So your child’s birthday is just around the corner, and you don’t have time to plan and prepare the perfect birthday party? Don’t despair. There are plenty of fun places to hold kids’ parties that’ll save you time in planning, preparation, and cleanup. Most importantly, your birthday girl or boy and guests will have a blast.
Try some of these party places for kids of all different ages. When you call, ask what amenities are available and included. Many places provide invitations, food and cake, balloons and decorations, a private party area, a gift for the birthday child, and other special birthday services.
Skates & Blades – Roller skating rinks are again gaining popularity and most offer a choice of inline or roller skate rentals for today’s kids. Consider ice-skating and ice or roller hockey parties as a fun alternative.
Strike it Big – Bowling parties are a fun form of recreation for kids of all ages. Preschoolers can score every time with bumper bowling, while teens can go cosmic for glow in the dark fun. Add to the amusement by offering small prizes for low and high scores and the most and fewest gutters.
Pizza and Play – Preschool and early elementary children thrill at being invited to these parties where they can play kiddie arcade-style games, win tickets for prizes, hop on coin operated rides, and romp in soft play areas.
Old MacDonald Had a Farm – Check with a nearby farm or ranch to find out what activities are offered. Many include hayrides, petting zoos, corn mazes, apple picking, and more. These are perfect for fall birthdays.
Recreational Romp – Recreation and fitness centers offer a wide variety of activities for birthdays including gymnastics, swimming, basketball, and arts and crafts.
You Should be Dancin’ – Check with your local dance studio for birthday party packages. Some offer professional dance instruction and allow food and party treats to be brought in so the whole shebang is done right there.
Music Marvel – Big kids will be in awe to see one of their favorite performers in concert. For young children, look for a kiddie musical adventure offered by an area musician or music center.
Craft Magic – Young children love to create, so schedule a craft party at a fabric shop, craft store, or scrap-recycling center where kids’ activities are offered.
Cops and Robbers – Kids will thrill at testing their skills and cunningness in a game of laser tag. These centers often offer on-site party areas and birthday packages.
Putt-Putt & More – Family fun centers offer a variety of entertainment including batting cages, miniature golf, video games, bumper boats, and go carts.
Beach Party – Give your teen some fun in the sun with a bash at the beach. Contact the park for information on volleyball equipment and to make a reservation for a covered picnic area. Look for a spot with horseshoes and plenty of sand, and don’t forget the beach balls, pizza, and cooler of pop.
Water, Water Everywhere – Head to a wave pool or water park where big kids can ride the waves, swish down water slides, take a plunge, and go on tubing adventures. What better way cool off and party on a hot summer day?
Hands on Science – Keep kids of all ages thoroughly engrossed and entertained at a nearby hands on science museum where they can try out gadgets, watch or participate in experiments, play instruments, construct, and much more.
Amusement Mini-Party– Theme parks make for big-time fun for older kids who are content to take only one or two guests. When planning the guest list, don’t forget to budget meals, snacks, and drinks, which add up quickly in theme parks.
Monkeyin’ Around – Parties away from home don’t have to be costly. Reserve a shelter at a nearby park with a large, fenced-in, frontier-style playscape. Little ones can run, climb, and play to their hearts content. Bring along your party supplies and set up under a pavilion. To keep things simple, call ahead for pizza delivery.
Row, Row, Row Your Boat – An afternoon canoe or kayak excursion for teens is the ultimate in outdoor fun. Bring along a picnic lunch, and make sure the food stays in the chaperone canoe where it’ll be safe from tips. Don’t forget balloons for water balloon fights during rest stops.
Z is for Zoo –Zoos are a great source for birthday entertainment. Many offer party packages that include meals, cake, invitations, live animal presentations, and more.
When planning your child’s party, keep in mind what’s important is not how perfectly the party goes, but that your birthday child and guests have fun. To ensure success, follow these tips:
- Keep the guest list manageable to avoid chaos, confusion, and conflict. The number of guests should correspond with the child’s age or slightly over.
- Request an RSVP with a specific deadline, allowing time to invite others should the guest list fall short. Be sure to include your phone number.
- Offer your child choices for his party and allow him to assist in planning.
- Send out written invitations. Verbal invitations may be forgotten, make the invitee feel that she was an afterthought, and often leave parents of the invited child wondering whether the invitation was approved by the birthday child’s parents.
- Include all details on the invitation including a start and end time, address and directions, phone number, and what guests need to bring such as a bathing suit and towel.
- Keep the length of the party within reason. Unless it’s a sleepover or special event, preschool parties should be limited to not much more than one hour and two to three hours for older children.
Kimberly Blaker is the author of a kid’s STEM book, Horoscopes: Reality or Trickery? containing fun experiments to help kids understand the scientific method and develop critical thinking skills.