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.)

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

How to Make a Party Inviting

I have a bachelor's degree in advertising and am very aware that you can have a fabulous product but if nobody knows about it, you aren't going to make much money. While it is true that parties are not products and can be well attended even if the invitation isn't fancy--and sometimes even when the invitation isn't even extended, there are things you can do to add to everyone's anticipation and excitement for your party that enhance the whole experience and help most parties go more smoothly.

An invitation sets the stage and gets the guests excited long before the party begins. You can purchase invitations or make them easily at home. If the party is for your child, including them in the process will add to their experience and help them feel special. The invitation gives you a chance to introduce the theme and gives your guests all of the necessary information pertaining to your event.

Important information to include in the invitation:

  • Whose party it is and, if necessary, why you are having a party (If it is a birthday party the guests will want to know so they can bring a gift, unless you specifically say "No Gifts")
  • The location of the party including the address and any special instructions with regard to the location
  • The date of the party (and often it is nice to state the day as well)
  • The starting and ending time of the party
  • A phone number and or email address for the guests to respond to and ask questions
  • RSVP information and if an exact head count is needed include a request for a response by a certain date 
  • Alternate plans in case of inclement weather for outdoor parties
  • Meal information, such as if you are serving lunch, dinner or just light refreshments or cake
  • Any special information, such as something to bring or wear to the  party, the time you will be leaving your home for a special activity, or if the guests will be delivered home at the end of the party

Friday, 19 September 2014

Friday Freebie: Hawaiian Banner

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

 Hawaiian Party Banners

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Thursday Theme: Hawaiian Luau Party

A fun theme party for any age is a Hawaiian party. You can have a luau at any time of the year though it is easier when you can have it outside. Sometimes having a luau in the winter helps warm everyone up and makes for a refreshing change from the cold.

It is fun to have your guests dress up for the occasion. Suggest they come in tropical clothes if they have them. Greet your guests with a lei and a big Aloha.

Hawaiian type activities for all ages include learning the hula, the limbo, hula hoop contests and silly photo booths. Check out a video from the library about hula dancing, hire a professional dancer or just turn on Hawaiian music and encourage everyone to dance. Give your guests grass skirts made out of raffia, streamers, garbage bags, or ribbon.
Younger kids will enjoy making their own leis out of dried pasta (you can color pasta with food coloring), beads, cut straws, card stock flowers, tissue paper flowers, plastic flowers, fruit loops, or shells. Dress up in the leis and skirts for your dancing lesson.

For a photo booth you can paint Hawaiian characters on refrigerator boxes, or make a surfboard out of cardboard or corrugated plastic and place it on top of a solid block of wood or a stepping stool or use an old ironing board with a blue sheet, tarp, or plastic table cloths under and behind to look like your guests are in the water.

