Birthday parties are a great boost to any child's self-esteem. Making them feel like kings (or queens) for the day is one of the best (and most lasting) gifts you can give them. But where and how should you start?
Many parents feel more comfortable starting with a theme around which they can organize invitations, decorations, games, crafts and food. Both you and your child will enjoy making plans that reflect her interests — whether it's a sports theme, a dinosaur bash, an art party, a backyard beach picnic, a trip back in time, or an animal adventure.
Guest List and Invitations
You should make the guest list for your preschooler, but once your child is over three or four, he should be consulted. The invitations can be either store-bought or homemade and should set the mood for the event. Older kids may enjoy making invitations out of paper dolls, puzzle pieces or computer templates, depending on your chosen theme. In addition to obvious information like the time, date and directions, include special details like "bring a swimsuit" or "parents should accompany children."
If you decide your home or apartment isn't suitable for a children's party, there are several off-site options that come with obvious advantages (including being able to come back to a clean home after the children have been picked up). For a small fee, you can often reserve space in a community recreation center or local park. Kid-friendly restaurants, gymnastic centers, fire departments and hands-on museums are also popular. Parties away from home usually work better for children over five since younger children may be overwhelmed by unfamiliar surroundings.
Atmosphere is everything. Once you've chosen a theme, use a little creativity to set the scene. Ther doesn't mean you need to fly to the Grand Canyon for a campout party. Kids are naturally imaginative; they'll play along when you use simple household gadgets to transform your home into a national park. Set up a tent, pass out flashlights and catch fireflies in the backyard.
Depending on the ages and attention spans of your guests, outside entertainment could be a big hit. But younger children (those under four or five) may be frightened or just plain bored by a performance that goes on longer than 45 minutes. Before you write a big check to Chuckles the Clown, consider looking for some local talent. One mother was shocked to hear what the mad scientist entertainer she found in the phone book charged for a two-hour science party. Instead she convinced her girls' favorite babysitter to wear a white lab coat and make a baking soda volcano. The kids were thrilled with an entertainer who they already knew and loved, the teenage babysitter was happy to make some extra money, and the mom stayed under budget.
Don't go it alone. Everything will be much easier if you have help — a spouse, relative, neighbor, babysitter or friends who can assist with activities as well as serving and cleanup. This is especially important if you will be entertaining young guests whose parents drop them off.
For brief parties, cake and ice cream is really the only refreshment you need. Many young children look at the cake as the focal point of the whole birthday ritual, so be sure to let them help make it (or select it from the bakery). Tradition dictates that the birthday boy or girl gets the first piece of cake (and that they will probably choose the piece with the most frosting and decorations on it). Consider having more than one flavor of ice cream on hand, however, since young children can be picky eaters and prefer ice cream over cake. Older guests may actually enjoy preparing the food as much as eating it, so consider substituting cooking for a craft. One family hosted a Floor Pizza Party by putting personal-sized pans of dough on the kitchen floor (one for each guest) and letting the kids put on sauce, cheese and other toppings. (Pepperoni, mushrooms and other vegetables make great eyes and noses for pizza people.) As with all aspects of party planning, try to give familiar favorites a personal twist, turning chicken wings into dinosaur wings for a prehertoric feast or serving chicken drumsticks for an orchestra party.
You don't need to spend a lot of money to have a successful party. This is a party for your child and her friends — not for other parents. Save the fireworks display for your next adult gala. The kids just want to play. Controlling expenses also means that you should not feel obligated to send home goody bags full of expensive toys. While some stickers or a craft make nice souvenirs, most parents agree that it's time to start saying no to elaborate party favors.
Dealing with Siblings
It's the birthday kid's big day but that doesn't mean you can ignore her brothers and sisters. While you may want to arrange for siblings to go play at another friend's house, many kids don't want to miss out on the action at home. If that's the case, allow the sibling to invite one special friend. They can either play in another room or help out with the party (as coat-takers, present-collectors, guest-greeters, or waiters).
Expect the Unexpected
The hardest thing to plan for at any birthday party is the unexpected. Here's what you can do to keep chaos at bay:
- Be prepared for meltdowns. An adult helper can take a distraught child aside while the rest of the group continues celebrating.
- Stock band-aids, ice and tissue.
- If parents are dropping off children, be sure you know about any food allergies or relevant medical conditions.
- If you have pets, it's best to keep them separate from the guests. Include them in your family celebration — but know that some children are allergic to or afraid of even the most gentle animals. Similarly, many pets are afraid of small children who may not know that it's a bad idea to pull tails or step on paws.
Did you ever wonder where the Happy Birthday song came from? Sure, we all sing it every year at kid’s birthday parties no matter what language we speak, so here’s a little background on everybody’s favorite song when we’re young and not so much when we get older.
The Birthday Song's Origins
Two sisters, who were born in 1868 and later became educators, wrote the music and lyrics together. The Hill sisters first wrote a song for the classroom entitled "Good Morning to All", which was published in their songbook in 1893 called “Song Stories for the Kindergarten”. It gradually changed to "Good Morning to You" and then from there became “Happy Birthday to You” and was copyrighted in 1935 by yet another Hill sister. And, that's the story of the song. Why we sing it and why all kids, including those who attend children's birthday parties in Long Island, love it is another story.
The Importance of Kids' Birthdays
So, why are birthdays so important, especially for kids? Well, having a special day every year that is uniquely their own is a significant part of their growth process and goes a long way toward building their self-esteem. But, in addition to that, it is also an excellent opportunity for kids to socialize with their little friends and make exciting memories that will carry forward throughout a child’s entire life.
Birthdays and Aging
Interestingly enough, there was a cognitive development study conducted at a University of Texas lab regarding how kids view birthdays in relation to the aging process. The results of that study, and several others, showed that a significant number of children thought that, if they did not have a birthday party, they would not grow a year older. By the same token, they also thought that, if for some reason, they would have two birthday parties, then they would become two years older. So, as you can see, in very young children, a birthday party is so much more than just a party. This is another good reason why you want the very best of Long Island kids birthday parties for your little one.
Children's Birthday Parties in Long Island
Every year, parents look for bigger and better ways to celebrate their kids’ birthdays. And, let’s face it, kids look forward to their birthdays all year long. So, as they say, go big or go home. And, the best way to surprise kids and make that day as special as possible is with Mad Science Birthday Parties. Complete with Mad Science invitations, party favors, and high-energy, thrilling, interactive shows that revolve around science experiments, this year’s birthday party will be one your child will fondly remember forever. And, the best part of all is that the party will come to you. So, have it at your home or any other location you choose.
Call today or request a party online, and help your child feel especially important on their birthday and grow a year older with Mad Science Long Island Birthday Parties.