My daughter turned 4, about a month ago. And so, we entered the era of the FRIEND BIRTHDAY PARTY! I’m going to write a few posts about what we did to make the party easy for us, and fun for the kids. (Check out the whole series here)
I realize that different people have very different expectations for birthday parties. We’re lucky that families around here don’t appear to drop a ton of money on kids’ parties. I do hope some of these ideas will be useful. The focus of today’s post…
When planning this birthday party, I went to where every young mother goes for sage advice: Google. I searched “birthday party activities”, “easy birthday party activities”, “birthday party activities no parental involvement”. The results were…lacking. I wasn’t looking for an organized game or event, and I certainly wasn’t looking for anything that required cute signs, pinterest-worthy crafts, or parental hovering. I was just looking for activities to entertain 7 four-year-old girls between snack eating, present opening, and cake cutting.
Without any further ado, here are some items that were a hit at our party…
These guys do dual duty as entertainment and decoration. Scatter a couple of dozen balloons around the room and the children will entertain themselves endlessly (trust me, I’m still half-deaf from the shrieks of delight).
Want to take it up a level? Fill some of those balloons with helium (at least one per child), and you’ll be a birthday party rock star. Let each kid take one home and you’ll be a preschool legend.
My husband loaded a playlist of my daughter’s favourite music onto his tablet (Raffi, the Frozen soundtrack, The Wiggles, and Sharon, Lois and Bram). That, paired with a bluetooth speaker, kept little bodies wiggling. It was easy, fun, and really added to the party atmosphere.
We set up a table for the girls to eat at. On top of the plastic tablecloth I spread a roll of plain kraft paper and supplied a bin of crayons. Instant easy entertainment. Some kids happily coloured for most of the party.
What to take it up a level? Include markers and stickers as well.
The party was vaguely dinosaur themed. While shopping for other supplies I found mini dinosaurs for sale ($2.99/dozen at a party store – generally cheaper online). I originally bought them to use on the birthday cake, but ended up scattering them around the table, figuring the kids would play with them. They were insanely popular. There was much roaring, stomping, and dramatic play. Mini zoo or farm animals also would have been a hit.
Want to take it up a level? Provide lots of toy trucks and draw out a road network on that roll of craft paper.
And a couple more ideas that worked well at other parties…
Depending on the space you have available, provide soccer balls, beach balls, foam balls, and cheap inflatable balls from the dollar store. A recent party we went to had this and it kept the kids entertained for well over an hour without any other activity.
Want to take it up a level? Provide mini soccer goals, hula hoops and baskets. It’s a guarantee that the kids will come up with their own game.
If you’re outside, or have a higher tolerance for cleaning, provide the kids with bubble wands. Easy fun, with a definite guarantee that someone will spill it all over themselves.
Want to take it up a level? Automatic bubble blower. Every little kid’s best friend.
I hope these ideas help you. Whatever you do, try and keep it simple. Kids don’t need much to have fun. A space to run around with their friends, and a loot bag to take home? That’s childhood gold.
Stay tuned for future installments!