it all. Part of your back yard, basement playroom or something. But it's lots of fun.

    Personally I LOVE what you did last year. My three year olds would think they were in heaven with a bouncy castle, pizza and cupcakes. And a ball for a toy at the end! Great job!

  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Birthday Party Activities

    I totally agree with misslily - no kid is gonna complain that you had the bouncy castle LAST year and bouncy castles are SO 2011. (That was for you, misslily, I know how you love that "SO" thing, hahaha.)

  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from purplecow89. Show purplecow89's posts

    Re: Birthday Party Activities

    Messy but fun--make your own pizza or decorate your own cookies.

  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from KMMZ1012. Show KMMZ1012's posts

    Re: Birthday Party Activities

    We had arts and crafts for the kids at DS's birthday party this year. We had a pirate themed party, so we collected toilet paper tubes and paper towel tubes to let the kids make telescopes (or whatever they're called). It was actually a lot of fun, if a little messy (but we were also outside, which was nice). We also had a treasure hunt - we didn't even need the prizes because the kids were so thrilled with the "treasure" (mardi gras beads and plastic coins) they played with those for the rest of the day.


    Bouncy houses, though, are awesome. If our yard was at all level, we totally would've done that and called it a day.

  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from Liv22. Show Liv22's posts

    Re: Birthday Party Activities

    I love the spider web idea. At my nephew's 4th birthday this summer my sister-in-law buried treasure in their sandbox and each kid got a bag to fill up. The kids loved it. It kept them contained in 1 area and kept them very busy. We even had to restock the treasure. May not be logistical for this time of year or if the kids are going inside afterwards (all that sand in my house!) but the idea of the scavenger hunt would work great for that age. The kids also loved the sidewalk chalk and bubbles she put out. Many of them just had fun running laps around the house and yard! They also had a pinata, but the ones from the party store are impossible to break. It also just seemed dangerous to hand someone a stick while blindfolded.

  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from ALF72. Show ALF72's posts

    Re: Birthday Party Activities

    If it was a hit last year, why not do it again? He's 4. None of the kids  will remember, or if they do, they will just remember they had a good time.

    Otherwise, why not make sundaes?  Then let them run around and chase each other in the back yard, or play hide and go seek tag, to burn off the sugar. 

  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from KAM2007. Show KAM2007's posts

    Re: Birthday Party Activities

    I'm a fan of unstructured parties. What you did last year sounds great! Why not do it again?

    Maybe even doing an obstacle course- hop on 1 foot, hoola hoop, shoot a basketball into a basket, etc.

    -Growing up we strung two strings across a room with a paper cup on each string so the string is going out of the bottom of the cup-then have the kids blow into the open end of the cup and race each other to see who can blow their cup across the room on the string the fastest.

    I think kids get a lot of strcutured play time at preschool-why not let them just imagine their own games and have fun?

  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from amy-lynn. Show amy-lynn's posts

    Re: Birthday Party Activities

    Pinatas are great. My DH is from San Antonio, and you can't have a family get together without a pinata (and its always somebodies birthday) We never blindfold the little kids (7 and under). And often even for the bigger kids, there is an adult on the other end of the rope who jerks it around to make it harder to hit. If you get an industrial strength pinata, let progressively older kids take turns (or the grandparents/great-grandparents) 

    But if you can't be outdoors/don't want to have little kids with a big stick, you can find the "pull" pinatas that have ribbons on the bottom, and you take turns pulling them off until you get to the one that opens the bottom so the candy can fall out.

    I think lots of the suggestions given are great, and finding a craft thet fits with the theme is always fun. Treasure hunting and bubbles were huge at the last big family party - Bubbles are pretty self explanatory, but for treasure hunting several kids had the buckets and shovels you take to the beach, and were digging in the yard. Someone threw a handful of change into the dirt, and the kids were ecstatic. Of course, if you don't want your yard dug up, keeping the treasure hunting to a sandbox might be the best bet.

