Tuesday, 9 December 2014

How to Preserve Your Party Memories

I don’t have a single photo of any of the parties of my childhood and consequently I can’t remember anything specific about them other than that I had parties. I remember a few of the standard games we played at most every party and that we went ice skating once but other than that, it is all gone. Sure we didn’t do themes, there were no elaborate decorations or cakes and even if we had taken photos they certainly wouldn’t have been Pinterest worthy events, yet I wish I had just one photo from each one to help me remember. When I started having parties for my own children I vowed that I would make it a point to preserve the memories as best I could. I am a journal writer and if nothing else, I have recorded a few details of each party in writing. The photos I took over the years, however, are less impressive. Often I got so caught up in the details of the parties that I missed out on wonderful Kodak moments that I will never happen again. But, the point is, I did take photos. Remember, the photos don’t have to be perfect, even a quick snapshot taken with your phone, is better than nothing. Here are some suggestions to make capturing the memories easier and better:

•Consider getting an adult friend, a sitter, or spouse to take the pictures or videos so you can devote yourself to the children. Yes, you can do it yourself, but you’ll be spreading yourself pretty thin.

•Prepare the area you will be taking pictures by opening all the shades or curtains and turning on as many lights as possible. The more light you have the better quality of your images (this applies to both video and still photography).

•To take a group photo, tell the children you’re going to count to 3 and take one “serious” pose. Next tell them they can be as “goofy” as they want to be while you count again; you’ll probably get two photos worth saving! You can also try to

Friday, 5 December 2014

Friday Freebie: editable baby shower printable

Fridays we like to give away free printables to use at your next party. This week's freebie is an editable baby shower printable that you can use at your next baby doll shower themed party or any festive occasion. Click to download pdf and enjoy!

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Thursday Theme: Baby Doll Shower/Tea Party

If your little girl loves her dolls like mine did, a fun party idea is to have a shower for your daughter’s dolls and her friends’ dolls. This can be a birthday party theme or just for fun. In the invitation request that the guests bring their favorite baby dolls and have the girls dress up like mommies. Set up two tables with chairs: one for the girls and a smaller place for all the baby dolls. Use small toy dishes for the dolls complete with animal crackers and baby bottles. Play simple baby shower games like these listed below:

Diaper Pins –Fold white felt squares into a diaper shape and secure with a safety pin. Thread a piece of pink or blue yarn through the diaper so that it makes a little necklace for the guest to wear throughout the party. No one knows until the end when they are all opened together that one of the diapers has a mini chocolate chip in it and whoever has the poopy diaper gets a prize.

Count the Jelly Bellies – This is a simple baby shower game idea. Buy a regular sized baby bottle and fill it with pastel colored jelly bellies. Make sure to count them as

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Party Manners Please! Thank You.

Naturally you’d like your birthday child to be a beautifully behaved, courteous host or hostess who is more concerned about their guests’ pleasure than about his or her own. Yeah, well, don't hold your breath. More likely that won’t happen for a good many years. Parties often bring out the worst in very young children–your own and the guests. While manners are important, don’t ruin the party for your child by prompting or scolding; this isn’t the time.

Though your child's natural inclination will not yet be to assume the perfect role of host, you can prevent embarrassing rudeness by talking about the party beforehand. We are so used to party traditions that we often forget to tell a 2 or 3 year old what to expect. It’s a good idea to talk about the sequence of events and the rules you expect to be followed. You can try to get a few simple messages about good manners across to all but the youngest of children by following these simple suggestions:

•Encourage your child to disguise his or her ‘me first’ behavior, at least to the extent of saying hello to the guests before grabbing the presents.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Thursday Theme: Artist Party

Let your imagination go wild with this fun party theme. If your kid loves to paint, draw or create, they will enjoy an artist party.

Instead of traditional party games, plan simple art activities but keep in mind that art is about the process not the final product. Instead of planning craft activities where the guest make something from a model, provide a variety of materials and let the children be creative.

Younger kids will enjoy creating masterpieces using finger paints, clay,and stickers. If you are concerned about messes and spills, take the party outside.

Get rolls of newsprint from the local newspaper (they often sell roll ends for quite a bargain). Roll out the paper along the floor or tape to a wall to provide a giant mural or banner that everyone can work on together.

Give the children sidewalk chalk to decorate the driveway or sidewalk in front of your house.

Buy large plastic painting sheets or tarps at the dollar store and completely cover the floor and wall of

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Presents at Kid's Parties--When to Open the Gifts and How to Make it Go Smoothly

For most kids, the presents are the highlight of their party. Sometimes, however, it can be a difficult time for the guests since, after all, the presents are not for them. Also, children can be brutally honest and say the darndest things. My nephew, for example, was thrilled with most of the toys he received as gifts but when he opened some clothes from his grandmother he tossed them asside and said, "I hate this!" My sister-in-law was mortified and had to quickly try to make him apologize. It is important to talk with the birthday child before the party about manners. Stress the importance of saying "thank you" for each present--even the ones they may not love. Play "What If?" with the child to practice what to say if they already have something like the gift they just opened, if they don't like the gift or if there is any problem with the gift in any way (for example, if they have an allergy or are not allowed to have certain toys like guns).

When it comes to presents I prefer to leave the present opening for the end of the party but really,

Friday, 7 November 2014

Friday Freebie: Cake Favor Box

Fridays we like to give away free printables to use at your next party. This week's freebie is a cake favor box that you can use at your next bakers themed party or any festive occasion. Click to download pdf and enjoy!

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Thursday Theme: Baking Party

A fun and delicious theme for a party is a bakers theme. Kids love to help make and eat yummy baked goods. If you are nervous about having several little helpers in your kitchen, simply do all of the actual baking before hand and have the guests participate by decorating cupcakes or cookies that you make in advance. But let’s face it, the kids will feel even better if they actually get to make the goodies. It’s a good idea to only plan on baking one or two things so having something already baked that the kids can just decorate might be good to fill in time while another dish is baking. For younger kids, it is a good idea to crack eggs and measure ingredients ahead of time and have them in small bowls or cups so that the children can help add ingredients easily. Don’t let the kids pick what items you are going to make. Only plan on baking one or two things during the party.

Purchase or make plain aprons for the kids to decorate with fabric markers and accessories.

Play games like Don’t Eat Pete, Memory Tray (using kitchen gadgets), Pass the Parcel, Pin the Smile on the Gingerbread Cookie, Cookie Jar (like Fruit Basket but change the fruit to be different cookies like chocolate chip, peanutbutter, ginger snaps etc), Smell it!, Feel it! or Cake, Cake, Pie (Duck, Duck, Goose).

With game prizes, baked treats and fun aprons, you won't even have to have a goodie bag.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

A Fabulous Host is Not a Party Expert

It seems like you have to be really good at a lot of things if you want to host a party. There are invitations to extend, decorations to put up, food to prepare, entertainment to provide and socialization to encourage. However, the truth is that you don’t have to be an expert in all things to have a fabulous party. Make a list of things you hate and things you love and follow those things you are good at.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Friday Freebie: Finger Puppets

Fridays we like to give away free printables to use at your next party. This week's freebie is a bunch of finger/stick puppets complete with stories to go with them that you can use at your next puppet themed party. Click to download pdf and enjoy!

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Thursday Theme: Puppet Party

A fun and unique party is a Puppet Party. You can either make puppets at the party like sock puppets, brown bag puppets, fun foam puppets, finger puppets and puppets on sticks or you can purchase puppets. Cheap puppets can be found at dollar stores or at certain times of the year Costco sells adorable sets of 8 puppets for $20.

