By the editors of Parents magazine
October 05, 2005

Invitations, Decorations & Activities

A farm theme will provide children with bushels of fun. If you can, provide some bales of straw; little kids will love climbing and balancing on them. Suggest that everyone wear overalls.


For each guest, cut out a simple barn shape from red construction apper; cut a T-shaped slit for double doors. On a piece of white paper, draw the outline of the barn with the doors open. Write the party particulars inside the door outline and photocopy as necessary. Cut out the white barns and glue one behind each red barn.


  • Place a welcoming scarecrow near the door. Use a pillowcase for the head and old clothes for the body; stuff with straw or waded newspapers. Use twin or safety pins to assemble to components.
  • Cover the table with gingham or burlap fabric.
  • Bales of hay, baskets, watering cans, and milk cans all set the mood.


  • Milk pail keepsakes. Give each child a miniature milk pail to decorate with stickers of barnyard images.
  • Egg hunt. Hide plastic eggs around the party area and let the kids search for them and put them in their pails.
  • Hayrides. Line several wagons with straw or blankets. Put one or two kids in each and ask older siblings or other parents to pull the wagons gently around the yard.
  • Animal charades. Pair up kids, and put a hat with an animal picture taped to it on each child's head. Don't let the wearer see the hat. Children act out their partner's animal, while the partner guesses what it is.

Barnyard Cake

Frost a square or rectangular cake with milk chocolate frosting. Divide the cake into penned areas, using fences from the craft store. Install a little garden of green gumdrops, into which you insert the birthday candles. Add crumbled wheat-biscuit cereal mixed with sugar for hay; brown sugar crystals for chicken feed, and green sprinkles for grass. Set small plastic farm animals around all but the crop areas.

Adapted from The Parents Party Book: Fun and Fabulous Theme Birthday Parties for Children 2 to 8 Years Old by the Editors of Parents Magazine. Golden Books, New York.

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