Developing a Theme
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If you've decided to host a birthday party but don't know where to begin . . . Start with a party theme! It may be your child's favorite activity, story, TV show, movie character or even an off-the-wall idea. With a child's imagination and your guidance, the planning can be fun for both of you.
One you have a theme, begin by looking at themed party supplies and themed party favors. If you can't find a pattern which compliments the idea, consider letting children decorate solid-colored cups and tablecovers with markers or stickers. You can even create large stickers using a color printer, clip art and 8 1/2 x 11 laser printer labels.
Usually, the more challenging part of planning is developing games and crafts. If you aren't using an entertainer, you'll want to prepare at least six activitites for a two hour party, and have a few back ups. Consider adapting well known games such as Hot Potato, Simon Says or Twenty Questions, Pin the Tail on the Donkey or Tag. As an example, I once had a request for an Eyeball Party. After overcoming my repulsion, I decided the party had great possibilities, especially for eight-year-old boys. To adapt Hot Potato for the Eyeball theme, we found a large rubber eye ball which guests passed around the circle as music played. Pin the Tail on the Donkey is one of the easiest to adapt. In our case, the tail became an eyeball and the donkey became a monster . . . Pin the Eyeball on the Monster.
Transitional activities such as a cake hunt will help buy you time to set up for the next activity. We had a mystery I [eye] Spy Hunt in which the children found eyeball-shaped clues that lead them to their stolen cake. By leading them away from the cake table, we were able to bring the cake out and get the table set while they were running from clue to clue.
Bouncing ideas back and forth is a good way to invent or adapt other games. We played Who is it? which involves cutting eye holes in an old sheet. One team goes in front of the sheet, and one behind. The team behind the sheet take turns putting their eyes up to the holes and the other team guesses their identity, earning a point for each correct guess. The boys made slime and played a picture word game with words which started with I [eye] such as Iran, Ice Cream, Iceland, and Island. They had drinks with eyeball ice cubes (grapes frozen in cranberry juice cubes).
The experience of planning a birthday with your child is often full of unexpected joys and surprises and is a wonderful way to show your child how unique and important he is. I hope you'll try it.