If you purchase puppets, you can give the puppet with the invitation or better yet, play a game like Pass the Parcel at the party to give the guest their puppet. Wrap a puppet in each layer of wrapping paper, have the guests sit in a circle, turn on music and have the guests pass the parcel while the music plays. When the music stops the person who is holding the parcel gets to unwrap a layer and keep the puppet that is under the layer. Keep playing until all the guests have puppets.

You can make a stage out of a refrigerator box, a table with a tablecloth, chairs with a blanket or tablecloth or even behind a couch. Organize the guests into groups of 2, 3 or 4. Write the names of familiar stories on small pieces of paper (Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Bean stock, Cinderella and so on. Click here for a pdf of the complete stories and fairy tales that you can use) and put them in a hat and have each group draw out a story. Have props ready for the stories (hats, wigs, toys, tools and so on) and give the groups a limited amount of time to prepare then take turns performing for each other. You can also have spontaneous performances of made up stories but sometimes the lack of structure and direction can bore the audience. You may want to have popcorn or other treats for the audience to enjoy while watching the show. Making a movie of the production is a great thank you gift keepsake for the guests that they will enjoy showing their families.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

You're a Winner! How to Deal with Prizes at Parties

Often when I have been to a baby or a bridal shower, the women in attendance groan when the host announces that we are going to play a few games. I guess they figure that adults are too mature for party games. However, it is interesting to note that if there are prizes involved, suddenly the interest in the games increases and before long the fun of a friendly competition wins out over the inhibitions we have that prevent us from enjoying ourselves.Teens may balk at games as well, insisting they have outgrown such juvenile activities, however, they too enjoy the thrill of winning a prize and can happily participate in party games in an attempt to acquire even the silliest treasure.Younger children don’t usually have to be bribed with prizes to encourage participation, but having prizes can make many games even more exciting and fun. It should be noted that the younger the guests are, the less the emphasis should be on the prizes.Younger children can not always understand the concept of only 1 winner and having games with winners and prizes for children under age 4 will only bring you a room full of very sad and disappointed losers.

Even with kids who are old enough to handle winners and losers, there are things you can do to help ease the pain for kids who don’t win the prize.
  • Consider handing out the prizes at the end of the party instead of right away. Show the winner their prize, and just tell them that it'll be put in their favor bag. This way, the prize won't become a distraction during party time. And, at the party's end, everyone gets a prize - the favor bags - so if a few kids have a few more goodies, it really doesn't matter.
  • Move quickly on to the next activity once a winner has been announced.
  • Have a Prize Auction.
Instead of having prizes for every game, award each guest some paper money which they can use to bid in a prize auction at the end of the party. You may like to give the winner $100, runner-up $50, and $20 for everybody else that participates. For games like pass the parcel or treasure hunt, have small amounts of money throughout the game, with one bigger prize pool at the end.
Your auction prizes can be really small and inexpensive, because the kids already feel like they have won a prize – the money to spend! It’s amazing how much of their play money they will bid to get a single lollipop or sheet of stickers, and they get so carried away with the bidding, that the auction becomes a game in itself.
To add an extra dimension, and make the prize haul a little fairer, you could wrap up each prize so that the guests do not know what they are bidding for. Remember, you will need to have a number of small prizes for each guest, as they won’t necessarily spend all their play money in one bid. Each prize can be as small or as large as your budget allows.
  • Give out Points for Prizes.
Instead of buying prizes and consolation prizes for each game, make up one small prize packet for every child, and put them all into a big basket. As each game is played, award points to the winner and runner up, and write them on a big chart or whiteboard. If you like you can make up extra reasons to award points, such as nice behaviour or lucky seats.
At the end of the party, the person with the most points gets to pull a prize out of the basket first, followed by the person with the next amount of points, and so on. It’s a nice idea to have just one extra packet, so that the last child to choose still feels like they have a choice.
Party prizes don't have to be large and expensive. They can be trinkets or sweets. It's the challenge of winning the prize and not the prize itself that most appeals to kids. Here is a list of possible prizes:

Certificates: Instead of prizes for each game, make some certificates on the computer and print them out on to coloured cardstock or parchment. You could change the wording of each certificate to match the game and the theme of your party.

Medals: Medals can be made out of coloured cardstock also. You can cover them with tinfoil or use silver spray paint to decorate jam jar lids. Punch a hole in the lid using a hammer and nail, and then thread through a coloured ribbon so that the medal can be hung around the child’s neck.

Home Made Prizes: Party prizes do not have to be store bought. With a little bit of imagination you can make some great prizes at home.
  • Decorate some paper cups with glitter and full them with home made fudge.
  • Decorate star shaped cookies and tie them in a cellophane bag, with the star shaped cutter attached to the ribbon.
  • Make up a batch of play dough, and either put fistfuls into plastic containers, or tie them in a cellophane bag.
  • Make up some bubble mixture with dishwashing liquid and water, and pour it into cute little bottles.
  • Pet rocks make great party prizes. Simply paint garden stones with funny faces, attach googly eyes and some fake fur for hair.
  • Download your child’s favourite songs onto a CD and make a special CD cover commemorating their party.
  • Make miniature puzzle books by downloading activities off the internet, and stapling them into a book. You can design your very own birthday party cover for the guests to colour in.
If you want to buy prizes for every game, the most cost effective way is to buy bulk packets of items, split them up, and combine them with other bits and pieces. Each prize may consist of 4 or 5 tiny prizes, tied together to make one goody bag or prize.

The following items can be bought in packets, with 6 – 16 pieces in each bag.
Sticker Sheets
Mini Chocolate Bars
Mini Chip Packets
Hair Ties
Hair Clips
Small Cars
Plastic Farm Animals or Dinosaurs
Cookie Cutters
Packets of Glitter
Coloured Beads

Prizes for pre-teens and teens could include:
Gift cards for fast food (you don’t have to put very much money on them, I once gave a gift card from a doughnut/coffee shop for the price of a fancy doughnut plus tax)
Little bottles of nail polishes and nail files.
Body glitter
Scented soaps or hand sanitisers
Candy including chocolate bars, giant lollipops, or a small jar or box filled with any candy
Movie tickets
iTunes gift card
Fun socks
Hot chocolate mugs
Fancy pens
Chips, soda, or other junk food

Weather we want to admit it or not, most people like to win and winning a prize makes us feel special no matter what the prize is. What are some prizes that you have given or received?

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Thursday Theme: Crazy Lunch/Dinner

A fun party for kids or adults is to have a crazy dinner where the guests pick their courses from a menu with silly made up names for each food item and different utensils.  Prepare your menu and then think up silly names for each item.  The names for the menu items can be as creative as you wish and can either help the guests guess what they represent or they can be totally random and unrelated to make for a complete surprise.  Have several courses and have each guests pick several items for each course.  A sample menu can be downloaded here and below is the sample menu answer key and a list of other possible utensils with silly names.

Sample Menu Answer Key:
  • Mutt Warmed Over-----------------Hot Dog
  • Underground Icicles----------------Carrots
  • Sticks-------------------------------Celery
  • Kay Delight-------------------------Maccaroni and Cheese
  • Peter’s Pantry----------------------Salad
  • Snake Tongue----------------------Fork
  • Amazing Grace---------------------Corn
  • Risen Heaven-----------------------Bun
  • Starchy Death----------------------Funeral Potatoes
  • Sweet Leprechauns----------------Brownies
  • Pucker Power-----------------------Lemonade
  • Piped Dreams----------------------Straw
  • Sword in a Saber-------------------Knife in a napkin
  • Lover’s Pleasure--------------------Spoon
  • Earthquake-------------------------Jello
  • Scared Streakers-------------------Chicken Strips

Possible Utensils for a Crazy Dinner:
  • Spatula-------------------------------flat hand
  • Whisk---------------------------------dead spider
  • Knife–--------------------------------butcher’s extension
  • Potato masher-----------------------spud fauna
  • Chop sticks---------------------------branches of Asia
  • Can opener---------------------------jaws of life
  • Slotted spoon------------------------leaky shovel
  • Skewer-------------------------------needle
  • Tongs---------------------------------crabs claws
  • Measuring spoon---------------------quantifying dollop  
  • Ladle----------------------------------spade of plenty

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Let Me Entertain You: Party Game Survival Tips

Every party is different but one thing they all have in common is that they must include some form of entertainment to succeed. So how do you entertain your guests without hiring a professional and spending a fortune? Other than resorting to a talent search of family and friends you will need to come up with a handful of party games.

