What do you need for a great kids party

by Alenka

Every kid loves birthdays: cake, gifts, friends, something really exciting. Sometimes I think that not every parent shares that: $ + $$ + $$$… + mess + reservations and worrying over “sick kid” cancellation policy = headache.

We love home parties. Our kids wouldn’t trade them for skating rink, bouncing houses, for nothing in the world. Home parties can be really unique, exciting, truly magical and fun for everybody. Even for the parents.

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What does any good party need:

  1. Food (common, you can figure that one by yourself)
  2. Games – that’s the best part!
  3. Music – music really sets the mood, builds the excitement and even adds a “professional” touch
  4. Prizes and goodie bags – we mostly stopped giving out prizes during the party: they are distracting, they get lost during the party, get broken, and the nagging to continue replacing them can drive anybody mad. Instead we give kids:
    • the things they will actually need during the party: magic wands, special capes or hats, wheels, plane goggles, knight shields, (skip the swords unless you are ready to referee a non-stop toy sword fight through the whole party)
    • one little souvenir at the end of the party, to reward their efforts: lollipops or beads in a treasure box found at the end, or a special certificate, medal, trophy, etc
    • goodie bags for the farewells at the door
  5. Cake – if you can, try to match the cake to the theme! Kids don’t care much how it tastes, they mostly love how it looks!

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What does a GREAT party need:

  • Theme – not just for decorations, that kids don’t really care for that much! Party theme gives a special twist to all the games, makes them a lot more exciting, fun, even magical!
  • Cliff-hanger detail – as one of our little guests put it, “We ALWAYS have to save somebody!!!”
  • Special element – characters, treasure hunts, special place for playing during the party

Huh?! Aha. Those are the things that make the party really magical. My 8 year old still believes everything that takes place on a party really IS magical and true: this year we made a “time machine” in a shed and got to fight of a space pirate attack. Still real to him. The funny thing is that my five year old – is a lot more down to earth… But he loves playing along not a bit less.

What are some of the special elements that we’ve had:
Babies and Toddlers: ball pit made with inflatable pool filled with balls
Little ones: Winnie the Pooh, Elmo, other characters.
Girls: princess characters, fairy godmothers, Cinderella’s glass slipper recovery, princess ball
Boys: trains put together from cardboard boxes, superheroes fighting against Really Evil Guys
Everybody: magical island with stuffed animals, water slides, magic school bus (cardboard boxes project), dinosaur nest with eggs, outer space, ships, planes
Older ones: tropical forest, Harry Potter chamber of secrets, olympic game award ceremony, talking robots, fireworks (I am not a fan of that one)

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Here are some examples:

Theme: Knights of the Round Table
Cliff-Hanger: Prove to be honorable knights, fight the dragon!
Special Element: fog machine-dragon? Bean bag toss at the end? Of course, treasure hunt

Theme: Cinderella
Cliff-Hanger: Cindy needs help to get ready for the ball
Special Element: 1.Character: Cinderella, 2. Turning pumpkin and mice into beautiful (and of course, magical!) capes for all the guests; 3. Glass Slipper search ends fitting the birthday girl

Theme: Transportation
Cliff-Hanger: Road pirates wreak havoc in the Land of Hot Wheels! Need help fixing things!
Special Element: Cars to put together?

Theme: New Year/Christmas Celebration
Cliff-Hanger: Santa’s gifts are stolen by the Evil Snow Queen!
Special Element: Character: Santa. Gifts. Doesn’t get more special than this!

Have fun!

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