Helpful Children's Birthday Party Hints

Helpful Children's Birthday Party Hints

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Below is an article published in Families October 2007 issue.

Well-Planned Birthday Parties Can Teach Valuable Lessons

By Karen Macgregor Ebert, Founder, Catriona's Castle Hands-On Children's Theatre

In today's busy world for children, outside of the classroom environment there is so much one-on-one time spent on computers, video games, and watching television, that children can really miss out on some important life lessons.

A well-planned birthday party can be a wonderful opportunity to help teach kids creativity, imagination, social interaction with peers, sharing, and manners. Interactive activities at birthday parties can be entertaining and educational.

It is important that party activities are well planned and structured. Unstructured playtime at a party can become unruly and chaotic. Therefore, it is always best to have something for the children to do as they gather. A simple craft project is nice without taking too much time away from the scheduled activity. It is important to begin planned activities within fifteen minutes after the party start time, so that punctual children do not become anxious.

Hands-on party entertainment involving children is a great avenue for peer interaction in a controlled manner. The party refreshment table keeps kids occupied for a maximum of fifteen minutes.

Birthday presents can be overwhelming. Today, more parents are opting to open the presents after the party. It is very nice to send a thank-you not and will help teach your children about manners and gratitude. Party favors are best given out as children leave the party to prevent children from opening and scattering items. Try to relax and enjoy this special celebration with your child. He or she will be this age...once!

Karen Macgregor Ebert is the founder of Catriona's Castle Hands-On Children's Theatre, based in Poolesville, Maryland, serving MD, DC, and VA. Contact them at 301-972-7549. Their Website is



I am often asked for other activity ideas, particularly to end a birthday party. A secret, quiet treasure hunt is fun and can gently end a party without feelings being hurt. This varies from standard treasure hunts where some children find things and some do not. Before the guests arrive, hide as many items as there are children at the party. The items can be theme oriented to go with your party theme. They should be visible while blending in with whatever they are near, or on. Hide the items inside or outside, depending on the weather. Items can be as simple as construction paper cut-outs or actual things. Have the children look for the items without speaking and without touching anything. They must walk, not run. This also teaches repect for your home or party location. Tell the children to try and remember where the items are hidden. You may give clues. At the end of three minutes, have the children gather. Have each child, one child at a time, bring back one item. You, along with the guests, can give more clues here as well. This can help a child find an item, who otherwise, might not. This will go quite quickly. Each child will feel happy and there won't be any tears! If they are leaving immediately after, then you can reward them with their party favor. Otherwise, you can reward them with a tiny snack or treat.


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