Part 4 of Party On Kids!
Once you figure out a theme and date for the party, it's time to think of the fun stuff! When you plan the details of the party, think FUN, think childhood memories and funny moments. Think kids jumping around and playing. Go back and think of what you'd have wanted as a child.
Treat Bags & Party Favors
First, I don't think treat bags are necessary. I don't think it makes or breaks kids' experiences at parties. It's up to you. I do them, but always cheaply. I try not to go overboard. I also have a rule that I *try* not to give out things that the kids won't use, or junk. Nobody wants more stuff around their house. So I try to avoid that, as much as I can, obviously sometimes it's just easy to put stickers or little treats in the bag.
One of my favorite pictures is of treat bags all lined up at a party. It's just cute to see them. The kids love getting something after giving a present to the birthday friend, too. It's a win-win.
I find great treat bag ideas at the Dollar Tree, Target and Wal-Mart. The latter two sell party packs of treat bag ideas to make it really easy for you.
Ideas for treat bags:
pencils, crayons - my sister-in-law has made adorable handmade crayons in various shapes
coloring pages (I print these free off of the computer)
treats like Goldfish or fruit snacks
sand pails, shovels
Here are some adorable ideas:
Food is the best part about parties.I have so much fun tying in the food with the theme of the party. Again, something you don't have to do. I didn't do it for my son's first party, we just had snack foods. But when I have a theme, it's fun to connect the food to the party theme ideas.
These pictures are from my son's lobsterman ocean party. So much fun tying in the food to the party theme.
I always try to have fruit at the party because I know kids typically love that (as do their parents!). And then just snacks is a good idea. Kids are so busy, they aren't eating tons anyway, and I find most adults don't attend kids' parties seeking a full meal, so whatever you offer is great.
Try to remember who your audience is. I don't usually do carrots because those are tougher for most little kids to eat, so I try to keep in mind what each age group could eat.
I think it's fun to make up silly tags with the food, again, to drive home the theme of the party. These take me 30 minutes to make, not a big deal. I type them on the computer, add a picture image, tape to cardstock or index cards, done. Easy and cute!
Food ideas come to me from Pinterest.com. TONS of ideas on there related to theme foods.
You can also tie in the treat bag and food together like we did with the photo above of a "seafood bar," including all kinds of little snacks like Goldfish and treats like Swedish Fish for guests to fill a treat bag with and take home for later. It was a fun activity for them, too.
Planning something to do at the party is not necessary, depending on ages. Younger kids just like to play with toys or run around outside. However, I've found with age 3+ it's nice to have a way to focus the kids on something in between the food, cake and opening presents.
I try to plan one thing. Too many activities is too much, not enough time. I always have coloring pages that I print off line for free, related to the theme, and crayons. It's my kids' favorite activity anyway, so I figure kids can do that if they need to settle down a bit. Then perhaps a craft activity or some bubbles outside. My daughter's birthday is in the spring so last year we had chalk and lots of different bubbles and wands for the kids to use.
A few ideas:
I love the idea on here about playing dress up with stuffed animals, and making your own pinatas!
Whatever you choose to do - or not do - in the party favors, activities and food departments for a birthday party, just make sure it's what your child wants and that you are having fun organizing it! No pressures or expectations. Just have a blast.
Birthdays happen once a year. Make the most of it!