Friday, April 30, 2010

We've Chosen Our Birthday Party Theme, Now What?

You've chosen a theme for your child's birthday party and often things get hectic at this point. You frantically try to gather everything that you need and often activities is the last (and most dreaded) portion of your planning. What in the world can you play and do at a party with such a specific theme?

First, let's talk about how many activities you should have planned. One important thing to remember is that it's always better to OVER plan than to under plan. There's nothing worse than a bunch of children with nothing to do. So have a couple of extra games stashed away that you can whip out in case of rain, or if the games just move quicker than you anticipated. On the same note, however, don't OVER plan your party. Children enjoy "free time" to just do whatever they wish, as well. I recommend having 3-4 activities planned. More than that and typically kids are "activitied out."

Two party games that are always a hit are a treasure hunt and the "old reliable" Pin the Tail on the Donkey. I have never used a donkey, though, and always tie it directly to the party theme. For instance, if you're having a Wow Wow Wubbzy party, have your favorite designer create a poster sized Wubbzy, without the tail, of course. If you're planning an Ooh La La, Day in Paris party, use a poster of the Eiffel Tower and have the party goers pin a picture of your guest of honor in front of the tower. It just takes a little bit of creativity and you can make it work and still have all of the laughter and fun and that goes along with this great activity. The treasure hunt is easy enough to tie into your theme, if it's a Blue's Clues party, mark each area with a blue paw print, etc. This is also a great way for kids to pair up in groups. Even though it's not intended to go that way, it always happens, so be sure to leave a large enough treasure that each of the guests will get a share.

A great activity to get your party guests mingling (and use up a lot of the planned activity time) is to have a mixer activity planned. Write a list in the following format:

Mixer--find someone who ______________

and send the kids on a fact finding mission. Of course the child(ren) at the end of the mixer with the most answers is the winner.

Or, if you don't have time to write and print the list, consider playing the Liars Club - where each person makes three statements about themselves. 2 statements are true, 1 is a lie. This is very fun because many people have done things that sound untrue. Everyone tries to guess.

There are many resources on the internet to help you plan your activities. One of my favorites is This site is very well organized for indoor vs. outdoor, has games for very young players and even has Bible games listed.

If you have questions or comments, please feel free to post. I'd be happy to help you in any way that I can.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Super Sweet 16

Turning 16 is such a turning point in someone's life and the celebration should be grand. That doesn't necessarily mean that you have to rent a limo, hire Snoop Dogg for a star appearance, and spend millions of dollars like on MTV's show My Super Sweet 16 (but please don't tell your child that I said that.)

My niece, Heather, turned 16 yesterday. Since her parents have yet to hit the lottery -which would be especially hard, since they don't even play- having Jason Mraz come to sing "LUCKY" was just not an option. LUCKY for them, Heather's a very sweet, down to earth girl and she's very easy to please. (by the way, did you get that awesome play on words...LUCKY for them...yeah, yeah, okay - back to the story. Sorry.)

Heather aspires to go to Paris after graduation, although her Daddy has his own ideas about that. You know how Daddy's can be, but, that's a whole different story.
Anyway, she has this great poster of the Eiffel Tower that she just adores. That poster became the the theme of the party. (If you ready the my last post: Choosing A Theme for Your Child's Birthday Party, you know that anything can become a theme)

It just so happens that my sister-n-law is an AMAZING confectionist and she makes the most beautiful things that you'll ever eat, so they decided to have a Sweets Buffet Open House from 1-4. It was a fantastic idea, since so many kids this age have sports or band practice, or other obligations on Saturdays. By having the Open House, no one felt pressured to be on time, or worse yet, missed the party altogether, since they were already an hour late. From 1-4, at any time, those that know and love Heather were invited to come and enjoy some time with her and wish her a Happy Birthday.

I made Heather's party invitations, the bag tags, thank you cards, and envelope seals as my gift to her. Laurie, Heather's mom, made all of the sweets for the buffet and it turned into one of the most beautiful parties that I have seen. I couldn't resist sharing with you some of the photos.

Here are her invitations, check out the poster in the third picture, this is what we built the theme from.
Note: I removed the address and phone information; which, of course, would normally be on the invitation

These were her gift that I took to the party. I made her Thank You cards/stationery/note cards and envelope seals. I coupled them with a Cross pen. It made for a great gift.

Isn't this just gorgeous? It was almost (ALMOST) too pretty to eat...but YUMMY!

Awesome Eiffel Tower cookies and pretty bag toppers, make for GREAT party favors.

Don't like cookies? WHAT? Don't like cookies...(weirdo.) No worries, we've got caramel corn.

So anyway, the whole point of this posting is that you don't have to be a millionaire to have a super sweet 16 party for your daughter/son. No super stars, no limousines, no second mortgages. Let her/him be the super star...and the best news of all is that you can satisfy your sweet tooth!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Choosing a Theme for Your Child's Birthday Party

Yay! It's time to plan another birthday. No, seriously, I mean it...Yay! What fun!!! Planning a child’s birthday party doesn’t have to be stressful. Every child loves their to Christmas, it's the “most bestest “ time of the year, as my little one used to say. Their excitement begins building oh, about 7 months before the party, that is, if they can hold out that long from planning the next big bash. But, my, my, the look on their little faces on party day is truly something to cherish.

We, as the official party planner and coordinator, however—well, let’s just say that we are slightly less excited. Am I right? I mean, we definitely want our child’s birthday party to be the perfect new beginning to the next year of his/her life, but geeze, there’s so much to do: choose a theme, order invitations, write them out, send them, plan activities, order the cake, buy the favors, get the party supplies, and on and on and on. How—how – how will we EVER get it all pulled together and make sure that it’s perfect for our little one? I’m here to tell you, RELAX! It doesn’t have to be “perfect.” It can actually be as fun for you as it is for your little tyke. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a successful birthday party if no one bursts into tears (including you) and everyone has fun.

The next several posts will be dedicated to planning your child’s birthday party. I will be covering everything from a-z for your party planning. I hope you will find this series refreshing and helpful, but most of all FUN!

So, first things first, choosing a theme. Now, depending on the age of your child, this could be simple…or not. As we all know, as children get older they get much more indecisive and cute cartoon characters are just not “cool.” It takes some creativity on our part, but putting some thought into it will definitely pay off in the end!

Pretty much anything can become the theme of your party. What does your child like? What does s/he want to be when s/he grows up? What’s his or her favorite activity? Favorite TV show or character? Favorite Game? Even a favorite color can be a party theme… and make it very simple. What about a purple people party? Or, will it be a glamour make-over party, a skateboarder’s party, a “down on the farm” party? How about a Rock Band party or a Wow Wow Wubbzy party? Candyland? What about a sweets buffet? Make a list, discuss it with your child, and then use your imagination. Don’t stress—and please, please just HAVE FUN!

To help you in your search for party favors, here's one of my favorite Etsy shops.