Looking for a low-key and easy-to-plan birthday party idea for your child?
I certainly was this winter when my boys had their birthdays. Out of smart planning (cough, cough) I mean desperation (if I am being honest), I came up with the following party idea: Get a bag full of prizes, plan a bunch of good ol’ fashion party games, and let the competition begin. My youngest son’s most-recent birthday inspired this post, which also had me reflecting on past birthday parties. With two boys having winter birthdays, I’ve had to be creative when coming up with party ideas that do not require the great outdoors. I really thought that I was letting down my son with my last-minute, winging-it birthday party. Boy was I surprised (and actually wanted to cry) when he voluntarily said to me: “Thank you, mom, for the best, most AMAZING birthday!”
With that in mind, I write this post. I hope that it will help you with your own party planning—making it easier and stress-free.
Step #1: Get a large party bag and stuff it with treats (large candy packs, toys, art sets, bouncy balls, and other items that can be picked up at the dollar store.
The party games will bring out the competitive nature of all those playing, especially when you sweeten the pot with a bag full or prizes. The fun for the kids is digging their hands into the bag to see what they come up with. The element of anticipation and surprise adds to the fun.
Step #2: Have smaller party bags for each guest. Decorate the bag around the party’s theme if you have one.
Legos Batman was the theme of one of my son’s parties. With that in mind, I used the round surface of an object to trace circles on the bag and then colored in the circles. Voila…lego bags.
Step# 3: Plan a bunch of games. Here are some ideas:
Unwrap the Saran Wrap for a Prize in the Center
Volley W16CTD-BLUE Foam Coated Giant Dice, 6-1/4″ Size, Blue (Pack of 2). (These are not the ones I used, but the closest that I could find.)
I modified this game a bit and used gigantic dice that I found at Five and Below. I also made sure that the saran wrap was nicely stuck to make it harder to unravel (that’s mean, I know).
To play, one person tries to unravel the saran wrap while the person to the left (or right, you can decide which direction to rotate) rolls two dice repeatedly trying to roll a double. When a double is rolled, they get the saran wrap ball and the person to their left begins rolling the dice until a double is rolled. This continues until the ball is completely unraveled and a center-prize is revealed. The person who was able to get to the prize gets to keep the prize.
Note: We modified the game and only used one dice since they are so large; we rolled until a six was rolled.
Using the same large dice (or regular dice if you cannot find large ones), each player is given the chance to roll the dice. Each player is given 45 seconds to roll as many doubles as possible. This will continue until three rounds are completed. The player who rolled the most doubles during those three rounds wins.
Balls in a Basket
All you need for this game is two small baskets and some balls or bean bags. I used wiffle balls, which worked well. I picked up these two baskets from Five and Below for my own personal use, but they came in handy for this game. Place the baskets in front of each other. You will need one person keeping the time and one person behind the baskets to roll back to the player.
Each player is given the chance to toss in as many balls in the basket within 45 seconds. The first basket is 1 point and the second basket is worth 2 points. The person with the most points, wins. You decide: there can be a winner with each round or you can play several rounds and total the points for a grand winner.
This is an old school party game. I remember playing it as a child and would get so nervous as the music played and I waited anxiously for the ball to be passed to me. If you do not remember the rules, they are pretty simple. All players sit around a circle and pass around the ball (the “hot potato”) until the music stops. The person holding the hot potato when the music stops is out. This continues until there is only one person left; that person is then the winner.
My sons and their friends are in to Nerf guns, much to my disliking. I am not into guns, but that is not the reason I am less than thrilled with Nerf guns–it is because of those pesky little bullets that show up everywhere in our house. One year, I took down both the Christmas tree and the garland wrapped around our banister, and — you guessed it — I found bullets. In the yard, in the kitchen. . .they can be found anywhere and everywhere. (But I digress.) Back to the game. . .
To play this game, you will need to line up action figures or army men—any thing that is relatively light weight and with a sturdy base. Line up the items about three inches a part. Each player will be given the chance to knock down the items with a Nerf gun; every player gets ten shots. The winner will be the player who knocks down the most items.
. . . And for those kids who want to be Secret Agents
Click here for a free copy of Secret Agent Mission POSSIBLE.
Spy Laser Maze
Think of it as limbo for little spies. Get some ribbon, drape and tape the pieces so that they are low-hanging and sporadic, and let your youngsters practice their stealth moves as they crawl underneath the “lasers” without touching the strings or ribbons.
Send the spy recruits out on a top-secret mission, one filled with clues and other scavenger objectives. I have been working on the sequel to my book, Marianne Mestre, about a young female detective (think Nancy Drew meets Judy Blume: mystery and tween-angst). Doing this has put me in a mystery-making mindset. Hence, the creation of this secret mission scavenger hunt, which is filled with clues, activities, and the chance for your children to put their problem-solving abilities to work.
The MISSION begins with a decoding puzzle (see image below). The decoded message is the first clue and will begin the mission.
Click here to receive your free MISSION.
Decoding Against Time
Variation 1: Use the de-coding alphabet to solve message.
Variation 2 (harder version): Use only the clues provided to solve message.
Download a FREE Secret Mission with clues, detailed scavenger instructions, and clever games to bring out the sleuth in all the kids. Just print it out and let your kids have an afternoon of fun!