Here are some party game tips that may come in handy when planning your next party:

Prepare in Advance.

During the party you'll have so much on your mind that it's best to prepare as much as possible in advance. Make a list of games and write them down in the order you plan to play them. Gather all of your props together including music, blindfolds, etc. and have them ready to go before the party begins.

Have Emergency Filler Games and Be Flexible.

It is hard to correctly judge how long games and activities will take. Sometimes the games that you thought would last 5 minutes are so much fun the guests want to do them the whole time! Other times activities you expected to take a half hour are over in 5 minutes and you are left with a large chunk of time and nothing to do. For this reason, I always have more games prepared than I really plan to use. Prioritize your games and play the best or most important games first and don’t stress if you never get to some of the games on your list.

Avoid Playing Too Many Games.

Although it is important to not run out of games, don't be tempted to play fifty games in sixty minutes. Kids will usually become bored quickly if they are asked to play too many games. Remember to be flexible and that it is OK if you don’t play every game you have planned. Most parties only need a handful of games to fill the time.

Stick to Classic Party Games.

Creative and original party games are fun, but they may also be a bit risky because the kids are required to learn something new. I'm not saying DON'T play new games, just make sure there are a few classics in your arsenal like Musical Chairs, Hot Potato, BINGO or Pass the Parcel.  These games were around when we were children and they work. Don't be concerned that you'll "bore" the kids with the "usual" party games. You can always add a special twist to make them look and sound more attractive.

Avoid Long Lines and Waiting Times.

Pin the Tail on the Donkey is a fun classic game that can be changed to fit any theme but it can also be totally boring for those waiting in a long line. If you have a large group or younger guests with little or no attention spans, play games that involve everyone simultaneously. Circle games like Duck, Duck, Goose are usually good for younger guests and games like Freeze Tag  and BINGO require everyone’s participation. Another thing you can do is divide the party up into smaller groups and play several games at once. You will need a few more helpers to accomplish this but it will be worth it.

Besides long line ups, another thing you need to be aware of is The Danger of Sit-Out Games.

Let's look at Hot Potato. The kids pass the potato and whoever is "stuck" with it when the music stops is usually out. As the game goes on there are more and more children sitting around just watching (if you're lucky) and that may translate into trouble. Instead, you can play the game without anyone being out. How? Place a bunch of giveaways in the center of the circle and the child who is "stuck" with the potato when the music stops gets to choose a prize. This way you also have control over the length of the game because you can finish whenever you like and not when only one kid remains.

Click here for a list of party games for young kids, pre-teens and teens.

Once you've decided what games to play, how do you make sure the kids participate and have fun?

First of all remember that It's a Party, Not a Democracy!

Avoid asking the kids if they WANT to play any of the games. They may just say NO. Tell them what the next game is without any questions and without any options or room for deliberation –and make it sound intriguing. For instance, don’t say, "Who would like to play Hot Potato?" instead say something like, "Our next contest is Blazing Potato where you can all win some great prizes just by sitting in a circle."

And if they still object...Be Firm.

One child voicing his objection to a certain game can become an instant epidemic. Before you know it you've got a group of little protesters on your hands. The first time this happens, be firm (in a kind sort of way) and just let them understand that they were invited to the party and they need to play. This may sound a bit too harsh for such a fun gathering, but it lets the kids understand that you're in charge and you're not about to let them ruin the fun by sitting out and distracting the others.

Now that you've got everyone ready to play, remember one of the most important factors to making the birthday games work...Don't Rush!

Give the kids ample time to play each of the birthday games and that way you don't need a zillion birthday games. Take Hot Potato for instance. The kids all sit in a circle and the hot potato is being passed around to the sound of music. Let the music play a few beats before it stops. Sometimes, because you may be nervous to get things going, the music is stopped so fast that the kids don't have time to enjoy. Choose music that the children know and can sing along with and have them pass the potato under their arms, above their heads, across the circle, etc. Find ways to make it fun and you'll be able to turn this classic into a long-lasting game.

Ask for Help.

I hate asking people for help but I know that I can’t do it all myself.  If possible, it is nice to have 3 adults at a party (teen helpers work fine for younger kid’s parties). It is nice to have one person facilitating the activity (usually you as the host), one to be preparing for the next activity, and one to be taking pictures and video (I admit I usually only have my husband and myself, which is why I don’t have better photos of my kids’ parties). If you can get someone else to take the photos, make sure you have plenty of room on your SD card or memory stick and encourage them to take a lot. You can always delete any shots you don’t want but it is impossible to go back in time and capture the moments you missed. All of the adults should know their job, whether it be refilling the drink and food table, turning off or on the music, handing out props, or taking the pictures. You can give your helpers a list of the games and party schedule with specific expectations and instructions on it. Try not to have the parent of the clingy kids help – their job might not get done because their kids are just clinging on to them too much. Make sure you thank everyone who helps or offers to help and be willing to reciprocate the favor.

What are some things you have done to make the games go smoother at your parties?

Friday, 10 October 2014

Friday Freebie: Halloween Party Invitation

Fridays we like to give away free printables to use at your next party. This week's freebie is an editable Halloween Party Invitation and envelope that you can use at your next Halloween Party. Click to download pdf and enjoy!

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Thursday Theme: A Halloween Party

Halloween parties are fun for kids of all ages and can be done at any time of the year. When my son was 11 we had a "Half-way to Halloween" party in April complete with costumes, a spook alley and trick-or-treating! My daughter also had a Halloween party for her birthday one year in September. If you are having a Halloween party at a time other than the fall you may have to adjust some activities. For example, at my son's party we carved oranges since pumpkins were nowhere to be found.

You can make a spook alley in your home using refrigerator boxes, Halloween decorations and spooky music. Appliance stores are usually nice to give refrigerator boxes for free. It may take several trips to the store or you may have to visit several different appliance stores to get enough boxes so it is good to plan ahead. Arrange the boxes in a sort of maze and hang bats, spiders, lights, skeletons, ghosts (can be simply tissues on strings), spooky decorations that are activated by motion sensors, or anything that will be silly or scary. Play spooky music as guests crawl or walk through the maze.

You can go trick-or-treating, at any time of the year and at any time of the day. Make sure to have your guests dress up for the party and take treats to your neighbors before the party. Kids of all ages love to trick-or-treat and will be shocked that the neighbors actually give them something when it isn't Halloween. Since you are providing the treats, neighbors are usually totally cooperative and entertained.

Other fun activities and games for a Halloween party include:

Swinging Apples
A drier variant on apple bobbing! Tie string around each apple stem and hang the apples from a doorway. The children can then take turns biting into the swinging fruit while keeping their hands behind their backs!

Doughnut Eating Race
Eating donuts has never been so fun! Hang several donuts with string from a tree branch or a sturdy rod. Blindfold the contestants and, on the count of three, have each player try to eat their doughnut — the first one to finish wins!

