If you are looking for something a little different than the standard Pirate or Princess Party, give one of these birthday themes a try. We've got some of the basics covered but if you want to go all out, just type your selected theme into the Search box on Pinterest and you are sure to get hundreds more ideas!
Dr. Seuss has long been my personal favorite... my first son's nursery was decorated in all things Seuss. And it seems his popularity is once again soaring since the release of How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), The Cat in the Hat(2003), Horton Hears a Who!(2008), and The Lorax (2012). The lyrical rhymes and nonsensical words make this a fun party for kids of all ages!
- The Invitation: "Could you, would you come to play at a very special Dr. Seuss birthday? June is the month, 24th is the date, the fun starts at 2:00, so please don't be late!" Bonus if you print it on red and white striped paper.
- The Food: Green (deviled) Eggs and Ham (sandwiches), of course! Thing 1 and Thing 2 Cupcakes. See our Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss article for instructions.
- The Activities: For younger children, read One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, then make this Mosaic Goldfish Craft. Older children might like to make a bookmark that they can take home with them, or try their hand at a Dr. Seuss Word Search.
What kid doesn't love to get messy? I know mine do! Unless you have a really big backyard, this kind of party is probably best hosted at a local park.
- The Invitation: Make paint handprints on a piece of paper then write out the details. Start out with "Let's Get Messy" and encourage the parents to send their children wearing one of dad's old undershirts over their regular (old) clothing. Not only will it help protect the child's clothes, but it will really show off the level of messiness you achieve!
- The Food: Serve whatever food is your child's favorite, but skip the utensils and napkins. Kids have to wipe their mouths and hands with their shirt! For the cake, make homemade frosting in a variety of colors, but make it a little thinner than usual (just add more milk). Then use spoons to splatter the cake with the frosting. See the picture above ... we adults had as much fun making the cake as the kids had at the party!
- The Activities: This part is easy. Use cans of shaving cream to make mohawks and other silly hairstyles (don't use whipped cream, unless you want the kids smelling like sour milk by the end of the party). Give everyone their own can of silly string. Have an egg toss. Finger paint. And if you are really brave — food fight!
Backward (or Opposite) Day
Even very young kids will giggle when they see things out of sorts. We regularly celebrate Opposite Day in our household... it usually starts when one of my sons asks me if it's Opposite Day and I say "No," which of course means "Yes" if it is Opposite Day.
- The Invitation: Write the details of the party, including the Opposite Day theme, onto a piece of tracing paper or very thin printing paper, and then trace it with a pen on the back side of the paper so all the words are backwards. Guests will have to hold the invitation up to a mirror to see all the details. Encourage your guests to dress backwards/opposite for the party (shoes over the socks, shirts backwards, etc.).
- The Food: Make finger sandwiches with the bread on the inside and the meat and cheese on the outside. Hull strawberries and fill them with whipped cream or chocolate. The cake, of course, is pineapple upside-down cake or at least write "YPPAH YADHTRIB" across the top of whatever cake you have.
- The Activities: Be sure to say "Goodbye, thanks for coming!" to greet each guest when they arrive. Challenge the kids to say the alphabet backwards. Have a crab-walk race. Pin the Tail on the Donkey's Face instead of tush. Have each child decorate an inexpensive wooden frame with markers, then put their name across the top (backwards, of course) in foam letters. Take pictures of each gift and print from your computer to put inside the frame for each guest to take home.
If your child already has more books, toys, and DVDs than you can make room for, a charity party might be a good choice for you. From our local Dumb Friends League and Douglas/Elbert Task Force to the families in Moore, OK who lost everything, there is certainly no shortage of others who could use a helping hand.
There are even several organizations that make charity parties easy by providing tips and ideas, invitations, free downloadables, and activities. Check out Happy Doll (provides dolls that your party-goers decorate and then sends to other children), Milk and Bookies (helps you provide books to low-income children in your own community), or Ryan's Well Foundation (brings clean drinking water to the developing world).
This type of party is easy with younger children, who really just want to play with their friends and don't pay much attention to gifts anyway. You may be able to get older children on board by letting them choose the venue, or the theme and activities.
- The Invitation: "We want your presence, not your presents. In lieu of gifts, please bring _______ to be given to ________." Then include the website for the organization you're supporting along with all the party details.
- The Food: The birthday cake can match the organization you are supporting. For example, if you are collecting for a group like the Dumb Friends League, you could have a Scooby Doo cake or one shaped like a bone. Instead of "Happy Birthday," write "Thank you for helping the Dumb Friends League" on the cake. But don't forget to leave room for the candles so your child can make a wish!
- The Activities: Let your child choose the activities or your activities can also match the theme. Sticking with the "dog" theme, you could play Musical Chairs but call it In the Doghouse. Or create a Pin the Tail on the Puppy game using posterboard. Buy inexpensive plastic dog dishes that the kids can decorate with markers, then serve their cake and ice cream in it!