Birthday Party Activities

Different party ideas.

Party Activities, p. 1

These fun crafts and group-minded games are sure to delight your crowd.

Paper Bag Pinatas

Let kids decorate paper bags. Then fill the bags with inexpensive toys or candy. Blow air into the bags and create "pinatas." Tie them along a string stretched between two posts or trees and give each child a turn to whack one and win the goodies without a mad dash.

My Little Doghouse

Have children make mini doghouses from white cardboard boxes sold at stationery stores. Make "roofs" from cardboard folded in half, using coffee stir sticks to support it. Then let the kids decorate their doghouses. At the end of the party, give dog-themed goodie bags: a tiny toy dog that will fit in the house, dog- or dogbone-shaped sugar cookies, dog stickers, a rubber ball.

Stuffed-Animal Dress-Up

Direct guests to a basket of doll clothes, hats, socks, jewelry, and scarves, and let them get into the party spirit by dressing up their cuddly stuffed animals. Then give the children time to do what they love -- enjoy free play together with their floppy friends.

Pillow Art

Have the children decorate pillowcases with stamps and fabric markers. (Cut moon- and star-shaped stamps from sponges).

All About Me

For children ages 4 and under, let each make an "all about me" book with handprints, drawings, and a Polaroid photo from the party.

Puppet Fun

Make puppets from socks or Styrofoam balls. Decorate with pipe cleaners, yarn, googly eyes, and other craft objects. (Make sure younger children are supervised: small beads and googly eyes are choking hazards.) Puppets can later be filled with goodies to double as a goody bag.

Bug and Butterfly Magnets

These magnets are a charming, easy-to-make craft. Have children glue pom-poms or decorative papers (precut in the shape of butterfly wings) onto craft sticks. Add googly eyes. Then place stick-on magnet strips on the bottom of the sticks.

Crafty Caterpillars

Cut egg cartons into two lengthwise rows of egg holders, and pierce two holes at one end with a pencil point. At the party, let kids push pipe cleaners through the holes to make antennae, and glue on wiggly eyes. Smiles, dots, and stripes can be added, using crayons on plastic-foam carton eggs, washable markers on the paper variety.

Rock-and-Roll Shakers

Single-serving potato-chip cans are just the right size for musical shakers. Roll canisters in construction paper. Cut the paper to fit, and tape down edges. Decorate with markers, stickers, paint, or paper cutouts. Fill with a few spoonfuls of rice. Guests can shake to the beat while they play a freeze-dance game to music.

Hair Clips and More

Buy buttons, beads and plain hair clips or inexpensive headbands. Have girls glue items onto their clips or headbands (be sure to use a glue that's safe for kids). Let them dry and set during cake time and then give the children time to adorn their hair with their new accessories.

Mad Science

Set up fun science experiments and serve ice cream sodas that fizz by mixing green sherbet ice cream with ginger ale.

Treasure Hunt

Tell the children that some of King Tut's treasure was never found. Then send teams of guests on the hunt. (To arrange clues, it's easiest to work backward: Place the treasure in its spot, and set up the final clue that leads to it. Continue until you get to the first clue.) For added fun, you can also create a treasure map that corresponds to the party setting. To make the treasure chest, cover the lid and bottom of a box with masking tape for a mummified effect and decorate Egyptian-style. Arrange gold tissue paper inside, and fill with goody bags.

Hieroglyphic Charms

Let guests make rock-shaped Egyptian charms using Sculpey Granitex clay. Have kids translate their initials into hieroglyphics, and use toothpicks to carve hieroglyphs into the clay.

Cap It Off!

Have your crew decorate caps with puff paints and felt patches featuring sports themes. While the paint dries, take the kids outside for a game of your child's favorite sport.

Team Time

Divide the kids into two teams for basketball. Take breaks every 15 minutes, or whenever the kids are tired or thirsty. Let kids cool down by playing a game of "Simon Says" or "20 Questions."

Glamour Relay Race

Have two teams race to dress up in selected sets of accessories. Once they're dressed, let the girls race down a "runway," pose for a Polaroid, and run back for the next girl's turn. The first team to finish wins. Girls can also decorate frames glitter-style to hold their Polaroids.

Foam Bracelets

Making our craft-foam and wrapped-yarn bracelets is a fun -- and quiet -- activity.

What you need:

  • Craft foam sheets
  • Paper edgers
  • Craft foam shapes
  • Glue
  • Self-adhesive
  • Velcro strips

To make:

Using paper edgers, cut craft foam into strips large enough to circle a child's wrist. Layer and glue craft-foam shapes on top of bands. Once glue dries, add self-adhesive Velcro strips to ends.

Craft-supply sources:

Creative Hands craft-foam shapes and sheets by Fibre-Craft; available at craft stores nationwide.

Yarn Bracelets

Making our craft-foam and wrapped-yarn bracelets is a fun -- and quiet -- activity.

What you need:

  • 2-inch-gauge paper-wrapped floral wire (available at craft stores)
  • Wire cutters
  • Yarn in various colors
  • Colored beads
  • Craft glue

To make:

Cut floral wire into lengths sized to fit a child's wrist. Wrap two pieces of different-colored yarn around floral wire to form stripes. Wrap ends of yarn over and around ends of floral wire, then glue. While glue is still wet, slide bead onto tip of yarn-covered wire and let dry. Bend into desired shape.

Craft supply sources:

Yarn from Coats and Clark; call 800-648-1479 for stores.

Caterpillar Crawl Birthday Cake
Caterpillar Crawl Birthday Cake

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