Trick or Treat Tips

A couple of years ago we did a blog about setting up Trick or Treating in your street.  Having done it a few times now I have to say although I was skeptical at first, I am now a Halloween convert! Setting up Trick or Treating in our area has meant that we have met many neighbours, young and old, that we wouldn’t normally see.  In fact I was stopped by an elderly neighbour at the shops the other day asking if we were doing it again as she loved seeing all the children and giving them treats!!

So here is out Trick or Treat Tips

Trick or treating

Trick or treating is really taking off in Australia, but not everyone is ready for it! If your kids are keen to go from house to house in their costumes, the best thing to do is get organised and let your neighbours know! The week or so before Halloween, drop a flyer into your neighbour’s letterboxes.  Decorate the flyer with a large Halloween pumpkin or another Halloween symbol and make sure you explain that the children will be trick or treating on the 31st of October between given times.  Let them know that if they are happy for the children to knock, they should leave the pumpkin sign on their front door or gate. You could also invite their children to join in and meet with an adult at a given house, or corner and you can all go together! Most people are happy to have the kids call if they know they are coming and they have stocked up on treats!! This is also a great way to meet neighbours if you don’t know them and it will be lots of fun for everyone involved.

Halloween street invite

Costumes

Kids love to dress up and Halloween is a great time to do it. Even older children (who wouldn’t dress up at any other time) still love dressing up as something scary or ghoulish. However, dressing up for Halloween doesn’t have to be scary. If you have little ones going trick or treating, let them dress up as a prince, princess, goblin or fairy – they may even get more treats that way!

Planning a party at home?

Then don’t miss our 8 great Halloween games blog form last year - click here to get all the ideas!

Halloween party

 

DIY Party Garlands

Put a garland up and you are on your way to a fabulous party space. Decorative garlands are very popular for parties of all types and they can liven up an area instantly.  This month’s blog is all about DIY Party Garlands!

Click the photos for credits and how to make them !

 

garland bow                                                                animal garland

These cute garlands are perfect for a First Birthday Party and you could also use them as the party invitations – so cute and easy to make !

 

 

dress garland

How gorgeous is this little dress garland ?  It’s just what a little girl’s birthday party needs. Use the dress cut-outs as a craft activity for the children. They could colour them in, or use some beautiful sparkles, glitter and patterned paper to decorate each individual dress, then hang them for everyone to admire.

 

 

napkin garland

When creating garlands let your imagination go and recycle, reuse or just create from the things you have around you. This colourful garland was made from paper napkins – who would have thought ?

 

 

garland iceblock                                                                     garlnad cupcake

Ice-creams and cupcakes ! These creative garlands are a fun decoration and the bright colours will add lots of party cheer !

 

Paper-Polka-dot-Garland-How                                                                   paper-straw-garland,-DIY

Spots and stripes, straws and coloured paper – these garlands add the perfect touch to the dessert table. Use them for parties for any age group and the spots could also be made form paper decorated, or painted by the children.

 

 

Party garland TMNT

Spell it out !!! Add a birthday banner to the party backdrop for extra impact.

 

 

Pink Birthday Cake                                                      

Decorating cakes with gorgeous garlands is very popular and an easy way to make a simple cake, look extra special. Don’t be scared to use a few garlands grouped together on a cake – it can look spectacular.

 

Enjoy these garlands and create some beautiful decorations to personalise your party spaces and cakes.

 

 

 

Fun Party Favours for Birthday Parties

We often get requests on our website, or through our Facebook Page, about fun Party Favours for birthday parties.

It seems that many people are looking for an alternative to the party bag full of lollies, but is still affordable.

Here are some great party favour ideas straight from mums who have shared their parties on our website!

Food Favours

Instead of a bag of lollies – why not make the favour a single food item that you have made yourself, or personalised for the party.

Love these ideas – little bags of Jelly Beans turned into butterflies for a Fairy, Very Hungry Caterpiller, Rainbow or Garden Party.  Wrap a cute cake pop in celophane or a small plastic bag and you have an instant party favour, like these Frozen cake pops.  And what Minecraft party goer wouldn’t like to go home with some Minecraft chocolate crackles to munch on!

Party favours               Frozen Party favors              Minecraft party favours

Love these personalised food favour ideas as well.

favours                    IMG_2378 2

 

Costume favours

If you are having a party theme that kids can dress up for – why not make part of the costume the favour that they take home?

In this Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Party the homemade shell, pool noodle sword and mask were the party favours.

Or perhaps a hat that goes with the party theme.  Fairy wands or princess crowns also work really well as favours – these tulle wands are great!

DSC_0246 (2)                    hard hats (2)                    Tulle wands

Keepsake favours

A keepsake momento is a great favour for kids parties.  Perhaps the kids could make a necklace or bracelet, like at this Frozen party and then take it home.