Games for younger kids:
  • Pack the suitcase relay -- have a couple of different suitcases and equal amounts of clothes and accessories that would be good for a trip to Hawaii like shorts, tee shirts, swimming suits, sun glasses, hats, flip flops, etc.  Make as many teams as you have suitcases. Have the teams line up at one side of the room with the pile of clothes and accessories. Put the empty suitcases at the other side of the room. When you say "Go!" the first person on each team puts on all of the clothes and races to the suitcase, opens them up, takes off all the travel clothes and puts them in the suitcase and then rushes the suitcase back to the next player. The player who is next in line has to dump the clothes out and put them on and carry the empty suitcase across the room and then take back off all of the travel clothes and put them in the suitcase and bring the full suitcase back to the next person, and so it goes until every player on the team has had a chance to try on the clothes and pack the suitcase. The first team to have everyone complete the task is the winner.
  • Pin a coconut on the palm tree -- similar to pin the tail on the donkey.
  • Coconut relays -- divide the guests into teams and have them walk with a coconut between their legs or elbows, pass it to each other behind their backs, or rolling it on the floor.
  • Musical beach towels or surf boards  -- play like musical chairs where you walk around the towels or surfboards (cardboard or poster board cut and painted like surfboards) until the music stops and then everyone has to jump on a towel or surfboard. You could also have everyone pretend to surf with the music on and when the music stops they have to jump off and change surfboards when the music starts again. While the music is off you can quickly take one surfboard away.
  • Pineapple bowling -- Put a little bit of water on the bottom of 2 liter bottles and wrap in yellow paper or cover with yellow tissue paper to look like pineapples. Use coconuts as bowling balls.
  • Tidal Wave -- take a very large blanket and place it on the ground. Give everyone a mini beach ball with their name on it and place it in the center of the blanket. Then have everyone grab part of the blanket and call out "tidal wave" tossing the blanket until there is just one ball left and that is winner. 
Other activities for younger kids:
  • Bubbles
  • Tattoos
  • Sand art
  • Erupting volcanoes
Games teens will enjoy:
  • Shake Your Bootie -- Cut two slots in the back of empty tissue boxes for a belt  to fit through (belt, scarf, ribbon or rope). Fill the tissue boxes with ping pong balls. Tie the tissue boxes around your guests waists making sure the tissue boxes are at the back. Put on some lively Hawaiian music and let the players shake their booties to the music to get rid of all the balls in the box. The guests can't touch the box with their hands or get help from others. The object of the game is to be the first to boogie all your balls out!
  • Funny Hot Potatoe -- Load a garbage bag with all sorts of embarrassing and somewhat funny Hawaiian clothes and accessories (bikinis, big briefs, etc.) Now in the form of hot potato you pass the garbage bag around and when the music stops, the person with the bag pulls out an article of clothing and must wear it! The game ends when all the clothes are gone. The winner is the person with the least clothes from the bag on. This game is good for a laugh, especially when guys are wearing bikinis and so on. Wear the garments over your own clothes.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

How To Throw a Party for Teens

Little kids are usually easily entertained and they can get excited about small and seemingly insignificant details. Teenagers, on the other hand, are hard to impress and throwing a party for them can be quite a daunting task.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Friday Freebie: Amazing Race Party Invitation

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

Amazing Race Invitation and Envelope

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Thursday's Theme of the Day: Amazing Race

The Amazing Race reality television show is like a huge scavenger hunt with challenges and clues along the way.  Instead of receiving a list of objects to find or places to go to at the start of the game, clues are given throughout the game that lead each team to a particular destination where a task, challenge or clue is waiting to lead the team to the next destination.  Hosting your own Amazing Race type of party can be a bit of work but is well worth the effort and will leave your guests amazed and happy.

In creating your Amazing Race party it is a good idea to be familiar with the terms and rules of the actual Amazing Race television show.  The television show has several teams of two people racing around the world.  The amount of people you have on your teams and the distance you want to travel is totally up to you.

In The Amazing Race, Route Markers are uniquely-colored flags that mark the places where teams must go. Most Route Markers are attached to boxes that contain clue envelopes, but some may mark the place where the teams must go in order to complete tasks, or may be used to line a course that the teams must follow. When creating your Amazing Race, Route Markers may not be practical or necessary.
When teams start a leg, arrive at Route Markers, or complete certain tasks, they normally receive an envelope that contains their next clue.  As the creator, you can make these clues as easy or as difficult as you want.  You can make them riddles for participants to figure out or make them poetic.

Route Information Clues instruct the teams where to go next. Such a clue usually provides only the name of the team's next destination; it is up to the teams to figure out how to get there. Besides route information, clues can be for tasks or challenges. Be creative in thinking of tasks or challenges for the players.

