Kids Parties Tips

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What can I put in goody bags for my children's party besides candy?

Inexpensive Toys That Are Great For Goody Bags

If you are looking for something other than party candy to stuff into the goody bags at your children's party, there are plenty of small inexpensive toys on the market that kids love. Whether you are browsing through a bricks-and-mortar store such as a dollar store or an online party supplies store, look for such goody bag gems as wooden pick up sticks, character pop-ups, laser tops, spinning tops, bendable animals and other figurines, goofy teeth, stickers, play money, silly straws, fun plastic sunglasses in different shapes, mini jars of bubbles, yo-yos, costume jewelry and tiny water guns. You can find many of these items in a local dollar store as well. These are all treats your small children and his/her friends will enjoy playing with. And, best of all, providing your child's friends with goodies won't break your bank!

What are some kids party themes?

Choosing Kids Party Themes

Include your child in the planning of their birthday party. Themes and decorations are very much a part of your child's birthday party excitement; allowing your child to make key decisions will enhance the overall effect of your event.

What should be inside my kid's party invitations?

Making Your Kid's Party Invitations

There is no end to the creative ways in which you can hand make kid's party invitations. Whether your party is a traditional one or a themed one, if you have the time and energy, making party invitations is a great project for you and your child.

Some web sites allow you to download free invitation templates you can create on your computer. Or you can order invitations premade from a company's Web site for $1 to $3 each. Some companies will even address, stamp and mail them for you.

Here is the information that should be listed inside your invitation:

  • Who the party is for
  • Who is invited (Should a parent plan to stay? Are siblings invited as well?)
  • Date
  • Address and directions
  • Start and end time
  • RSVP deadline (but be prepared to follow up with stragglers)
Send out invitations at least 2 weeks in advance of the party.

How can I survive my kids party?

Childrens Party Ideas

As you plan your childs birthday party, it is often best to keep your guest list close to your childs age. You may want to increase your overall guest count by 10% so that you can account for quests that have a conflict or other obligation on the day of your party.

What are the most popular children's party themes right now?

Ideas for Three of the Most Popular Children's Party Themes

Birthday parties for children are getting more elaborate every year. If you're planning a children's birthday party and want to hit a home run with the theme you choose, check out the following three most popular children's party themes:

  • Pirate party - there are many party supply companies that offer kits for parties that include treasure maps, eye patches and other pirate-like items. At craft stores, you can purchase faux cold coins and gems for decoration. Kid's party invitations for this theme can look like old treasure maps. Arrange a treasure hunt for the kids at your house, have them play pin the patch on the pirate and play pirate music (offered by The Wiggles and other kid-friendly experts). Fill goody bags with pirate booty such as chocolate-filled gold coins, eye patches, gems and treasure maps.
  • Hawaiian Luau: decorate your house or yard with fake palm trees and greenery. Offer grass skirts to the girls and pin paper palm trees to the boys to give them an instant Hawaiian shirt. Play Hawaiian or island music. Have a hula hoop and limbo contest. Serve root beer floats, virgin pina coladas and watermelon Kool-Aid as well as chopped strawberries, pineapples and coconut. Goody bags can include mini flip flop notepads, highlighters, faux flowers and goldfish key chains.
  • Prince/Princess Party: decorate with purple, blue and yellow streamers, create or buy shield and castle images, give the girls costume jewelry and the boys fancy-looking gold rope belts and have the children make their own crowns and treasure chests. Play Renaissance music, plan a treasure hunt using inexpensive items with fun names such as "the jester's ball" (a rubber ball from a coin machine) and "unicorn horns" (crayons). Goody bags can include some of the same type of items as well as a magic wand and party candy such as chocolate-filled gold coin candy and "dragon eggs" (plastic eggs filled with candy)

What can I do to keep order at my children's birthday party?

The Logistics of a Children's Birthday Party

A children's birthday party can be a harrowing experience. It's not as simple as putting out snacks and sitting back while your little one plays with his friends and opens presents. There is potential for childhood outbursts and unruliness if you don't stay one step ahead of children as the day progresses. Parenting Magazine offers the following tips for keeping children tear-free and occupied at your children's birthday party.

1. Have activities begin as children are arriving. Set up a project to keep guests occupied as others arrive and help them warm up to one another. Some ideas include making a birthday banner or decorating paper crowns or color paper place mats.

2. Kids whip through activities quickly, so have plenty lined up. In a pinch, use household stuff to amuse them -- a puppet show made of socks or a craft station set up for little ones to trace their hands, make snowflakes or create a birthday card.

3. If you're dealing with children 4 years old and under, keep in mind that many find it hard sharing their favorite toys. Put your little one's favorite toys out of site before all the kids get there.

4. Minimize chaos. Kids start a party already amped up, so have activities in a couple of rooms if possible so guests don't swarm together in one spot. Follow a high-energy game with a lower-key one.

