I need help for my kids... don't be alarmed!

What are some fun things to do at a kid’s birthday party? Any suggestions for games and such? I’m having two parties within 2 weeks of each other and I want to make sure all the kids (and adults) have a good time but don’t want to spend an obscene amount of money doing it. We’re going to have a little barbecue and then maybe the kids will play a couple of games and then cake, ice cream and presents. There will be about 15 adults and about 5-7 kids ranging in age from 3-5.

The first party is on the 20th and is for my daughter’s 3rd birthday. Two weeks later on September 1 we’ll have my son’s 1st birthday party. So I need lots of ideas as to what can be done for both parties so my son’s party won’t seem like a repeat of my daughter’s party!

Um, not meaning to be el ignoramus here, but why are you bothering to invite so many kids to your son’s 1st birthday party? Why not just rent, like, Toy Story or something and have babycake (like, mash it up or something).

Also, I know you don’t need to be told this, but feeding kids b/w 1 and 4 years old lots of cake is not a very good idea. Keey that in mind. Maybe give them cookies or juice or something, but don’t blow 20 bucks on a cake . . .

As for party games, if you have colorful balloons you’re set. Don’t go for a clown . . . some kids are scared by them. Maybe take your kids to the park for some heavy-duty playing, let them roll around in fun stuff, experience butterflies and such.

Be careful if you get balloons. Popped balloon pieces are a HUGE choking hazard with small children.

Kids around that age love the old “Pin the tail on the (animal)” game. Except use some double-sided tape instead of pins. This was always a success.

Also, depending on the kids you have there, make a bunch of strips of paper with actions or animals on it, and have the kids play charades, pretending to do something or pretending to be a kind of animal. It might be beyond some of them still, but it always worked at my ex-stepdaughters parties when she was around 5.

I have to agree with ssskuggiii on the ballons, but be careful with any of your average party favors, alot of them are small enough that you will have to excercise close watch on the kiddies.

Golly, sweetie, kudos to you for being such a caring mom, but really, kids that young barely understand what birthdays mean, let alone need a big birthday party bash.

With a One, especially, there’s no way he’s going to even vaguely comprehend what’s going on. With the Three, maybe invite one or two of her playgroup buddies, give them some cake, and leave it at that. Don’t make yourself crazy, okay?

Maybe we should have a short discussion of “the purpose of kids’ birthday parties”.

The purpose of kids’ birthday parties is the same as that of adult formal dinner parties–to pay off social obligations. It is not the same as adults’ birthday parties. An adult’s birthday party is more of a “come celebrate with me that I’m still alive!” kind of thing, not at all the same thing as kids. Kids invite each other to birthday parties because if Chelsea invited you to her party, you darn well better invite her to yours (I’m talking about the kid-to-kid interpersonal relations, not the parents).

Three-year-olds, however, frankly my dear don’t give a damn who didn’t get invited to whose party. They just plain don’t remember (unless of course somebody’s Mommy makes a Big Deal out of it). Threes are perfectly happy to assemble and eat cake and then go home.

Asking a One to comprehend the social obligation aspect of the birthday party is like asking a dog to understand it. Daisy the Beagle is perfectly happy to eat cake and go home, but she won’t understand why.

My advice: don’t sweat the games. Show them a Barney video if you feel you absolutely must provide entertainment. My WAG would be that you probably travel in a circle of people with a lot of over-achiever moms who DO provide the whole-hog entertainment package for their kids. Trust me, the only people who will be offended if you don’t play games at a toddler’s birthday party will be people whose opinions don’t matter very much anyway.

And P.S. I’ve got a 16-year-old, a 13-year-old, and a 10-year-old, so I know whereof I speak. Been there, done that…

And trust me, your son won’t give a rat’s derriere if his party is a word-for-word repeat of Big Sister’s. The only people who will notice and/or care will be the grownups, and to repeat, the only people who will let it bug them will be people that worry about that sort of thing all the time anyway.

And Big Sister won’t care, either. Trust me. But if it really bothers you, just go with a different theme–Barbie for one, X-men for the other.

Rent one of those inflatable dino-jump/moon walk things.

The best parties I ever had for my daughter were pool parties. An inflatable pool in the backyard - not only was it fun for them, it also made it much easier to get all of the ice cream and cake off of them!

Other games were:

– donkey tail, using tape as mentioned.