There are several different kinds of tasks or challenges you can use in your Amazing Race: Mental Tasks (tasks that require mental skill and the ability to solve different problems including puzzle solving, riddles, trivia quizzes and brain teasers), Physical Tasks (tasks that require running, jumping, climbing etc. as in a relay or treasure hunt) and Mystery Food (an Amazing Race will not be complete without having these around. Some ideas include raw vegetable shake, jalapeno peppers, raw eggs, etc.).
Here are some examples of Amazing Race challenges you can incorporate into your next party:

Mental Tasks
Riddles: Nothing beats a hard to solve riddle, especially if the players would need to solve ten difficult ones!
Word Hunt: Create one that would fill an entire paper. It will make the players go crazy in finding hidden words!
Picture Puzzle: Print out a picture (it could go with the theme of you party or an abstract art) in a huge paper and paste it on a cardboard. Randomly cut it into different pieces and you’ve got an instant puzzle for them to solve!
Difficult Tasks
Send me a text message: Have a rule that the players aren’t supposed to bring their phones and wallets during the race, this would mean that they have to convince strangers to lend their phones and send a text message.
Surf a site: Open a website that contains a password to the next challenge. This would also involve the help of strangers or creative access to a computer with the web.
Refill the bottles: position small soda bottles (could be 5 bottles per team) a few yards away from the nearest water source (bathroom or wash station). The task is to refill the bottles using only their bodies or clothing from the source to the small bottles.
Gold coins hunt: Hide toy gold coins around the perimeter of the race and the challenge is to find 20 or so coins before moving to the next round.
 Mystery Food
Raw vegetable shake: Combine in a blender some raw vegetables (bitter gourd, okra, etc.), water and blend thoroughly. Instant vegetable shake! Make one tall glass serving per player.
Mixed Ingredients: Think of foods that when combined together would be gross, although edible to eat. For example, combine Jell-O, corn chips, mashed bananas, gummy bears, canned sardines and mix well. Top with chocolate syrup mad you’ve got an exciting menu!
A Detour presents the team with a decision between two tasks, each with its own pros and cons. Typically, one task is less physically demanding than the other but is tedious or requires some amount of time or thinking to complete, while the other is usually a more physically demanding or frightening option that, depending on the team's ability, may take less time to complete. The decision about which task to attempt lies solely with the team. A team may choose to switch tasks as many times as they wish with no penalty other than the time lost in attempting the tasks and travelling between task locations. Unless otherwise instructed, teams can work together to finish a Detour option. Once a team has completed one of the tasks, they are given the clue to their next location.

A Roadblock is a task that only one team member may perform. Normally, once the racer completes the Roadblock, the team receives their clue to the next Route Marker.  Early seasons allowed teams to distribute the Roadblocks between the team members as they desired, which allowed one team member to do nearly all the Roadblocks. This was changed in Season 6, which limited a single teammate to a maximum number of Roadblocks s/he could complete, thus forcing his or her partner to perform roughly half of the Roadblocks, as well.

Pit Stops are the final destination in each leg of the race, and where all non-eliminated teams go after checking in.  Each Pit Stop is a mandatory rest period which allows teams to "eat, sleep, and mingle" with each other.

In the Amazing Race TV show teams are eliminated after rounds of play.  As the creator of your game, elimination rounds are not necessary.  If you were to eliminate players after certain rounds, you would have some pretty bored guests while they wait for the rest of the party to finish the game!

To prepare your Amazing Race, create an outline of how the race will go from start to end. Include the things needed for each station.  Visualize the route and consider the possibilities of transportation.  The number and size of your teams may be dictated by your transportation needs.  To save the hassle of having to arrange the transportation, your Amazing Race can take place at a mall or shopping center so that all of the destinations are within walking distance.  You can also choose to have Detours, Road Blocks or Pit Stops.
It is a good idea, where possible, to ask the stores and business that you are planning to include in your Amazing Race for permission.  Download a sample follow up letter for businesses here to be given after you have asked their permission to include them in your Amazing Race party.  You may need to solicit the help of several people to facilitate the activities at many if not all of the destinations.  Some business owners are happy to be the helper but many are not.  Keep in mind that businesses are more likely to be cooperative if you are not interfering in the running of their business or better yet if you are purchasing their service or product as part of your game.  A thank you note or card to the business after the party is also a great idea.