FRozen party activity make a bracelet

Or what about this crayon idea from an earlier blog – see how to make them here   http://www.kidspartyspace.com.au/party-activities-make-guests-say-wow/

Frozen-crayons-700x380

These hats were a real hit a Horse Riding Party and the girls loved that they could take them home!

hat party favour

 

Toy favours

Sometimes the favour could be something that the kids can play with at home.  This pool noodle pony was a Pony Party favour.  Play-Doh and bubbles are always popular for the little ones – just label them to suit your party theme. Or perhaps a pot of slime for the older ones!

There are some great tips on how to make play dough and slime  here: http://www.kidspartyspace.com.au/party-activities-make-guests-say-wow/

 

IMG_0921 (2)make a monster                     favours2

To see even more party favour ideas, make sure you visit our Shared Parties page – there is bound to be something to suit your party theme!  See the Shared Parties Here

 

 

 

 

Plastic Tablecloths – Easy Party Decorations

Plastic tablecloths are so handy for a kid’s party! They are an inexpensive and easy way to add some colour to a party table.  Not to mention making the clean up much easier! But there is so much more that you can do with them!  They can be used in so many ways to make easy party decorations that look like a million dollars. Let’s start with……

Decorating Tables

Using some string or tape you can easily create ruffles or gathering to really make a great feature of the table, like they did in these great examples

ruffle plastic table cloth

Image Source

pink ruffle 2

Image source

plastic table cloth sun flower

Image Source

 

Backdrops

Make a really pretty backdrop by laying 3 table cloths on top of each other.  Cut strips lengthwise almost to the top, then plait the first 10-15 cm for a great effect.  We have also used this to create a ‘seaweed’ or ‘kelp forest’ look.

plastic table cloth back drop             Octonauts party kelp forest

Image source                                           Image source

Or you can layer the table cloths to make an ugly wall into a great party table backdrop like this cool mermaid party.

plastic table cloths mermaid 1            1-mermaid-party-decoration-ideas-002

Image source

In this party a black table cloth was great as a backdrop with a simple city scape drawn on with a chalk marker – very effective.

Ninja Turtle Party

Image source

Ceilings

But it doesn’t stop there! You can also decorate the ceiling!!  How cool does this rainbow ceiling decoration look – all made from plastic table cloths. Or just drape them across a ceiling to create another great effect.

from roof

Image source

Curtain effects

Use them to drape across the entrance, or tie it back to really create a great look for the party.

pink ruffle 3

Image source

Don’t forget the chairs!

Make ordinary chairs look extra special for the party with plastic tablecloths used as bows or draped over and tied with a feature.

chair bows formal            plastic tbale cloths kids chairs

Image Source                                                                               Image source

Hope you have got some great ideas from these suggestions.

Don’t forget to share your party here on this link :  http://www.kidspartyspace.com.au/shared-parties/

Or share your pics on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/kidspartyspace

Easter Ideas

Looking for great Easter food and Easter craft activities?

 

We have collected our favourites ideas from all over the internet and put them all in the one spot!

If you want  the details of how to make these great DIY Easter activities – click ‘image source’ links to find out how!

Let’s start with some cute Easter Bunny ideas!

easter bunny pull apert cupcakes

An easy pull apart Easter Bunny made with cupcakes - Image Source 

bunny cupcake

How to make Easter bunny cupcakes - Image source

Bunny biscuits

Bunny Butt Biscuits – How Cute - Image source

What is Easter without carrots for the bunnies to nibble on?

carrot-patch-cupcakes-16365 (2)

 What a great cupcake idea! - Image source 

carrot cup cake

Very easy. buy very effective - Image source

twistie carrots

We like these because it is a change from sweet versions - Image source

carrot marshmallows

How cute are these carrot marshmallows - Image source

How about these cute and edible Easter bonnets?

Easter bonnets colourful

Aren’t these cookie bonnets cute - Image source

easter bonnets pink

Or perhaps these…… - Image source

All dressed up for Easter

We love the idea of dressing up eggs for an Easter celebration – no not just the usual painting and dying, but giving them real personalities!

DSC_0098 (2)

Our kids had so much fun making outfits for these eggs – we couldn’t stop them…Pretty soon we had a whole party of dressed up eggs! - Image Source

formal eggs

These ones are a little more formal - Image source

easter-egg-decorating-printables-4up

Follow the link for these cuties to get the FREE printables to make them! - Image source

minion eggs

And for the Minion fans….how clever! - Image source

Other beautiful ideas!

We just had to include these great ideas

bunny tail spoons

Bunny tail spoons! Love it! - Image source

washi tape egg wreath

They used washi tape to make the eggs really look great in this wreath! - Image source

bunny-wreath1

And a gorgeous Easter bunny wreath to finish! - Image source

See our Easter Egg Hunt blog for all the ideas on how to make this tradition great fun for kids

Easter Egg Hunt

Birthday Cake Ideas

7 Easy Solutions

Looking for easy DIY kid’s birthday cake ideas ? Here are some great hints and ideas we have found.

