If your child's world revolves around sports, this party will score big points. You may even consider contacting your local YMCA, school, or health club. Most rent space for parties and often supply instructors to keep the games in high gear.
Cut a 4"x11" rectangle from a piece of red construction paper and fold in half. Carefully score and bend back the flap of the card 1 inch from the fold. Punch two holes in this folded section. Loop twine through the holes, knot, and trim any excess. To decorate the front of the invitation, cut a 2"x1¾" rectangle from a piece of blue construction paper; attach a small photograph of your child; trim blue paper border with scallop-edged scissors and glue matted picture on the front of the card. Using an oversize craft punch, cut out two hearts and affix with glue alongside the photo. Write the invitation details on a 3"x5" piece of white paper, apply glue, and center it inside the album.
This invitation will put your guests in the team spirit. Cut blue and orange card stock into pennant-shaped triangles, each slightly larger than the one before. Glue together and use a marker to write party details.
Send baseball-card style invitations with the birthday child's picture in the frame and the party information in the section for "stats." To make, use a color copy machine or computer.
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.
Toss the ball in the basket, pick the duck with the winning number on its bottom, or hit the golf ball in the bucket with a kid's club. Give each child a handful of pennies and have them pay for the games for a carnival atmosphere.
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."
My nephew chose a golf theme for his 10th birthday, but instead of taking the kids to a miniature golf course, my brother helped him create a homemade course using plastic drinking glasses for the holes. They designated tee-off areas for each hole and then designed the course to go down stairs, under tables, etc. They even made trophies and ribbons for the winners. The kids loved it. --Kate
When our twins turned 4, they wanted a baseball party. We hung a banner over our front door announcing ARANYI STADIUM, and upon arrival, each guest was given a team tag (Benjamin Blues or Zachary Reds). We set up a baseball diamond in the backyard, and the kids played an awesome game of T-ball. Inside the house, we made signs for the souvenir stand (a party-favor table), the dugout (the backyard), and a snack bar (the kitchen), and we served hot dogs, soft pretzels, peanuts, and a baseball-shaped cake. Everyone had a great time. --Rebecca
Set the theme with a flourish of felt pennants.
Draw triangle with sides measuring 12"x9"x12" onto card stock, and cut out to make template. Draw slightly smaller triangle with sides measuring 11"x8"x11"onto card stock, and cut out to make a second template. Trace outline of large triangle template to felt, and cut out using pinking shears. Trace smaller triangle template to a contrasting color of felt, and cut out using straight-edge scissors. Enlarge animal template, trace to felt, and cut out using straight-edge scissors. Punch holes in two corners (the ones bordering the shortest side) of each finished scallop-edged triangle. Thread yarn through holes. Layer triangles, placing the straight-edged triangle on top, and glue together. Glue felt animal to top of straight-edged triangle. Repeat until you have enough triangles to fill the length of your garland.
Yarn from Coats and Clark; call 800-648-1479 for stores. Felt from Kunin; call 800-292-7900.
Use travel-size soap cases to hold baseball cards, sporty key chains, whistles, and stickers. Decorate with first-place ribbons. Cut paper into one"strips, and notch the ends. Then attach with medal-style stickers. Wrap the cases with sports-theme sneaker laces, and tie in bows.
Be sporty: Give out juice-filled water bottles tied with theme whistles.
Show your birthday child who's first in your eyes with this grand-prize ice-cream dessert This fast, no-bake ice-cream prize is a real winner; just pick your favorite flavor and start scooping.
Prep and decorating time: 30 minutes
Yield: 16 servings
Take your pick -- baseball, soccer ball, basketball -- whichever is your child's favorite sport. Once you have the round cake pan, decorating is a snap.
Prep and decorating time: 30 minutes
Bake time: 35 minutes
Yield: 10 servings
*Round cake pans are available from Wilton Industries. To order, call 800-794-5866 or log on to www.wilton.com.
Copyright© 2004. Reprinted with permission from the April 2002 issue of Parents magazine.