Click here to Download a sample Amazing Race that was done at a shopping center. There were 6 teams with 3 girls on each team.  Each team was given colored tee-shirts at the start of the race. This helped the shop owners more easily identify them.  There were 14 clues. To save having to have too many helpers the list was divided in half and helpers were assigned 2 different locations, one in the first half of the game and one in the second half.  Because the entire game was in a mall area, the clues were given to each team in a different order to avoid all 6 teams showing up all at once at one location. For example, team one had clues #1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and so on and team two started with clue #2, and then went to 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 1 and team started with clue # 3, and then went to 4, 5, 6, 7, 1, 2 (although they had no idea that the order was mixed up).

It is surprising what is available at seemingly normal stores. In this Amazing Race the music store had a gallery with fancy string instruments, like a watermelon ukelele, the outdoor store had a climbing wall at the back of the store, the dentist office gave the participants dental floss that they had to use at another location, the craft store had a craft room where the participants were allowed to make a creation before moving on, and the golf store even had a putting green!

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

How to Throw a Surprise Party

Most everybody loves a surprise. I say "most" because it is true that there are some people out there who hate surprises. So before you consider throwing a surprise party, you have to ask yourself if the person you want to surprise will actually enjoy this. The fact that you have gone to a lot of trouble in your attempt to have a special event may sometimes be overlooked if the guest of honor is shy, doesn't like attention, or stresses with change or the unknown. When my husband hit 40 I thought it would be fun to surprise him with a big party but after 15 years of marriage I knew he wouldn't enjoy it as much as I would and decided instead to celebrate by going out to dinner with friends with no surprises attached. When I told him later of my original intentions he thanked me for not having the surprise party.

