Greet your guests with a themed door decoration and they’ll be in the mood for your games and activities right when they cross the threshold! This one’s for a pirate birthday party, but with minimal artistic ability you can create a similar greeting for your party guests for a multitude of party themes. Think Princess, Star Wars, Sponge Bob, Dora the Explorer, etc., etc.
This guy’s so cute, so here’s a shout out to Suzanne over at oursouthernnest.blogspot.com for a great idea that’s infinitely adaptable to your party. You can’t tell so much from this photo, but she has hung this decoration at the midpoint of her screen door (the doorknob is at the top of this pirate’s head) – just at eye level if you’re 3 or 4 years old!!
You can use a foam board from Office Max or Staples and your exacto knife to cut your shape and sharpies to draw or glue on fabric or pieces of construction paper to create your image. Find a stylized and largely geometric image online that matches your theme and work from that- the more geometric it is the easier it will be to recreate without being an artist.
Remember who your audience is– a bunch of young children – and they don’t need a Picasso to be able to enjoy the image and get excited by it about your party. And that’s your purpose here, not getting hung at the Met.
So have some creative fun coming up with a kid friendly door decoration for your next birthday party. Perhaps this is something an older sibling would really enjoy doing for you and for the birthday child? Be it a lion’s head for your jungle party or Darth Vadar or Buzz Lightyear or Casper the Ghost for Halloween, greet your guests with a themed decoration on your front door.
Here’s a terrific idea for a fall family or kids party activity that not only teaches about nature and science but gets ’em moving as our First Lady wants our kids to do (and with good reason).
While I had know about the many thousands of miles our beautiful monarch butterflies migrate between the US and Mexico, I wasn’t fully aware of the incredible nature of this journey and I’ll bet any kids you’ve got that need something to do will find the story just as inspiring. And with these unique monarch ‘tagging’ kits for a reasonable price for 25 tags, they can become part of the science and the story both. Follow the link at the bottom of the tagging kit page to see the full story about this migration.
Making a long story short, it’s the grand-children and great-grand-children that make the journey back to Mexico, sometimes to the same tree their forebears nested in! Scientists don’t yet understand how this homing instinct works, and the tagging program is designed to gather information to help understand it. How the little critters have the energy for such a long migration is another of the mysteries the tagging program collects information for.
Be it for an outdoor fall birthday party game or a family outing activity, tagging 25 of these butterflies will be a fun and educational activity, and that’s always a great combination. Tagging would make a perfect game for your camping or jungle themed birthday party. Follow this link for peak migration dates to find out when to schedule tagging in your area- but it’s always a fall event so the time is NOW.
A big shout out ‘Thanks’ to ziggityzoom.com for this great preschool birthday party craft that the kids can then use as one of your birthday party games. I LOVE two-fers! First they’ll make the adorable frog catchers out of paper plates, then have a good time playing catch with them.
This craft involves minimal expense and minimal prep for you. You’ll need two colored paper (not styrofoam- the plates need to fold) plates for each child, construction paper or foam for the eyes and the tongue, stick glue, a stapler and a ping pong balls. Ziggityzoom even gives you the printable templates for cutting out the eyes, eyeballs and the tongue. For preschoolers, you might choose to have these all precut for the kids so all they have to do is assemble the frogs.
Complete instructions for putting these cuties together are on the ziggityzoom website– just follow the link above. Have an extra set of plates etc. so you can demonstrate how to put the frogs together and the kids can follow along. You might want an extra stapler and an extra pair of hands to do the stapling for the kids.
Once complete, it’s time for a game of catch. Your preschool kids will have an easier time catching with their frogs using two hands- one to hold the frog and the other to close the ‘mouth’ around the ping pong ball. Start them out tossing the ping pong balls a short distance to another child to catch with the frog – just a couple of feet.
This activity will work nicely as both a craft and a preschool game at any animal themed party– a jungle party or a safari party.
Here are two different butterfly crafts that I suggest you put together for an extended craft session at your next 9-10 year old or preteen girls birthday party. Or, keep it in your arsenal of kids activities for a long rainy afternoon or a long playdate. Either way, the girls will enjoy the making and continue to enjoy looking at their creation when they take it home. This would be a great craft to include in a jungle party or animal themed birthday party.
Disney’s Family Fun has instructions for really cute tissue paper butterflies that are quite simple for the girls to make. All you need to supply them with are colored tissue paper squares cut to 4″ x 4″ (2 per butterfly, 2 different colors), 12″ colored pipe cleaners and thread.