Mummy Wrap
This game will leave you all wrapped up! Divide your party-goers into teams of two, and give each a roll of toilet paper, white crepe paper, or fabric. At the sound of the music, one team member must wrap the other from head to toe (leaving the head free and not binding the arms to the body.) Once completely wrapped, the "mummy" must run to cross the finish line before the others.

Eerie Piñata
This is a great pre-party craft that doubles as a game. Have your kids help you with this easy-to-make piñata, fill it with candy and small toys, and decorate it as a spooky ghost or jack-o'-lantern. At the party, have everyone take a swing until it breaks, and then go to town collecting the loot.

Mr. Skeleton Relay Race
This game takes a bit of prep work before your party begins. Buy (or draw) a simple skeleton on sturdy poster board or cardboard, and cut out each of the bones separately. Make enough so each relay team has a full set of skeleton parts.

Divide your players into teams. Place each set of bones at the opposite end of the room or yard. Have the first member from each team line up, and, at the whistle, race across to grab a piece of skeleton, race back, and tag the next team member. The first team to get every piece and assemble their skeleton together correctly wins!

What's in the Bowl?
Spaghetti brains! Grape eye balls! Jell-O guts! This classic guessing game will leave everyone screaming (from fun, of course)! Fill separate bowls with prepared Jell-O or pudding, peeled grapes, cold spaghetti, and anything else you can think of that feels slimy and gross. Cover each bowl with black and orange felt so nobody can peek inside, and have everyone try to guess what it is they're touching.

Pin the Wart on the Witch
Ever seen a witch without a wart? The trick is putting it in just the right spot. This is a fun twist on a party game classic.

Find the Pumpkin
Challenge the party-goers to find the hidden pumpkins. The grand prize? Candy, of course!
·  Ten pieces of white paper
·  Five pieces of yellow paper
·  Five pieces of orange paper
·  A crayon
·  Scissors

How to play:
Draw ten white pumpkins, five yellow pumpkins, and five orange pumpkins. Cut out all the pumpkins. Decorate each pumpkin with a funny face. Write the number 1 on the backs of the white pumpkins. Write the number 5 on the backs of the yellow pumpkins. Write the number 10 on the backs of the orange pumpkins. Hide all of the pumpkins. Tell the kids to find as many pumpkins as they can before you say "Stop!" Players will add up the numbers on the pumpkins each of them found. The player with the most points wins!

Walk on the Witches Hat
Kids will go batty for this hair-raising version of musical chairs.
·  Big brown paper bag, or big picture of a witch's hat
·  Pencil
·  Scissors
·  Tape
·  CD player, tape player, or radio

How to play:
If you have a large picture of a witch's hat, tape it right on the floor before you play the game. If you don't already have a picture, you can make one easily. Cut the bag so that you can open it out flat. Draw a big witch's hat and cut it out. The players will line up and shut their eyes. A leader is at the front to see that no one peeks. (Whoever peeks is out of the game.) The leader will control when the music stops and starts. When the music starts, the players begin walking in a circle (as in musical chairs) around the hat. When the music stops, the person who is standing on the hat is out of the game. The last player to circle the hat wins!

Pumpkin and Ghost Bowling
It's like bowling, only better! Simply paste some black circles on toilet paper rolls to look like ghost faces and then stack them like a pyramid with 4 on the bottom, 3 on top, 2 on top of that and then 1 on the very top. Use small, round pumpkins as the "balls" and you've got a great seasonal game to play at your next Halloween party.

Tricks and Treats
Shhh! To win this game, kids try not to say the magic words.
How to play:
Give each of the players a bag filled with ten pieces of wrapped candy. Have the players write their names on their bags so that the bags don't get mixed up. Decide on a time limit. If you are giving a party, you could keep the game going the entire time, even while you are doing other activities. The object of the game is to catch people saying any of the following words:
It might be helpful to write the words in large letters on a piece of paper and tape the paper up where everyone can see it. If you catch someone saying one of the words on the list, that person has to give you a piece of candy from his bag. The person who has the most candy at the end of the game wins a prize. The best part is, everyone gets to keep any candy they have left in their bag.

Scarecrow Building
A scarecrow contest is a great way to bring out everyone's creative side! Provide all the supplies you need to build a scarecrow (hay, old flannel shirts, burlap bags, etc.), pair off into teams, and have everyone get to work building the most creative scarecrow they can in the time allowed.

Halloween games of disguise survive in many old sources, and they don't necessarily involve elaborate costumes. In "Nosey," the party guests are divided into two groups and sent into adjoining rooms. A curtain or heavy sheet with a small slit in it is hung in the doorway. One of the players sticks his or her nose through the slit, making sure nothing else shows. Then the game leader chants, "The witches have stolen somebody's nose. Who does it belong to, do you suppose?" and everyone on the opposing team attempts to guess the owner of the nose. If correct, the guessing team scores a point and the opposing team must present another nose for their regard. If the guess is wrong, then the guessing team must now start offering up noses -- which, it should be noted, can be very hard to recognize without any accompanying features!

The Black Cat and Her Kittens
A good game for younger children is "The Black Cat and Her Kittens." One child is chosen as the black cat and is escorted from the room. The rest of the children then take their places around the table, laying their heads on their arms so that they cannot see anything. The game leader then touches several children on their heads, tapping them as the black cat's kittens. When the black cat is brought back into the room, the kittens meow for their mother, and the mother attempts to locate them by their meows. The first kitten to be found takes the mother cat's place for the next round, but the rest must keep up their meowing until every last kitten is found.

Guess the Ghost
You will need a blindfold. Sit the kids in a big circle. Put some music on and take it in turns for one child to be blindfolded and walk around the circle, touching the other children's heads. When the music stops, the child that the person who is 'it' has their hands on must let out a ghostly wail. The person who is 'it' must try and guess who it is. If they guess correctly they swap around. If they do not guess correctly they go around the circle again.

What's the time, Mrs Witch?
You will need: a witch's hat and broom and a spacious room
This is a simple variation on the 'What's the time, Mr Fox' game. Elect one player to be Mrs Witch. They can put on the witch's hat and hold the broom. Each of the other players stands at one end of the room with the witch at the other, with her back to the other players. The players ask: 'What's the time, Mrs Witch?' and the Witch shouts out a time, eg. 7 o'clock. The other players take the corresponding number of steps in the direction of the witch. When the players get close to the witch the witch can then should out 'midnight' and chase the other players. Whoever the witch catches is out of the game.

Witches Cauldron
You will need:
a large cooking pot
a damp sponge
a shelled hard-boiled egg
a large piece of orange peel
selection of rubber toys from the toyshop (frog, snake, etc)
Fill your cooking pot with items such as the above (and any other suitable things you can think of - you'll need enough bits and bobs to allow each child a turn). Each child has a turn at being blindfolded and plunging their hand into the cauldron to find the imaginary item you name. For example, ask them to look for: 'A hairy giant's tongue' (the damp sponge), 'a dragon's eye' (the egg), a goblin's skin (the orange peel), 'a frog/snake' (rubber toys), etc.

Brain Digging
You will need:
a big bowl of cooked spaghetti
some ping-pong balls or similar
some small bags of sweets
Get the kids to dig in among some bits of 'brain' to find a trick or treat! Cook up a big pan of spaghetti, leave to cool for a moment and then turn into a big bowl. In the pasta hide some ping-pong balls or similar. Three balls have 'treat' written on them with permanent marker, and three have 'trick' written on them. Each child gets a turn to dig inside the 'brains' and pull out a ball. If they choose a trick ball they have to do a forfeit (something silly, like run around the garden twice, or do a silly impression), but if they pick a treat they get a small prize, such as a small bag of sweets.