After you've honestly evaluated the guest of honor and decided that they would enjoy or at least appreciate a surprise party, you are ready to start planning and plotting. As the host you must be prepared to dream up a clever scheme to fool the guest of honor and succeed in surprising them. This requires creativity and usually a bit of deception. To help you out, here are some tips to keep the surprise a surprise.
  • Plan ahead. It is hard to throw a surprise party at the last minute. It is possible, but there are so many things to consider that giving yourself enough time to insure everything will work out will be less stressful and the chances of it working out will increase.
  • Pretend to have another event or party at the same time. For my parents 50th wedding anniversary we pretended to have a family reunion. This made it possible for me to talk about the party with my parents. It explained why family members from out of town, including myself, were coming in to town and even gave me an excuse to get help with the guest list of extended family members. For my daughter's surprise 16th birthday, I staged a fake party at another friend's house in town that she and all her friends were invited to. This made it easy for her to want to go and helped her be in the party mood when she arrived at the real party.
  • Arrange for the party to be before or after the actual event. My daughter's surprise 16th birthday was actually on her half birthday. Before my daughter turned 16 she insisted that she "didn't want a party" and I naively believed her. It wasn't until a few months after she turned 16 that she confessed that she was hoping I would throw her a surprise party but obviously she couldn't ask for one. Apparently she had hinted for several years that she would like a surprise party for her 16th birthday but I didn't get the hint. I felt horrible and quickly tried to figure out how I could fix it. I calculated that she would be exactly 16 1/2 at the end of spring break and devised a plan to surprise her then.
  • Think carefully about the location of the party. Often when throwing a surprise party it is best to not have it at the guest of honor's house because it is hard to hide decorations, food and other party indicators. If you limit your decorations and can keep the guest of honor occupied away from home for a few hours, it is possible to have the party at the guest of honor's home. I threw a surprise party at our house for my son's birthday and his friend's just kept him out all day. The one advantage of having the party at the guest of honor's house is that you know they will show up, eventually. Having the party at a location other than the guest of honor's house requires a reason to go to the other location. For my daughter's surprise party where she thought we were going to a party at a friends, I had to have an excuse for stopping on the way at my sister-in-law's house (the actual location of the surprise party) and a reason for all of us to get out of the car (I pretended to need everyone to take in chairs for my sister-in-law).
  • Tell children last minute. If children are involved with the surprise, you might want to tell them just before the surprise happens, so they don't give it away. It can be really hard for kids to keep such a big, exciting secret and they can easily slip up in conversation with the guest of honor. They can also ask questions that give away the surprise if things are not normal.
  • Make sure no clues are left lying around. For my daughter's surprise party I took all of my food and decorations over to my sister-in-laws house right after purchasing them so there was no possibility my daughter could accidentally see anything.
  • Consider the dress code. Telling my parents that their surprise 50th wedding anniversary party was a reunion was perfect for a lot of things but I hadn't anticipated my father's choice of dress for the occasion. My dad arrived at the party wearing the tee-shirt with my great grandfather on it that my brother had made for a family reunion years earlier. My sister had tried to encourage my dad to change before they left for the party but he insisted that he had to wear his reunion shirt to the "reunion." In the end it wasn't tragic that my dad had on his silly tee-shirt because the party wasn't supposed to be formal and we weren't in a fancy restaurant so he wasn't entirely embarrassed with his outfit. My sister had managed to convince him to bring another shirt, just in case, that he never did get a chance to change into. To be honest, I was thrilled with his choice of dress because it showed he really had bought in to the whole reunion charade, hook, line and sinker.
  • Handle RSVP's carefully. When I threw my daughter's surprise 16  1/2 birthday party I had her friend put out a Facebook invite to everyone for the fake party, the one at his house, but then I personally messaged everyone who was invited as well as sent them a physical invitation through the postal service that explained the real party and the surprise. I also reminded everyone in private messages that the party was not actually the Facebook event but a surprise at a different location. Facebook invitations or events are dangerous ways to send surprise invitations because even if you have it be a selective invitation, there seem to be ways that your "friends" can see that you were invited or that you commented or liked something to do with the party depending on the restrictions you have on your Facebook. Kids often have loose privacy policies about their Facebook accounts and the world sees things that were intended to be private. As far as I know, the only safe way distribute information on Facebook is through individual private messages. You also have to be careful that people don't leave RSVP messages on family answering machines or email addresses.
  • Have your guests arrive early. If your guests are showing up at the same time as the guest of honor, obviously the guest of honor will know that something is not quite right. Emphasize the need for punctuality but allow time for guests to be late and still not ruin the surprise.
  • Encourage car pooling. Having a ton of cars parked in front of the party house is a dead giveaway that something is up--unless of course you have tricked the guest of honor by pretending to be taking them to a fictitious event where it would make sense that there are lots of cars.
  • Hide visible decorations. Unless you want the surprise to be before the guest of honor enters the event, you have to keep all decorations hidden from the outside view. When I threw the surprise party for my daughter, I was able to have balloons outside because part of the deception was that my sister-in-law was having a party at her house that we had to take chairs to.
  • Act natural around the guest of honor before the event. In order to surprise someone they can not suspect that anything out of the ordinary is going on. You have to proceed with life as if nothing is special about the day. For my parent's 50th anniversary surprise we were pretending this was a reunion and historically our reunions have been "bring your own dinner" affairs but because this wasn't really a reunion my siblings and I were bringing the meal for everyone invited. My parents, however, were expecting a reunion so my sister just went along with my parents when they stopped on the way to the party to pick up fried chicken.
  • Have someone bring the guest of honor to the event. You can't always count on the guest of honor being on time or even coming at all if you don't arrange to have someone else bring them to the event. My sister lives as far away from my parents as I do and her husband and 3 of her 4 kids were not able to come to my parent's surprise anniversary party which was disappointing but ended up being a blessing because it meant that she and her baby came to the party with my parents. Had my sister not been with my parents, they would have shown up to the party an hour early! My sister was able to stall them at a grocery store when she realized that they were going to be early and thus the surprise was not spoiled.
  • Synchronize watches. Make sure that the person bringing the guest of honor is on the same time as the party host.
Despite your greatest efforts, surprises can be spoiled by innocent remarks and situations. When my oldest son was born, friends at my church threw a huge surprise baby shower. I was totally oblivious until my mom, who was visiting, said something about needing another gift. I stupidly asked why and she fumbled. I knew something was up but I was so touched that everyone would go to the bother for me that I pretended to not figure it out and acted as surprised as I could. I was genuinely surprised at the amount of people who came and cared. My daughter's surprise 16 1/2 birthday managed to be a surprise for months, right up until the about a half an hour before we left for the party. She was curling her sister's hair when my older daughter's friend (who lives in another country) called. My youngest daughter, the soon to be guest of honor, told her to put the phone on speaker so that they could continue curling the hair. Nobody told the friend that she was on speaker so when she asked what my oldest daughter was doing and she said that she was getting ready for a party her friend asked, "Is that the surprise party for your sister?" Ack! The surprise wasn't a total loss, apparently my youngest daughter didn't realize that the surprise party and the party they were going to were the same thing. So the moral of all of this is that if your surprise is discovered prematurely, don't panic. Relax and roll with it! Fretting about it will just make the guest of honor feel bad that they missed out on something, and chances are there are things about the event that will still sufficiently surprise them. After all, even though it is not the ideal moment or the intended moment, at some point, it is still a SURPRISE!

