So often birthday party themes are split down gender lines but as a mum, and particularly when your kids are very young, it can feel a little arbitrary doing a "traditional" girls' or boys' party theme.
It is also fairly typical that there is an even mix of little boys and girls at kids' parties, and Master Four is not always impressed about donning a pair of fairy wings just as Miss Five won't always enjoy having her head taken off with a sword or light saber. So, in the interests of being inclusive, it makes sense to run with a theme that will appeal to all your little guests.
Here are few "unisex" kids party themes that I love (ranging from those that might be appropriate for very young to older kids):
Teddy Bears Picnic party
If you go down to the woods today… Make some bear-shaped invitations using brown kraft paper. Use a teddy-shaped cookie cutter as your guide, which will also come in handy for cutting sandwiches and baking biscuits down the track. Invite guests to bring along their favourite teddy bears. Call in all the teddy bears, picnic baskets and picnic rugs that you can find and scatter them around the party area (for a cute touch, put birthday hats on the bears). Have some bear paws leading up to your front door. For a real picnic atmosphere, buy some gingham table cloths, plates and napkins and, if you are partying inside, decorate the walls with a cut-out sun, bees, honey pots, and trees. Serve up some honey crackles and honey jumbles. Lay out some craft supplies for kids to make their own teddy mask. Draw bear faces on brown paper lunch bags and fill with Tiny Teddy packets, gummy bears, and teddy stickers.
This is a party theme that requires some serious creative endeavour, but that can be done on a very low budget. Decorate your party area with large cut out letters. Use alphabet blocks as table centrepieces. Use primary colours for your balloons, streamers and tableware. Buy some little white t-shirts and iron on a transfer of the first letter of each guest's name. At the party, let guests embellish their t-shirts with fabric paints and other craft supplies. Alternatively, let older kids make their own necklace or bracelet with letter beads. Label items around the house from A-Z and send your guests off to hunt down the list of items. Make a cake in the shape of the first letter of the birthday boy or girl's name. Label paper favour bags with "[INSERT LETTER] is for [INSERT NAME]" for each guest. Fill the bags with alphabet books, magnetic letters, blocks, and crayons.
Roll up! Roll up! A circus party is coming to town… Set up a "big top" in the backyard and drape it with red and white striped fabric, or string up a "big top" against a wall inside. Use primary colours for general decorations and hang some circus posters. Find some red and white striped table runners or tablecloths and use circus toys as table centrepieces. For games, try some party classics like a bean bag toss, pin the nose on the clown or a tin can shoot. If your budget permits, and the party goers are of the right age, consider hiring a clown. Serve up "carnival" party food, like hot dogs and nachos. Set up a fairy floss and popcorn stand. Fill favour bags with a red nose, animal biscuits, and a whistle.
In the interests of being inclusive, it makes sense to run with a theme that will appeal to all your little guests.
Hippie or Nature party
Does your child whittle away the hours talking to the animals or filling his or her face with dirt? Yes.Then a hippie or nature themed party might be for you. Host the party at a local park, farm or zoo. Decorate the party area with paper chains (use newspaper) and banners made from old fabric strips. Serve up some fresh smoothies, veggies and dip and fruit skewers. You can also create yummy edible "creatures" (there are lots of gorgeous kid-friendly recipes online). Use eco-friendly plates and utensils (tablewares made from palm leaf and bamboo are beautiful and affordable). Try activities like sack races, a scavenger hunt through the garden, or a craft activity such as decorating mini terracotta pots (send guests home with a little seedling to plant in their creation).
Celebrate happy summer days with a groovy beach party. Ask your guests to come along in their best beach attire. Use beach towels with summery prints or solid stripes as table cloths. Blow up some beach balls and scatter them around the party area. Set up some beach chairs, umbrellas and a kiddie pool. Hang some beach or wave wall decorations. Serve up some summery treats, like hamburgers with pineapple, coleslaw, and fruit kebabs in beach pails, and make some homemade lemonade. Cocktail umbrellas are a must. Consider hiring a snow cone machine for the day. Put some coloured zinc, a water gun, a spade and cheap sunglasses in small buckets for guests to take home.
For the Young Einstein in your life, try a so-hot-right-now science party. Go for colours like blue, black, white and silver for a "lab" look. Decorate tables with jars of coloured water and "lab specimens". Put "Chemical Hazard" signs on the walls. Order some test tubes and other science supplies online (I love the idea of sending invitations in test tubes, but be careful about postage). Fill "Lab Bags" with a name tag ("Lab Assistant"), notebook, safety goggles, calculator, magnifying glass, and coloured pens. Hand them out as guests arrive. If you have some responsible adults to share the work, set up some "lab stations" around the party area, or act as "Head Scientist" yourself (you will need a lab coat) and lead some experiments. You can search online for kid-friendly experiments (eg. making slime, adding vinegar to baking soda, Mentos in a Coke bottle, sucking a boiled egg into a glass bottle, etc.) - the CSIRO website has some cool experiments you can try.
Article supplied by the experts at www.iloveparties.com.au
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