You know the scenario…..The cake has come out of the oven a bit wonky and it is already 11pm!  The “oh so easy” cake you saw on Pinterest turned out to be not that easy.  Or, you are like me and have no artistic ability what so ever, but your child still wants YOU to make the cake!

Don’t worry!

Here are our top 7 tips for keeping stress levels low and still have a great birthday cake to celebrate with!

1. Edging and Lollies

Fix up a wonky cake, or icing that just hasn’t worked by using an edging of Kit Kats, chocolate fingers or any other type of treat that works for you.  Use dabs of icing to keep the edging on and if you like tie a ribbon around to keep it all together.  Then simply fill the top with the child’s favourite lollies and birthday cake problem solved!

Kids Birthday Cake ideasFrozen cake easy

 2. Bunting and Other Cool Toppings

Bunting on the top of cakes is really in at the moment.  Just make and ice a simple cake, or get one from your local bakery, then add some cute mini bunting or balloons and the cake suddenly becomes very special!

Kids Birthday cakes 1rasperry fizz cake topperFind this beautiful cake topper at Ruby Rabbit

 3. Use the Theme Toys and Figurines

If you want to stick to a theme then then using the child’s actual toys or figurines as the decorations on the cake works beautifully! Just pick an icing colour to suit your theme and place the figurines on and around the cake.

Easy Birthday cake ideas

 4. Make the cake – cupcakes!

There are lots of parties these days where cupcakes are used instead of a large main cake! This has a lot of advantages. They are easier to make than a large cake. No mess with cutting and serving (great if you are in a park) you can decorate with different character toppings on each cake and if you have children with allergies – you can make a few allergen free cupcakes ready for them, so they can still be part of the party.

minnie mouse cakehungry caterpillar cake

 5. Decorate with Their Favourite Lollies

I swear my son’s next cake is going to be one big Freckle!  Simply decorating with their favourite lolly will make your kid’s birthday cake a real hit!

From Raspberri Cupcakes

From Raspberri Cupcakes- Click to see how to make this

 6. Make Good Use of Ready-To-Go Options.

It is amazing how many options there are for cake decorating in the supermarket! Make good use of ready-made icing and writing icing options.  There are heaps of great sprinkles and decoration options too and even ready-made fondant – just pull out your cookie cutter, or your child’s Playdoh cutters if you are sticking to a theme and off you go!

kids birthday cake ideas

 7. Let the Birthday Child Do It Themselves!

We know it is risky – but we are big fans of kids participating in planning and creating their birthday celebrations.  Perhaps help them ice the cake and then let them loose with lollies and other decorations!  It may not be perfect but the look of joy on their face because they have created it is priceless.

home made cakes

Don’t forget that if you would like to outsource the whole cake making thing – we have some amazing cake creators on our website directory – follow this link to find one near you!

Australia Day Kids Party Food

What says an Australian kids party more than fairy bread and lamingtons! So why not have them for Australia Day Celebrations. We hope you like our twist on the classics of fairy bread pinwheels and green and gold lamingtons to make them true Australia Day kids party food! Here is our step by step on how to make them.

 

Fairy bread pin wheels

 DSC_0835 (2)
The secret with these cute spirals is to get the bread cut length ways – most bakeries will happily do this for you. Cut the crusts off, roll lightly with a rolling pin and butter the bread. Then add whatever colour sprinkles you choose and roll the slice of bread up firmly. We found  it best to cover the roll in cling wrap and place in the fridge for 5 minutes before slicing into pin wheels. Our taste testers didn’t leave many behind, so they must be fantastic!!

 

DSC_0776 (2)DSC_0778 (2)DSC_0786 (2)DSC_0811 (2)

 

 

Green and Gold Lamingtons

DSC_0814 (2)DSC_0832 (2)
This recipe took me back to cooking with my Mum – she used to make raspberry jelly cakes for her tribe of 6 kids, using un-iced small cupcakes (or ‘little cakes’ as we called them). For special occasions she would cut the top, fill with cream and turn them into butterfly cakes.
Ingredients
• Store bought sponge rectangles
• Jelly Crystals in your choice of colour (we used lime and mango – seemed like a good choice for an Australian celebration.
• Desiccated coconut
Make the jelly using half the amount of water indicated on the packet. Stir until the crystals are dissolved. Place in the fridge for a few minutes until it begins to thicken. Keep an eye on it though as it can set quite quickly. Then simply cut the sponge into the desired shapes or sizes. Dip each piece of sponge into the jelly mixture and then into the coconut. Place in the fridge for 10 minutes to set. Serve on their own or layer them with whipped cream – YUM!

