I just had to throw each of my girl’s a birthday party. I refused to give in to society norms. I decided I was not going to rent space at a kids facility which caters to birthday parties (such as My Gym, Gymboree, LazerTag, Muvico movie theaters, the zoo, pottery making & painting boutiques). No, instead I thought to myself, “I have a beautiful backyard … let’s do “kid’s stuff” that will be a blast and won’t break the bank.
Idea #1: Obstacle Course: Divide children in teams. NEVER let the birthday girl pick the teams (this will avoid resentment and a feeling of being left off the best team). Pre-buy 2 colors of different bandana’s. Pre-type colors and throw into hat. Have kids pick the color of their designated team. Set up cones of different sizes, jump ropes, wooden eggs on spoons, thick dowels taped to different cones (I bought mine on-line) to jump over and climb under, trampoline, hoola hoops arranged on grass to jump with both feet in a zigzagged motion, bubbles to blow. Each kid must complete ALL of the obstacle course before running and tagging the kid in line that’s next
Idea #2: Bubble gum and Whipped Cream Contest: Set up a card table covered with a plastic cloth. Put a piece of Hubba bubble gum in the middle of a paper plate. Take canned whipped cream and cover the gum. Team against team, two (2) at a time. Each kid must keep their hands behind their back. Ready Set Go! Whoever can grab the gum with their mouth, chew and blow a 1-inch minimum bubble first wins. That team gets the point.
Idea #3: Capture the flag football. Buy a flag football set (I only paid $39.00 at Oriental Trading the Capture the flag belts and flags. Divide among teams, set up cones, and yell, “GO”. Whoever gets to the other side without getting their belt ripped off and captures the flag and runs back to the other side (all while staying out of jail) … that team gets the point.
Idea #4: Italian Cook-Off: Yes, your kitchen becomes a bit of a war-zone, but it’s worth it. Kids prepare an entire Italian feast (lasagna with a Béchamel sauce; homemade gnocchi, ravioli, stuffed manicotti). Again, don’t let the kids pick teams. Pre-type all the recipes and place into a hat. If you think the lasagna will take 2 kids and the manicotti 3 kids, place the correct number of the recipe names in the hat and let the kids draw. Afterwards, everyone eats the dinner they made.
Idea #5: Forget stupid party-favors in a bag (usually full of candy and crap kid’s don’t need). Pre-type the entire recipe booklet from the Italian Cook-off, bind it with pretty ribbons and bows, and upon them leaving … hand them the recipe booklet with the cover displaying your child’s name, Cook-off, birthday date and a thank you note for coming.