You can choose the food, the friends, the venue and the decorations - but no matter how much effort you put into planning your child’s birthday party, the one thing that you cannot control is the weather. And rain on your child’s party day is right up there stress-wise with rain on your wedding day!
But even if your piñata is a sodden mess and your jumping castle looks more like a swimming pool, you can still throw a fantastic party. All you need is a list of rainy-day party games ready to go … and maybe a nice bottle of wine for later.
Stephanie Lee-Harper (better known as “SuperSteph”) has been running her very popular children’s birthday party entertainment business for a number of years. She acknowledges that rainy days can be a bit more challenging, but reassures parents that there are plenty of ways to keep the kids amused. “Make sure you have a supply of extra stickers or bubbles – something to use as games prizes,” she says. “You’ll need some energy and enthusiasm, and a space to play some games.”
Even though they’re indoors, kids will still need to work off some steam, so music and activity-based games will be popular. Some of Steph’s suggested rainy-day games include the following:
Freeze Dance: This is a great musical game where kids dance around the room then stop suddenly when you pause the music. The slowest to stop is “out” and the game continues until there is a winner. A variation of this game is “bob down” (where the children have to quickly sit on the floor).
Limbo: Always a good idea to download the “limbo rock” music to your ipod beforehand, of course! (The Chubby Checker version is particularly good).
Follow the leader: Another great musical game, where you dance and the children copy you. You can then choose the best copier to take charge at leading the dancing moves and work your way around the group. “You may need to jump back in control every minute or so to show them some different moves,” says Steph. “Otherwise they can end up just jumping on the spot!”
Pass the balloon: Arrange the kids into a circle, and have them pass a balloon to each other using just their knees (or elbows). You can either time them to decide who is fastest, or simply call them “out” if they drop it.
When the children have worked off enough energy, a couple more popular (but quieter) games are:
Chinese whispers: Everyone sits in a circle and the parent starts the whisper. Kids love seeing how the message changes – and the sillier the message (“Batman has smelly feet”, for example) the more they will laugh.
Heads down: Sitting in a circle with their heads down and eyes closed, you choose one child to creep around and gently tap one person on the back. Everyone is then told to open their eyes and the child who was tapped must try to guess which other child touched them. If they get it right the children swap places if not the children have another go. “Children love this game,” says Steph. “Although it works best for ages six and over.”
There are plenty of other games, such as charades, celebrity head, the hokey pokey and pass the parcel that you could try as well. So with a bit of enthusiasm, some popular music and a lot of energy your kids will have a ball, no matter what the weather. Just have that bottle of wine waiting in the fridge!
Party bags made? Check. Food ready to go? Check. House clean? Check, sort of. Decorations up? Check. Weather? Ooops!