Do it Yourself Party
Tami in Stettler, Ab. Canada
I call this my "do it yourself party"- because everything is either made or 'earned' by the guests. As the children arrive, they are greeted by the birthday child and play until the others arrive. When everyone is present, the children gather around the table for "the goodie bag craft"- Paper lunch bags, that the children decorate with stickers, markers, stamps and pads, fancy edged scissors, and whatever else you desire. Then after writing their names on their bags, so there are no fights or tears later, they are handed into the host/ess to be filled. Then it's onto "the take-away game"-before the party, go to your local $ store and by 3-4 items for each child invited, then tuck a couple of the best ones away (in case somebody just can't win -so nobody goes away with nothing.) Then wrap the remaining gifts with wrapping paper. At the party, place the prizes in the center of the table, and give the birthday child the choice to start the game or end it (ending it is best) Take a die and give it to the starting child, explain if the roll a '1' or a '6' they get to take a prize of their choice, unwrap it and place it in front of them. Be sure to explain that the gift is not theirs to keep until the game is over. When all the gifts from the middle are opened, set a timer (I use the one on the stove),and now explain that now that the gifts are open, when they roll a '1' or a '6' they can take any gift they like from anywhere on the table...now is usually a good time to tell them not to worry, that everyone will get something, because you kept some back...just in case. (I set the timer according to the age and patience level, and adjust it according to the fun level at the moment -5-10 minutes for younger children or those with little patience or a problem with competition...and longer -15-20 minutes for older children or if the group just really seems to be having a lot of fun.) When the buzzer rings, the rolling of the die continues until the last child has had their turn...then the prizes go into the goodie bags, with a few candies. Next is lunch, 'do it yourself' tacos, or pizzas are the order of the day, put all the fixings on the table and let the kids go at 'er. Follow this with a 'make you own birthday cake'- berry cups/cupcakes with bowls of whipped cream, sprinkles, gummy bears, etc. and a candle in the birthday child's. After singing, "Happy Birthday", have the kids gather up their gift to the birthday child and grab a bottle, and play 'spin the bottle'-the birthday child spins the bottle, and whoever the bottle points to, gives their gift to the birthday child to open, and so on...if the parents have gifts for the birthday child, they can reload the children whose gifts are already opened by giving them those gifts to hold until the bottle comes back to them and those presents are also opened. I weave these activities with active, outside activities, on nice days...or "away from the table" games if the weather is poor. Each activity takes about 15 minutes (except the take-away game, and if they're really enjoying it, I usually drop something else from my activity list.) I have used these ideas since my children were about 6 or 7 and they have continued to be very popular with both children and their friends, until my boy was 11 and my girl was 16 or 17. Enjoy!!!