Celebration – Children’s Parties (Part Two)

As I discussed in part one of children’s birthday parties, I’ve enjoyed the entire planning process from deciding on a theme, to shopping for invitations and party supplies, to creating party decorations, special party favors and gift bags, to deciding on what type of birthday cakes.  Most blogs give ideas about specific theme parties, but I’m going to talk about the process involved and give some tips and suggestions.  Part one discussed party themes, decorations, food and birthday cakes.  In part two, I will discuss birthday activities/entertainment, gift bags, and special parties.

Birthday Party Activities/Entertainment

Activities are a wonderful way to make a birthday party more fun!  For our daughter’s Ladybug birthday party, we made a very simple Ladybug game using red and black foam.  A strip of black foam was used with white foam numbers 1-6 glued onto the black foam.  Red foam was cut into a ladybug shape, six for each “number strip”, and with a black marker I made dots on each of them. One ladybug had one dot, two dots, etc. until the final ladybug had six dots.  With a toss of a big white foam dice, each girl rolled a number, and then covered the number on the black strip with a ladybug having the corresponding number of dots.  The first one to roll all six numbers, and fill their strip with ladybugs, won a prize.  It was a very easy game but fun for this group of six year old!

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Our daughter’s seventh birthday party had an animal safari theme.  We had sold our house in California and were moving to the Midwest, so we knew it would be the last party with her California friends and we wanted to make it memorable.  In keeping with the animal theme, we hired a local animal rescue that brought some animals to our house, like an iguana, several snakes and even a monkey to name a few of the animals.  The kids really liked the informative show that Animal Encounters put on and at the end everybody had their picture taken with the monkey, we included the photo with the thank you notes.  That wasn’t the only entertainment, my husband took the kids on a fun-filled animal themed scavenger hunt all over the backyard and front yard of our house ending with everyone climbing to the top of our backyard wooden jungle gym/fort to get a prize out of the treasure box and the children down the slide to finish the game.  It was a very fun party and the kids really enjoyed the animals and the scavenger hunt!

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Always keep in mind the theme of the party when planning activities.  For example, for a “Littlest Pet Shop” themed party I found bobble-head cats and dogs that looked like a larger version of a Littlest Pet Shop animals and cardboard “dog houses” at my local craft store.  The girls painted the animals and then decorated the houses with stickers and colored markers.  Another activity we planned for a cupcake themed party was simply having the girls decorate their cupcakes, my daughter and I are big Cupcake Wars fans.  To make it easy we made all the cupcakes before the party in both vanilla and chocolate flavors.  Then, the girls were supplied three different types of frosting; vanilla, chocolate and strawberry.  We bought  a variety of different kinds of sprinkles in a several shapes and colors.  The girls were very creative in decorating the cupcakes and had a great time.  Once the cupcakes were frosted and decorated the girls needed a container to take the cupcakes back to their homes.  To solve this problem I found white cardboard boxes at the craft store that were the perfect size to fit six cupcakes each.  The girls enjoyed decorating the boxes with stickers and colored markers.

2009 Littlest Pet Shop - painted pets     2009 Littlest Pet Shop - pet homes2012 Cupcake party - cupcake

Special Birthday Parties

For special birthdays, sometimes the party will be more elaborate and a little more expensive.  As I mentioned before, our daughter’s fifth birthday coincided with Disneyland’s 50th Anniversary and we thought it would be a great way to combine the two celebrations.  About two months before the party, we sent out “Save the Date” notices to everyone on the invitation list.  We told them the date, the schedule of events for the day and a request to submit pictures of their family Disneyland pictures for a special video we were making.  On the day of the party, we wanted to meet everyone in front of the castle, take a group photo, and hand out a game packet with a Disneyland trivia game and scavenger hunt.  Guests were free to enjoy the day at Disneyland and then meet at Goofy’s Kitchen for a birthday/dinner celebration later in the afternoon.  At the restaurant, after eating we handed out the prizes to the game winners and distributed the gift bags which included a special DVD video made from their family Disneyland photos that we requested months earlier.  It was a very expensive event but everyone had a great time and it was a very fun day!