What have you done to keep the surprise in your surprise parties?

Friday, 5 September 2014

Friday Freebie: Pet Time Party Printable

Fridays we like to give away free printables to use at your next party. This week's freebie is a Pet Time Party printable, perfect for any pet lover's party.  It has an editable banner, editable cards, editable regular size chocolate bar wrappers, mini chocolate bar wrappers, cupcake wrappers, cupcake toppers, toothpick flags and water bottle wrappers. Click to download pdf and enjoy!

 Pet Time Printable

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Thursday's Theme of the Day: Plush Pet Party

Most kids love stuffed animals and a fun party theme is a pet party that has the guests bringing or receiving their very own stuffed animal pets.

Welcome your guests to your party by using sidewalk chalk to make a path of paw prints leading up your front walk.

As your guests arrive you can transform them into kitty cats, puppy dogs or mice with face paint and headbands with ears.

If you are giving your guests stuffed animal pets, have the pets on display for each guest to pick and “adopt” complete with adoption certificates where they can fill in their name and description of their pet. If you are worried about children fighting over pets you can package each pet up in a gift and play a pass the parcel game or a musical chairs style game where you place individually wrapped pets in the middle of a circle. Place paw prints on the floor with numbers on them (face down) that correspond with numbers on the packages. Have the children walk around the circle while you play music. When the music stops the children each stop on a paw print. They pick up the paw print and see what number it has on it and then find the matching package, open it and then “adopt” the pet inside.

Once everyone has their pets you can put on a pet show having the children show off their pets one by one. Award prizes to each pet (before hand you can have the ribbons made up with things like quietest pet, happiest pet, most loyal pet, most spotted pet, most jumpy pet, biggest pet, smallest pet, furriest pet, most well behaved pet, etc. I would advise avoiding awards that might make others feel bad like “cutest” or “best”).

A fun craft at a pet party is to make pet collars. Buy some stretchy cord and a variety of beads, and let your guests design away. Think about buying one larger charm for each guest to represent the collar charm. You can also add bells or other trinkets. These can be made for cats, dogs, people, or stuffed animals.

