When they are really young, throwing a party for children is fairly simple. Get a cake, blow up some balloons, and play a few games. Done deal.
Parties for teens are uncomplicated, too. They just need music, junk food, and the feeling that no one is hovering over them (of course, you’ve got to keep an eye on them, but they don’t have to know that!).
For the kids that fall in between those ages, however, party planning can be a bit trickier.
Kids from about eight to eleven are no longer little kids and certainly don’t want to be treated like babies, but they aren’t really ready for teenage style parties, either.
What they do need is activity, and lots of it. They need a project to do or a fun place to go. How about trying some of these?
Purchase a white cotton tee-shirt for every guest and have them tie bits of the fabric tightly using string or rubber bands.
When they’ve got their shirts all ready to go, submerse them in a vat of hot water and fabric dye. If you are hosting quite a few kids, provide several tubs of the dying solution, possibly in assorted colours.
While the shirts are soaking in the solution, fill the kids with not-so-good-for-you foods; kids this age love pizza and ice cream. By the time they are all sugared up, their shirts will be ready to rinse out and hang to dry.
Bring out their creative side by allowing the kids to paint a project to take home. Small ceramic items work well, as do individual canvases. Simply stock up on art supplies and let the kids do the rest.
Be sure to let parents know in advance that the children will be getting messy so they don’t arrive at the party in their best clothes!
Kids have a lot of energy. If you have a good sized garden or can host your child’s party at the park, you may want to consider holding foot races, relay races, jumping contests, and other physical challenges as part of the day’s activities.
Be sure to award prizes to the winners!
If you are willing to let your kitchen get a bit (okay, a lot!) messy, you can help the kids to make and bake some treats. Stick to simple recipes like cupcakes or cookies and be sure that everyone gets to participate.
Have all the necessary ingredients on hand and provide bags or plastic containers for the kids to take the extras home with them (you don’t want all of those sweets lurking in your cupboards, way too tempting!).
Another fun kitchen project that kids enjoy is making their own ice cream sundaes. Start with a few containers of ice cream and have dishes of toppings lined up so that the kids can add some (or all!) of their favourites.
Some recommended toppings include chocolate and caramel syrup, sliced bananas, sliced strawberries, pineapple chunks, gummy candies, chopped nuts, cherries, and of course, lots of whipped cream!
Pizza works well for young chefs, too. Prepare pizza dough in advance and separate it into individual sized portions.
Allow the children to spread their hunks of dough on baking sheets and top with sauce, meats, veggies, and cheese.
A Few Words of Advice…
Whatever you do, keep them busy! Kids this age get bored pretty easily and bored children will find ways to get into trouble.
To avoid mayhem, be sure that you have plenty of activities planned!