When it's your turn to host a kids' party, share your ideas with your child and refine the event's entertainment with help from the younger generation. Whether the two of you create customized invitations with your home computer and printer or you contact the guests' parents through email and wait for smartphone RSVPs, you can make every aspect of the day special. From birthdays to just-for-fun occasions, celebrate your child with memorable entertainment.
Instead of screening a movie or playing tunes from your music library, look for live entertainment. A little online searching on your smartphone should yield a list of choices, depending on the type of guest star you want to find. Let seasonal considerations help shape your selection. An amplified musician can set up in your yard in warm weather, but a face painter, magician or storyteller can work in your family room.
Set up your camcorder and capture the event, including close-ups of your child enjoying the show. Add a special segment in which the entertainer interacts directly with your child. Some entertainers request that you not record their performances, so check first before you plan to immortalize the event. If the answer's no, switch to your digital camera to document the fun.
Turn refreshments into entertainment with food items that children can customize with flavoring ingredients, such as special adornments for ice cream or popcorn. At a baking party, roll out the cookie dough and hand your child's guests the cookie cutters. From a selection of sprinkles, candies and frostings, let the children decorate and sign their own cookies, which you bake for them in a convection oven. Create one extra-large cookie for your child and have all the guests write a message on it.
To carry the theme throughout your event, serve a main dish that lends itself to customization, including homemade pizza with a selection of toppings or grilled cheese sandwiches with varying cheeses. Chop and prepare toppings in advance and store them in a flexible refrigerator drawer with temperature control. Before you set out any ingredients, screen your child's guest list for allergies to items such as nuts or dairy foods, or for dietary limitations based on personal or religious grounds.
What Can I Find
Scavenger hunts provide an enduring source of party entertainment. Because you can configure the way you conduct a scavenger hunt to match fair or foul weather and yard- or neighborhood-wide searches, you can narrow or broaden the game to target it to children of almost any age. If you'd rather not send your smartphone or digital camera out to document the items team members find, or the kids' ages run too young to arm them with technology, limit the search list to small, easy choices and provide the teams with prints of photographs you take to describe the quest's focus, limiting the search to your own property.
Besides food allergies and age-appropriate limits on how far kids venture from your home in the course of the entertainment you provide, tailor your games and fun to the personalities and preferences of your child's invitees. Coulrophobia—the fear of clowns—leaves some children too alarmed to enjoy themselves, so even if you and your child love the circus, you may want to skip the clown as your featured entertainment. Give special consideration to the impact of a large group of playful, noisy children on your pets, especially young or small animals. Between allergies and activity levels, your animals may deserve a quiet sanctuary during the festivities.
Photo Credits: Pamela Follett/Demand Media
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