For many kids, birthday parties are an important part of their childhood and are remembered for years to come. So it's worth going to a bit of effort. That doesn't mean spending a fortune, or putting on lavish entertainment often the most successful birthday parties are the simplest. All it requires is a little bit of imagination …
Little kids often love theme parties based on their favourite TV, film or book character and they love dress ups. So have the birthday child and guests dress up in character. Reflect the theme in the invitation design, party decorations, type of games and birthday cake. Or you could have a funny hat, or animal, party, where guests dress accordingly. Fun games include musical chairs (or cushions), pin the tail on the donkey, pass the parcel and pinyadas.
Kids of all ages love park/outdoor parties. Traditional party games go down well here too: tug 'o' war, sack races (you can find hessian sacks at the greengrocers or Bunnings have carried them from time to time), egg and spoon races (hard boil the eggs beforehand unless you want a gooey mess!) and treasure hunts.
Bike/skateboard/scooter parties are also great fun find a park with a bike track, ask the guests to bring some "wheels" and away you go. You often don’t need to organise games at these parties the bike track creates enough excitement.
If the party is outside and it's summer, you could hold a water-bomb party. Ask the kids to wear their swimming costumes. Fill a large bucket with water and make water bombs (look for these in Kmart or the supermarket). Divide the kids into teams, give them handfuls of balloons and away they go squealing with delight as they dodge each other’s water-filled balloons. And while outside, flying paper planes is fun too. Get the kids to make planes or you can buy cheap polystyrene planes from novelty shops and see whose plane flies the furthest.
If older kids are into sport such as soccer, AFL or netball a sports party is always a hit. Find a suitable local park or netball court, divide the kids into teams, give them a ball, nominate a referee (an even older child or adult, who gets a whistle) and away they go! Make sure you provide plenty of drinks because they’ll work up a thirst.
Older kids also love sleepovers if you have a tent, they could have a "camp out" in the backyard. Ask guests to bring sleeping bags if they've got one because it saves linen. Or the birthday child could have a movie night show a couple of their favourite movies, before the kids bunk down on the living room floor. They might even like to make their own pizzas you can provide the pizza bases and a variety of toppings.
A fun game for older kids is the chocolate game. Set up a table with a block of chocolate on a plate and a knife and fork, and a pile of dress ups nearby. The kids sit in a circle around the table and take turns to throw the dice. Whenever a "6" comes up, the child who threw it puts on the dress ups (over their clothes) and sits at the table, cutting the chocolate squares one at a time and eating as many as they can before another child throws a "6". When this happens, the first child has to stop cutting/eating chocolate, throw off the dress ups and allow the other child a turn. Keep going until the chocolate is finished!
And older kids love disco parties. Hang a mirror ball (from novelty shops) in an appropriate room, put up some streamers, dim the lights, crank up the stereo, and get the kids dancing. You can play musical statues when the music stops, the kids have to "freeze". The last one to do so, sits out. Or you could have a dance competition. And what’s a dance party without the limbo! Get a couple of adults to hold a rod horizontally and get the children to bend backwards to pass underneath all to music of course. After each round, place the horizontal rod closer to the ground.
See, it's possible to hold a fun and memorable birthday party and all for little cost!
It's become a case of the bigger the better - kids parties are growing in cost and size. Kristie Carter takes a look at the biggest and best parties, and we talk to Emily Jade O'Keeffe about the growing trend.