Web Weaving Game
You will need a small ball of string (approx. 30 to 40 feet) for each child in this game. Pair the players into teams of 2 and place them into a circle (3 to 4 teams work best). Team members should be opposite of each other. Give each child a ball of string and have them tie the loose-end around their waist. When you say go, have each child throw the ball of string to their teammate. The teammate wraps the string once around themselves, and then throws the string back. The first team to use their two balls of string wins. This is lots of fun and the kids will go wild. Make sure to take pictures before they start removing the web-it's fun to see everyone all tied up. To add a spooky element, after the last ball of string is tossed, turn out the lights for a minute or two. The kids get creeped out that they are tied up in the dark. Part of the fun too is watching to see how the kids will get out of the web.

Boo, Boo, Ghost
A Halloween version of duck, duck, goose. Fun for smaller kids.

Pass the Orange
Everyone gets in a large circle. The first person is given an orange to place under his chin. He must pass the orange to the next in line but neither may use their hands. If the orange drops, those two people are out of the circle. This continues until there are only two people left. When the orange drops the next time, a vote is taken as to who dropped it. The winner gets the prize.

Push the Peanut
Give each player a toothpick and a peanut which is still in the shell. Placing the toothpick in their mouth, they have to use the toothpick to push and roll the peanut from the starting line to the finish line. This game can be turned into a rely, but do not make the distance between start and finish too long - it is a slow race.

Candy Corn Catch
Divide guests into groups of 3 teams, 4-5 per team or if couples into pairs. Team members will toss candy corns into the pumpkin that will be tied around a team member’s waist. To make things fair give each team member the same amount of candy corn, so if some people choose to eat it rather throw it, they will have a choice. Suggest 10 per person. Now select a team member to wear the pumpkin (these should be the ones for trick or treating so there is a hole on top) and tie the plastic pumpkin around one team member's waist. Now establish a throw line for those with the candy and place the pumpkin wearing teammate 5, 7 or 10 feet away. Once everyone is set let the tossing begin. The kids and adults can throw candy corn all at one time or one at a time. You person wearing the pumpkin can move around to try to catch the candy corn as it is thrown. Once everyone has thrown the candy corn, take the pumpkin and count how many went in and also have the kids pick up any that is on the floor. Switch team members and go again. Add up how many go in each round and then total the amounts after everyone has had a turn. Winning team is the one to get the most candy corn in the pumpkin.

Halloween Corners
This random Halloween game is always a lot of fun for kids and it is totally random who the winner is. Stick up large Halloween themed pictures (ie witch, bat, ghost and black cat) in the four corners of a room. Play some music and when it stops, each child runs to a corner (if you have small numbers you can limit the number of children in each). The music operator without looking then calls out one corner or pulls a piece of paper from a hat and the image on the paper identifies which the corner is out of the game. Continue to play until there is one person left and they win a prize.

Pumpkin Smash
Blow up orange / Halloween balloons (We recommend you get good balloons). Tie off and then tie a foot long piece (can be longer) of ribbon around the end of the balloon. Take a Sharpie marker and carefully draw a Pumpkin Face on the balloon. Now have everyone tie their balloon, using the ribbon, around their ankle. Once everyone has tied their balloon around their ankle, share the rules. When the Party Host says Go! Everyone tries to run around and step on each others pumpkins (balloons). If your Pumpkin gets popped, then you are out of the game and can no longer Smash any pumpkins. Play Pumpkin Smash until there is only one person left with a balloon.

Vampire or Not!
For each child take a party cup (cup cannot be see through) and add one set of wax lips and one set of fangs. Create a set of Lips & Fang Cards – We suggest you create 2 or 3 more cards than expected guests just in case you get some extra people at your event. The quickest way to create the cards is to take a photo of the lips and fangs and then copy the images and print it out on a sheet of paper. Now cut out the images and attach to cardstock. If you have less than ten players have 3 Fang Cards and all the Rest Lip cards. If 11 – 15 players for your Halloween game, we suggest 4 Fang cards and all the rest Lip cards. If more than 15 player, divide the group up into 2 groups. (Make 2 sets of cards)

How to Play: Vampire or Not!
Gather the kids and have them sit in a circle where they face inward and can see everyone. Now hand out the cups with a set of lips and vampire teeth / fangs and tell them you are going to play a game. Have one child, the Vampire Hunter, leave the room and give each of the remaining children a card that has a picture on it of a pair of Lips or Vampire fangs. If you get the Lips you put your Lips in and if you get Vampire fangs you put those in your mouth. Once everyone has selected their Lips or Fangs they put in their lips or fangs and the Vampire Hunter returns and takes a seat and has 30 seconds to determine which three or four children they think are Vampires. (The ones with the Vampire teeth) During the time that the Vampire Hunter tries to determine who is a Vampire, the other players try to conceal their teeth from view by keeping their lips closed, so they don’t give away whether they are Vampires or Not. After 30 seconds the child names the 3 or 4 players that they believe are Vampires and one by one they smile to identify whether they are a Vampire or Not! If they child correctly guess all the Vampires then they receive a candy bar or small prize. – In large groups where you have 4 Vampires you might want to give a prize to those who get 3 or 4 correct. If the child only gets 2 Vampires then their turn is over, the other Vampires reveal themselves and the Lip and Fang Cards are collected. Then the next child, Vampire Hunter, leaves the room and the process is repeated until each child has had a turn guessing whether other guests are Vampires or Not! Play one or two rounds

Vampire or Not! Game Variation
A Fun Spin on this game is to have the child, Vampire Hunter, who is guessing whether the other guests are Vampires or Not 15 – 20 seconds to do something silly without touching any other players so they can get other kids to smile or laugh. This way they will have a better chance to get the other kids to smile or laugh, plus it makes the game more entertaining too. Once the Vampire Hunter has completed their silly act then they must guess the Vampires. (Same rules as above apply)

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

How to Plan a Party

What makes a party work? I am sure that if I had an unlimited budget, my parties would all be amazing. I could just call a professional party planner and tell them the date and expectations for my party and they would see that it all happened. Unfortunately I have never had an unlimited budget when throwing any party. In fact, I have often had to be very creative to accommodate my limited budget and truthfully, I think if I were to totally turn my parties over to a professional, I would miss out on the satisfaction that comes from planning and executing all of the party details. The key to any successful party is in the organization and effort that goes into the planning. Spontaneous parties are possible, but usually a well planned party is more relaxing for the host and tends to go smoother than one that is haphazardly thrown together at the last minute. Here is a list of a possible party planning schedule that you can print up and use as a check list. Click here for printable version.

One Month To Party:
□ Generate a Budget
□ Choose a Theme
□ Create a Guest List – If it’s an event in honour of someone else, get an address book from that person or from his or her friends and family.
□ Select a Menu – Are you having a sit-down dinner or buffet? Hors d’oeuvres or snack foods? Will you be making the food yourself or hiring a caterer? Are there specific foods you’re going to serve? If you have a theme, try to make the food fit that theme.
□ Consider decorations
□ Send out invitations if RSVP is needed

Two Weeks to Party:
□ Send out invitations if no RSVP needed
□ Take Inventory of party supplies
  □  tableware
□  cutlery
□  linens
□  tables
□  chairs
□  decorations
□  party favors
□ Book Entertainment, Catering and Party Rentals – Most places are able to assist you, but the more time that is given to them the better. This ensures that you will get your first choices.
□ Place Special Orders if needed
□  the cake
□  floral arrangements
□  specialty foods
□  decorations
□  Shop for Non-Perishables – Anything including food that won’t spoil by the party date
□  napkins
□  beverages
□  decorations
□  costumes
□  supplies for games or activities
□  new outfit for the host

One Week to Party:
□  Finalize with caterers, hired entertainment or party rentals.
□  Call any RSVPs who haven’t responded.
□  Review Party Plan and consider the logistics of party
□  schedule of events including games and other activities
□  seating arrangements
□  food prep and serving areas
□  place for shoes and coats
□ Grocery and Last Minute Shopping – Even if you’re having the event catered, it’s always better to have some essentials such as milk, eggs, butter, bread and snacks available just in case. Also grab some last-minute items as they come up and stock up on toilet paper!
□ Decide on Music

Day Before Party:
□ Clean where guests will see especially the bathroom!
□ Decorate –  Do as much as possible the day before the party, even if that means ducking under streamers for the evening. It will be one less thing to do on the actual party date.
□ Solicit help from friends or family
□ Pre-Party Food Prep – Place bottles of pop and water in the refrigerator so they will be nice and cool for your guests when they arrive. Also cook or bake any foods that can be left out or refrigerated overnight or create mixtures for easy use on the day of.

