If your youngster can't stand the thought of one more game of "Pin the Tail on the Donkey," and "Hot Potato" has been done to death, it's time to bring out an arsenal full of brand new, creative activities to entertain the party group at your child's next birthday celebration. Whether you have a group of little chefs, chemists or fashionistas, these party activities will make your child's birthday the talk of the playground for weeks!
Turn lunch and dessert into party activities to keep your youngster and her guests entertained and provide everyone with just the right dish. You can pick up some plain pizza dough and have guests prepare their own mini pizzas for lunch with sauce, shredded cheese and toppings, such as pepperoni, green olives, pineapple and green pepper. If subs will be more of a hit with your party crowd, lay out a sub bun at each place setting and let your guests fill them with their favorite fixings. You can save yourself some prep work by turning cupcakes or cookies into an activity, too. Bake the treats beforehand and then let your guests make them look spectacular with colored icing and sugar, sprinkles and any other toppings you like. Build your own ice cream sundaes also make a perfect party activity to help kids cool off at a summer party.
Whether you're entertaining a group of young children or a preteen party crowd, help the kids decorate clothing to provide a creative activity and a party keepsake to take home, too. Have young children decorate plain white T-shirts with nontoxic fabric paint markers or let an older group get a little more creative and use fabric paints, glitter and glue-on decals to decorate T-shirts, baseball caps or beach towels. If you can take the party outdoors, hang a plain beach towel on a clothesline for each child and hand over a few squeeze bottles filled with non-toxic fabric paints. Stand back and let the kids give squeeze bottle painting a try. You can also introduce the party group to tie-dying by helping each youngster create his very first tie-dyed T-shirt or beach towel.
While a scavenger hunt might seem like a commonplace party activity, these hunts are anything but ordinary. Take a group of older kids to the local shopping mall and spend an afternoon hunting for as many free items as you can find, such as napkins, clothes hangers, old receipts and paperclips. The team that finds the most items wins the game. If you're willing to splurge, you can give each group some money instead and have them make as many purchases as they can to win. If all of your guests have cheap cameras -- or you have a few extras to spare -- you can turn a scavenger hunt in the mall, at a conservation area or even around the neighborhood into a photo hunt instead. Just have each guest or group take pictures of all the items on the list. If you're hosting a party for a younger group, organize a nature scavenger hunt outdoors and have the kids find natural treasures, such as clovers, leaves, pine cones and flowers.
Your party group will never know that they're learning all about science when you incorporate these activities into your party itinerary. Divide the party crowd into smaller groups and have each one build a volcano, creating giant bubbles with a little dish soap and dry ice. Let the kids do the fun prep work, but always have an adult handle the dry ice with tongs to keep everyone safe. Show the kids how to make soda pop geysers with mint candies or make glow-in-the-dark paint with luminous zinc sulfide and tempera paint for the kids to create a luminous masterpiece to take home. You can show the kids how to stab a potato with a drinking straw so they can show off the trick to all their friends, or make rock candy with a jar, string, sugar and food coloring for the kids to bring home and watch it grow. If the kids love mysteries and detective work, show them how to lift fingerprints with talcum powder and clear tape.
- Planning Children's Birthday Parties: Libby and Penny's Survival Guide; Libby Worsley Crouch, et al.
- Einstein's Science Parties: Easy Parties for Curious Kids; Shar Levine, et al.
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