A dinner party for 6 year olds - Opinions please

My daughter is turning 6 on Friday. She wants a party on her birthday, and that means after school, so 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm, so I need to serve real food in addition to ice cream and cake. The plan is to have it outside if possible, and in the family room, and adjacent den/bedroom if not. She has invited seven children.

I made up the invitations in photoshop using a picture of crocus from our garden, but the theme for the party is the rainbow. I am making rainbow party hats, and have colorful party favors. I ordered a rainbow birthday banner, and have bought some other colorful decorations.

The activities planned are pin the tail on the donkey, and a piñata, which I already bought. Other ideas are welcome.

The cake and cupcakes to bring to school are going to be rainbowiffic. I practiced this week and feel I have that part under control. For ice cream, I was thinking strawberry, chocolate and rainbow sherbet, but I welcome suggestions there.

The menu has me stuck. My daughter wants tandoori chicken, which is easy enough, I can cut up chicken breasts into fingers and make them up tandoori style. I have no idea about the rest. I was thinking crudités and dip for the vegetable because they are colorful and my kids love them.

I have the whole day off to prepare, but I want to do ahead as much as I can.

A) You do not need to have a birthday party on the actual day of the birth. Children can and do understand that the party may not be on the same day as the birthday itself. Week day parties are stressful on the party givers and the party goers.
B) Let the kids make dinner themselves. Buy the ready-made pizza dough, make little pizza pies, put out boatloads of toppings, and let them go nuts. While the pizzas are cooking, open presents or play games. Or have the makings for salads. Or loaded baked potatoes. Or anything that they can assemble themselves.
C) I am so happy to hear that the party is limited to 7 kids. One kid per year of age plus an extra. Very good plan.

One year, I made a Pin the Eye on the Alien game instead. Made a blob like thing on a big sheet of white paper, made big googly eyes from construction paper, and voila. Great fun.

Pizza is good.

Rainbow fruit kebabs! Strawberry, canteloupe, pineapple, green grape, blueberry, purple grape. Or whatever. They were a big hit a couple years back at my oldest’s party.

Third thumbs up for pizza. My kids especially like making faces (it ends up as a pretty boring pizza by my standards when the entire topping set consists of two olives, one thin capsicum slice and a tiny handful of cheese hair, but they like it!)

What about popcorn? That pre-popped rainbow stuff they sell in the supermarkets is fairly foul, but I’m pretty sure if you made it fresh with butter and salt you could rainbow it up with food colouring and it would be just as beautiful.

I’d suggest having an alternative to the tandoori chicken. It may be a staple at your house, but it’s something a lot of American 6-year-olds have not seen, and kids that age are prone to reject food just because it seems “weird.” Maybe pizza as others have suggested, or plain chicken nuggets.

Finger food can be good at birthday parties, because sometimes it’s hard to get the kids to sit still for a meal.

As for the pinata, I hope it’s the kind where you pull some strings on the bottom to open it. If it’s the traditional kind that has to be broken open with a stick, you may encounter some difficulty. At that age, a lot of kids just lack the motor skills to deliver a solid blow to the pinata. Also, when you have a bunch of excited 6-year-olds gathered around, and you give one of them a big stick and tell her to swing it really hard at something, the results can be … interesting.

One final random thought: helium-filled balloons are always a big hit. Tie them to chairs and whatnot, and let each kid take one home. They’re cheap, and the kids think they’re awesome.

One old-fashioned game which my kids (and their friends) loved to play: Fishing. You can do this indoors or out. Indoors, just stretch a sheet across a doorway halfway up. Put up a poster saying "old fishin’ hole’ or something. Fix up a fishing pole with string and a clip on the end. One person hides in the room and, when the kids toss the end over the sheet, clip a party favor on it.

I’ve also had success with those jewelry-making kits from the craft store. Each girl makes her own bracelet (or whatever) and gets to take it home.

I know you’ve planned the cupcakes already, but next time how about let the girls make their own ice cream sundaes?

One more thought: be careful that the party isn’t overplanned. Kids IME really appreciate a lot of time to just goof around and be silly with one another. If too much stuff is arranged or set up by theme, they might find it more intimidating than relaxing.

My kids love doing this at parties.

My other tip is to buy earplugs, I’m only half-joking.

Instead of pin the tail on the donkey, how about put the gold at the end of the rainbow. You may have an extra rainbow in the decorations and most craft stores or the parent teacher store will have something in the line of a pot-o-gold type wall decoration. The gold can be chocolate coins with a bit of stickum on one side. The upside of this being mmmm…chocolate. :slight_smile:

My sister raised her daughter in the land of rent-a-limo birthday parties for grade school kids. Rent a limo and take the kids to a restaurant and then to have makeovers, etc. My sister was having none of that. The rule of thumb was my niece was allowed to invite as many children as she was years old. Lisa usually planned craft things the girls could do and take home with them, then they’d make chocolate chip cookie and ice cream sandwiches. The kids all thought my niece had the best parties, even though a ton of money wasn’t spent on them.

