There’s an acronym to remember when you’re planning a birthday party for 5-year-old boys: KISS -- Keep It Simple for Sanity. You don't need to go to great lengths planning endless activities to keep the group entertained. In fact, the simpler the itinerary, the better the chance the party will be a success. The key to activity planning is to find an adequate mix of engaging crafts and games, and plenty of opportunities for the boys to burn off some energy. In case you haven’t guessed, the energy expending is definitely the most important!
Create a Costume
You’ve got a room full of imaginative little boys anyways, right? Why not help them bring out the superhero inside with a few simple craft activities. For the superhero-themed party, let the boys create a superhero cape from a large piece of fabric. Encourage each boy to use his imagination to decorate the cape with fabric pens and markers, and then wear the cape throughout the event. Let each boy at a prince-themed party turn an empty wrapping paper tube into his trusty sword and decorate some construction paper for a royal crown. Your swashbuckling little pirates will travel the high seas in their imaginations with newspaper pirate hats and eye patches made from construction paper and elastic string.
Expend the Energy — Save the Knick Knacks
When you bring a group of 5-year-old boys together it seems to increase their energy levels tenfold. So give them a way to get out that energy while keeping your house intact with some outdoor activities. Set up an obstacle course ahead of time and let the boys compete for fastest competitor. (You could still reward each one with a little prize for his efforts.) Have a superhero costume relay race and get ready to snap some keepsake-worthy pictures. Fill two boxes with some odds and ends from different superhero costumes. Divide the boys into two groups and have them race to the boxes, one at a time, to dress in the costumes and return to their teammates. Each boy gets a turn dressing up and the fastest team to complete the relay race wins the game. When you need a break from all of the raucous fun, send the boys into a bounce house and take a few minutes to unwind before the next activity.
Transform the party into a miniature carnival to keep the boys entertained and to provide plenty of opportunities to win prizes. The games at a carnival-themed party don’t have to be elaborate; you can even make them at home to keep the party budget down. Cut some holes in a piece of wood to make a beanbag toss; tape balloons to a large piece of cardboard for balloon darts; fill a bucket with water and apples for bobbing for apples; glue some plastic bottles to a piece of wood for a ring toss; and raid the fridge for an egg and spoon race. Divide the boys into groups of three and enlist the help of friends to help at each carnival station so the boys are constantly entertained, moving from one station to the next.
Better than Musical Chairs
While everybody loves a classic game of musical chairs, it can get awfully boring once you lose your chair. Keep the entire group entertained throughout the entire game and make sure everyone wins a little prize too. Instead of setting up chairs, set up large pieces of poster board on the floor, each one with a number written on it. Write down all of the poster board numbers on small slips of paper and put them in jar. Have the kids move around the room to the music and when it stops, have them race to a number on the floor. Pull a number from the jar and the boy on the corresponding poster board wins a prize! Keep going until everyone has won. The only rule is each boy can only win one time.
- Great Big Book of Children's Games: Over 450 Indoor & Outdoor Games for Kids (Ages 3-12); Debra Wise et al.
- Outdoor Fun and Games for Kids: Over 100 Activities for 3 - 11 Year Olds; Jane Kemp, et al.
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