Party Day:
□ Pick up helium balloons and cake (if ordered)
□ Finish food prep – Have a list ready of all the items being served and prepare them in order of what doesn’t need to be served hot to food that does.
□ Set the table
□ Organize Chairs and Tables.
□ Note Delivery Schedule for all rentals or catering
□ Get Serving Dishes and Snacks Ready
□ Have any props for games or crafts ready
□ Have FUN and relax!

Photo credit © Poznyakov | Dreamstime.com 

Friday, 3 October 2014

Friday Freebie: Birthday Banner

Fridays we like to give away free printables to use at your next party. This week's freebie is an editable Birthday Party Banner that you can use at your next Birthday party or other festive occasion. Click to download pdf and enjoy!

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Thursday Theme: Slumberless Party

Kids like slumber parties but they don’t really sleep and parents and kids can both end up cranky or sad. A slumberless party is a great alternative because it combines the fun of a slumber party without the headaches that can come with sleeping over. A slumberless party can start just before dinner and go as late as the host can stand, I suggest ending the party around 9:30 or 10:00pm at night. 

Decorate a plain pillow case with fabric markers for a fun activity at a slumberless party. The pillow case can double as a goodie bag at the end and are a fun memento of the great party. 

Another fun slumberless party activity is Bedtime BINGO. BINGO can be played for as long or as short as you want and is fun for both large and small groups.  

Pass the Parcel is another fun game to play at a slumberless party. Make or purchase stuffed animals (they can be inexpensive at a dollar store or on clearance after holidays like Christmas, Valentines or Easter) and wrap them up in different layers or in a box with several layers of paper around it. Play music and have the guests sit in a circle and pass the parcel around the circle. Stop the music and when the music stops the guest holding the parcel gets to open a layer of paper. Play the music again and have the guests continue to pass the parcel.  Other sleep related things that can be wrapped up for Pass the Parcel include small pillows, sleep masks (the masks for your eyes when you sleep), pajamas or night shirts.

Have the guests arrive in their pajamas and slippers. At some point in the party divide the guests up into partners and have them style each other’s hair. Give them new clips, scrunchies, ribbons, brushes and combs. You could even have manicures and facials.

After every guest is sufficiently dolled up, have a fashion show. To make a runway, use a red plastic tablecloth from the dollar store. Cut it so that it is about 3 feet wide and tape it to the floor using masking tape. Make a stage with the tablecloth that the runway runs in to. Tape white Christmas lights along the edge of the runway and on the stage. Behind the stage you can tape another plastic tablecloth to the wall or attach to existing curtain rods and include more white lights. Put on music and announce each model describing in detail what they are wearing. Don’t forget to take lots of pictures. The photos can be printed up and given in Thank you cards for your guests after the party.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

How to Throw a Party for A One Year Old

As important as this first milestone is, let's be honest, your child’s first birthday party is really for you and the family. Your hands will guide tiny ones in opening the presents, you will end up blowing out the candle, and you will accept the congratulations. At the moment, the party will not be meaningful for your one year old, and you won’t hurt his or her feelings if you choose to make it a celebration for adults only.

A one year old will delight in the attention and atmosphere of the occasion, but the concept of a party is not within his or her grasp. The birthday child of this age has been known to be far more intrigued with the boxes and wrapping paper than with the gifts.

If you do decide on a party with other children or babies present, you will want to have a very short party, a half hour to an hour, unless you have plenty of room and equipment so the babies can go to bed while the adults enjoy themselves. When deciding on the time of day for the party, take your child's nap schedule into consideration. Also you should childproof your play area carefully, remembering that it will probably contain both crawling and walking babies.

There shouldn't be a lot of organized activities or games. Toys, bubbles, puzzles, play dough (homemade from flour and water is best. Click here for recipe ), a short story or puppet show or a few rounds of "Ring Around the Rosies" are entertainment enough. Songs and finger plays are also fun at this age but remember a one year old's attention span is very short and you only need one or two quick activities to make them happy (click here for fun songs or finger plays). Forcing this age of kids to do races or attempt games will only be a disappointing and frustrating experience for all involved. Children at this age don't really play with other kids, but they often are happy to have them near by. They have no understanding of the concept of sharing and should not be forced to share as much as encouraged to play nicely.

Snacks and finger food  like fish crackers, Cheerios and baby biscuits are always a bit hit with this age. Make sure you keep food that could be considered a choking hazard out of reach of small children. A cupcake or slice of cake is always in order but avoid giving them too much sugar as it may upset their tummy.

One of the most important things you should have at your child's first birthday is a camera. Photos will be the only way your child will "remember" the event and help them to know that you cared about celebrating this important milestone in their life.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Friday Freebie: Backwards Party Invitation

Fridays we like to give away free printables to use at your next party. This week's freebie is an editable Backwards Party Invitation that you can use at your next Backwards Party. Click to download pdf and enjoy!


Thursday, 25 September 2014

Thursday Theme: Backwards Party

A fun and easy theme for a kid or teen party is a Backwards Party. You can be very creative with this theme. Just do everything you would normally do for a party, but do it backwards.

Backwards Invitations:
There are lots of creative invitation ideas for Backwards Parties. First off, you can send "thank you notes" saying "thanks for coming to my backwards birthday party, January 5th at 11:00, we had a really good time!" and putting all the birthday party info on it…

You can tell everyone to dress backwards (if it's inside-out, turned around, etc.). Tell them to get ready for backward walking, talking, playing, eating etc. as well as opening presents first (give them a hint that they can wrap the gifts with the gift-wrapping design on the inside or gift bags turned inside-out), eating desserts before the meals, eating under tables, and so on.

The invitation can open backwards, the information being on the outside and it can all be in backwards writing (remember to add a small 'right-way' hint to the bottom of the invitation to tell each guest that they will need to put the invitation in front of a mirror to read the backwards information, it can say something like "If you can't read me, hold me up to a mirror").

You can easily flip text backwards either in a photo editing software (like Photoshop, by clicking on 'Flip Horizontal'), or write all the information regularly and then when you go and print, select 'Printing Preferences', then go to the 'Basics' tab, and under the 'Orientation' section click on "Mirror Image."

For example:
Wear your clothes upside down or backwards
and when you come say 'Good-bye', when you leave say 'Hello'!
We're eating under tables (cake before the meal)... 
we open presents first, a really funny deal! 
Hope you can make it to my Backwards Birthday Party!

Once you put the invitations inside an envelope, write the guests name backwards and upside-down, if you add stamps and stickers or plan on drawing something, make sure it's upside-down! (this is only if you are hand-delivering the invitations... if you are sending via the Post Office you should either ask the postman how 'backwards' you could make the letters or just write regularly so that the Post Office won't have a hard time decoding the message).