At that age, playing games like Easter Egg Hunt (hide small trinkets around the yard and have them search for them), or drop the clothespin in the bottle (stand on a chair and try to drop the most clothespins into a mayo jar) are also good time wasters and don’t involve big sticks. Even better is a treasure map and a good old fashioned treasure hunt. That’s best if the kids can read and solve riddles.


Those cupcakes look super cool! I love the idea of the rainbow fruit kabobs :slight_smile:

Thank you all for the advice. This is the first kids party I have planned.

I kept the guest list small partly by having my daughter write it herself. Miss Manners advises keeping birthday parties to a number very close to the age of the child, so I followed that advice. I felt bad about leaving some of her classmates out, but I had a talk about how it is rude to invite someone in front of someone who is not invited and it seemed to sink in.

I was thinking of having plain broiled chicken fingers as an alternate to the tandoori chicken. I really don’t want to do pizza. I don’t know why either. It is not high on the list of my daughters favorite foods.

I was thinking that I would have fruit version of crudités too, but Rainbow fruit kebabs sound even better. I don’t know what to do for a starch. My husband suggested tatertots, which have the advantage of being finger foods, and recognizable to most, so they should provide some respite from the tandoori.

I appreciate the advice about not over planning the party itself. I thought two activities would be plenty, and I am ready to ditch the donkey if they are having fun on their own. The pin the eye on the alien sounds fun. Who is the winner? My daughter loves spore creatures, I could make it pin the body part on the creature. She wrote a book tonight about one, “The history of the Gifl.”

I did get a traditional piñata as that is what they sell around here. I do expect it to be interesting. I hope there are no concussions. Hmm, I wonder if I could rig it to be the pull strings type myself.

Ok, the lion now has pull strings. Thank you for the suggestion!

I was going to suggest a bunch of dipping sauces in many colors for chicken nuggets and tater tots. Ketchup, honey, ranch with food coloring…kids love to dip.

this looks great if you are a kid. and stupid easy to do.

Make sure you talk to the other parents about allergies. You never know when some kid with a peanut allergy will show up and spoil the party by dying.

The chicken and fruit and veg sound perfect. I have a couple of quick games that are good giggle-inducers with little preparation. The first one is a sock contest. Gather up lots of socks (including yours), and see who can put the most socks on one foot in a minute (taking it in turns).

Another good one is a variant on musical chairs, except nobody gets out. If you have eight kids, start with eight large pillows. When the music stops, everybody finds a pillow to sit on. Then take one away, but everybody still HAS to sit down, meaning somebody will have to share. When it gets to the end with eight kids trying to squeeze together on one pillow there is lots of giggling. In fact they’ll probably want to play the game again.

Don’t worry too much about the starch in the menu. You’re having adorable cupcakes, right? There’s some starch. Tater tots would be good too, though, as most kids love them.

My daughter’s birthday is near the end of June, and we always had a barbecue and some water play at that age. We’d inform the guests’ parents that we would have a Slip’N’Slide and Water Wiggle as entertainment, and to dress the kids in a bathing suit or something that they didn’t mind getting wet, and to bring a towel. The kids played while my husband cooked chicken thighs and drumsticks and hot dogs on the grill. Then it was lunchtime, everyone sat down for a while, and after lunch she opened presents. Usually this was followed by another waterworks session. We always had a backup game, but never had to use it, everyone loved playing in the sprinkler and on the Slip’N’Slide. Well, my husband TRIED the Slip’N’Slide, but he found out that a large man has more velocity than small girls. He slipped right down the length of the plastic and onto the lawn, and got some abrasions.

The rainbow theme is a good one, I think. Very appealing to that age group. I think that pinning pieces of gold to the rainbow’s pot is good, too. And again, I love the cupcakes, I’m sure they’ll be a big hit. I used to make a layered Jello thingy, of orange and lemon and lime Jello, and they have an even bigger assortment of colors available today.

You could also do the ice cream thing with plain vanilla, and then offer multi-colored fruit toppings. Cherries, blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, kiwi, bananas, etc. Set up the bowls and let them choose their own favorites.

I preferred to do an activity with 15 minutes or so between so the kids could screw around on their own for a bit, but then you can draw them back to Earth with something structured. I only had a son, and they seemed to always want to bounce each other off the walls if there wasn’t something organized to do. Girls may do things differently.

We also did a little magic at one of his parties. My dad messed around with it when he was young, and he had a couple cool tricks to show the keeblers.

By the way…I like the Friday after school party. I think its very courteous to allow the parents the entire weekend to do their family stuff.

I’d suggest a taco bar. Cheap, the kids can prepare their own tacos (all you have to do is the prep work), and what kid doesn’t like tacos?