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Birthday Party & Ideas

There seems to be a lot of pressure out there to host really great birthday parties and hand out over-the-top loot bags. Whatever happened to pin the tail on the donkey and candy bracelets? Don’t stress, you won’t make or break your reputation for coolness based on your child’s next party. There’s plenty of other opportunities for that.

BIRTHDAY IDEAS

Inside of the Crib: Home-based party ideas:

**Michaels** will put together a custom project, complete with all the materials and instructions, for your birthday guests to make at your own home. Call for details 382-8800.

If you want to go at it alone but need help with theme ideas, check out these websites that can help you wade through the endless birthday party themes if you want to host the party at home: http://familyfun.go.com/parties/ http://todaysparent.com/craftsactivities/birthday/partyplanner.jsp

http://www.amazingmoms.com/htm/party_bigbirthdaylist.htm

http://www.partygameideas.com/kids-games/

Here are a few of our favourite in-house themes submitted by moms we know and love.

**Favourite mom-tested birthday party ideas:**

**A Ratatouille Cooking Party:**

Buy chef hats or aprons and have the children decorate them with fabric markers before the cooking begins. Kids make their own pizzas and ice cream sundaes. Children obviously get to keep their hats or aprons and treat bags included Ratatouille Pez dispensers and kid-friendly cooking utensils among other standard items.

**A Breakfast Party:**

Children arrive early in the morning still dressed in their jammies with blankie and teddy bear in tow. The menu includes breakfast items which many kids love. A cereal bar or a pancake/waffle bar allow children to pick what they want to top their waffles or pancakes (i.e. chocolate chips, berries, bananas). Invitations were done on recipe cards and slipped into a miniature pillowcase made from a moon & stars piece of fabric. If you can't sew, fabric glue works just as well. Fill it with a bit of quilting batting or cotton balls to puff it out. Play games like musical pillows, hot teddy bear, or pin the slippers on the person dressed in jammies. Decorate with moon and star cut-outs, pillows, sleeping bags, and stuffed animals. Morning birthday parties also catch children at their best moods and you’ll have the rest of the day to enjoy family time.

**Mini Olympics:**

This sports themed party is great when an actual Olympics is approaching. Great for summer or winter. Each child can be assigned a country on the invitation, adapt various events for the age of the children, and hand out medals at the closing ceremonies.

**Non-sense parties:**

*  Ask guests to dress up and arrive in wigs and moustaches.

* Backwards party - wear clothes backwards, eat the meal out of order, play games the wrong way.

* Beach party for a winter month birthday - dress in summer clothes, sunglasses, and flip flops/crocs, sit on beach towels for a picnic, and serve popsicles or freezies.

 

Survival Tips

  • Don’t go overboard, remember the K.I.S.S. principle (keep it simple silly). Kids don’t need a lot to have fun. They also don’t know how much things cost, so watch your budget!
  • Don’t plan too many different activities.
  • Don’t invite too many people.
  • Don’t plan anything else major the day of the party, it can be overwhelming for the child and they could be tired by the time of the party and ready to meltdown.
  • Do have the party at your child’s best time of day.

Visit www.birthdayswithoutpressure.org for other tips of avoiding the stress and madness of the birthday party!

Non-Candy loot bag ideas:

Giant sunglasses, barretts, headbands, shovels and pails, glow bracelets, playdough, tattoos, stickers, skipping ropes, dinky cars, balls, bubbles, funky straws/cups, markers, pencils, books, notepads, stamps and ink pads. The larger dollar stores have a great selection of items.

Good gifts to have on-hand for those last-minute birthday invitations

  • Nerf games
  • Stickers
  • Stick on tattoos
  • Sporting equipment for land or water
  • Lego
  • Puzzles
  • Polly pockets/ Barbies
  • Play Dough/Crayola items
  • Gift certificates for a local attraction

Altruistic Gift Ideas

  • World Wildlife Federation. Adopt an animal as a gift for the birthday child. There are 10 different species available and each adoption kit includes a plush toy, reusable bag, personalized adoption certificate and more. You will also receive a tax receipt for every adoption.
  • Heifer International. Choose a meaningful gift to give a loved one and help children and families around the world receive training and animal gifts that help them become self-reliant. Choose from a variety of animals like heifers, sheep, llamas, goats and more.
  • ECHOage. ECHOage's concept is simple: guests are invited, rsvp and donate to a charity online. Half goes toward the purchase of one gift for the birthday child and the other half goes to the selected charity. The hope is that the one gift becomes more memorable and symbolic rather than receiving the 20, soonto- be-forgotten, toys.