5. Get extra help. Hire one or two high schoolers. For $10 or $20 each, they can help with crafts and games, pass out cake slices, and spare you from leading the hokey pokey.

6. Say no to life-size Scooby-Doo or SpongeBob. They're a hit with bigger kids, but little ones may freak out when they see a 6-foot character with a giant head.

7. Take some toys/games for a test run before doing. For example, make sure the pinata works. Prime it with a couple of whacks before kids take their turns, or buy one with strings that you pull to release the bounty.

Should children send thank you cards after birthday parties?

Thank You Cards Are Important

According to Parenting Magazine, thank-you notes are the final act of a birthday and an important lesson in good manners. So don't think of your children's birthday party as over once the guests leave. There is one final task to be done (besides clean up!).

Your guests take time out of their lives to celebrate your child and bring a thoughtful gift. It's a good idea to teach your child early on that a thank you is important. Continue the theme of the party by making thank you cards that incorporate that theme. Perhaps you spent lots of time crafting special kid's party invitations. While the crafts are out, why not make simpler versions of those invitations to use later as thank you cards?

Tackle a few at a time so it's not such a chore. And aim to send them within a couple of weeks (though parents understand if it takes a month).

Whether the thank you cards are store-bought or homemade, try to add a personal element to each. A simple "Thanks for coming to my party. I really like the coloring books" is fine. Or you can tell a little story about how excited your child was to use her coloring book inside the card.

Let your child sign his or her name to the card after you've written a few thoughts. Or perhaps your child would like to draw a picture or, if he or she is very small, add a simple red-crayon scribble.

For a special touch, snap a photo of the guest at the party and include it in the envelope, or take a group shot and make it into a postcard which can double as a thank you note and a final party favor.

What are some alternatives to giving away goody bags at my child's party?

Creative Alternatives to Goody Bags

Some parents complain about the goody bag tradition at children's parties and wish to do something different. They claim they wind up throwing out the inexpensive toys from the goody bag because children quickly toss them aside. Here are some alternate ideas for goody bags:

  • Have children do an art activity at the party (making a frame, memory box, candle or picture) and go home with their own creation as a gift instead of a goody bag
  • Give children one gift a piece (a coloring book or stickers) instead of a whole goody bag full of many items
  • Burn a CD with children's music on it and give one to each child
  • Tell parents to wrap up a used book their child no longer reads and do a book exchange at the party

How do I make a goody bag for a party?

Little Ones Love Goodies

Kids love goody bags. So at your next children's party, carry the theme you decide upon all the way through to the end and send kids away with a small bag of treats to match the theme of the day.

Here are some goody bag ideas for your kid's party:

  • If it's a Glam Girl party, send the girls home in style. Take a bath puff and attach glittery lip gloss, sparkly bracelets, and a little bottle of kid-friendly body wash.
  • If your party theme is Legos, send each budding construction engineer home with a small box of Legos.
  • Whether your party is themed for a little boy or girl there are countless ideas in party stores and on the Internet for matching your goody bags to your theme. Check them out.
  • For the party without the theme, party candy is always an instant hit.
Bags range from cellophane to tulle in any style and color. Stock up on stickers so the kids can decorate their own paper bags. A digital camera and printer make it easy to truly personalize the outside of each child's bag with a photo taken at the party. Include a cute magnet and the bag itself may even end up on the refrigerator.

How can I save money planning a kid's party?

How to Save Money on a Kid's Party

Most parents have been there. Your child's birthday is fast approaching and your finances are a little low. You want your child to have a wonderful birthday but you just can't afford to drop several hundred dollars on an elaborate party this year. Here are some ways to be frugal when planning your kid's party, according to the experts.

  • Don't assume the cheapest place to have a party is at your house. Once you buy the decorations, food and cake it might have been more cost-effective to buy a package birthday deal that includes all these things in a place like a bowling alley or Chuck E. Cheese.
  • If you are having the party at your house, you don't have to hire expensive entertainment. Ask around and do some research. The stay-at-home mother next door might moonlight as a clown or magician. Or perhaps a relative wouldn't mind putting on a puppet show. Or perhaps your brother or cousin is a firefighter and can arrange a free tour of a fire truck as entertainment. Try to think out of the box!
  • Most places famous for hosting a kid's party are really busy on weekends and the rates tend to be higher as well. Think about planning a party after school during the week. It might be cheaper than a weekend event. Do some price comparisons before booking.
  • If your party is at another place, ask if you can bring your own food. It's almost always cheaper to, for example, make your own birthday cake and bring it rather than pay for one that's made by a party place or local bakery

What´s a great summer party idea?

Kids Outdoor Parties - Make your Own Sundae Party

What better way to celebrate summer than with ice cream for the perfect kids summer party?

What You'll Need:
*Purchase plastic partfait/sundae glasses or use unique coffee cups you have at home.