  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from medfordcc. Show medfordcc's posts

    Re: Birthday Party Activities

    I totally agree with using the bouncy castle again if you already have it!

    When we were kids we always had pinatas (and no blindfolds for the little ones), but I also saw the other day a pumpkin pinata you make from paper bags and paint, so you don't have to do paper mache (sp?) and it won't be as hard to break as the store bought ones.

    Spiderweb was always a big hit at my birthday parties, along with old fashioned things like bobbing for apples.  Oh, drop the clothespin in a bottle.  You could let the kids decorate their own cupcakes.

    Man, home birthday parties are the funnest!!!

  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from am1028. Show am1028's posts

    Re: Birthday Party Activities

    A friend of mine did a fun fair theme for her kids one year and it was a huge hit.  You could have bobbing for apples, donuts on a string, pumpkin decorating, face painting (if you have an adult who would be up to that).  An obstacle course, scavenger hunt or bounce house could be included as well.  Depending on how involved you want to get, you could give out play money and the children could "pay" for each thing and win little prizes to fill their goodie bags at the end. 

  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from purplecow89. Show purplecow89's posts

    Re: Birthday Party Activities

    Every time I've seen the pull pinatas, it was so it could be rigged for the birthday kid to pull the right string to open it.  All but one string longer, obviously taped on the outside, then Dad holds up Bobby and says, how about pulling this short one?  Ta da.

    Competitive games are really unfamiliar to kids these days--the idea of one kid winning will not go over well.  I watched a group of kindergarteners play Pin the Carrot Nose on the Snowman and they thought it was a cooperative game--the observers thought they were supposed to direct the It to the left or right so they put in in the right place. 

  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from Chiclet831. Show Chiclet831's posts

    Re: Birthday Party Activities

    I've been lurking on this thread because I love kid's parties! My friends all have kids and I have been to a ton.

    Just a funny story I wanted to share about the pull pinatas. One of my girl friends gets them every year for her kids' birthdays. This last year, a bunch of us adults looked at it and picked out the right string. I held it up so that at least everyone would get a turn and then her 5 year old could pull the right string. Well, we were wrong. Only like 7 kids got to pull it before a little cousin popped it open. Luckily the birthday girl was completely unphased that she didn't get to pull the string but I felt like a jerk!

    I think activity that went over the best was the scavenger hunt. A bunch of us adults "hid" in plain sight throughout the house and the kids had to come find us and get a toy. At the end of the scavenger hunt, they had a full beach pail. The kids LOVED it. It wasn't hard, got them moving around and what kid doesn't love a beach pail?

  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from purplecow89. Show purplecow89's posts

    Re: Birthday Party Activities

    Why is the need felt to rig it for the birthday kid?  And what do you do when the other kids figure it out pretty quickly that it's all a put-on and they have no chance, it's saved for Bobby?  Do they play along or get upset?

  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from Chiclet831. Show Chiclet831's posts

    Re: Birthday Party Activities

    I mostly felt bad that not everybody got a pull, including the birthday girl. She just dove into the candy and was totally fine. But, depending on the kid, that could have easily turned into tears and "I didn't get to pull a string!" cries. Now that I think about it, I've seen a lot of pinatas but I don't think I've ever seen any kid get upset with it. I guess getting your share of candy is enough to make you forget that you didn't get to participate fully. I'm sure I felt worse about it than any of the kids did!

  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Birthday Party Activities

    I think it turned out how it was designed to work hence fun was had by all.  The randomness is part of the fun.  Kids don't have to be very old before they recognize a rigged game...and does anyone remember that realization at whatever age or event as being fun?

  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from Micromom. Show Micromom's posts

    Re: Birthday Party Activities

    Just adding an update.  I decided to have a small celebration at home (5 kids), with a rainbow theme (he's really into colors right now).  My plans are

    - Fill a room with about two dozen colorful balloons for play and dancing

    - Drape another room with colorful streamers

    - Make small banners with each kids name (both a craft project and a party favor), something like this:

    - Attempt to bake this crazy rainbow cake (yikes!)

