For my niece's seventh birthday, I gave her a personalized day of fun. I bought five-dollar gift cards to favorite local spots, including the movie theater, the bowling alley, the ice cream parlor, and the bookstore, then I made a date to take her and my daughter to all the places in one day. The two girls had a great time, and the memories will last a lifetime.
Fort Pierce, FL
Originally published in the April 2013 issue of FamilyFun
I've noticed that many children get upset when they lose at musical chairs, so I came up with my own version. Each child stands in a hula hoop. When the music starts, the kids walk, hop, and dance around the hoops as one is removed. When the music stops, everyone finds a hoop, even if there's someone in it. Eventually, all the kids try to fit in the last hoop. It's fun for everyone!
Originally published in the March 2013 issue of FamilyFun magazine
For my son's eighth birthday party, we asked guests to share a talent, magic trick, or homemade game instead of bringing presents. The idea was a hit! Two brothers performed a Beatles song, another guest played "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" on our keyboard, and another made a cat-themed game. Our son, Cruise, played his violin. It was a great way to kick off the party, and every gift was appreciated.
Salt Lake City, UT
Originally published in the October 2012 issue of FamilyFun magazine
A month before my son, Jake, turned 8, we made a colorful construction paper chain to count down the days until his birthday. On the outside of each link we wrote the number of days left; on the inside, a family member wrote a secret message, such as something we love about him or a special memory. Each day, Jake would open a link, read what it said, and try to guess who wrote it. The chain made him feel extra special as he geared up for his big day.
Originally published in the September 2012 issue of FamilyFun magazine
Before I picked up my son, Max, from school on his 10th birthday, I added a few surprises to our car: helium balloons floating out the window and signs that read "The Birthday Mobile" and "Must be 10 to ride!" When I pulled up, I saw a big smile spread across Max's face. He received many birthday wishes, then he hopped inside the car, where his favorite afterschool snack was waiting.
Originally published in the May 2012 issue of FamilyFun magazine