To create a special party for a child is to create a memory that lasts a lifetime. If it’s a birthday party, it has an almost-magical significance. It can be simple, and it need not be costly, but a successful party does take planning. There’s no greater reward than a hug from a satisfied child saying, “That was the best party I ever had!”
The key to a successful party is in the planning. Be sure you have all the materials together beforehand for each activity scheduled. The birthday child can help in a number of ways, making the party extra-special while encouraging responsibility and creativity. A friend, relative, or the birthday child’s older brother or sister can be of invaluable assistance.
A theme provides a focus and makes your party special. It reflects the interest and age of the birthday child. Make decorations to fit the theme. Decide before the party whether you will keep the decorations or send them home with the guests as favors. If they are taken by guests, be sure you have enough for each person, including the birthday child. Gear refreshments to the theme of the party, and keep them simple. Hot dogs, pizza, hamburgers, a special cake – these are the treats guaranteed to please.
Artistic ability is not a requirement for designing your own invitations! There are countless internet sites to download invitations and you may also consider purchasing design-and-print software. Invite one guest for every year of the birthday child’s age. This handy rule provides a structure that lets everyone know what to expect from year to year.
Keep the party confined to one specific room or area. Offer plenty of space, but make the limits clear. Alternate active games with quiet one. The party begins with an activity that can be played while waiting for everyone to arrive, and it ends with a calm, quiet activity while guests wait to be taken home. When planning the party, decide approximately how much time each activity will take. Avoid prizes if possible. Cheer and clap for the winner instead.
Bringing gifts to the birthday party is a happy party tradition. The presents can be collected upon arrival and saved until the end of the party to be opened. Each child is anxious to have their present opened first. While the children still have their gifts, play spin-the-bottle to make the present-opening ceremony enjoyable for everyone. Have the birthday child give small favors (wrapped or unwrapped) to the guests at present-opening time so they, too, have “gifts.”
Just don’t get so caught up in organizing that you forget to sing “Happy Birthday” to the birthday child; it has happened! Enjoy yourself, and know that you are creating a once-in-a-lifetime occasion that will be a treasured memory for years to come.