*A giant tub of vanilla ice cream.

*Toppings: strawberry preserves, caramel, chocolate, hot fudge, whipped cream, cake toppings, colored sugar.

Since this is a make your own sundae party, just set everything out on a large table and let everyone go to town.

You could even have a sundae eating contest (whoever can eat the largest or the most sundaes) or a creative sundae contest (who can make the most creative sundae).

What is a unique party theme for kids?

Kids Christmas Party Ideas

Slow down from the Christmas rush and throw your kids a Santa Sunday party for an excellent kids Christmas party idea. It's a great way for you to relax and let your kids have some fun in anticipation of Christmas. Here's how it works:

*Keep it to less than five kids.

*Have your childrens Christmas party at least two weeks before Christmas.

*Your house is already decorated for Christmas, so you don't have to add any other decorations if you don't want to.

*Invite a friend, neighbor or relative to be a Santa's Elf. The elf delivers special pre-Christmas gifts (under $10) to each child. If no one volunteers, then have the elf leave a bag of gifts outside your front door before the kids arrive so they can discover it.

*Kids party food ideas include finger sandwiches, chips and dip and ice cream novelties.

*Kids party invitations could be hand printed on red paper and mailed in green envelopes or vice-a-versa.

*Kids party favors ideas: stuff a small Christmas stocking with candy.

*Play pin the nose on the reindeer (draw your own reindeer on poster board and cut out circles from red construction paper for the nose) and give a box of animal crackers as the prize.

Will my child like sugar free party candy at his party?

Sugar Free Party Candy

Worried about the sugar high your child and his friends will be on if you provide too much party candy at his birthday bash? Think about providing sugar-free party candy at your children's party. Popular candy makers such as Hershey's have come out with sugar-free versions of kid's favorites, which makes it less likely your tiny party goers will turn their noses up at what you offer them. For example, Bazooka gum, Reese's and Hershey's all have chocolates and gum on the market that are sugar-free. If the kids don't see the bag, they may not even realize their tasty treat is lacking the sweet stuff. And that will make you a happy parent!

What´s a great summer party idea?

A Great Summer Party Idea

A tour of the neighborhood fire station is great with smaller groups. Be sure to call in advance to accommodate their busy schedule. Don't be surprised if you get to the station house and find the fire truck and firemen off to a fire! Of course if you get there when the siren is wailing, the kids are going to love it! Yeah, you will too!

What are some kids party themes?

Have your Child Help With Planning a Kids Party

It's always a good idea to have your child help as much as possible with the planning and choosing of items for their party. Hopefully, they will not change their minds after you bought the items. The child learns how much work goes into having a party. If you create a less stressful party, the actual party will go on without a hitch. Also, if the child is going to be involved in planning the party, they can be involved in cleaning it up! Fair is fair.

What's a good idea for a themed party for kids using candy?

Themed Parties for Kids Using Candy

Kids love parties. And kids love candy. Put the two together and you can do a themed event that will make your children and his/her friends melt in your hands.

Check out children's party websites for ideas. Using the party candy colors as inspiration for a theme, it's possible to do any type of candy as a party theme. For example, a Hershey's Kiss party, Gummy Fish party or an M&M party.

Let's take one idea and run with it to give you some inspiration. Here are some guidelines for an M&M party :

Invitations: use a compass to make round invitations out of construction paper in the primary M&M colors (red, brown, green, yellow). Cut out two circles of paper, tie together with a ribbon on the side. On the front, write M&M. On the inside, make lines and write the pertinent information.

Decorations: you can keep it simple by getting a bunch of helium balloons in the primary M&M colors. Have your children help you make paper M&M candies to hang on the wall, door, table. Put out candy dishes with M&M candies in them.

Cake: bake yourself or have a bakery design an M&M cake for your child. Or opt for cupcakes instead, sprinkled with M&M's on top. Each child can have his or her own cupcake.

Games: fill a jar with M&M's (counting them as you do)and have children guess how many are in there. Pin the "M" on the M&M. This works like pin the tail on the donkey - just have a large cardboard circle (the M&M) and blindfold children and have them try to put a letter "M" in the center of the circle. Or hide plastic eggs filled with M&M's and have children hunt for them.

Party favors: send children home with a goody bag full of, what else, M&M's.

What´s a schedule I can use for a kids party?

Planning a Kids Party

A fun kids party should usually last only two hours. Here's a sample schedule with a start time of 1 p.m.

1 p.m. Kids begin arriving. Have kids begin playing icebreaker games or begin crafts.
1:20 Play 1st childrens party game.
1:40 Play a 2nd childrens party game.
2:00 Serve lunch if you're serving or skip to cake and ice cream as food for kids parties.
2:30 Open gifts from kids parties.
2:45 Favor game and goodbyes.

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Guru Spotlight
Carma Spence-Pothitt