Not having your party at home? Check out our guide to fantastic birthday outings.
1. A Is for Apple
Go apple picking, and kids can harvest their own healthy goodie bag while they get fresh air and exercise. Some orchards offer bonus activities, like visits with farm animals.
2. Teddy and Me
Birthday guests make a furry friend from scratch. Kids choose, stuff, and accessorize their bear and then take it home. Check out buildabear.com for locations.
3. Crafty Idea
Paint your own pottery--mugs, bowls, plates--at a ceramics studio.
4. Five-Alarm Fire
For a donation, many fire departments offer their space and time. Young partygoers can talk with firefighters, try out equipment, and even hop aboard the truck. But beware, if the fire bell rings, the party is over!
5. Factory Tour
From crayons to jelly beans to potato chips--your kids can find out how their favorite stuff is made on a tour of a local factory, with free samples and goodie bags waiting at the end.
6. Sundae School
Your local ice-cream shop provides the ice cream and the toppings, you provide the sugar monsters. Contact a parlor in your town, or log on to benandjerrys.com for Scoop Shop locations.
7. Bowling Bonanza
Your party will have a ball bumper bowling at your nearest alley. Don't forget to wear socks!
8. Gym Dandy
Many fitness clubs, recreation centers, and Ys offer high-energy activities such as swimming, basketball, and games.
9. Ice Is Nice
Kids can heat up on the ice with skating, games, and music. Skate rentals are often included in the per-child price, and rinks usually have an event room for gifts and birthday cake.
10. Something Fishy
Touch tanks, crafts, and specially guided kid tours are sure to be fun for everyone.
11. Young at Art
Find a museum that offers special kids' exhibits and programs, and take the gang.
12. The Great Outdoors
Host a party at a nature center or botanical garden. The fun includes nature walks, plantings, and other projects.
13. Say Cheese!
Young chefs design a personal pie and then chow down.
14. Karate Kids
Little ones will get a kick out of a party at a martial-arts studio. They can play games and learn real karate kicks appropriate to their age.
15. Where the Wild Things Are
Head to the zoo and check out the animals by touring with a staff member, or zoo-it-yourself and host your own group viewing.