Easy Balloon Arches

Tiki Torch Candles and Totem Poles

2017 update- I’m learning about cultural appropriation and I’m not entirely sure I understand the difference between appropriation and appreciation, so I’m not posting this to offend. I’m posting this because people like to have luau themed parties and they need supplies. Just know that there are people out there judging for this. I don’t recommend inviting those people to your party.

Party Games for Every Theme

Some party games are no-brainers. Everyone knows how to play these games and all you need to do is re-theme them to match your birthday party.

Pin the ____ on the ______
This is one of the most popular party game conversions on the planet. Originally Pin the tail on the donkey
, it’s been used and abused and reworked more times than we can probably imagine. To confuse matters further, people generally use tape instead of pins, but “tape the ____ on the ____” just doesn’t sound as good, does it? Here are a few ideas:

Pin the hat on the cowboy (game for a cowboy party)
Pin the crown on the princess (game for a princess party)
Pin the S on Superman (game for a Superhero party)
Pin the head on Scooby Doo (game for a Scooby Doo party)
Pin the frog on the lily pad (game for a nature themed party)
Pin the tail on the lion (game for a jungle theme party)

Musical Chairs
This game is so easy to convert to a new party theme because all you need to do is choose different music. For some themes it will be easy, Disney movies are all made with a soundtrack. For other themes you might want to get creative with your music selection. If you can’t think of special music, think of a way to decorate or arrange the chairs, instead. Musical chairs conforms to party themes easily.

Hot Potato (or something like that)

Basically, players pass a beanbag (or something) around a circle while the music plays. Whoever is caught holding the beanbag (potato) when the music stops is burned. The game could be converted for any birthday party theme. Maybe one of the following ideas will suit your theme

Hot lava bomb (luau party game)
Poison Apple (game for a snow white party)
Pass the goldfish bowl (Cat in the hat party game – use a real goldfish in a bowl for extra fun)

Beanbag Toss

The first time you make this game, you’ll have to use your construction skills, carving a hole in a piece of plywood for guests to toss a beanbag through. Be sure to make the hole rather large. You can make the game more or less difficult for each age group by making older kids stand further from the line and younger kids stand closer to it. Each time you use it afterward, all you need to do is repaint the background to conform to the new theme. You can use a similar method to make a ring toss game, too. Here are some beanbag toss ideas for your next party:

Feed the clown (circus party game)
Feed the shark (under the sea party theme, Sharks or the Little Mermaid theme)

Use your imagination to think of more party games that can be converted to fit your party theme. If a cake can go with any theme, so can a game.

Birthday Party Planning Worksheets

Timeline for Party Planning Kids Birthdays

It can be so helpful to have party planning worksheets, they take so much of the guesswork out of planning a birthday party. If you’re like me, you thrive on to-do lists and maybe even charts and spreadsheets to help you make sure everything is covered. I used to call these visual aids my “external brain” because I found it easier to keep my mind clear when the details were easy to reference and look up when I needed them.


When it comes to planning kids’ birthday parties, there are a lot of things to remember and a best-practices time line for sending invitations, reserving a jumper, hiring entertainment and even decorating the house. Busy moms have enough things to worry about without adding all of these extra things into the mix. I think this is one reason the “easy” birthday party businesses survive, because all you really need to do is give them your list of guests and show up on party day. Aside from being expensive, these types of parties are generally all the same and your child’s party will be a carbon-copy of every other one the facility offers.


Worksheets for Planning a Birthday Party


There are two ways to use these worksheets. Actually- if you’re creative, you could find other ways and I’d love to hear about it in the comment section if you want to share.


Hang it on the fridge: This method is easy, just fill out the worksheet with the details you’ve chosen for your party and hang it on the fridge as a visual reminder of what each “next step” is.


Amend Your Calendar: Go through your calendar and mark off however much time you’ll need on each designated day for every task. Assembling goody bags a few days before the party will take less time than purchasing the goodies the week prior.


Biodegradable Birthday Parties

Eco-friendly party ideas for Going Green Birthdays

Sustaining the earth is a hot topic and now that “going green” is such a mainstream concept, everyone has access to environmentally friendly party products. There are several ways to have a green birthday party, here are a few of my favorite:

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and make Homemade Party Invitations

It’s easy to make birthday invitations from reused materials. Check out ArtsyFartsy Family’s File Folder Thank-you cards. This technique can be used to turn file folders into birthday cards, instead of the thank-you cards that they show in the article. The folders can also be cut down to make smaller cards, for birthday invitations and thank-you’s.

Biodegradable Party Foods

Keep it fruity, for a sustainable birthday party, serve local organic foods in season. Factory-made foods are lower in nutritional value and pollute the earth. Whole and natural foods, straight from the source are an earth-friendly option. In the summer, try homemade pico de gallo with free-range chicken fajitas. In the winter, local organic squash can be served roasted, in a stew or cut into “fries.” In the spring, serve baby greens in a sandwich wrap. In the fall, grilled corn-on-the cob and pumpkin-pie-spiced punch are a tasty treat.