Here’s a couple of tweaks to the basic butterfly suitable for girls in the 9 to 10 year old range. Give them googly eyes to glue on to the pipe cleaner antennae. Or, make the butterflies bigger and give the girls headbands to attach the pipe cleaner bodies to so they can all become butterfly girls.
For preteens, you can expand this craft by having them make simple but really pretty mobiles using their butterfly creations. You’ll find directions for putting a simple mobile together on the Enchanted Learning website. In addition to the thread for hanging the butterflies, you’ll need 3 twigs for each mobile. You’ll see that this website also has directions for making construction paper butterflies to hang from the mobile, but for my money the tissue paper ones are much cuter. Your choice, just choose your twigs to correspond best to the size of the butterfly you choose to have them make- the tissue paper ones are smaller. What’s key here is the instructions for balancing the butterflies – not as hard as you might think but it will give them a bit of a challenge.
If done as a party craft, the girls will also have made their take home party favor, so that’s one less thing for you to worry about. If kept up your sleeve as a kids activity when they need one, all you really need to have on hand is colorful tissue paper and the pipe cleaners.
Add a challenge to the old standby spoon race and you’ve tweaked the game into a dinosaur themed relay race that the preschool aged kids will really enjoy. Thanks to familyfun.go.com for this dinosaur birthday party idea.
Save your cereal boxes so you have 2 empty boxes for each team of children at your dinosaur party ( or, two for each child at your party if you want them all to just have some fun traipsing about as dinosaurs). Tape the open end shut. Cut a 4 1/2 inch wide circle in the top of the box for the foot opening- position this using your child’s foot to get it in the right place. Using either the green craft foam as suggested in the post referenced above or green poster board, cut out your dino feet. Don’t sweat the small stuff, these don’t need to be perfect: a ”u” shape as pictured in the post is sufficient. Cut a 5″ ‘X’ in the feet positioned to cover the whole you put in the cereal boxes. Draw or glue on your dino claws.
Attach the dino feet to the top of the cereal boxes aligning the holes in the boxes and the green feet. Use a glue gun for the craft foam or a glue stick or rubber cement if you’re using the poster board. A few staples into the posterboard (away from where their feet might touch the staples) would also be a good idea.
Line up your teams with a chair or other obstacle to go around at the far end of each team’s relay race course. Give each team their dino feet, a wooden spoon and a plastic egg or small ball. On 1-2-3, have the first racers put on their feet, and carry their egg through the course, passing the spoon with the egg and the feet to the next team member. If they all have their own feet, just pass the egg on the spoon.
You know that tried and true games like this will work well as one of your dinosaur games, yet the kids don’t know they’re old fashioned. Of course, these could be any type of animal feet at your jungle or safari party too- it’s not limited to tweaking for a dinosaur birthday party.
This is one of the preschool birthday party games that’s as old as time but that still plays well. You may have forgotten about this preschool party idea, so lets bring it back into daylight. Always remember that the preschoolers at your party weren’t around when we were kids playing this game, so it’s all new to them!
Have a small prop of some kind that reflects your theme. A pirate bandana for a pirate birthday party. The crown or tiara for your princess birthday party. A stuffed animal for your safari party or jungle party. A ticket for your carnival party. This works with virtually any party theme. You’ll also need a bandana or handkerchief for a blindfold.
Have the kids sit in a circle with the birthday child in the center, blindfolded. You join the kids in the circle for this first round that shows them how to play. Place the themed prop in front of the blindfolded child. Carefully and quietly, sneak up and take the prop away and hide it behind another child’s back, all the while silently ‘shushing’ all the kids in the circle. Then ask the child in the center of the circle to remove their blindfold and choose who took the prop- all without moving from the center of the circle. Once the child guesses the thief, the thief goes to the center to play the game again. Let them play as long as they’re interested, then move on.
Simple instructions to follow, quick moving, this has all the prerequisites for a preschool party game.
This is yet another really easy outdoor birthday party game that you can customize to fit a multitude of kids birthday party themes. And it’s one I’d never heard of, so thanks to tipjunkie.com for posting it!
Gather up a bunch of laundry baskets, a few frisbees for your party guests and then put all those clip art and computer graphics you can access online and your color printer to work for you.
Stage the laundry basket in various places outside, each one being a ‘hole’ as in golf. Using duct tape or a yard stick or piece of rope, establish a ‘tee’ for each hole, some distance from your basket, from which each child tries to fling the frisbee into the basket/hole. Practice with your own child to determine how far away the tees should be – you want them to be able to get them in, but not on the first shot.