– A variation of that using parts of the face instead of the tail. A large circle on the wall, each kid gets an eye or an ear or whatever, and tries to get it in the correct spot. My daughter liked that one so much the face hung in her room for months.

– Pulling plastic floating toys out of the pool with a net, and winning a prize based on the number written on the toy.

– Drawing a happy birthday banner on a roll of wrapping paper - we did this as the kids were showing up, then hung it up when all had arrived. Kept them busy for almost an hour.

If I remember any more, I will post them. She’s 12 now, so it’s been a little while :slight_smile:

When babyjesus turned one, we just made a seperate, but small, cake just for him with tons of chocolate icing (hot fudge to be exact. Picked it out myself.), sat it in front of him, fired up the video camera and let him go. He looked like he was doing “black-face” when he got through, but he had the time of his life. We (me, momma, grandmas, grandpa, aunts, uncles, and cousins) all had a great time just watching.

When he turned three, didn’t do too much. Grilled burgers and invited everyone over. Didn’t play any games. Kinda hard to get a 3yo to follow even simple instructions. Just got down in the floor and played with his toys with him. You might could play some of the old Bozo games like “kick the balloon in the can,” stuff like that. KimKatt’s got some good ideas.

As for the adults, you can make some electric jello. Just make it with half water and half PGA.

My two younger kids have birthdays only three weeks apart and what I have always done is just simply hold one party about halfway between their birthdays. Not a big party either (they are only six and four now). Just grandparents and maybe one friend each. At this age, just popping in their favorite VCR tape is sufficient entertainment for them. I haven’t bothered with a birthday cake the last couple of years either. I make cupcakes instead for the little ones and I usually buy or make some kind of pie for the adults (blueberry seems to be the overwhelming favorite in my family). If it is warm enough outside (mid April in Michigan can range anywhere from 20 degrees to 70 degrees, weather is always funny around here in April), we take the kids to the park and let them run themselves silly.

The people that are going to be there are family. I’ve also invited 3 of my girlfriends who have kids but two of them I know for sure won’t be able to make it so there may be two other boys there and that’s it. The other five of the kids that are going to be there are our neices and nephews (ages 3-5 and one 11 year old). It’s not like I’m inviting her entire daycare or anything and it’s by no means a big bash. I just need some ideas of what we can have the kids do for fun.

As for balloons, I have a helium tank that I’m going to use for the balloons and they’re going to be tied up out of reach for the kids to take home after the parties. I’m not going to leave them all over the house or anything.

I like the pin the tail game. I’ll probably use that. I think I’m also going to make a pinata for my daughter’s party. A friend of mine did this and the kids has a lot of fun with it.

These parties are more for adults anyway, I know, but I just want to make it fun for everybody, even if they are just family. Even though the kids won’t remember any of it I want to make their birthdays special for them and for me too. It’s fun to look back at their 1st birthday party and remember what they were like at that age!

My sister-in-law’s mother makes the birthday cakes for me and it only costs $10. A flowered number for my daughter and Winnie the Pooh for my son. My son will also have an individual cake, a Winnie the Pooh head, all for himself! That will be my favorite part, watching him eat that cake!!

As far as throwing a birthday party for a one and three year old go…

I think that Rachelle knows that the first birthday parties are more for the adults than anything. It is nice to have good pictures of the parties too. By the age of three, I find that the kids really enjoy the parties, but don’t remember them. They still have fun, though. My first child was a first grandchild on all sides, so we had a big party. With my third one, we didn’t do much, although I kind of regret it, because her picture in her baby book really reflects the lack of effort we put into it. My fourth child will probably have a slightly bigger party, if just for the older kids. They’ll enjoy it.

And for games…

We didn’t organize any games when the kids were that young. The kids were too young to really grasp the concept of game rules, so we just filled them up with junk food, had lots of toys, and let them play around. A wading pool or sprinkler or something to that effect is lots of fun too. Keep it simple, and take lots of pictures.

I usually just rent a bunch of pornos and give them some whiskey or something and let them all do whatever.


Our parties always include some sort of “pin-the-tail” game tailored to the party’s theme. For my daughter’s ballerina party I put up a picture of a dancer. As each child arrived she was given a paper tutu to color. Then we played pin-the-tutu-on-the-ballerina. For my son’s Pokemon party I put up paper with pokeballs drawn on it. The guests colored various pokemon figures (which I spent all night drawing and cutting out) and then we blindfolded them and they tried to stick them on the balls.