Paper plates are biodegradable, but definitely not green, since the papermaking, bleaching and production process is very wasteful and destructive.  If you choose to use paper plates, be sure to compost them and don’t choose the ones with plastic or wax coatings.  Otherwise, your normal everyday dishes are best. if your party is larger than your dish collection, consider renting them from a wedding supply company.

“Green” Party Games

You can have the kids transplant flowers or plant seeds in flowerpots. To ensure success, make sure you discuss the things that plants need to survive.

Have a recyclable relay race. Set up two sets of recycling bins at one end of the room and a large box or bag of things to recycle at the other. Have the kids get into teams and see who can sort the most recyclables. When there’s nothing left to recycle, count to see who sorted the most items. Items sorted into the wrong bin aren’t counted. You should have paper, plastic and corrugated cardboard. Glasses aren’t smart at birthday parties.

Volunteer to pull weeds, replant or otherwise spruce up a public garden. Whether it’s the planter outside of the school office, a nursing home or even a private business. Paint a commemorative rock and have the kids sign their names with permanent markers, to memorialize the event.

Free Printable Birthday Invitations - Free Firefighter Party Invitations

If you’re having a firefighter birthday party, be sure to download and print these Free firefighter invitations

You might also want to check out for great bargains on firefighter party supplies

Twilight Birthday Party for Teens and Tweens (and maybe adults)

According to Jamie Hobbs, the author of Planning a Twilight Birthday Party Alice threw a great birthday party for Bella and you can use that for inspiration when panning your teen’s birthday party with a Twilight theme.

Twilight Themed Party

The genius behind the Jamie’s Twilight birthday party planning method is that it involves the cooperation of your daughter’s friends. Recruit her best friends to do the dirty work, so that you can be sure not to do anything dorky.

Twilight Party Favors
Online party supply vendors have jumped on the bandwagon offering several Twilight themed posters, tablecloths, napkins, plates and other birthday party supplies. They should be easy to find online and at your local party supply store.

Twilight Invitations

You can use the book covers for inspiration, PhotoShop your daughter into screenshots from the movie or check Jamie’s article for additional suggestions.

Twilight Party Games

In Twilight, the presence of any birthday party games were overshadowed by the overwhelming distraction, first of a paper-cut and then a gushing bloody broken-vase injury. Be sure to plan safe games and offer up good prizes. Teens like Starbucks gift cards, art supplies and of course, Twilight items. You can probably find key chains, bookmarks and other accessories fairly easily. Order in bulk online and save money.

And, if I haven’t mentioned it, check out Planning a Twilight Birthday Party by Jamie Hobbs and Twilight Birthday Cakes.

Hiring Professional Party Planners for Kids Birthday Parties

Should you hire a kids party planner? Event planners for kids birthday parties take all the guesswork away. You can have them do as much or as little of the work as you want.

Why Hire a Kids Event Planner?

Every parent wants to make their child’s party one that is fun and exciting. However, not all parents have the time or know-how to plan and execute the perfect party – one that will stand out in your kid’s memory as an event to remember. If you are struggling with ways to make your child’s birthday party memorable, or just don’t have the time to do everything yourself, you may want to consider the advantages of hiring a professional event planning service that specializes in children’s parties.

Birthday Parties are Major Events to Plan

In the course of planning a kid’s party, many things need to be taken into consideration. Food, games and activities, the number of children being invited, the event’s overall theme and the ages and genders of guests all come into play. The larger the group, the more daunting the task will be. The right event planner will be able to advise you on all these things and more, assisting you in creating the day of your kid’s dreams with age-appropriate party themes, birthday party activities, planned games with prizes and birthday party entertainment.

Hiring Professional Party Entertainment

Planning services for children’s parties generally provide a professional entertainer for the big day. You can choose from a variety of types of entertainment, including superheroes, costumed characters, princesses, clowns, magicians and many others. The best performers don’t just provide a quick show and then leave – they are the lynchpin of the entire party, handling entertainment, activities and games from the event’s start to its conclusion.

Some parents may feel that hiring a professional entertainer may add stress to the event, as he or she will be one more person they have to manage. However, the right entertainer will actually alleviate the stress that typically goes along with hosting a party. Experienced performers are accustomed to dealing with large groups of children. They are also accustomed to managing a variety of temperaments, and they understand how to accommodate the short attention spans of younger kids. Furthermore, these performers are experts in keeping activities running smoothly and on time. Instead of being too busy and stressed to experience the special day, parents can enjoy watching the children have a wonderful time while the entertainer manages the event and keeps the kids happy.

Event planning services do far more than just providing an entertainer. They often offer many additional options to make the day even more special. These can include pony rides, magic shows, various costumed characters, and even inflatable moon bouncers. Many can also provide catering as well, freeing you from hours cooped up in the kitchen.

When shopping for a party planning or entertainment service, it is important to do your homework. Ask friends and colleagues who have had experience for recommendations. When calling around to different places, be sure to ask for references. It is important to choose a service that specializes in events for kids. With kids, the unexpected can and does happen. The entertainer they provide must be capable of handling anything the kids can throw at them while still keeping things light, fun and exciting.

