Prime Birthday Party Time Ages 6 to 10

By Carol Band

Action for Ages 6 to 10

1. Memory games – Concentration: put 12 objects on a tray and have kids look at them for a minute. Then take the tray away and remove an object. Kids have to guess which one is missing.

2. Games of chance – bingo or balloon pops

3. Dramatic play – charades, apples to apples, Pictionary™

4. Sports – Whiffle™ ball, capture the flag, kickball

5. Action games – bean-bag toss, ball dunk, limbo

6. Relay races – marshmallow on a spoon, pass an orange by holding it under your chin, mummy wraps

7. Cooking – cake-decorating, fruit smoothies bar, make-your-own sundaes or pizza

8. Arts and crafts – clay, beads, printmaking, tie-dye

9. Scavenger and treasure hunts – with picture clues for beginning readers

10. Problem solving – egg drop, build a drinking-straw tower, race to arrange your team into alphabetical order

Your elementary school-age child will probably have definite ideas about the theme, games
and guest list for her party. So, let her take the lead.

size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana;">“Make sure that your child is involved – not just in the planning, but in every aspect – from the shopping to delivering invitations and selecting the goody bag prizes,” says Gilbar. “Sure, it’s harder to bring a 6-year-old along to the store or to supervise an 8-year-old as they write out the invites, but it increases the anticipation and will make them feel like it truly is their party.”

size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana;">Mother of two Susan Bernhardt agrees. “When my son, Miles, wanted a Stars Wars party,” she says, “he and my husband dressed up as Jedi’s and delivered scrolls that invited the guests to ‘Pad wan School for lessons with the Jedi Master.’ It really set the stage and added to the excitement long before the guests arrived.”

size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana;">Although Star Wars is a popular party theme, if you think beyond commercially printed paper plates and cups, there are ways to personalize even the most overdone ideas.

size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana;">“Forget the expensive paper plates and cups,” says Gilbar. “Kids don’t even notice them.” Instead, focus on making sure that the party is fun.

Bernhardt did just that for her son’s October Batman party. She took an overdone theme and created a one-of-a kind party by turning her garage into the Batcave.

“The kids all came in superhero costumes. When they arrived, I announced that the Joker had stolen the birthday cake. They had to work together to find clues (inside balloons that they popped) and discover where he had hidden the cake. The clues led to the Batcave, which was decked out in rubber bats and carved bat pumpkins.”

To up the excitement, think of yourself more as the Master of Ceremonies than Mom or Dad. When introducing an activity, ham it up a little. Weave stories about the games and activities, or wear a costume. It’s your job to make the party exciting and fun, and to judge whether the kids are staying engaged or if it’s time to move on to something new.

“I recommend cooperation over competition for children under age 8,” says DeBord. “Create games and activities that allow children to work together, and if you award prizes, make sure that everybody comes away a winner.”