    - A small box of crayons for a favor

    So, I think it'll be about $50 for the whole fiesta.  Hope the kids have as much fun at the party as I did planning it!



  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from Winter2011Bride. Show Winter2011Bride's posts

    Re: Birthday Party Activities

    Sounds like a fun time. Just make sure kids aren't allergic to the food coloring, someone in my son's class is allergic to it. 

  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from Chiclet831. Show Chiclet831's posts

    Re: Birthday Party Activities

    That sounds really fun! I love the idea of a dance party!

  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from clc51510. Show clc51510's posts

    Re: Birthday Party Activities

    Sounds wonderful Micro!  Consider playing "freeze dance", it's one of my favorite games to play with kids around that age because it always gets them laughing.  It's pretty basic, start a dance party and when you pause the music everyone has to freeze until you start it again.  It's always entertaining to see what motion all the kids are making when they have to freeze!

  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from wasMM379. Show wasMM379's posts

    Re: Birthday Party Activities

    Hi!  Just wanted to chime in.  Last year a friend had an Oct bday party for her son at home.  She bought a bunch of small (but decent enough size to decorate) pumpkins cheap somewhere...  maybe BJs or Costco.  Then she got a bunch of stickers and scrapbooking supplies that were Halloween themed, but also ones that could make silly faces like google eyes and silly mouths.  She had a bunch of cut up yarn for hair and glue sticks.  All of this could be used to decorate the pumpkins. So, the pumpkin decorating was the activity as well as the favor for her son's 4th party.  She served pizza and cupcakes, kids ran around outside in their costumes and played with his outside toys, and it was a great 4th birthday/halloween-themed party.  

  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Birthday Party Activities

    I love all the free and cheap ideas.  I don't get the trend (not that anyone is doing it here) of spending gargantuan amounts of money on kids' birthday parties, even teens'.

    micromom, how was it?  Sounds like a great plan!  I can see you blowing up balloons all night...did you fill the room?  How did the cake come out?  As Julia Child said, your guests will not have seen the photo so no worries if it doesn't look like it does in the book!  $50 isn't much today, good job keeping the cost down and fun up. :)

  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from Micromom. Show Micromom's posts

    Re: Birthday Party Activities

    We just had the party on Saturday.  I have to admit, after a receiving invitations to event type parties, I was feeling a little insecure about my homestyle plans, but it was a big success!

    The streamers made everything feel festive, and it's amazing how much fun kids can have with a room full of balloons.  They came up with all sorts of silly games.  

    The name penants really brought color into the rooms, and a few parents said they would be hanging them up at home, which was nice.

    The dance party really rocked, thanks to the energy and spirit of little kids, they just moved with the music, it was so cute.

    And the goodie bags with crayons and drawing paper were a hit, the kids were even doodling during the party.

    And finally, the cake - It was AWESOME!  Baking it seemed kind of crazy, because the colors were so un-foodlike.  And we couldn't tell if we had achieved the right result until we actually cut the cake at the party.  I'm happy to say, it was total rainbow heaven, and the crowd really went crazy when we served the first slice.  I'd highly recommend it if you know a kid, or a grown up that might like it, or you just want to spice up a boring office party.  It wasn't actually that hard to make.  I'm not much of a cook, so we used box cake and frosting with gel food coloring (gel, not regular food coloring, for the most vivid colors)

    The only awkward moment was when my son decided that singing Happy Birthday was scary (?), so we celebrated with a rousing rendition of The Wheels on the Bus instead.  Silly Kid.

    I'm glad that a simple party at home, with good friends to make it fun, is still a great way to go.



  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Birthday Party Activities

    Micromom, congrats on a wildly successful, fun old fashioned party!  I'm going to forward the cake recipe to my friend whose sister is having a rainbow themed wedding shower.  They, too, are  having a fun but reasonably priced party.