Struggling to come up with a fresh idea for your child’s next party? Bigger isn’t always better, and a party shouldn’t cut into your college savings fund. Get inspired with our Celebrations A to Z and make one or more of the following ideas your own.
Paint mini canvases on individual easels for each child to take home. For a treat, make rice crispy bars into paint brushes by inserting a popsicle stick in one end and dipping the opposite side into colorful icing.
Have the troops arrive in army green or camo. Face paint and make dog tags. Do obstacle courses, play Sargent Says and target range with water balloons. Serve cake in the mess hall at the fort.
Set up a tent and booth games. Serve root beer, hot dogs, popcorn and cotton candy. Hire a clown to boost the fun.
Invade the dress-up bin for costumes, create space for a stage and let the kids enact their favorite stories. Familiar tales mean everyone knows the story and can embellish at will without a script.
This lovable character provides unending inspiration. Fun for the adults, play Sesame Street trivia. Each child gets a goodie bag with various Sesame Street toys in it.
Fishing and Camping
Head to the local lake or the Outdoor Campus West to fish. While there, gather nature objects to use for T-shirt painting later. Set up the tent in the backyard and roast hot dogs and marshmallows on the fire pit.
Golf, the Miniature Way
Laugh as your group makes its way around the mini-golf green. Create challenges and have an awards ceremony after.
Create sock puppets with button eyes or design simple stick puppets. Read a short story or fable for inspiration and kids can work together to create their own puppet show.
From disco lights and funky music to tutus and tiaras, this party is for all ages. Greet guests at the rink with a no-sew fleece scarf and add a party favor bag filled with a snowflake pencil, eraser and stickers, mittens, notepad, and a gummy penguin. Serve “chill-y” for dinner.
Jump Castle and Jammies
Make good on your promises for that much-requested sleepover you have been putting off. Now is the time to say ‘yes’ to inflatables, pizza, popcorn and late-night giggling.
Seek out local cooking classes for children, or host an at-home Iron Chef party. Each group is given ingredients and create a meal item (e.g., quesadillas), then invite the parents to judge at the end of the party
Luau in the Tropics
Invitations can be airline tickets with a tropical theme. Decorate with leis and play Hawaiian hula music. Games like limbo, pin the wings on the butterfly, pineapple bowling or a funny pack the suitcase relay add excitement to the party.
Make a Mess
This party features spray- paint T-shirts, spaghetti-fling painting, play dough-making and as much shaving cream, silly string and water as possible. End with cupcake decorating.
Serve up the cake at the trailhead and then explore the landscape by foot or wheels. Small magnifying glasses and bug boxes make great party favors.
Get creative in your back yard with hula-hoops, old cardboard boxes, benches and anything else you have lying around. Kids can climb, jump and crawl over, under and around. Time their circuit as part of a friendly competition. Older kids will have as much fun running the course as they will creating and improving it.
Shiver me timbers with a treasure map invite! Create a pirate ship out of some large appliance boxes for a special play area. Make pirate hats and decorate treasure chests. Play games like walk the plank, pin the parrot on the pirate, and a black balloon cannonball toss.
Qualify for the Olympics
Have each child choose a country and decorate an Olympic uniform (T-shirt) with that country’s flag or colors. Competitions include a 100-yard dash, javelin throw (use a broom), discus throw (use a Frisbee), archery (use a Nerf bow and arrow) and long jump. Play Olympic-themed music and award gold and silver medals for the medal ceremony. Serve Gatorade and a sheet cake with white frosting and colored M&Ms forming the five Olympic rings.
Rock Climbing and Caves
Head to a local climbing wall to learn new skills and get moving. Disposable cameras, bandanas and flashlights make great favors.
Take chances, get messy and explore the laws of physics or the states of matter. Find books of experiments at your local library.
Teddy Bear/Stuffed Animal Bash
Guests bring their favorite bear or other stuffed animal. Clothe and decorate with thrifty finds and play ‘toss the bees in the honey pot.’ Recreate the adventure in the children’s book, “Going on a Bear Hunt,” by Michael Rosen.
Lord and Lady guests are invited to the park and given masks and wands, and swords for jousting. Serve rainbow cake and play ‘pin the horn on the unicorn.’
Volunteer for a Cause
One child giving time at the food bank or animal shelter with her family may not feel like she is accomplishing much. Invite a group of her friends to join her for a work party and her gift multiplies exponentially.
Wet and Wild
Rent the party area at your local waterpark resort or pool for a splashing good time.
X-actly What They Want
Help your child visualize what their dream party looks like, and then create a custom theme based on what is important to your child and the guest list.
Time to get out all the old favorites. Badminton, croquet, bocce and horseshoes will keep a crowd entertained and active all afternoon.
You know your kids have been asking for this. If you have the space, install one in your back yard and let the flying begin. Or, head to the Soaring Eagle Zip Line in Keystone for a birds-eye view of the Black Hills.
Do you have more party theme ideas? Leave us a comment in the section below!