Family LIfe

Best Ideas for Kids' Birthday Parties
by Penny Warner with Balloon Time Helium Balloon Kits

Putting together a super birthday party for your child is easy when you have a creative theme. Just think about what your child's current interests are--soccer, magic, makeovers or music--and then wrap the party around that theme. Here are a few party themes for different ages, complete with details, to get you started!

Balls and Balloons Party - Ages 2-6

Balloons and balls are always fascinating to children, so why not host a Ball and Balloon themed birthday party!

Invitations
Surprise little guests by hand delivering inflated balloons that feature party details.

Decorations
Fill the party room with balls and balloons! Inflate colorful balloons - try to go with your child's favorite colors - with helium, and then float them on the ceiling. Draw funny faces (or put stickers) on the balloons and tie them to the back of each guest's chair. Don't forget to decorate the outside of the house with balloons to welcome the guests as they arrive. Finally, place balls of all types and sizes around the party room or backyard, to get the "ball" rolling.

Games and Activities

  • Bat the Balloons. Blow up balloons and let the little ones bat them around the room.
  • Bag the Balloons. Set a pile of balloons in the middle of the room and have the players try to stuff as many as they can in a big bag.
  • Fly the Balloons. Tie a bow around the end of an inflated balloon, and then have the kids pull open the ribbon and watch the balloon fly!
  • Grab the Balloons. Inflate balloons with helium and tie them off with ribbon. Let the balloons float on the ceiling, and cut the ribbon so it's about a foot over the heads of the kids. Have them jump and grab a balloon!
  • Toss the Balls. Have the kids stand in a circle. Give each one a ball. On the word "Go!" have them toss their balls across the circle, and try to catch someone else's ball.
Refreshments
  • Make English Muffin "Ball Park Pizzas," decorated like soccer balls, basketballs, or baseballs, using toppings for the detail.

  • Serve "Balloon Cupcakes." Have the kids frost and decorate their own cupcakes. Insert the end of a thin licorice strip to look like a ribbon tie, and then let the kids eat their Balloon Cupcakes.
Favors
Send the guests home with a bouquet of helium-filled balloons in their favorite colors, or a package of balloons they can inflate when they get home.

Crafty Artists Party - ages 6-9

Invitations
Create secret invitations by writing party details on white paper using a white crayon. Instruct guests to decode the invite by "coloring" over the paper to reveal the magic message.

Decorations
Set up easels, craft tables and art supplies, including paints, markers, play dough, stickers, glitter, ribbon, scissors, tape and glue. Tie helium-filled balloons to all the tables, chairs, easels, and art supplies to make the room colorful and festive.

Games & Activities
In the party room, let guests get creative with the easels, craft tables and art supplies. Use poster board to make frames, and offer the kids stickers, ribbons, and other decorations to embellish their works of art.

Refreshments
For crafty refreshments, bake large sugar cookies and let the artists decorate them with icing and candy to make edible works artwork.

Favors
Give the kids their own craft kits, filled with all kinds of artsy materials, tools, and supplies. And don't forget the framed artwork!

Karaoke Party - Ages 9-12

Invitations
Send out vocal invitations by recording party details onto a CD. Or buy a CD of the birthday kid's favorite musician and customize the CD cover with party details.

Decorations
Add glamour to your party room with shiny banners, balloons and streamers. And, have party guests decorate signs for the performers.

Games & Activities
During the party, host a talent show where guests perform a favorite song or dance. Give party guests disposable cameras to act as "Paparazzi" and take photos of the performances. After the party, you can develop the pictures and use them to make custom thank you cards for your guests.

Refreshments
Serve snacks suggested by songs, such as "Peanut Butter and Jelly" sandwiches, "On Top of Spaghetti," or "The Candy Man."

Favors
Give the talented performers CDs, iTunes coupons or copies of the karaoke performances made at the party.

About the Author:
Penny Warner has more than 25 years of experience as an author and party planner. She has published more than 50 books, including 16 specific to parties. Additionally, Warner writes a weekly newspaper column on family life, penned a column for Sesame Street Parents magazine and has appeared on several regional and national TV morning programs. Her latest book, HOW TO HOST A KILLER PARTY, debuted in February 2010 from NAL/Penguin.

Balloon Time is the leading brand of consumer helium balloon kits in North America. Balloon Time kits feature a helium-filled tank, latex or foil balloons and ribbon, and are available at national retail chains, party goods and grocery stores nationwide. For more information, visit BalloonTime.com.

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