 

DSC_0791 (2)DSC_0801 (2)DSC_0804 (2)

Eight Great Halloween Party Games

Halloween parties make a great alternative to Trick or Treating and can be fabulous fun for all ages. We have put together 8 easy Halloween Party games for school aged kids to really get the ghosts, witches and zombies in the party spirit!

Donut chomp

Hang round donuts from tree branches or beams, children must try and eat them with their hands behind their back.

Scary story relay

Have the start of a scary story ready to tell to the children, set the scene (eg it was a dark moonless night…) then each child in the circle takes a turn to add to the next part of the story.

Ghouly guessing

Set up 4 bowls and put a t-towel or dark cloth over each, so the children can’t’ see the contents. Label each bowl and insert the following contents.  Eyeballs (peeled grapes), brains (damp coarse sponge), veins (cold cooked spaghetti) and cut off fingers (cocktail sausages). Each child should write down what they think is really in the bowls after they feel it– compare answers at the end. The fun is seeing their faces as they touch the contents of the bowls!!

Spider tag

This game is all about that feeling that you get when you think a spider has just crawled on your back.  Stick some plastic spiders to some wooden clothes pegs.  Each guest gets one as they walk in.  During the party each guest has to try and put the spider on someone without them knowing.  If they get caught doing it they have to do a dare from the ‘dare bucket’ but if not, they call out “SPIDER TAG” and start counting down from 5. Everyone has to check their clothes for the spider, if they can’t find it before the countdown ends then the one who has been ‘tagged’ has to do the dare!

Wink Murder

Sounds horrible but is a lot of fun for groups of kids. All the children sit in the circle and one child, the ‘detective’, leaves the room.  While the detective is gone one of the other guests is chosen as the ‘murderer’.  When the detective is called back in to the room, the murderer starts to ‘murder’ the other guests by winking at them.  If they are winked at the children must pretend to die (brings out all budding actors and actresses).  The detective has to guess who is the murderer before all the children are ‘murdered’. Get this game even more into the Halloween spirit by turning out the lights and having each child shine a torch up form under their chin!

Mummy Wrap

Buy the bulk pack of toilet paper for this one! Divide guests into 2 teams and each one has to wrap one of their team members in the toilet paper  - there doesn’t have to be a winner just great fun trying!

Pickup

This is great fun with older kids.  All the guests stand in a circle with their back facing into the centre of the circle.  They then link arms.  Drop the ‘prize’ in the middle of the circle – the winner is whoever can pick up the prize – but arms must stay linked!

Bobbing for apples

Perhaps one of the most traditional Halloween games, but probably better suited to our (almost) summer weather in the southern hemisphere! Put stemmed apples into a large bucket (it has to have a wide opening) of cold water. Children take turns trying to get apples with their teeth, while their hands are behind their back – anyone who gets one deserves a prize!  Need it a little yuckier?? Use Brussel sprouts in red cordial!!!

Surprise Rocks Recipe

Why make your own rocks???

Surprise rocks make such a fabulous party game for so many themes – construction, dinosaur, pirate etc.  The rocks are made with a surprise toy in them for the kids to find – imagine the kids doing a dino dig, construction work site or looking for buried treasure with these rocks – awesome!!    Thanks to Helen Ritchie for sharing the idea with us and giving us all her tips to make sure the rocks are a success every time !!!

Surprise Rocks Recipe :

Ingredients :

  • 1 cup of ground coffee (It is meant to be used coffee which has been dried, but I bought a cheap tin from Costco and used it straight from the tin. The smell is strong. I have considered asking a coffee shop for their used coffee grinds and drying them.)
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1/2 a cup of salt (I have used iodised and the really cheap cooking salt and cooking salt works a bit better because it is grainier)
  • 1/2 cup sand
  • Approx 3/4 cup water

This quantity only makes about 6 rocks.
I do 6 times the recipe, in 2 buckets and get 36 rocks.

I use the tubs of dinosaurs, or bugs from Kmart that are $2. The really glossy bugs and dinosaurs from the $2 shop seem to melt a little. I have tried bouncy balls too and the mixture seems to stick a bit to it, but having a bowl of warm water hanky helps to clean them up.

Method :

  • Mix all dry ingredients well.
    Add water bit by bit. It needs to be the consistency of shortbread. Too wet and it won’t mold, too dry and it won’t stick together and will crumble.
    Take a small amount into the palm of your hand and press the toy into it. Fold the edges around the toy and add a little on top to completely seal the toy. You can make them rough or completely round. I have considered making egg shapes, using a plastic Easter egg, for the dinosaurs!
    Place on baking paper on a tray and bake for about 5 to 6 hours at 150º, turning after 4 hours. They would dry in the sun over 3 days but it has been too wet to try it.
    You will know they are done as they look a lot lighter and more ‘rock’ like.
  • I have hidden them in dirt and sand.
    Dirt can be tricky for younger kids to find them, some of the 4 year olds struggled a bit. The sand was great, but might be too easy for kids over 5.
  • Once found, tap them with a hammer and they open.
    If they are really hard you need to get an adult to use a chisel.
  • We found some in the dirt a few weeks after the party and they were soft enough to be ripped open. I imagine if they weren’t cooked for so long you might get the same result – but I haven’t tried it.

