A great children's birthday party sparks young guests' excitement, inspires their imagination, and keeps them active and happy. A hero party, in which kids express their individuality and creativity by putting together their own costumes, is an ideal theme for 5- to 10-year-olds.
"The lovely thing about this party is that it gets children thinking about people they admire," says Child food editor Laurie Goldrich-Wolf. "A 4-year-old's hero might be her nursery school teacher, and a 10-year-old might choose to be his favorite athlete. All types of role models can be part of the celebration."
To get guests in the mood, send an invitation that introduces the theme. We pinned a "hero" button to a card, explaining that kids would dress up in costumes at the party. (Some children may want to wear their own outfits.) There's fun in the planning stages as you work with your birthday child to assemble the makings of great costumes. Fill a trunk and hat stand with an assortment of old hats, scarves, coats, belts, and jackets. Ask Grandma and Grandpa to contribute any garments and accessories they've had tucked away in the closet for years. They'll love to know their used clothing can be enjoyed at the party and beyond.
Once the children have arrived, it's nice to have an icebreaker game such as Musical Hats, a fun twist on Musical Chairs. Place a variety of headgear (baseball caps, a rainhat, a sombrero, an explorer's helmet) in the center of a circle, with one hat fewer than the number of players. When the music starts, kids pass the hats around the circle. When it stops, players pop a hat on their head, and the one who ends up empty-handed is out. Remove a hat from the circle and continue playing until one child remains.