Kid Party Ideas And Games

Birthday Parties

With today’s fast-paced life and commercialized entertainment options, it is lovely to bring back the traditional birthday party. A traditional party can be full of simple pleasures to inspire children. Here are a few pointers to guide you on your way.

As with Christmas, the build up to a party can be just as delicious as the day itself, so do leave your self four to six weeks to prepare.

Invites

Make your own invites: now is the time to bring out the lovely crayon blocks mentioned in craft ideas, shade rainbows!

Time length

One and a half hours, in the morning, is usually plenty of time for small children, too long and all involved get frazzled! 

How many children?

I once heard the idea to invite the same amount of children, as your child’s age. This is not always possible -a little more is sometimes needed for party games – but big is definitely not always better and can be very overwhelming for a little one (and parents!) 

Goody bags

You can make goody bags from brown paper bags; these can be decorated by your child. Think of a little craft project to make as party gifts (look through a simple craft book). Bubbles, crystals, natural lolly packets or little plain chocolate bars can also be included. Have fun decorating plain calicoes bags with fabric paints or even tie dye, if feeling adventurous. Brown paper bags can include a crayon design too. 

Planning the party

Arrival and present-receiving game

A circle of cushions can be placed on the floor, waiting for little bottom’s to sit on. A present table can be set up, to leave the gifts on ready for the game. A vase of little flowers, on a coloured cloth, will make this table look special. The children sit on the cushions and the birthday child sits in the middle, blind folded. Each child in turn gives their present and says “Happy Birthday ………….” The birthday child then guesses whose voice it is, before opening the present while everyone watches.

This starts the party off in a calm and fun way. Go with the flow, some children do not want to join in, this is fine and adults can do it for them. Young children require a model to imitate, so you could practice the game at home – with you in the middle – so they can see how it is played. Or an alternative game – for receiving the presents – is to play a matching card game. Draw two identical cards with flowers, boats, cars, suns, rainbows etc. Leave one on top of each cushion, and give the birthday child a basket with the matching pairs in the middle. The birthday child chooses and calls out a picture. The child with the matching pair gives their present. Children love this simple game.

It is wonderful to make the present giving ceremony a special, honouring and fun time. Otherwise the paper will be ripped off, and discarded in a frenzy of excitement.  It can start the party in a centered, respectful and loving way. All children are usually interested in what’s behind present wrappers. Part of the party planning is to make the matching card game (or set aside a blindfold). Your child can help you to choose, draw or colour the pictures for the matching game, depending on age. 

Party Games

The children are already in a circle, from the present giving ceremony, ready to play simple party games. I tend to play the same number of games as the age of the child. Try to avoid competitive games, with only one winner. Everyone is a winner! Party games for all ages can be found in the superb book The Children’s Party Book, for Birthdays and other occasions.[1] See the Great Goods section. Children’s (and family) games will appear from time to time in the free tips NEWSLETTER.

The party games I have played with young children to five years include:

Pass the parcel. I place a number of crystals in the middle (bubble wands or chocolate bars!) The middle is for everyone to share. Under each wrapper is the same little treat. Young children love to pass and unwrap, keep the competition out of it.

Children also love to sing. In the middle of the circle, place cards with favourite song titles on them. Choose a child to pick a card and then everyone sings the song. Popular classics include: Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush, Incy Wincy Spider, The Wheels on the Bus, and Ring A Rosie. As your children grow, during this circle time, new games can be added. In the planning stage, wrap the parcel, and make the song cards. Ask your children what their favourite songs are? Back to the party, for young children three circle games (including the present giving) and it is now time to eat!

Games can be followed by food and drink

Party food can be nutritious and fun; home made pizzas, fruit kebabs (platter), home-made popcorn and mini pancakes, corn chips and vegetable sticks with dips, natural potato chips. The Natural Confectionary Company has a range of drinks and lollies which are free from nasties. Try mixing fruit juice with sparkling spring water; children can feel they have had party treats! Refrain from putting lollies on the food table and sweet foods, all the party food will be left and a sugar fix will reign! Place a small packet of treats in each goody bag and cut and eat the cake, after the savoury food has been eaten.

A birthday cake – home made – is fun: decorate a simple sponge cake. For girls, ‘beetroot juice’ icing is great. Mix the icing with a little of the juice from a can of beetroot – it will go bright pink, with no artificial colourings! Otherwise, decorate with fresh flowers. For boys try making the birthday cake into a number (age), then cover the cake in chocolate or white icing. It is easy to have food colour and chemical free parties, and still make them fun. A little creativity can go along way.

Plan your cake ahead of time, or make a simple sponge cake and dust with icing sugar! It is the candles and the ‘blowing out’ that children love, and of course, the “Happy Birthday to you!”

After the food, a little playtime to run and be free, hits the mark. Outside you could face paint, craft (I have ended a party with each child planting a bulb to take home) or hold a treasure hunt for the goody bags. Giant’s Footsteps or What’s the Time Mr. Wolf, are fun outside games when the children are a little older.

If there is a clear ending – a thank you and goodbye with a goody bag – then the party does not drag on too long. When adults are chatting and tired children playing, this is when accidents, quarrels and upsets can happen, and the energy is lost. Everyone leaves feeling inspired and happy and not too tired.  You can also hold a traditional party in a park.

Give it a go!

Do not be afraid to hold a party, especially when your children are young. It will save you a fortune! Keep to a simple number of children, a short time and a structure of fun, non-competitive games. The planning, as well as the party, can become a creative and connecting experience for you and your children.


[1] Anne and Peter, Thomas; The Children’s Party Book: For Birthdays and other Occasions. Floris Books, Edinburgh, 1998.