Once you have chosen the theme for the best birthday party ever, see if you can include some Surprise Rocks for the kids to really make it memorable.

Easter Egg Hunt

An Easter Egg Hunt has been a traditional activity for children for many years during the Easter holidays. Decorating eggs and making beautiful baskets to collect them in, is all part of the fun. You can also create some wonderful decorations to make the experience even more festive.

Set the scene:

Create a beautiful Easter wreath to symbolise joy and love, using a foam ring as the base and then be creative. Use coloured cardboard egg shapes and decorate them, then attach them to the wreath and add some feathers. Or decorate plastic or foam eggs and attach them for a 3D effect. (See our Easter Ideas board on Pinterest for some extra inspiration http://www.pinterest.com/kidspartyspace/easter-ideas/)

You can also decorate the backyard using cardboard egg shapes in different sizes, which have been decorated with stickers, gems, glitter or just coloured in. Then punch a hole in the top and tie a ribbon into a bow and hang them wherever you can – they look great hanging from a tree too. Or make some bunting to decorate the fence.

Decorate the eggs:

Decorating eggs can be as much fun as hunting for them. Use boiled eggs which have been dipped in food colouring and then decorated with sparkles and glitter. Or use chocolate eggs and decorate with cardboard shapes, cotton wool and other odds and ends. They can be turned into little chickens, butterflies, or cute bunnies and bilbies – just use your imagination or visit our Pinterest board again. Chocolate speckled eggs or candy eggs can be placed into organza bags, which have been decorated with Easter tags using bunny, bilby, chicken or egg shaped cardboard cut-outs.

Create the baskets:

For the adventurous, make and decorate your own Easter basket using cardboard and lots of colourful extras. Or use small cane baskets and decorate with silk flowers, ribbons, feathers and any other creative craft options. Another simple alternative is to use small paper gift bags that have been beautifully decorated.

And now for the HUNT:

Carefully place the eggs around the yard making sure they can be easily reached and depending on the age of the “hunters”, easily seen. And if you have lots of “little hunters” keep some eggs aside and discreetly put the eggs in their path, so that they are not left out. Some Easter Bunny paw prints will also add to the excitement, so use a template and some white powder to make the tracks. Then stand back and record all the joy and wonder of the day.

Birthdays in the Classroom

Celebrating birthday’s in the classroom is a great alternative to inviting the whole class to the birthday party – however always check with the class teacher and the school policy a few days before the event. The best way to get in contact with the teacher is via an email or a note that your child can pass on directly and give them the details of what you would like to bring and some contact details for you, just in case there are any questions.

Then consider how many you will be catering for and what is the easiest option for the teacher eg. cupcakes are far easier to share than a cake that needs to be cut into pieces and always send along a few extra, in case an accident occurs. Don’t forget one for the teacher and the teacher aide too.  And ALWAYS check if there are any allergies in the class and be very mindful of these children – sometimes the teacher will be able to suggest a quick and easy alternative.

Enquire about a place to store the food before the children get to celebrate, because if you choose to share ice blocks or iced cupcakes on a hot day, the outcome may be a disaster. Also, remember to put the food in a sturdy container that is easy to transport and include some serviettes or Wet Ones for sticky little hands.  And if the school has a “healthy food” policy, be creative and make up a fruit platter that has “shaped” fruit and some chocolate dipped strawberries, kiwifruit, etc. for an extra special treat.

Balloon Games for Kids Parties

Balloon games for kids parties!

The most common and versatile decorations for kids parties are BALLOONS !  They can be used in bunches, hung individually from the ceiling, left to cover the floor, filled with helium to float around freely, decorated to create jellyfish and creatures from the deep and much, much more. HOWEVER, more importantly they can be used for some great party games to really up the “fun factor” and of course they don’t cost much.  Balloon games are also good to have as a backup, just in case you need to keep the kids entertained for a bit longer than expected. Here are our top 5 balloon games and if you have any other tried and tested games, leave a comment so we can add them to our list.

