Warmer weather across the country means that a lot of parents are planning kid’s birthday parties outside. Less worry about mess and more space to run freely makes outdoor parties a plus for parents. While your child is excited to spend the day at the center of attention enjoying all of their favorite friends, foods and activities, for parents the day can be somewhat stressful. It’s important for kids to feel that their parents are having a good time too, sharing in the joy and celebration. That means coming up with a plan that’s easy, stress free, and ensures a magical day for the child, parents, and guests.
It’s easy to rely on traditional party games which have stood the test of time. If parents think about their own childhood experiences with Musical Chairs, Simon Says, and Freeze Dance, they will likely have memories of being called out and sitting on the sidelines, having very little fun while waiting for the one winner to be announced. The challenge with traditional party games is that most of the guests are “losers” and feel left out during the time when they are supposed to be having fun.
Monique Banks and Ariel Banks Baker, Founders of the DIY downloadable BLUEPRINT party plans, say that it’s important to focus on high-energy games that are inclusive and don’t have a winner and a loser. Kids get bored easily and if they are sitting out, they will get distracted and not have a good time while they wait for the next activity. After helping parents create over 3,000 magical birthday parties, they created an easy to use blueprint plan that includes instructions for games that are so much fun, parents often join in the activity.
As parents and kids become more aware of creating experience that are eco-friendly and are as sustainable as possible, Jeremy Yamaguchi from Lawn Love, recently threw a party where everyone had a terra cotta pot. Children were given markers and acrylic paints to decorate their pot. They then filled the pot with potting soil and an assortment of seeds. This taught kids about the plants they’re trying to grow and how to go about starting the seed in the potting soil.
A foolproof way to make sure that the birthday child will have a great time is to ask them what they want and involve them in the process. Greg Jenkins, a Partner at Bravo Productions event planning company, says to talk with your child and let them determine the theme. If the kid picks the theme, it will automatically become memorable for them. He also says to plan ahead and set a budget to keep stress levels down by not overspending. Most importantly, Jenkins says to not compete with the experience at a place such as Disneyland, Chuck-E-Cheese or an amusement park. You cannot recreate that experience. The more you try, the more most kids will think it’s “lame.” Put your special touches on the party, with nuances that will appeal to your kid and their guests.
Emma Gordon from USSalvageYards, says that relay races keep kids engaged and have a beginning and an end that includes everyone. No one is sitting out unhappy. One of her favorite party games is a balloon relay race. In this game, a child from each team has to run from a starting point to their team’s basket and grab a balloon. They then have to sit on the balloon until it pops, at which point they run back to their team and the next child sets off, the first team to pop all their balloons wins.
Allow kids to make up their own fun games and activities using their imagination! Andrew Smith, Editor in Chief of Shark Tank Recap, is also a 2nd grade teacher. He knows that when it’s their birthday, kids love to be the center of attention. A recent Shark Tank company featured in Season 12, Foam Party Hat, makes crazy and whacky customized foam hats for parties. Smith recommends purchasing a few fun hats that fit the party theme and creating a photobooth station. Kids will have fun trying on the hats and creating silly poses, and will have a photo memory to take home.