Parties & Entertaining

Birthday party ideas for kids

By Jean Sanders
Info Guru,

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kids around a birthday cake
With just a little planning you can have a great birthday party for your child
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Easy birthday party ideas for kids

If your child is 7 or 8 years old, he/she will have some definite opinions as to party themes. Keep in mind that this may be the year that a split between the boys and girls begins to develop. If your child wants to have all-boys or all-girls bash, that's fine. Just be sure to avoid hurt feelings and don't distribute the invitations at school. At this age, it is always wise to discus birthday party ideas with your child. Even though 7 or 8 may seem young, you have undoubtedly discovered by now that your child has some very definite opinions! Here are some thoughts for both of you to consider.

1) If your child's birthday falls near Halloween, perhaps you could consider a Halloween party. A monster party brings a little bit of gross-out and a lot of fun. Monsters can range from silly to scary, depending upon the maturity level of your birthday guest of honor and friends. When in doubt, go for the giggles rather than the shrieks.

Monster Mummy Wrap This game is easy to set up and lots of fun. Divide your guests into teams of two each. Each team gets a roll of toilet paper. The object of the game is to see who can wrap their mummy the fastest. Award a prize to the winner and give all the other kids party favors of monster tattoos.

2) Sports Day For active kids, just getting into team sports, an athlete's party will be a big winner. You can design a party that incorporates a range of sports, or stick to one such as soccer, baseball, or gymnastics. If your party happens to fall near a big sports event, such as the Super Bowl or the Olympics, you may find party goods stores have themed decorations and paper goods that are perfect for the occasion.

For an outdoor sports party: Soccer Obstacle Course. Divide your guests into two teams and let them show off their budding dribbling skills. Make the course simple enough so that even less-skilled players can complete it. Give prizes for best individual time and best team performance. For the sports oriented, this is one of the most engaging birthday party ideas.

For an indoor sport party: Game Day Suit Up Relay. Raid the closet of Dad or a bigger, older sibling for two oversized sports outfits. Divide your guests into two teams. At "Go," each player runs to the pile of oversized sports gear, suits up as quickly as possible, runs to tag his or her teammate, runs back to the dressing area, undresses, and runs back to the team and sits down. First team to have everyone dress up and dress down wins. Depending on the number of kids in each team, award each winning member a prize ľor, just give all the kids party favors of sports-theme school supplies.

3) Art Studio This is one of the birthday party ideas that is very popular with girls. Now that your little princess has definitely moved beyond finger painting, you can set up a creative party that will truly be a work of art. Be sure to note on your invitation that this will be an art party, so that guests will be dressed appropriately, or provide painting smocks. Consider letting your child design his or her invitations on the computer as part of the creative experience.

Game: Life-Size Portraits. Have a big roll of white or brown paper on hand. As each guest arrives, have him lie down on the paper. Trace his entire body outline. Leave plenty of room and be sure to label each outline with the guest's name. When everyone has arrived, break out the paints, markers, chalk, and stickers, and let each guest color a life-size self-portrait. They'll love it! Reward each guest with a paint set as a party favor.

Here are two birthday party ideas for kids that 9 and up. Keep in mind that your birthday child is getting older, and you'll need to be even more sensitive to what he or she wants to do on party day. Perhaps he or she will still want to get silly with friends. But there's also the possibility that your child will want to seem more sophisticated and break with the ways of the past. Offer suggestions and be supportive of his or her birthday party ideas. Discuss the pros and cons of each idea so that you can come to a mutual agreement.

1) Movie Night This is a good pick for a child who wants to have a group party but perhaps wants to appear a bit more grown up. Be sure to pick a movie that won't have other parents complaining. In fact, if you can get your child to make a choice early, put the movie title on the invitation so there won't be any confusion about the entertainment. Serve popcorn and Junior Mints and enjoy the show. This is one of the birthday party ideas that can appeal to both girls and boys. Of course, most boys would prefer an action film.

Game: Movie Trivial Pursuit. Divide into two teams and stick with as many current movies as possible. Kids this age tend not to know the oldies. As party favors give each child a video store coupon. Stop by your local rental store and see what they've got. Chances are good the store will have a promotion you can tap into.

2) Pirate Party Pirate parties provide a great backdrop for fun costumes and creative games. This theme works well indoors or out, and it's also a good one for multi-age parties since pirate fun cuts across many age lines. Use your computer to generate treasure map invitations to the bash. Get some input from your child.

Game: Treasure Hunt. Set up a traditional scavenger hunt under the guise of searching for buried treasure. This can take place in a backyard or inside. Divide your guests into small teams of two or three each and have them hunt for a variety of items. Set a time limit. The team to find the most items wins.

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