  1. Balloon Freeze – Throw a balloon up in the air, as soon as you throw it the children start moving and jiggling around. When the balloon lands, they must freeze and the last child to stop moving is out – last one in, is the winner.
  2. Balloon Swat – Divide the children into 2 teams and then move them into two separate areas, each team taking a balloon with them. The children then simply have to keep the balloon off the ground – no catching, only swatting, hitting or bumping. The winning team is the one that can work together to keep the balloon up the longest.
  3. Balloon Relay – Divide the children into teams and give each team a balloon.  The children must take turns at moving to a designated point and back again, with the balloon firmly between their legs.  They can waddle, jump etc. but mustn’t let the balloon drop or burst. To make the game harder, try to get the children to pass the balloon to the next person using only their legs.
  4. Balloon Dare – Place simple dare tasks, written on pieces of paper into some balloons, blow them up and tie the ends.  Each child then takes a turn at picking a balloon, popping it and doing the ‘dare’ – this could also be used for charades.
  5. Balloon Scarecrow – (You will also need large t-shirts or tracksuit tops for this game – adult size is good.)  Divide the children into teams, one child from each team puts the t-shirt on over their clothes, the other children then have to stuff as many balloons into the t-shirt as possible (don’t blow them up too big!!).  They then help the child move to the winning position and the team that has stuffed the most balloons in their “scarecrow” is the winner – popped balloons don’t count!

So for your next kid’s party, buy a few packets of balloons and watch the fun unfold.

Christmas Time Birthdays

Recently, we posed some questions on Facebook about Birthday’s at Christmas time.  A topic close to our hearts  – with one of us born in December, a daughter in early January and three nephews on 22nd   and 23rd of December.  We looked at all the many responses and did some research ourselves and what we have come up with is a list of do’s and don’ts as a guide to celebrating birthdays at Christmas.  Remember, every child is different and as they get older they will want to have a say in how their birthday is celebrated. Be open to their ideas because the things that may bother you may make no difference to them!

Do Create New Traditions

Christmas is all about traditions and having a child born on, or near, Christmas may mean it is time to think about new traditions for your family. Many of the responders mentioned their new traditions:

Charmaine: My daughter’s birthday is on Christmas Day, we always celebrate two weeks before hand with family and friends. On Xmas morning we all wish her a big happy birthday before we start Christmas. This year we have changed Christmas Day to be all about her and her birthday and will have Christmas another day.

Melitta-Louise: A friend of mine’s daughter was born on Christmas day they would celebrate Christmas until 2pm then stop and switch to celebrating her birthday. She’s now 12 and they do this every year without fail.

Sarah: My son’s birthday is in the first week of December and my twins are in the first week of January … So Christmas decorations don’t go up until after my son’s birthday and are down before my twins!!!

Lauren: My daughter is 2 this year on the 20th of December. Our new tradition is that the tree goes up after her birthday and we go looking at Christmas lights on the night of her birthday :)

Don’t give dual presents

This is a definite no no and while many parents are well aware of this, making sure other relatives fully understand, may be harder.

Teagan: People doing one gift as a birthday and xmas present – remember, it’s two separate occasions.

Do be fair

Kids are brilliant at balancing the books with their siblings, on who got what present, or whose party was bigger and better.  The general rule of thumb is, what is good for one child, is good for all the others.    Don’t over compensating because the child has a Christmas birthday and you feel they somehow miss out and don’t try to save time and money at their expense either!

Sandi: I have a son (16 this year) whose birthday is on the 26th. I have always made it a separate day/separate present. He chooses what he wants for his birthday meal either lunch or dinner. You just have to be organised early as nothing is open for last minute things. He deserves a birthday the same as everyone else.

 Don’t celebrate the child’s birthday with Christmas food and decorations

Put away the candy canes and Rudolf cupcakes and prepare some other party food, even if it is just the family celebrating the birthday.  A theme can help make the differentiation clearer, so that the birthday boy/girl feels really special and make sure the birthday presents aren’t wrapped in Christmas paper.

Frances: My son turns 3 on the 18th of December – definitely separate he deserves his special day too… Mummy’s excited as this is his first real party, he loves talking about his birthday.

Do get organized

If you have a child born close to Christmas, you need to be organized. Find out which of the children’s friends aren’t away on holidays before you get too far into the planning and make sure you have the parent’s emails or mobile numbers before school finishes, so you can contact them easily.  If you can find a day that suits most friends, a holiday birthday party is brilliant – the kids will love catching up and so will the mums!

Then plan the party theme ahead of time and research the availability of party venues, entertainers, cake makers, caterers etc. that are still trading at this time of the year and book them, if you don’t want to do it all yourself.

Katie: My son is turning 6 on the 6th, my hubby is on the 11th & my daughter is turning 4 on the 21st. I have to be super organised, making sure the day is special and all about them. So far I’ve managed to have a small party for my children each year, letting them pick a theme. It’s a crazy time of year and a very busy month for us but wouldn’t have it any other way.

