Sometimes it feels like birthday parties have gotten out of hand. Parents, faced with the prospect of having a crowd of young boys over to their house for several hours, feel that they must fork out a small fortune to either hire someone to entertain the kids or have the party off site at an expensive venue. Having given many birthday parties over the years for my boys, I can testify that, with a little effort and creativity, it is possible to have a memorable birthday party and not break the bank.
Keep it Simple
Think back in time to old fashioned childhood games. Kids today rarely have the time to just play. It is a treat for most boys to just be allowed to be boys for a few hours. Choose games that will fit well with the numbers and ages of the kids involved. Games as simple as hide-and-seek and freeze tag can keep a group of boys entertained for hours. Active games such as kick ball and even soccer go a long way to getting some of that boy energy out. If you plan on having the party outside, a few bags of water balloons filled up prior to the party and stored in coolers can result in some good clean fun. If you are looking for game ideas, refer to the excellent book “Hopscotch, Hangman, Hot Potato & HaHaHa” by Jack Macguire. He lists many games for all ages and activities and gives all the playing rules.
If your son has his heart set on a certain theme, don’t despair. You don’t need to spend a fortune on trademarked paper goods. Pick a few items, say a table cloth or cake topping for your homemade cake, and coordinate the rest with solid colors from the chosen theme. Even games can be adapted to fit a theme. With some poster board and markers we once turned pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey into pin-the-alien-on-the-spaceship. Get your son involved in the party planning and you’ll be amazed at the flow of creative ideas.
Of course, having a good old-fashioned backyard party requires a bit more work. Don’t go it alone. Enlist the help of other parents (especially Dads) and older siblings. Be organized and have a plan, but remain flexible. Let the party flow and everyone will have a great time.