Birthday Party Ideas and Games

festive cupcakesChildren of all ages love birthday parties! As a parent, you probably know that planning a birthday party that all the guests will enjoy depends on using your imagination to come up with some great party ideas. To help you out, we have compiled our list of favorite party themes that you can use to help with your party planning.

Treasure Hunt

A treasure hunt party is very popular with all kids. The idea is to create your own treasure, which could be old jewelry, gold coin candy, and toy presents that you hide all over the house or the backyard. Or you can create a treasure chest out of a cardboard box with a map where X marks the spot! Parents and kids can dress up like pirates with eye patches and you can have games such as walking the plank or the children can go play with plastic swords.

Teddy Bear Party

Every child loves teddy bears. A great idea for a children's party is to ask all the guests to bring their favorite teddy bear. (In case some guests forget, make sure you have a few extra teddy bears.) Create a bear cave by using cardboard boxes, stacking pillows or moving furniture to the corner of a room. You can add blankets and toy party sets to make the bear cave very homey. For a fun activity, you can have the children all create their own bear masks to wear at the party. You'll need construction paper, glue sticks, tape, and crayons. In keeping with the teddy bear theme, bear shaped cookies, teddy grahams and cake with a teddy bear decoration are great treats. Make sure you include gummy bears in the grab bag too!

Knights and Castle

Little children love castles. A great idea for a party theme is a medieval knights and castle party. You will need to create a play castle, which can be done with a lot of card board boxes, some old furniture, or an outdoor tree house or swing set. You can make shields and buy plastic toy swords for all the little knights. A big hit is always the fake draw bridge door (which you can build with a board and two milk cartons), which allows the kids to get across the imaginary moat to the castle. One of the parents or an older sibling can pretend to be the dragon. You can play games where the losing team can be sent to a castle dungeon. The cake should have a castle or knight decorated on it.

Sports Theme

This is a good party theme for children who have an interest in sports. For decorations, you can cut out pictures of popular athletes or hang a few posters from the walls and ceilings. A neat idea is to use masking tape to make the family room, where the kids will be eating cake, look like an athletic court. If you have a kids' basketball hoop, Nerf football, whiffle ball set, soccer goal, or paddle ball, you can have the kids play games. Make sure you do not make the games competitive since you do not want any guests leaving feeling like they lost.

Time Capsule

The time capsule is a great activity to have at a toddler's birthday party. The idea is create a scrap book where the guests can write a letter, include a picture, and design a page for the child to open when he becomes an adult. This really appeals to the toddlers when they become adults, because some of the guests may not be around anymore and the notes and letters will be that much more meaningful. You will need to have paper, pens, markers, scissors, and tape for your guests. You may also want to inform the guests beforehand so they can bring pictures or other relevant items such as newspaper clippings, magazine articles or notes from friends who could not make it. Make sure you seal the time capsule shut and clearly put a label on it that tells people not to open until the predetermined date.

Outdoor Pool Party

All you need is a children's play pool, maybe a slip and slide, and some water toys. Food would ideally be BBQ such as hamburgers and salads. Best of all, there is no need to worry about making a mess! Attempts at organizing games such as water balloon tosses are ambitious as the kids (and some parents too!) will usually have a blast with just a plain old water fight. Do not forget to make sure the kids do not run when there is water.