Parents need to give importance and attention when planning birthdays. The balloons, ice cream, birthday cake, and other items aren’t enough. Bear in mind that birthday celebrations will always give new opportunity for parents to show kids or other family members that they do care. Planning birthday parties and holding it outdoors would provide more space to hold activities other than just blowing candles and eating cake.
Choose an Appropriate Theme
Parents should already be familiar with what their kids love and appreciate. Base the theme of the party on this. Children almost always love fantasy creatures like unicorns, fairies and maybe even giants, and witches. From these, one can consider a fantasyland theme. There are rental shops that can provide the characters, and one’s backyard would be a perfect setting.
It’s also a good idea to make a drive-in movie set-up. Get some big boxes, cut them out and decorate them to look like convertible autos. Arrange them in front of a big screen or a projection TV. Children love to get involved and watching a movie on their own “cars” would certainly be a hit.
To ensure that the party would be a success, ask the child about their preference. From there, one can start brainstorming and surfing for ideas that would be most appealing to the child. The planning process can start from here.
Make Sure You Have Games to Entertain the Kids
Kids, games and a well-planned party make for a great combo. Playing games is one sure way to arouse their interests. Go online and search for the best children’s party games. To save a little time, here are some favorites:
- Water balloon piñata – Those hanging paper mache piñatas are fun but too common and predictable. Children would rather prefer something new and exciting. Fill up some big balloons with water, then hang them with strings at different heights. Then let the children swat the balloons and watch them get the most fun when they burst the balloons and wet themselves.
- Bubble station – Prepare some homemade bubble solution and use it to fill a kiddie pool. Make use of a hula hoop as a bubble wand. Kids love bubbles. Watch them get excited by either bursting or chasing the bubbles.
- Backyard Jenga – This game is always a hit in parties and is played not just by kids but adults too. Make some big Jenga blocks, set them up on a table that’s low, and start playing the game. Adults need to be reminded that this is a children’s party.
- Scavenger hunt – This is an easy and inexpensive game that involves a lot of fun and searching. Just to be sure everybody gets involve and to even the playing field, customize the search based on age. Double the fun by awarding prizes to the successful hunters.
Food and Drink Food Ideas
When planning a party, try employing some fun food and drink ideas. Consider these:
- S’mores bar – With s’mores, kids will have a great time with these favorite treats. But things can be messy, and sticky so prepare some hand wipes nearby. Set up a small outdoor table and lay out the graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolates. For a change and to save time, let the kids prepare their own s’mores.
- Snack on the centerpiece – Hopefully, some kids may want to eat healthily. Slice some brightly colored vegetables then place them in a group of bowls, jars, or vases of different heights. The create an edible centerpiece beautiful to see and good enough to eat.
- Use berries as ice – Adding some fresh strawberries or blueberries to lemonade servings will certainly up to the kid’s interest. It’s certain that they would prefer the great flavors of berries as against ordinary ice cubes.
Here are simpler yet unique food and drink ideas:
- Portable tacos in lunch-sized bags of Doritos or Fritos.
- On a beach theme setting, serve snacks in buckets with small shovels for scoopers.
- Use ice creams cones in serving balled fruits.
- Make ice-shot glasses for perfectly chilled hard drinks.
- Install a burger bar, include condiments and dressings. Let the guests make their burgers.
Capture the Memories
Photo booths in parties is a craze these days for the simple reason of preserving memories in pictures. One can innovate on what backgrounds or props can make the photo shoot memorable.
How about an oversized picture frame where the guests can pose for instant framed shots? Build this one or get it from a thrift store. Wacky shots are fun, so set out some baskets of props then encourage the guests to be as creative or silly as they can get. Use your camera or let others use it for the photo shots. The guests can even use their own, so the host won’t have to send them their pictures.
Clever Thoughts for Decorations
Here are some clever and practical ideas that can serve as decorations at the same time providing information to guests.
- Create a really big menu using a massive chalkboard which would inform the guests of the food choices. No need to be too meticulous about this. Get plywood, paint it with chalkboard paint and write the menu.
- Gather some of those elegant wine bottles and use them as vases for gorgeous flower arrangements.
- Have the party signs custom printed.
- What is a kid’s party without the balloons? Run to the neighborhood party store and order a bunch of balloons. For kids, balloons will always light up their party.
- Get some pinwheels. Children love watching these go in circles. Buy them or make them. Either way, kids will still love them and send the kids home with pinwheels as their parting giveaways.
Cool Lighting Options
Lighting is also very important when it comes to planning parties. Look at these cool ideas:
- Create a warm-glow atmosphere – Purchase from a party supply store some mini-LEDs. They aren’t that expensive and can last more than the party’s duration. Pop these LEDs inside the balloons before blowing them up. There would be a twinkle in each balloon. To make starlight more interesting, pop in a few for maximum starlight effect.
- Light up the trees – String lights are great for the Christmas season, but they can draw as much warmth for birthday parties. Wrap a set of string lights around the outdoor trees to have that feeling of a joyous event. It’ll take a few minutes installing them and can provide the needed effects throughout the night.
