Throwing a kids birthday party with a theme is a great way to create a fun and active birthday party for your child. Many places offer themes such as princess parties, movie star parties, even cooking parties. Of course those places and themes come at a cost. If you want to throw a theme party without the high cost of paying someone to do it, here are three great ideas.
A Picasso Party
This theme is fun for all ages, provided they know that they may get messy and are fine with that. Create age appropriate invitations that let invitees know that your party will be all about art. To decorate, buy packs of colorful brushes, canvasses, and place works of art that you and your kids have done around the room. For you smallest painters, you can buy ready-made canvasses with images on them and the paint supplies attached. Craft stores sell these from prices ranging from $1 up. For a friend’s daughter’s third birthday party, she got canvasses that had dinosaurs, pirates, and castles complete with princesses. Kids who attended the party were given white tee-shirts to wear as they worked on their art. They were quite proud of their work and happily took it home. For slightly older kids, paint by numbers works equally well with the same results. For tweens, the concept may be made into something more sophisticated. You could actually introduce them to the works of Pablo Picasso or another famous artist and have them create something inspired by that artist’s work. Make sure to use washable paints, have plenty of extra brushes and canvasses on hand, and lots of water to wipe up spills.
A Safari Scavenger Hunt Party
If you have a backyard, or are having your child’s birthday party in the park, a safari scavenger hunt is a great theme. It’s engaging and gives kids a opportunity to learn about animals they may not have known about before. Start by sketching out the area for the scavenger hunt and make it into a map to give your guests. This keeps the kids contained in a specific area and gives you parameters to work with. Decide on your list of animals. If you’re clueless about the animals, simply google safari animals and take your pick. Limit the number of animals you choose to put on your list to a manageable number depending on the age of your party goers. The older the kids, the larger the amount of animals. For the younger set, buy as many animals as you can get so that they kids who may not be fast still get a chance to find animals. You can find plastic animals almost anywhere from the pharmacy to the discount store. Provide them with a list of the animals along with pictures of them. Then place the animals in designated spots, so that the little party-goers can find them easily. For older kids, you can use either plastic animals, or print animal pictures from the web and hide them so that it is difficult to find them. Provide clues as to what an animal looks like. When they find an animal, they can check it off of their list. For older kids, provide less animals so that it is a contest. Provide prizes for kids who play. For the younger kids you can give them free passes to local play spaces. For older kids, gift cards for things like iTunes are always good.
A County Fair Party
This is definitely an outdoor party (backyard or park) filled with red and white decorations to give it a traditional county fair feel. Food can be light finger foods and lots of fruits; anything heavier can be cooked up on your grill. The fun part of having a county fair party is the games. Here is a list of games you can play with both kids and adults:
A day at the Races- Buy a giant bag of balls from your local toy store. Create lanes, using the balls—and they’re off. Have contestants race against each other to determine the fastest man, woman, and child at the fair. You can even do a variation of this by having a sack race or a three-legged race.
An Egg and Spoon Race- Contestants line up in those same lanes you created above for the “fastest” race; only this time equip them with a raw egg and a spoon in which to hold it as they run. The first person to cross the finish line with an intact egg wins.
Feed the Pigs - Use a large poster board or oaktag and draw pig faces, but cut out holes for their mouths. Provide your contestants with beanbags and have them compete to see who can feed the pigs by getting the most beanbags into the holes.
Bobbing for Balls- Take the colorful balls that you have and place them in a water-filled cooler or drum. Have guest pair up into teams of two. The person bobbing will be blindfolded and the partner will give instruction as to which direction their hand should move. Each team must collect all the balls of a specific color in a set time. The catch is, the person blindfolded can only put his hand in the water to collect the ball, all other times it must hover over the water as the partner directs him to the next ball.
All of these themes are active and engaging, and will leave your guests tired, happy, and looking forward to your next party.
By Simone Gobin