Each child keeps score by how many tries it takes to get in the basket on each hole. If you’ve got enough willing helpers or extra parents hanging about, let them do the scoring.
You’ll find free printable tags and scorecards for frisbee golf on the tip junie site, but think about customizing these to your party theme. Use graphics of space ships or aliens for your star wars or space party, different cars for your cars party, Disney villains for your princess party, different animals for your safari or jungle party, whatever works for your theme.
Borrow both the laundry baskets and the frisbees and all this game costs you is some ink for your customizing graphics. Sweet deal! Gotta’ love party games that are fun and don’t cost a cent.
Expending energy is ALWAYS a good thing at a kids birthday party, and dancing does it really well. Doesn’t matter if they’re little or big, it works. Outdoors or inside- doesn’t matter.
For the little ones, freeze dancing is an old standby and that’s because they love it and it shakes out their sillies. Adjust it to your theme with the music you use (download it if you can): the bar scene music for your Star Wars party, Satie’s ‘Carnival of the Animals’ for your Jungle or Safari Party, a royal trumpet for your Princess party, Don Ho for your luau party.
The big ones are a bit more difficult, but you can still make it work. Use their favorite music, it might cost you a few 99 cents on iTunes but it will be worth it. No matter if your party is mixed gender or all girls- just don’t try this with all boys.
How do you turn it into a contest for the older ones? You give each child a ballot to vote for the best dancer, and they can’t vote for themselves. Give them 2 or 3 abbreviated music numbers to dance to, and they vote after each. Make a ballot box out of a liquor box with a slit for their vote cut into the top and graphics from the web pasted onto it. After the last vote, have the kids choose an election monitor to count the ballots. Have a small prize for the top three winners. Move on to your next activity, which might just be something requiring more thought than energy- to take advantqge of all that energy they just burned off.
Your party games don’t really have to be games at all- just something fun to do that you turn into a game with a little competition. Works every time!
Every carnival has the KnockDown game with the baseball and the big stuffed whatevers– and you can include it as one of your birthday party games at your next party. Perfect if yours is a carnival themed party, but it can be tweaked for just about any theme with a little computer art on the tin cans to be knocked over.
Use tin cans rather than soda bottles as they are MUCH easier to re-stack for the next player. Just print out your theme graphics, cut to the height of your cans and wrap your clean cans with the graphics as if they were a label.
Tweaking this game to your theme is easy. Animal face graphics on the cans for a jungle or safari party. Cowboys hats for a cowboy party; aliens for a Star Wars or space party; Disney princesses for a princess party; pirates for a pirate party. You get the idea.
Obviously best played outside, you just need something to set the targets up on, and the baseball or tennis ball. A 2×4 stretched between 2 sawhorses works well. So does a card table or any other kind of table that can take a little abuse is it gets hit with the ball.
Check the throwing distance ahead of time with your own child to get a handle on what kids that age can do. Lay a rope on the ground or use a 2×4 or a yardstick or even just a line drawn with flour on the grass.
Give each child 2 or 3 throws, and score by how many cans get knocked over. Have either a helper re-stack after each throw or have the kids do it when they’re not throwing.
This game shows up at every carnival and midway because it’s fun, and your party kids will enjoy it. At no cost to you and no prep either, it’s one of the easiest games you can include in your next party.
Your party kids will love this healthful bagel snake, so thanks to Annabel Karmel at the Daily Mail Online for sharing it. He’s perfect for your animal party or jungle party or safari party, or just for fun at any party.
Cut your bagels in half in both directions and link them together to form the curves for your snake. Top with egg salad and tuna salad for the sandwich snake as pictured here. The garnish is cherry tomato halves and olives for the eyes and sweet red pepper for the forked snake tongue. Strips of fresh chive in an ‘x’ pattern adorn the body of the snake. Nothing difficult about this guy at all.
Top your snake with cream cheese for more of a snack snake instead of a sandwich snake. Or use peanut putter for a sandy-colored snack snake. Use a skewer to draw snakeskin patterns in your cream cheese/peanut butter. Still use the olives and pepper for the eyes and tongue.
Feel free to cut the bagel quarters into even smaller pieces if you want. Just still line them all up as shown into the curves for the snake body.
Present your bagel snake on something green to resemble the grass he slithers through. If you don’t have a green tray, get some green cellophane and cover a cutting board. Or, layer green construction paper on that cutting board and cover that with plastic wrap. Snipped parsley or chives add the perfect touch to this green background.
Party food that’s easy and fun and inexpensive; it makes your party prep that much easier for you.