For thank-yous it could be funny to send them out as invitations (just like when sending thank-yous as invitations), "You are invited to a Backwards party", add date and time, etc.

Backwards Party Food and Drink:
In keeping with the theme, serve the cake, ice cream and desserts before the main meal (most likely it will be the first time anyone has ever eaten their desserts first!) Kids love this and find it so wacky.. Also do zany things like serving spaghetti with a teaspoon, soup with a fork, etc. You can make little backwards signs for each of the dishes, for example for 'Pizza', write 'Azzip', or 'Salad' would be 'Dalas', etc. Also, ask right-handed guests to eat by holding the utensils in their left-hands and vice-versa. Anything will do for this party, just make everything backwards and flipped over!

All of the guests can eat under the table and then you can tell them to put their trash in a strange place other than the trash can - like in the dish washer (you can have the dishwasher open with a trash bag lining it from the inside, and then people could put their trash in it. When the party ends you can throw away the trash bag).
You can have an upside-down cake or cupcakes. Just take your cake or cupcakes, frost them as usual and put them upside-down on a see-through plate (you'll be putting the candles in the bottom of the cake!). Write on it in backwards writing and make sure to put trick birthday candles on the cake! (they are really funny candles that even when you blow them out, they light themselves again and again... so you really can't blow them out the usual way.

A nice upside-down dessert idea is to put an ice-cream ball on a plate and put an ice-cream cone on top - upside-down ice-cream!

Another cool and wacky idea is to bake cake batter inside ice-cream cones! You do this by first heating the oven to 325 - 350 degrees Fahrenheit (165 - 180 degrees Celsius), then make cake mix as instructed on box, then take flat-bottom ice cream cones and fill with cake batter (so that they are two-thirds full), and place each of the ice-cream cones upside-down (each on their own baking cupcake cup). Then bake for 15-20 minutes (or stick a toothpick in the cake and if it comes out clean then the cake is ready) and let cool for at least 30 minutes. Finally, remove the baking cups and frost each ice-cream cake cone as desired.

For a drink you can have dnL!! (upside-down for 7up). Make it 7-down by turning the cans upside down and poking a hole at the bottom for the straw! You can do this with any canned soft drink (use a can opener to create the hole for the straw).

Note: make sure NOT to shake the soda-pop, it may create an exploding fizz reaction because of the carbon dioxide gas in it. Once you turn each soda can upside-down, let it first settle a bit and cover it with a towel or wash-cloth before piercing the can.

Other fun silly food ideas:

  • You can serve backward hot dogs where the bun is between a hot dog sliced in half (use toothpicks to hold the hot dog slices to the bun, just make sure you let everyone know about the toothpicks)
  • Serve pizzas in cups or bowls and tell the kids to start eating from the crust of the pizza.
  • Make sandwiches but put the turkey, cheese, lettuce, tomato on the outside of the bread.
  • Cut hamburgers to the shape of hot-dogs and eat them as if they were hot-dogs.
  • A nice dessert to eat first is to let the kids create their very own backwards ice-cream sundaes. Give each a cup and let them start by putting in a cherry, then the whipped cream, then ice cream, and last put the brownie on top (they can create any type of sundae they want, just make sure it's created backwards)

Place a paper tablecloth on the floor under the table and have everyone sit under the table to eat.

Backwards Decorations:
You can start by making your house into a backwards house. Pictures can be turned around or upside down along with all kinds of items in the house as well. You can put streamers on the floor and hang balloons upside down from the ceiling (they definitely don't need helium), as well as turn them inside-out before blowing air into them (best if the balloons have text on them, that way the text comes out backwards).

For this kid birthday party theme, you can have an "EXIT" sign on the front door, and an "ENTRANCE" sign inside on the back door (written backwards if you'd like), as well as an "Attic" sign where the basement is and vice-versa. Print out banners that are written in backwards language (!emocleW and !yadhtriB yppaH) or in another way "Birthday Happy" and "Party Jenny's to Welcome!".

You can have your guests enter through the back door or have them enter backwards through the front door. When they come say "Goodbye, it was nice having you, I'm glad you could come!!" and "Hang up your shoes and throw your coat on the floor". At the end of the party, when everyone leaves say "Hello, welcome to my party". Everything should be backwards: "yes" is "no" and "no" is "yes" etc.

You can start the backwards kid birthday party theme by opening presents (allowing each child to open the gift they brought!). If the birthday child will be opening presents, he/she can open the present first and then the card. Then eat cake and desert, then the real food, and last the games and activities.

You can then have the chairs facing out at the table, and can put the tablecloth on the floor under the table putting down the silverware first (upside-down), then the napkins and the plate (upside-down) over both, and also the cups (upside down as well). To eat, the kids have to sit on the floor (under the table!). If you have small tables, turn them upside-down (with 4 legs pointing up), put a tablecloth on the bottom and let the kids sit on the floor and eat from the upside-down table

You can take backward pictures where everyone has their backs to the camera and put these up as pictures on your wall for the party. If you have a digital camera, you can take backward pictures during the party as well and print these out with a color printer to give as the kids leave. Another type of backward pictures is to take pictures of each kid standing on their heads (they can put their head on a pillow and lean against a wall).

Your whole family can dress backwards and inside-out, with ponytails on their foreheads, zippers and buttons in the back, sun-shades or glasses on the back of the head, different pairs of shoes on, a watch around the ankle, underwear over clothes, the zaniest and silliest things are the best! You can also encourage kids to put their earrings in backwards, wear the left shoe on the right foot and right shoe on left foot, etc.

As each kid arrives (walking in backwards), you can tape their backward names on their back and call them by their backward name. Also give each kid their very own name tag, just make sure to write their name backwards! Then tell everyone they need to call eachother by their backwards name, for example David would be 'Divad', or 'Jenny' would be 'Ynnej', etc.

When guests just arrive, you can say funny backward things like "Hang your shoes and throw your coat on the floor", or "It was great to have you at the party!" (while you motion them to come into the house/party area).

Treat and Favor Bags:
Here's a list of the zaniest things to put in the favor bags: Silly putty, silly string, backward pictures, pop rocks, silly straws, practically anything wacky and goofy will do. Another excellent option is to personalize items in backward language.

At the party tell all the kids to lie on their backs on the couch and hang their heads down, then with a bandanna, blanket or hat have them cover each of their noses, eyes and foreheads (so that you only see their upside-down chin and mouth).

Then with little sticker circles, lipstick, and/or eyeliner draw two circles on their chin as eyes (try and draw different eyes for each kid, as well as adding mustaches to some and eyelashes to others, etc.).

Take a group picture and/or a picture of each upside-down kid. These pictures are great to send with your thank-you notes!

Backwards Games and Activities
When it comes to backward child birthday party game ideas, everything goes! You can play any classic child birthday party game and transform it into a backwards game, by changing the order of things, starting from the end of the game, having the players play but not walking forward - rather walking backwards, if the guests are standing in a line to start the relay, then the last one in line starts, etc. Have a scavenger hunt (but with all the clues written in backward language), or play "Pin the Donkey on the Tail" or even better "Take the Tail off the Donkey", etc. (the zaniest you get the better!).

The winners of each child birthday party game could also be the ones that would have lost if it was a regular birthday party, for example if your having a backwards obstacle course, and your are timing each guest to see how fast they go through the obstacle course, award the prize to the slowest time! (important not to tell the kids this beforehand, let them play as if they think they need to get the fastest time). Or if you're playing 'Pin the Donkey on the Tail', award the prize to the person who pinned the donkey farthest away from the tail!

Here's a selection of backward child birthday party game and activity ideas:

Pinatas – For this peculiar birthday party theme you can take any pinata and hang it upside-down! Another cool backwards pinata idea is to make a hole in the pinata and let the kids try and toss candy into the hole.