2005 May Group photo Castle 2

Party Favors and Gift Bags

When having a children’s birthday party always send the guests home with gift bags because it is a wonderful way to say thank you for coming to the party.  When shopping and assembling the gift bags keep in mind the party’s theme.  The gift bags and decorations along with the items purchased for the gift bags should be about the party theme.    For example, at an Ariel theme party I used white bags tied with green raffia and a starfish glued onto a white tag.  At a local retail store  I found small Ariel coloring and activity books, some Ariel stickers and an Ariel party noise makers. Also included in the gift bag were a box of crayons, a small bag of goldfish crackers and a seashell.  For our big birthday party at Disneyland I again used white paper bags but this time I glued on a red/white polka dot ribbon and lined it with red tissue.  On previous Disneyland visits, I shopped for gift bag items which included two small postcards of Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Disney stickers, a Mickey Mouse lollipop and party noise maker, a small Donald Duck toy and a Disney dollar bill, also included were magic bubbles.

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For an animal safari theme party I used brown paper bags with white gift tag that read “supply rations” and personalized with the child’s name.  I shopped for animal themed items online at a party supply website and purchased animal print bracelets and stickers.  At a local retail store I found toy compasses, since we having an safari animal themed scavenger hunt, and I also included bubbles and a box of animal shaped cookies.  For a cupcake birthday party, the decorations were polka dots, daisies and the colors were bright green, blue, purple and pink.  I purchased paper gift bags/tissue in these colors and glued on a matching polka dot ribbon and white daisy.  Inside the gift bags were strips of polka dot candies, bright colored rubber bracelets, a couple of small polishes, a tube of lip gloss and a cupcake scented body spray.

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Birthday Photos

When celebrating a children’s birthday party be sure to take lots of photos, these are the moments to remember!  Before the party starts, we always take a photo of our daughter with her birthday cake and wearing her special birthday outfit.  When picking out an outfit we try to keep in mind the party’s theme.  For the ladybug party I found a cute pink dress with an embroidered lady bug.  I also made lady bug visors for all the girls, I used a simple red visor, black pipe cleaner curled with a pom-pom on top for the antennae and each black dot spelled out the girl’s names, this was also a party favor for them to take home.    During the party I made sure to take a group photo of the girls wearing their lady bug visors!  For the animal safari party, I was lucky to find a leopard crown at my local party shop and even though she only wore it for a short time at the party I was able to get a photo of her wearing it.

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For a princess sleepover the girls decorated foam crowns with sparkly letters and shiny gems, the girls enjoyed this activity took their crowns home as a party favor.  After they were done decorating them, I made sure to take a group photo of the girls wearing their princess crowns.  For the cupcake theme party, I found white chef’s hats and blue aprons that read “junior baker”.  During the party I made sure to take a photo of our daughter wearing them. I made sure to take a group photo of the girls with them all wearing their lady bug visors.

PARTY NOTE:  Group photos are a great idea to include in the thank you notes!

2008 Princess sleepover - party hat    2012 Cupcake party photo

Special Birthday Photos

Every year since my children were each born I have always taken them to JC Penney for their annual birthday photo.  Every year I would buy our daughter a beautiful dress and have her photo taken and some years when her birthday is a very special one I bring her birthday outfit and take additional photos.  For her Disneyland birthday, in keeping with the Disney theme she wore her birthday dress and her Mickey Mouse Ears.  For her animal safari birthday, I brought several stuffed animals to the photo shoot and had a cute picture taken with her wearing  her safari outfit with all the animals scattered around.

 2005 Disney party photo     2007 Animal party photo

Birthday parties are a very special time in our children’s lives, so take the time  to plan a fantastic party and make those wonderful memories!!  I would love to hear from you about your ideas, suggestions or tips on your children’s birthday  parties.

P.S.  Recently for my daughter’s birthday we had a Mall Scavenger Hunt themed party, for more information please click on the link.

1 thought on “Celebration – Children’s Parties (Part Two)

  1. Pingback: Celebration – Mall Scavenger Hunt Birthday Party | The Enchanted Manor

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