How to Entertain Kids at Birthday Parties
A birthday party should be an exciting event, and when planning a party, you want to make sure that everyone there is having fun. It can seem daunting to find activities that will keep everyone happy, but with the right preparation, your party can be an event that everyone enjoys!
Planning the Party
Select a theme.A theme helps encourage involvement and makes decorating easier! Ask your child what theme they’d like. Once you have a theme, it may be easier to brainstorm decorating ideas and/or activities.
- For example, planning the decorations for an outdoor competitive adventure party is very different from the decor one might expect at a princess party.
- When decorating, consider banners, balloons, streamers, or other colorful decorations!
Set up a scavenger hunt.If your child’s party calls for a scavenger hunt, prior set up is required. When creating the scavenger hunt, make sure you’re coming up with clues that are challenging without being too hard!
- For more active children, consider a scavenger hunt that takes place both inside and outside.
- For older children, consider a scavenger hunt with cryptic riddles and multiple steps.
- For younger children, consider a scavenger hunt that can be accomplished by all of them together, with simple, easy-to-follow clues.
Prepare an arts and crafts activity.When deciding what arts and crafts to do, keep the children’s age in mind! Easy arts and crafts allow you to sit back, while more involved arts and crafts often require adult supervision. Some easy arts and crafts activities include squirt gun painting, egg carton animals, and canvas painting, while more involved arts and crafts activities include troll bookmarks and string art.
- Consider how messy the activity will be. A very messy activity might be better outside!
- Make sure you buy all of the supplies in advance!
Organize dance and music parties.Not only are musical activities great at keeping kids entertained, they also have the added benefit of being easy to set up. Set up a speaker and a Freeze Dance game, grab some chairs and play Musical Chairs, or, if you have the budget, rent a karaoke machine for some singing action. Even a simple dance party can often entertain kids that love music and dance.
Take the party outside.If your house has a yard or if you live near a park, consider having an outdoor party. Bring a soccer ball or frisbee and set up a game or, for children who don’t like sports, set up a tie dye t-shirt station or a flower-crown braiding competition.
Cool down a summer birthday in the pool.If you have a pool or are able to rent one out, consider throwing a pool party. Pool parties do require more adult supervision, but they also provide a space for unlimited fun with few to no additional items required. If you don’t have a pool but live close to the beach, that’s another great option!
- If you are throwing a party that involves water, make sure all of the children can swim!
- Make sure to bring sunscreen if you are going to be out in the sun all day.
Hire professional entertainers.If you have the budget, consider hiring an outside magician, balloon artist, or some other sort of entertainer. It will provide a break for you while giving the children something to focus on. If your party has a theme, an outside performer could also help reinforce the theme.
Learn some simple magic tricks.If you don’t have the budget to hire a professional entertainer, turn to the internet for some quick and easy magic tricks! Some magic tricks that are easy to learn include Spoon Bending, The Banana Buster, and The Card Hotel.
- Remember: magic is just as much about confidence as it is about anything else!
- If your child loves magic, consider buying special magic decks or other objects. These can help you create even more elaborate magic tricks.
Make your own balloon animals.For younger children, consider learning a few easy balloon animal shapes. Fan favorites include the dog balloon animal, sword balloons, flower balloons, and balloon hats, not to mention a balloon snake!
Teach yourself how to be a face painter.You don’t need to be an artist to face paint! Not only is face painting a great activity during the party, but it can also double as a “party favor” once the party is over. Your face painting techniques should adhere to your party theme and child’s age, but a few easy ones include tiger, dog, butterfly, and pirate. Keep in mind you’ll need to buy face painting paint, though those sets often include instructions.
- Try to teach a few adults to face paint, so you can paint more than one child’s face at a time! Also, make sure there is at least one adult supervising while you face paint.
Hire a bounce house or trampoline.If you have the space and you’re planning an outdoor party, a bounce house or trampoline might be a great addition to your party! These structures usually come with their own set up and clean up, and they also provide the children with unlimited fun.
- If you do hire such a service, make sure you follow to all of their rules.
Provide a cake.If you’re planning on baking your own cake, make sure you have the necessary supplies and schedule yourself so that you won’t be rushing to finish the cake. Alternately, if you’re planning on purchasing the cake from an outside vendor, you will probably need to order it in advance. Reach out to your local supermarket to make sure your cake will be done on time!
Serve snacks.Depending on what time you’re hosting your party, you might want to consider serving snacks. If you have the budget, catering your child’s birthday party is an easy option that saves you time, but if not, you might want to look into some easy group meal options to feed your guests.
- Don’t forget to purchase paper plates and plastic cutlery -- you don’t want to be stuck using real plates for the food or cake.
- Keep in mind that most children can be picky eaters!
Go above and beyond with themed snacks.As an added feature, consider creating themed snacks for the party. For example, a pirate themed birthday party could feature cheese and apple pirate ships, or a rainbow themed birthday party could feature popsicles of every color.
- These snacks are likely to delight the children, but they do take quite a bit of added planning. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to pull them off!
- Don’t stress! This party is meant to be fun for everyone involved.
- For added help, consider asking the parents to stay around during the party, instead of just dropping their kids off.
- Build in a break for yourself during a particularly busy activity.
- Keep a first-aid kit on hand and know the phone numbers of all the parents, just in case!
Video: It's party time! Tips for planning your kids birthday parties
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