As soon as you give your party a theme, everything else seems to fit into place. Your child will be super excited to have a whole day dedicated to her favourite hero, animal, or movie, there’s a lot less decision-making involved (either it fits the theme or it doesn’t!), and it leaves a lasting impression. Think a bit more laterally with your games and remember you can pin a tail, crown, or cape on just about anything, or musical chairs to can be to any music or animal sound. No need to overcomplicate things – just stick with the tried and true and give it a twist. Themes can easily be applied to dress-ups, games, table settings, decorations, invitations, music, and your choice of venue.
Polaroids… Just click!
Even in this age of digital everything, don’t underestimate the power of a takeaway Polaroid photo as a memento. Kids love being silly in front of cameras, so let this be their moment. Another idea is to create a simple “Happy Birthday” board where everyone can pin up their own selfie or picture to create a collage of moments from the party. This makes a fantastic keepsake for the birthday girl that often lasts longer than all the toys and trinkets they receive.
Get creative with drinks
Grab a cheap and cheerful punch bowl and make a mocktail recipe specially named for the birthday boy. Try creating the drink fit the theme by using ingredients like lemonade, food colouring, juice, coloured ice cubes with lollies frozen inside, and sorbet or ice cream added last minute for a frothy cream soda twist. If you have less kids, try your hand at a freak shake recipe, as these can be made to look amazing with whipped cream, lollies, wafers, and sprinkles. Kids love playful drinks and the extra effort will allow you to keep things a little more simple with the food.
Who doesn’t want to have their royal moment as King or Queen of the party? This will certainly make your child feel special on their day, and they’ll enjoy it even more if you work together to make the crown leading up to the party. Homemade crowns can be made of decorated cardboard or flowers. Include party guests by making a simpler version for them to wear and take home.
Keep them entertained
It’s the games that really get the party started and flowing. It’s when the kids start laughing, playing, and interacting. It pays to get organised to keep the ball rolling and prevent kids getting into mischief, so plan for about four games in total (depending on what ages the children are). If there are boys, prepare for things to get boisterous, and consider that you may want party guests to spill into the outdoors, and include a bit of running around to burn off some of that sugar. Add a twist to traditional games to match your theme: At a Moana-themed party, set up a treasure hunt for little Hawaiian flowers around the garden (with the sprinkler on); for Star Wars, pin the arm on R2D2, and for The Jungle Book, play musical chairs in the garden to jungle music complete with animal calls. Remember, littles can only cope with very simple things like pinata, lolly scrambles, and pass the parcel. With tweens, don’t be fooled into thinking they don’t enjoy playing party games any more; they still love them and, in fact, they are finally old enough to cope when they don’t win and really enjoy the playful fun.
By Sara De Grey
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