Jenni: My princess was born at midnight between the 23rd and 24th December so we actually got to choose her birthday! I was so upset about it being Christmas eve that we decided that 11:59pm on 23/12 was better than 12:01am on 24th!  I’m actually baking cupcakes as I type for her to take to kindy tomorrow as this is their final week and Thursday is kindy Christmas party!;-)

Don’t forget to ask the birthday child how they want to celebrate

What children love or hate about a Christmas birthdays, will be different from year to year. As they get older ask them what they want to do – it may be different to what you think they want.

Chrissa: My son’s birthday is the 29th and he will be 8 this year. He hates it being in the holidays as he can’t take anything to school on his birthday. I try to organise something in the last week of school with his teacher but he says it’s not the same.

Wilma: My middle daughter’s birthday is on the 27th(turns 9 this year). She used to get upset because everyone is either away or too busy for a party, so now we do mummy/daughter day where we have lunch wherever she chooses, a shopping trip and a movie. She now looks forward to it and so do I.

And finally, do remember that celebrating birthdays is all about making your child feel special, loved and cherished, no matter what the day. How you do this will be different for every child and every family, so have lots of FUN !

Party ‘Secrets’ – Kids birthday party ideas

Kids Party Space is only a few weeks old and already there are some fantastic party shares.  These shares are a great way to get some kids birthday party ideas and you can find out what each party’s highlights were. Here are just 5 “secrets” that we would like to share, to help with planning your next party.

1. Use the child’s toys to decorate the table, room and cake.

An inexpensive way to add to the decorations is to use your child’s toys.  The Lalaloopsy Party shared on the website, uses the doll collection and other Lalaloopsy toys to add to the display and provide lots of colour and interest.  While in the Octonaut Party share, the toy Octonauts were the perfect size for the top of the cake, making it look great!

2. Plastic table cloths are good for more than covering the table!

In the Under the Sea Party, this mum hung plastic table cloths from the ceiling to create an underwater feel – at around $2 per table cloth, they are great value.  There are so many uses for these table cloths, they can be cut into strips to act as back drops, ruffled to make a great table display and plaited to hang over the doorway and make a great entrance.

3. The ‘old style’ games are still the favourites and can be adapted to any theme.

Nearly all the parties had some old fashioned games – pass the parcel, musical chairs, statues, or pin the tail on the donkey.  Some of the adaptions from our shares have included pin the beak on the owl, or pin the patch on Quazi.

4. Set up a craft corner, or similar activity area for the guests to enjoy.

Having something for the children to do when they need a bit of quiet time or time out from the bustle of the party is a great idea.  It will give them the opportunity to calm down and make something they can take home.  You can ‘schedule’ it into the party activities so everyone does it at the same time, however, it is often best to set up a table and some chairs in a corner and the children can then choose to be creative as the mood takes them.

5. Make the invitations part of the party fun.

This idea was used in the Cars Party share where the invitations were lanyard VIP passes to the party! Encourage the children to wear them as part of the party fun and you could even put coloured dots on the back to organise group activities, or form teams.  This also works well in a Science Party, Disco Party (back stage passes) or Dinosaur Dig. Rosie’s Fairy Party share used a tiny invitation with a magnifying glass, reuse the magnifying glass as a part of a treasure hunt and include a “magical” hint on the invitation.

Fun is what makes a great kids party!

Make sure you don’t fall into the trap of competing with other children’s parties.  A good party is determined by the fun that is had, not the party bag.  Remember, children love the excitement of playing games with friends and being at a PARTY !!

Get your child to make a list of the guests, food, games and themes for their party, not all will be useful, but they will know what is “in” and what they and their friends like. This way everyone will be happy and your child will have a party that everyone will enjoy.   And remember, your child is not you, so make sure you take into account their personality and let them tell you what they want.

Some more specific points to remember :

AGE  1  -   This party is more often than not about the adults, so it is OK to make the food and entertainment more adult orientated.  Remember to plan around nap times and make sure there is a safe place for children and adults to play.

AGE  2  -  Often children at this age are still playing around each other, rather than with each other. So a small group (including parents for supervision) with a few simple games such as a treasure hunt , drawing competition or block building (something parents can help with) is all you will need. Don’t forget to put away favourite toys to minimise tantrums.

AGE  3  -   The children should now be starting to understand what a party is, but make sure they don’t get scared by loud entertainers/ment and stay clear of games that require a blindfold – try a lucky dip game instead.

AGE  4  -  This is the age where they can’t wait for their party and for their friends to arrive, so include some games and some unstructured play time to keep everyone happy.

AGE  5 to 7  -  This is when your child can choose a theme and everything can be centred around it. Structured games such as statues, piñatas, races, musical chairs, limbo, etc. will provide hours of fun.

AGES  8 and above  -  These are the years that need to be completely guided by your child – let their imagination run wild !

Party Planner

When you are busy and trying to organise a party, it’s easy to miss things. We have kept our party planner short and to the point, so you can be organised without having to waste a lot of time reading pages of information. So “tick and flick” as you please!