Get Creative with the Table Decorations
Table decorations are also something to think about. Get creative with these fun ideas:
- Cover the table with craft paper – Get a hold of some brown craft paper then run this through the table’s length. No need to get fired up when it gets dirty because, after the party, it goes directly to the recycling bin, so make sure it’s biodegradable.
One can still go fancier by decorating it. Spread some flower petals and some fancy confetti. Go crazy and make personalized decors. How about writing the names of the guests on the paper to indicate sitting arrangements? Don’t worry too much about perfection. It’s a party, and everything is supposed to be homemade.
- Gift wrappers work well too – How about spreading a strip of gift wrapping paper down the table’s center like a runner? Like the brown craft paper, it’s easy to install, and one won’t have to worry about spillage.
- Don’t forget the partyware – Party stores have a variety of fancy paper plates and napkins to choose from to decorate the table. They don’t cost much but can lighten up the table compared to dull, plain-looking partyware.
Try Unique Setups and Activities
Aside from games, one can also think of some creative setups and activities. Those which the guests may not have seen yet in other parties:
- Have a low table setting – Instead of the usual table-oriented parties, go for unconventional. Take the party to the ground, like a picnic. Table parties are fancy, but ground parties could be as fancy, if not more. And it would not cost more. Get some empty crates and put a clean cloth on them for the table. Set it on a blanket on the ground, some pillows to sit on, and everybody will be as cozy and comfy while having their dinners.
- Treat the guests (especially the kids) to a backyard petting zoo – Although this can cost some more dollars, it certainly will arouse enthusiasm in children (and adults too). Everybody can get close and personal with animals like turtles, sheep, small alligators, pigs, llamas, and more. This is a winning formula for a great time.
- Face painting or balloon animals – Watch all the kids get in line for some face painting. This activity is always a hit, even with the parents. One can hire a face-painter or a teenager at home who’s good with stencils and paint. After the painting, kids may want to line up watching balloon animals being made. Both activities will certainly draw a lot of audiences.
Smart Tips for Hosting a Great Backyard Birthday Party
One annoying bug, so to speak, when holding parties outdoors is the gamut of pests that may be feasting on the guests as they feast on the food. Consider these pointers that can help create an outdoor oasis where guests can enjoy without being enjoyed on:
Make Sure There Are Enough Seats
Always have sitting plans when holding parties. There usually is a shortage regarding this matter. What to do when one has 10 chairs and 25 guests? Gather all sitting furniture including stools, dining, and veranda chairs. Or perhaps for a more casual affair, spread some quilts on the ground and have the party, picnic style.
Renting equipment is a good alternative as well. It can save storage space. Frankly, it’s the easiest and best way to solve the problem. Chairs are just one item in the rental business. One can also rent speakers, tableware, bigger grills, coolers, and more. Often, these are delivered and retrieved free of charge.
Keep the Bugs at Bay
Throw out any standing water. This is where the mosquitoes breed and lay their eggs. A week or so before the event, empty the kid’s pool, drain the gutters of any rainwater, and check on open containers and flower pots that hold stagnant water.
Plug in a few electric fans. Mosquitoes aren’t good fliers, and even slow fan movement can offset their flight, keeping them away. Fans will work best in small areas like decks or patios. If serving salads, it’s recommended to use a table fan.
Offer guests some bug wipes. Choose those which contain the component picaridin, rather than DEET. Keep these items in a container by the back door in case they will be needed.
Create the Perfect Playlist
Never play those speakers too loudly as guests will tend to shy away from them. Blaring music can even be worse than buzzing mosquitoes. Play music at low volumes and spread out the speakers. If into boom boxes or an iPod dock, set these above ear level so they won’t be blaring directly at the guest’s ears. Turn them towards the house’s sides, to play the music a bit louder because the sound can spread much better. Parties can usually last for a few hours. Plan the party playlist on that timetable.
Also, Avoid These Hosting Mistakes!
Most hosts have well intentions and mistakes made may have been beyond their control. Here are some tips to avoid mistakes from happening when holding parties:
- Expecting too much from the guests – Never expect the guests to feel too “at home” and go to the fridge to get some beer. They won’t go to that extent. Be sure to serve drinks and food in locations that the guests can access or are in plain sight. This especially applies if having the party outdoors.
- Serving food and drinks which require too much preparation – If not schooled at bartending, hire a bartender to service the guests. Otherwise, one will be reading recipes, shaking, and mixing drinks the whole night. This goes the same for food. To avoid messing up your kitchen, hire a food caterer. It may cost more, but it will save time and effort. Don’t choose dishes that are too elaborate, keep it simple. To fill up your guests before dinner, appetizers are recommended, and there is a variety in the supermarket’s food section.
- Not introducing the guests – Guests would be uneasy and awkward if left alone and not knowing who the other people are in the room. Make it a point to introduce guests to everyone else, if possible. Have small talks with them before leaving them alone.
- Attempting to handle all the tasks – Hosting a party without help would leave one tired and exasperated. And frustrated. It’s never a one-person job. Enlisting the help of relatives or close friends will give more time to attend to the guests instead of running around attending to everything that needs attention.
- Not enjoying the party – The host will usually set the tone of the party. If the host is relaxed, friendly, and attentive, the guests will follow his/her lead.