Several years ago, one of my kids cane home from a birthday party raving about a fun activity—a game where you pinned a paper tail onto a paper donkey while blindfolded. The whole party had consisted of old-fashioned games, and he’d loved it, because it was novel (!) So many kids’ parties are over the top or excessive that we forget that kids just want to have fun. And in the spirit of sheer fun, here are some ideas for kids’ parties that are offbeat and unexpected–but not excessive.
A moveable party: Games in the park, pizza at the pizza place, dessert at the ice cream parlor. Have a goody bag waiting for the kids at each stop, or make it a game to see if they can figure out here they’re going. We love to do one of our comic book tours and then a trip to a store like Forbidden planet.
Teacup collecting/trading party. Tea parties can be great fun, but can also get dull quickly. Liven it up by having everyone bring two teacups (old or new): one for trading, one for making into a planter. Have the guests ice cookies, decorate paper teacups, do a mini scavenger hunt and search for (wrapped) packets of tea.
Old-fashioned games: Have different stations so kids can rotate. Pin the tail on…whatever. Duck, duck goose, freeze tag, the like. Make it a carnival and give out tickets.
Like a Kid in a … One year we took a bunch of my daughter’s friends to a giant candy store, handed them clear bags, told them they could each get eight pieces of candy, and set them loose. Did the parents love it? Probably not? Did the girls love it? More than words can say.
Get Thee Somewhere New: A new part of the city, a list of objects they have to find, a hashtag they can use to post photos, if you’re so inclined.
The point is, a party doesn’t have to take place in one space, involve a costumed character, or include a crafts activity (although we love all those things.) We recently did a maze birthday party, and the kids spent most of their time building mazes with endless dominoes. Easy and fun. And isn’t that the point?