4 – 6 WEEKS BEFORE THE PARTY

  • Choose a theme for the party
  • Decide on a budget and the guest list
  • Make a list of what you will need and if you will be making it eg food, games, decorations
  • Choose a date and time and book an entertainer or venue (if required)
  • Purchase theme items

2 – 3 WEEKS BEFORE THE PARTY

  • Make or purchase the invitations and mail or hand them out (email if easier)
  • Make and/ or buy the items previously decided on, such as decorations, games etc.
  • Keep a list of RSVP’s
  • Organise prizes and any equipment for other activities on the day
  • Order the birthday cake or buy the requirements to make it yourself
  • Book the helpers (family and/or friends) if required

1 WEEK BEFORE THE PARTY

  • Determine the order of events for the party
  • Confirm the entertainment and cake order (or anything else that has been booked)
  • Buy and make any food or drinks that can be stored
  • Organise the party bags

2 – 3 DAYS BEFORE THE PARTY

  • Call or email any guests that have not replied (it may have been overlooked)
  • Buy candles for the cake (and matches)
  • Check the camera and/or video equipment

1 DAY BEFORE THE PARTY

  • Buy the rest of the food and drinks and check you have all the prizes, activities, games, etc.
  • Clean up and decorate as much of the party area as is practical
  • Pick-up the cake and/ make the rest of the food that can be made in advance

THE DAY OF THE PARTY

  • Blow up the balloons and put them up and don’t forget to put a few on the front gate/letterbox
  • Make sure games, activities and prizes are ready
  • Put candles on the cake and find the matches
  • Finish all the decorations
  • Get the food and drinks ready
  • AND HAVE FUN!

 

PS.  A great list to keep once you have organised the guest list :

Guest Name :                                  RSVP (how many):                   Parent’s Name :                                   Parent’s Phone Number :

Halloween in Australia

Halloween is becoming more and more popular in Australia, with large numbers of children trick or treating, or having parties at this time. Regardless of its origins, Halloween is just another chance for children to dress up and eat lollies. So why wouldn’t they want to do it!!

Trick or treating

Trick or treating is really taking off in Australia, but not everyone is ready for it! If your kids are keen to go from house to house in their costumes, the best thing to do is get organised and let your neighbours know! The week or so before Halloween, drop a flyer into your neighbour’s letterboxes.  Decorate the flyer with a large Halloween pumpkin or another Halloween symbol and make sure you explain that the children will be trick or treating on the 31st of October between given times.  Let them know that if they are happy for the children to knock, they should leave the pumpkin sign on their front door or gate. You could also invite their children to join in and meet with an adult at a given house, or corner and you can all go together! Most people are happy to have the kids call if they know they are coming and they have stocked up on treats!! This is also a great way to meet neighbours if you don’t know them and it will be lots of fun for everyone involved.

Costumes

Kids love to dress up and Halloween is a great time to do it. Even older children (who wouldn’t dress up at any other time) still love dressing up as something scary or ghoulish. However, dressing up for Halloween doesn’t have to be scary. If you have little ones going trick or treating, let them dress up as a prince, princess, goblin or fairy – they may even get more treats that way!

See our ‘Get ideas’ page for some great Halloween tips and games.

Selecting the perfect present

Selecting the perfect gift, especially for someone else’s child is always hard. The questions are: will it be liked, is it educational, is it durable, and is it safe and much more. So where do you start?

Consider what activities the child enjoys and what they are actually interested in.  It is important to remember not to over complicate things by getting the biggest, brightest or most challenging toy, when more simple items can be interesting and developmentally appropriate. Just because you think a toy is boring or out-of-fashion does not mean it should be discounted. Remember, toys should be used to develop children’s imaginations and encourage them to interact with others, and create their own stories. It is the toy’s job to encourage the children to play together and get along, to develop negotiating and compromising skills so that they can learn and grow.

It can be tempting to buy the child a toy that matches their party theme eg a barbie for a barbie party but it is often better to think creatively and think out of the box.

Take note of the warnings and instructions provided and try to follow the recommended age labels (where appropriate). And keep the family in mind when buying gifts, don’t make them too loud, difficult to clean or difficult to use.

Gift ideas

Under 2’s  -  soft toys, bath toys, contrasting colours and patterns, cloth books, bright blocks, sensory or plush toys, activity quilts

2 – 3’s  -  card or board games, sports equipment, dress-ups, construction sets, puzzles, art and craft, books, dolls and trucks

4 – 6’s  -  music and musical instruments, books, outdoor toys/pool toys, sporting games and equipment, Lego, DVD’s, Smiggle stationery

7 – 9’s  -  DVD’s, music , books, recipe and hobby books, clothing and fashion items, complex puzzles, board and card games, Smiggle stationery

10 and up  -  fashion clothes and accessories, popular toys and games in the current fads, i-tunes gift cards