I have also found that kids love treasure hunts. I write out clues on pieces of paper and hide all but the first. They read the first clue, find the second clue’s hiding place, and so on, until they come to the treasure (their goody bags.) If you do a pinata, I recommend bagging the candy/treats and labelling them. Otherwise, some kid always ends up with much less. Scrabbling for candy seems to promote unnecessarily greedy behavior, anyway, IMHO. Also, note that if you buy a premade pinata from the party store, the 4yos will not be able to break it without assistance. That’s actually a good thing, though, because it means that every kid will get a few good whacks in before it breaks.

There are lots of good silly games/races for 4yos. Animal races: Go to and from some sort of goal/finish line while hopping like a frog, crab-walking, slithering like a snake, etc. Firemen’s brigade: Line the kids up with a bucket of water at one end, an empty bucket at the other, and plastic cups. The child closest to the water fills her cup, pours it into her neighbor’s, and so on down the line, to eventually fill the second bucket. Revised musical chairs: With kids this young, you probably want the adults to play too, to help out. Start out the usual way, with a chair for each person. March around the chairs; when the music stops, everyone finds a seat. When you start removing chairs, though, everyone must still sit down. Perch on the edge, sit on a knee, climb on a lap, whatever it takes to get everyone on the ever dwindling number of chairs.

Homer, you idiot! You forgot the cigarettes!

Seriously, Ducky’s suggestions were pretty good. I would add one suggestion to defuse a potentially explosive sibling situation.

Get the 3-year-old a small present to open at the 1-year-old’s party. She may feel slighted when she sees all the presents that the littlun is getting. And all the reasoning in the world (“Honey, remember all the nice presents you got just 12 FREAKIN’ DAYS AGO??”) is not going to smooth it over. F’rinstance, if she gets or has a Barbie, then maybe some Barbie clothes for her to unwrap may mollify her.

You may also want to invite one of her playmates over to keep her from being bored/feeling neglected.

But at these ages, follow the KISS model: Keep It Simple, Sweetie (I won’t call you Stupid, 'cause your not).

I really like the idea about wrapping the goodies in individual bags for the pinata!! I’m going to try to make the pinata myself!(with the help of Martha Stewart Living Magazine :rolleyes: ) If I put the goodie bags in the pinata every kid will get one and there won’t be any fighting! Great idea robin!!

Dave & Homer… the pornos, whiskey, and cigarettes are for Matt and I after all these people leave our house and the kids are in bed! We’ll have our own little party!! :slight_smile:

Sandbox + Wading Pool = Beach Party

Your daughter might enjoy this… Slap on some island music… make a “grass” skirt from green crepe paper… and let the kids have fun with sand and water. It will go nicely with the flowers on your daughter’s cake… and instead of hats (which all kids hate) you can pick up plastic lai’s for about $.25 at most party stores.
Gives the kids something to play with , and the (sorta) theme makes your pictures look good.

Also, considering your kids are so young, it’s nice to have something the adults won’t be incredibly annoyed by.

For your son… I would just have the party for the adults.
When my niece turned one, we put a big blanket down, and let the older kids unwrap the presents and give them to the baby. she could have cared less… but we just let her do whatever made her happy. It was cute, and low stress for everyone.

If you do make a pinita, make it thin!!! and you may want to consider weakening it before you hang it up. We had one at a 6th birthday party last year, and after 45 minutes of wacking, the kids hadn’t dented it. We let the “daddies and uncles” go at it… and it them a good 15 minutes.
On the plus side… watch the guys break it was hilarious… even for the kids.

Have a bar party. bring in loads of alcohol, get the kids drunk and send them home. the parents will never send their kids to your house ever again!!! And the next day you can have a Social Services party for when the “visitor” arrive!


loads of good ideas so far.

Strippers and prostitutes!

Make sure you have enough crack to pay the prostitutes.

Pandora, your beach party idea is totally rad, babe! I dig it, especially when the surf’s up in the wading pool.

Seriously, it’s a very good, low maintenance kid’s party idea. But I am leery of the plastic leis. Kids that age really shouldn’t have things like that around their necks. Maybe they could color some paper and make their own or something to take home with them. Then their parents can worry about them strangling.