Tag Archives: music

Movement Fun

Dance RibbonsThe kids will entertain themselves for quite a while if you just give them music and these ribbon wands. Recommended for ages 4 and up, different ages will do different things with these creative movement props.

A tad pricey at just under $20 for 6 wands, if they’re in your budget they’ll also make a great take home party favor for the kids. Any extras you’ll find get used on play dates when they put together those little shows girls so love to do. [NOTE: if you make a purchase at Amazon through the link on this page, I make a commission, which seems fair to me!]

For the young preschoolers, give them music they know and just encourage them to wave the ribbons any way they want– they’ll be enchanted just watching what they can do. The ribbons are 36″ long, so not too unwieldy for little folks. Challenge them to get organized in a line and all do the same thing with their ribbons- first this side, then that side, then over their heads – basically follow the leader, the leader being you.

For older children, provide different kinds of music and challenge them to move and use their ribbons differently to the different music. Have the girls work out a dance routine to whichever piece of music they choose – this will keep them busy for quite a while but is only appropriate for kids at the upper end of the elementary school range, like 9 and 10 years old.

Used as one of your games, these ribbon wands encourage creativity and movement, and will definetely keep the girls busy and happy for a while at your next party. Use them outdoors or in, at a slumber party or princess party; they’ll work for you with a variety of party themes.

Karaoke is Easier than You Think

SingerGot a bunch of aspiring performers coming for a sleepover? Give them karaoke as one of your birthday party games and they’ll have a wonderful time. It’s not a hard or expensive as you might think. You don’t need a bunch of expensive equipment to pull this off.

A microphone isn’t really necessary for a small number of kids in a relatively small and confined space, but it’s nice. You can find a pretty inexpensive microphone– this one on Amazon has an average 4 star review from over 50 people and costs less than $20. You need to plug it into speakers, so check out this ehow post on how to do that and see if this is a good solution for you.

[DISCLOSURE: If you make a purchase from Amazon through the link on this page, I make a commission from Amazon. Seems reasonable to me…..]

There’s LOTS of downloads on line for free karaoke music. Just google ‘free karaoke downloads’ for various options. When I checked out kariokebar.com from the search page, I’m seeing lots of pop artists the kids would like- Beach Boys, Beatles, Beyonce, Britney Spears (how’d I get all B’s here?), Madonna, Shakira, etc. Just load up your mp3 player or your laptop and let the kids have at it.

Do give them a stage– even if it’s just a special spot on the rug outlined with masking tape and another party kid using a flashlight as a spotlight. Drape a pretty cloth over your curtain rod and put that ‘stage’ in front of the window so it looks like a stage curtain.

Karaoke is definitely a good birthday party game for a slumber party as they can mess around with it as long as they want.

Make your whole party karaoke for a bit older tweens or young teens. Go all out with the mic plugged in to your sound system and a raised platform for a stage. Have them all come dressed as rock stars. Encourage them to dance as well as sing. Let them choose between lip syncing and karaoke, so have plenty of regular tunes available for them too.

There’s no need for an expensive karaoke machine. Include karaoke as one of your games with just the free downloads or with the inexpensive addition of the microphone. They’ll have just as much fun as they would with the expensive machine.

Strike up the Band

Musical InstrumentsLittle kids love to make things and they love music and movement, so put all three things together for entertaining games for a preschool age party. All with a little help from the teachers at kinderart.com.

You get two birthday party games for the ‘price’ of one, and that price is minimal since they’ll be making their musical instruments out of common household items like paper towel rolls, paper plates, rulers, cereal containers, etc. Full instructions for making 9 different instruments are available at kinderart.com. The 9 instruments are hand bells, guitar, comb buzzer, xylophone, cymbals, horn, chimes, drum and tambourine. Heavy on the percussion, but they’ll love it.

I particularly recommend including the xylophone, which is essentially various glasses filled to different levels with water to produce different pitches. You’ll need to supervise the playing of this xylophone, but it’s the ‘coolest’ of all the instruments, teaches science, and will have them all intrigued.

If you’ve got a washboard, do add that in with a stick or ruler. You can also have them make maracas with a clean tin can, a plastic pet food lid and rice or beans.

Once they’ve made their instruments, and do let them all make more than one if they’re so inclined, it’s practice time. Encourage the comb buzz player (basically a kazoo sound) to play/hum a familiar tune like Old McDonald, and then have the others band members join in.  Change up the song, change up which kids are playing which instruments, encourage them to march like a real marching band.

Get a little more traction out of your ‘band’ by moving into singing when you see their interest waning in the marching and banging/plucking/shaking of making their music. Of course, they can sing AND play if they want.

Little kids really aren’t that hard to keep happy and busy as long as you keep your time expectations reasonable for their age.

Gift Cards for Teens and Preteens

Gift CardI’m most definitely NOT a fan of gift cards- especially now that so many of them actually lose value over time or even just plain expire. HOWEVER, they do have their place and I find them most valuable for party gifts for hard to please teens and preteens.

I won’t speak for you, but I would no more attempt to choose the music my kids want to listen to that I would fly to the moon, so the iTunes gift card is a perfect gift. No iPod necessary; the music can be downloaded to the computer and/or burned to CD and/or put on the iPod if they have one. With most songs at 99cents, the available $15 and $25 gift card denominations go a long way!! You can order the plastic gift cards online with various graphics you choose from or even download and print a paper certificate for immediate giving if you’re in a time bind.

For teen or preteen girls, if mine are any indication, anything from Victoria’s Secret is a gift success so their gift cards are also a perfect girls birthday gift solution. While they don’t offer an immediate print out option like iTunes, you can send your gift certificate by email and then make a paper gift card that can be boxed and wrapped for the party. Victoria’s Secret also makes plastic cards with various graphics available, and they all get sent to your recipient in their own gift box for a pretty presentation (think ahead and have it sent to your address to have to take to the party).

Lastly, any local store that’s a big hit with the kids, be it clothing or cosmetics or candy, probably have gift certificates too that can make a nice gift.

For hard to please teens and preteens, gift cards can be the perfect solution to the kids birthday gifts dilemma. For your further reference on these gift cards, check out the iTunes and Victorias Secret website gift card pages.

Teenage Blues

HarmonicaFor that teenage boy that loves music, let him learn to make his own. For that teenage boy that’s ‘so cool’ that he’s really difficult to buy anything for. The portable and affordable harmonica, combined with on-line lessons, is a unique gift idea that’s cool enough for even the most image-conscious teenager.

It’s a proven fact that music has many benefits for kids, but pianos and lessons are beyond the means of many people. Harmonicas are inexpensive, easy to learn to play, and once they hear well played blues on the ‘harp’, any music lover will be hooked.

You can click on the graphic to see Amazon’s selection of harmonicas – it seems that the “Lee Oskar Major Diatonic Harmonica, C” is well recommended for beginners. It’s also within the range of a teen boy’s birthday party gift, especially as it qualifies for the Free Super Saver Shipping (as of this date).

[DISCLOSURE: If you make a purchase through the link on this page, I make a commission from Amazon. Seems reasonable to me…..]

Include with your gift this web address for free harmonica lessons: http://www.bluesharp.ca/lessons/harmonica_lessons.html. This page opens the door to 5 free lessons for the beginner, a slew of links to other free web links for lessons, and a couple of videos of blues harmonica in action. The interested teen will soon be finding a host of other harmonica resources on the web, and perhaps a new lifelong hobby. Learning and playing the harmonica instead of playing video games. What a great gift that would be.

Definitely not your everyday birthday gift.