Fun games to play at a pet party include the following:
  • Hunt the Mice, Cheese or Bones — Hide a number of small plastic or paper mice, fake cheese  (yellow paper cut into triangles) or doggie biscuits (real or paper cut like bones) around your party area and have your party guests act like kittens, mice or puppies to find and collect them.  
  • Pass the Bone — This is like Hot Potato. Have the children sit in a circle and give one child a dog bone. Turn on some music and have the group pass the bone around the circle. When the music stops, whoever is left holding the bone is out. Play until there is one child left. If you choose to play again, the last game’s winner can be in charge of the music (facing away from the group, of course). If you are ambitious, you can play dog themed music for this game, such as “Who Let The Dogs Out” or “He’s a Tramp” from Lady and the Tramp. There are lots of doggie songs out there if you do a music search.
  • Unroll the Yarn Ball — Before the party, wind an assortment of small toys or party favors into a big ball of yarn. Have your guests sit in a circle. Play some music (you might consider the Aristocats Soundtrack or The Stray Cat Strut), and as the music plays, have the children pass the yarn ball around the circle. When the music stops, let the child who is holding the yarn unwind it until she uncovers a prize.  Cut the unwound string off and continue to pass the ball to the music  until everyone has had a chance to find a prize.
  • Hungry Pet Relay — Place a row of clean pet bowls (one per child) full of cereal (kitten or puppy chow) on the floor or on chairs at one end of the room. Line up all of your hungry kitties and have them see who can race down, eat all the food from their bowl (no hands) and race back to the starting line in the quickest time.
  • Cat/Dog/Mouse Tail Tag — Give each child a “tail” made from a sock, a piece of fabric, or a long strip of construction paper. Have them stick these into the back of the waistband of their pants to look like a tail. The goal of this game is to grab the other players’ tails without losing your own. The last animal with a tail is the winner.
  • Pin the Tail on the Cat/Dog/Mouse — Draw or copy a picture of a cat, dog or mouse without the tail, blindfold the guests and have them pin the tail on the pet.
  • Name The Pet — Gather pictures of some well-known animals such as The Cat in the Hat, Sylvester, Garfield, Tom and Jerry, The Cheshire Cat, The Aristocats, Snoopy, Scooby Doo, 101 Dalmations, Bolt, Lady and the Tramp, The Great Mouse Detective, Fievel (the mouse), Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse,  and any others you can think of. See how many of the animals your guests can name or have 2 of each animal and play a matching game.
  • Cat, Cat, Dog — Play a pet version of duck, duck, goose.
You can also make a giant, kid sized mouse or hamster maze out of refrigerator boxes, duct tape and glow sticks (so it isn’t too dark). You could also cut holes in the sides to let in light and allow the children to peak out to see where they are. Time the kids as they go through the maze, race a few at a time, or just let them play around in the boxes like little rodents for a while.

Finally, you could make a yarn ball pull string pinata by wrapping a disco ball pull string pinata (or other round pull string pinata) with yarn. The kids will enjoy jumping up and pulling on the strings hoping to get the one that opens the pinata.

Photo credit: iStockphoto

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

6 Ways to Save on Goodie Bags and Party Favors

With the kids back in school and the cool shift in weather I find myself mourning the end of summer.  I love the lazy days of summer; relaxing in the sun, sleeping in and spontaneous trips to the beach.  On the other hand, I have to admit that by the time school starts I am ready to have a schedule again and the colors and spices of autumn are so beautiful and exciting I'm happy for the change.  Season changes are great opportunities for accumulating bargains and are a fabulous time to stock up on party favors and treats.  Below is a list of 6 ways to save on goodie bags and party favors all year round.

1. Shop end of season and after holiday sales. With every season and holiday stores load up on decorations, toys, home decor, candy and other food that are specific to that time of the year. As time goes by they have to clear out and make room for the current or upcoming season or holiday and that is when you can really find deals. Often you can get products marked down 50-90% off the regular price. Things like huge boxes of sidewalk chalk sell for only a dollar or two and you can divide them up into several party favors by putting a few pieces of chalk into small bags or putting basket wrap around them and tying them with curling ribbon.  Most toys and favors will last indefinitely and can be purchased months or years before they are needed. Surprisingly there are many products that are on clearance after a holiday but are generic enough that your guests will never know they are getting something that the manufacturer intended to be for a specific holiday. Candy and chips can also be purchased ahead of time but obviously treats are perishable.  Personally I only feel comfortable saving candy for 5 or 6 months at the most. However, Anna Lingeris, global brand manager for The Hershey Company, was quoted on TODAY.com as saying that if you want to save items like Hershey's Kisses, you are in luck.