Inside out Pinatas – Have each kid blow a balloon up and tie it (you should have extra balloons to replace the popped ones). Then dump a huge bag of wrapped candy on the floor (or so that the kids won't fight over the candy, give each kid a bag of candy). Then give the kids scotch tape and let them cover their balloons with candy (Voila!! An inside out pinata!). You can then hang these inside-out pinatas backwards from the ceiling (to be part of your decorations) and later give each kid a pinata balloon to pop and take home the candies…

Drawing Backwards   – Set up a table with papers, markers and/or crayons. Give the kids simple pictures and tell them to try and copy the pictures but using the other hand (if they are right-handed tell them to use their left-hand and vice-versa). You can also ask them to look at the picture and try to draw it upside-down while they are looking at it right-side up!

Backward Songs (and/or Videos) – Choose songs that you know the kids like and know. In your computer make the songs play backwards (using "Sound Recorder" or any other sound or video software). Then, at the party get all the kids together and play each reversed song one by one. The kids need to guess the song that is playing, the first one to guess a song gets a point. Whoever has the most points towards the end of the game, is the winner (you can also do this with teams). Another variation of this activity is to take a song the birthday kid loves the most, reverse it, and let the kids try and see if they can learn the reversed words and sing the song backwards!

You can also do this with videos, if you have video editing software just reverse videos you have (possibly of the birthday kid). The kids will love to see backwards-playing videos, it can get really hilarious!

Backward Freeze Dance – In this child birthday party theme game you freeze when the music starts! Have someone start and stop the music, when the music is playing all the kids need to freeze in their place... then when the music stops they need to dance and go wild! If a person dances when there is music and/or stops when there isn't music - that person is out. The game continues until there is one person left who wins the game.

Egg on a Spoon (Backwards!) – For this child birthday party game, you'll need dessert spoons and either hard boiled eggs, silly putty eggs, ping-pong balls or any other form of "egg". The goal here is to run from a starting point to a finishing line with an egg on a spoon, if the egg is dropped, the kid has to start again. For the backwards party - kids need to walk backwards!! You can work this as either a competition between teams, an individual timed race on an obstacle course, or just see who can make it the farthest without dropping their egg.

Backwards Charades – On each guests' back tape a piece of paper with some kind of action or activity written on it. All the guests sit on the floor and one is chosen to stand up and show everyone what is written on his/her back. Different from regular charades, the whole group needs to act out, and the standing guest needs to guess. (Examples for actions that can be written: typing on a laptop computer, going through a car wash, sleep walking, eating spaghetti, peeling a banana, riding a roller coaster, etc.).

Backward Animal Guessing – Put pictures of animals or write down names of animals and tape them on kids' backs. Then the kids have to ask the other players only 'yes' or 'no' questions to figure out which animal they have on their backs. Here's the twist: yes=no and no=yes.

Limbo (Backwards!) – Limbo is one of those classic child birthday party game ideas! Get two people to hold a long stick or pole (starting very low). Then turn on music and have everyone jump over the pole (instead of going under). Once everyone has had a go, have the two people lift the stick a little bit more and all the guests have another go. If someone isn't able to jump over - he/she is out. The last person to jump over the highest stick wins.

Ball in the Bucket – Kids need to stand with their back to a bucket and try to throw soft balls/hacky sacks into the bucket behind their backs. To make the game more interesting, have a few buckets located in a row, each a bit farther away from the next. On the first bucket tape the number 1 to it (meaning it is worth 1 point if they get the ball in that bucket), the second bucket with the number 2, and so forth. Each kid gets five tries and sees how many points he/she can get.

Sardines – This is the name of the backward "Hide and Seek" child birthday party game. One person hides and everyone else seeks them. When the players find the person hiding, they hide with them and the last person to find them is 'it' for the next round.

Backwards Running – Setup a starting and finishing line. Give each kid a numerical number. Have the kids run backwards and in backwards numerical order. You can time each kid and after all are finished, reward the one who took the longest time to finish!! Do not announce that this is how you are going to reward or they won't try to finish first. (Also, make sure if you play this game that there are no obstacles in the way so that kids won't trip. It could be fun to also play music backwards while the kids play this backwards game).

Pin the Donkey on the Tail – This is a great one! The kids have to pin the donkey on the tail. Remember, whomever is the farthest in getting it right is the winner!!

Take the Tail Off the Donkey –   Tape the donkey’s eyes, ears, legs, tail, etc. in the wrong places, and the guests who takes off the tail is the winner.

Backwards Treasure Hunt – Tell the kids you're having a treasure hunt, but instead of using clues to find the treasure chest they start by seeing the locked treasure chest. The kids have to follow the clues to find the key to unlock the chest. You can use a small padlock with a key. If you have a large group, use two padlocks and divide the group into two teams following separate clues. Both teams must find their key or no prize! We filled our treasure chest with small bags of foil covered chocolate coins. Sample clue: "Find the only purple flowers in the yard. They hold the next clue." The next clue is tied to the bush with the purple flowers, etc.

Backward Fashion Show – Set up a runway area, put on some good (possibly backwards) music, and have a backwards fashion show. You can provide an extra box of dress-up clothes to complement what kids have already got on (encourage them to put the clothes on backwards and upside-down). Then just let the kids walk backwards on the runway!

Backward Cake Eating – Each kid gets a partner and one of the kids sits in front of the other. The kid sitting in front gets their hands tied (so they can't use them), and the kid sitting behind gets their eyes covered with a blindfold (so they can't see). On the mark of 'GO', the kid sitting behind has to feed the kid sitting in front a piece of cake, since one can't use their hands and the other can't see, this can be quite hilarious!! The first team to get the piece of cake completely eaten is the winning team.

Read Books Backwards – Find a book you and the kids like and read the book from back to front.

Upside-Down, Inside-Out – For this child birthday party game, have all the players dress-up normally... then someone is chosen to leave the room. While they are in the room, have a guest take an article of clothing (shirt, hat, pants, etc.) and flip it backwards and/or inside-out and/or upside-down. Then call the player to come back and have them guess the change that was made.

Totally-Twisted Musical Chairs – Set up chairs in a circle (one less than the number of players). Have the music playing and the players need to walk around the chairs, then when the music stops, everyone sits down (even if a player needs to sit on someone's lap). Then a chair is removed (but all the players continue to stay in the game) and the music starts again, etc. This continues until one chair is left and everyone eventually sits on top of each other! If there are a lot of players you might want to stop at two chairs (or whatever you think could hold the load!), this version of the game can be really hilarious!!

Message Deciphering – Write all kinds of messages backwards and print out on many pages. Then let the kids try to decipher the messages. First one to figure them out wins.

Backwards Bowling  – Spread out a few plastic bowling pins or bottles and have the kids take turns bowling a ball trying NOT to knock down the pins. They win a prize for 5 times in a row without knocking any down but they have to bowl between the pins. Set up a few stations like bowling lanes if there are a lot of kids so a few can play at once.

Backwards Trivia  – Write out a sheet of questions backwards like "what's my middle name" for example. Then get everyone to guess what it is but they have to write the answer backwards. The one to get the most right answers is the winner.

Backwards Water Balloon Toss – Have the kids divide into partners. Have one child throw the water balloon behind their back and the other kid has to catch it. Each time they catch it, the have to take a step away from their partner. The winners that don't pop their balloon can walk backwards to the prize box.

Guessing Game – Fill three containers with jelly beans, gum balls and coins (or anything else of the sort) and ask the guests to guess how many are in each container, the person who is farthest from the actual number wins! (Don't let them know this beforehand so that they will try and get the correct number right.)
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