"They generally have a shelf life of up to 11 months,” Lingeris said. “Chocolate products will maintain their quality if stored in a cool, dry place (55-60 degrees F)."

"Things like candy canes or ribbon candy are good for well over a year, up to five years possibly. The sugar creates a matrix that holds it all together," said Michael Allured, publisher of candy trade magazine The Manufacturing Confectioner. This is as long as you store it in a cool, dry place: "Humidity is the enemy."

Candyfavorites.com has a pretty comprehensive list of the shelf life of various candy on their website at http://www.candyfavorites.com/shop/shelf-life.php

Individual serving size chip bags are often on clearance after Halloween as well but their shelf life is considerably shorter than the candy so you should look at the expiration dates to determine if they will work for your party.  

Here is a list of end of season and post holiday party favor possibilities:
  • End of Summer: summer and water toys, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, kites, squirt guns, balls, flip flops, fun sunglasses, freezies, ice pops and sometimes candy
  • After Halloween: candy and chips, costume accessories, stuffed animals, play dough and small toys, patterned pencils and erasers
  • End of Fall: school supplies
  • After Christmas: toys, gift sets (beauty gift sets can be divided up for spa parties and lip glosses or nail polish sets are great for little girl parties), stuffed animals, decorations and ornaments, candy
  • After Valentines: stuffed animals, small toys, patterned pencils, patterned erasers, candy
  • End of Winter: toys, gloves and mittens
  • After St. Patricks Day: silly green toys and sometimes candy
  • After Easter: toys, stuffed animals, plastic eggs, patterned pencils and erasers, candy
  • After July 4 (or July 1 in Canada) flags, Bang snaps (also known as Throwdowns, snap-its, poppers, pop-its, snappers, whip'n pops, whipper snappers, fun snaps, party snaps, or snap'n pops and are a type of small novelty firework and are great fun for kids of all ages)
2.  Shop sales and clearances.  Bargains are not only after holidays or at the end of a season, sometimes they are actually at the beginning of seasons. Right now, for example, there are back to school savings. Crayons, felt markers, colorful pencils and fun school supplies are all really inexpensive in August and the beginning of September. You can break crayon, marker, or pencil sets up like I did with the sidewalk chalk putting a few in a bag or basket wrap and tying them up with curling ribbon. Other sales come from overstock or pushes from the manufacturer. I remember one year seeing cute Hello Kitty puppets marked down to a quarter each for reasons I couldn't explain.  I encouraged my daughter to have a puppet party that ended up being a huge success.

3. Buy in bulk.  Stores like Costco and online stores like the Oriental Trading Company are excellent resources for party favors. You can get large quantities of items for low prices and use them for multiple parties.

4. Visit your local dollar store.  Years ago when I was hosting kids parties we didn't have dollar stores here in Canada but today they are everywhere and the quality and selection of products they offer has greatly improved over the years. 

5. Believe it or not, clean, new party favors can often be found at garage sales.  My mother-in-law is the queen of garage sales. She loves to go out and see what treasures she can find and I am always amazed at what she is able to acquire. It seems that many people purchase Happy Meals from McDonalds but never open the toys. My mother-in-law often finds small stuffed animals with the tags still on or other small trinkets and toys that are still in their original packaging. And the cost for such items? Usually a nickle, dime or quarter, often several for that price. 

6. Be creative!  Party favors don't have to be the typical toys, balloons, candy and noise makers that everyone usually thinks of. Your guests will be impressed if you give the unexpected. Seeds and a pot that they decorated, baking ingredients with a cookie cutter and recipe, kitchen gadgets, cups and mugs, magnets, art supplies or crafts, books, live goldfish, fuzzy socks, cool toothbrushes, cans of soda or juice boxes, fruit or berries, gift cards from the local doughnut shop with just enough money loaded on them to purchase a doughnut of their choosing, and the list goes on. Use your imagination and be open to anything.

Have you ever given or received a unique party favor? I'd love to hear some of your ideas!

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