A child’s party is something special that, if done right, they will remember for years to come. Although some parents may feel up to the task of handling everything themselves, the rest of us can benefit greatly from the resources and experience of a professional party planning service. As long as you have hired the right one for your needs, you can sit back and relax, knowing that everything for your kid’s special day has been taken care of. That may just be the best gift of all.

This article adapted from Make Your Child’s Party Unforgettable – Hire a Professional Event Planning Service by Stephen Daniels for Children’s Choice Entertainment (planyourparty.biz) They go through a lengthy hiring process to find the right person to send out to your party. They teach and train staff so they are able to run a party and perform the activities that are promised.

iCarly Birthday Party Ideas

The iCarly party theme is popular for tweens, kids age 10-14, give or take. Based upon the popular kids television show, iCarly is actually the name of the main character’s web show. Carly, Sam, Freddy and Spencer are the main characters. Spencer is Carly’s older brother, a wacky law-school-dropout-turned-artist who runs the household while their father is in the military, I believe.

Anyhow, check out these iCarly birthday party ideas from an article by Dawn Archibald:

iCarly Birthday Party Invitations

Send out an email invitation! Its very innovative and computer savvy just like Carly! To spice up the email you can add a voice recording or a short web cam message inviting your friends over to party! As well as being super hip its Eco-friendly and it will not cost you a dime since you already have a computer!  You could also burn a custom DVD or slideshow invitation.

iCarly Party Decorations

Set the party atmosphere with vibrant colors. Go for the dramatic with sparkly stars covering the walls, latex & helium balloons floating around, streamers hanging from corner to corner and curly cues hanging from the ceiling. Use bold hues like fuchsia, purple and teal. Make it feel like Carly’s apartment by decorating with lots of paper lanterns and strings of lights! Make some homemade posters with saying like “You’re a Star”, “I Heart iCarly” and “Welcome to the Web Show!” Have loads of ‘after school snacks’ set out for munching when the kids arrive and music playing for them to listen to or wildly dance about to – I believe they call that Random Dancing! The key is to provide a cool area where all the kids can chill out. Wouldn’t this work great as an after school party since the gang always heads over to Carly’s after school or even as a sleepover since Sam is always sleeping over at Carly’s?

Another way to decorate for an iCarly party would be to turn your party room into a production studio. Set up a camera and monitors, a green screen and some studio lights.   Set the camera to record all the silly events of the afternoon and burn a  copy for each guest as a thank-you.

iCarly Party Activities

Hook up your computer to a web cam or simply pull out your video camera and tripod. Lay out some furniture similar to the iCarly set and have the party guests figure out their own show. You can have props ready like guitars, microphones, funny hats and clothes. Keep the mugs of water and tissue close in case anyone gets too emotional! The guests can perform a dance, sing a song, tell a joke, perform a stunt or tell a story. Check out the web casts on iCarly.com for inspiration.

If coming up with ideas is difficult, you have the option to put several ‘idea cards’ in a hat and have each guest pick one before their camera time. Topics and ideas like “What is your favorite food and why?” have a Silly String fight, a Yo Yo competition or something crazy like bobbing for apples or a pie eating contest. Encourage the kids to be creative and funny! To make sure everyone has a good time, you should rotate roles of host (Carly), producer (Freddie) and co-host (Sam). Remember to record every moment!

When everyone has had their moment in the spotlight, be sure to save the episode so you can make copies for everyone to take home and show their parents. If your doing a web cam simply email out a copy to everyone, upload a copy to You Tube for everyone to view or provide a link where the video can be played. No worries, the kids can probably show you how to do it all if your unsure. Be sure to play back the recording at the party so everyone can see how they look on camera!

WARNING- Since this is a private event, you should make sure that the parents of the children at the party give you legal consent to share images of their children online.  In the US, you’re legally responsible for what your children do and should make sure that you have a release form signed, giving you permission to upload the video.  If the parents are uncomfortable with that idea, you can still upload but be sure to check the privacy settings.  Viewers would have to be signed in, copying the video would not be allowed and only the people you invite to view the video would be able to have access.

iCarly Birthday party Menu

A lot of eating fills iCarly airtime: chili, spaghetti tacos, smoothies and pie. Lots of pie. Why not go with this menu, its a little unconventional but definitely fun! Add a veggie tray and an array of chips and dip and call it a smorgasbord! The cast is always munching on something new so keep your eyes and ears open for new ideas. Perhaps at dessert time you can serve a selection of pies instead of the traditional birthday cake; your very own pie shop!

If you do go with a cake for dessert, an inexpensive way to create an themed cake is to download and print out the iCarly logo. You can easily find one by using Google images and then adjusting to your size requirements. Laminate the logo and cut the plastic to shape. Using a cake of any size or flavor, simply place the laminated logo onto the cake with plenty of candles and a Happy Birthday message. Be sure to use some bright colored icing for decorating – Carly does nothing white or bland!

You can also email the graphic to a local bakery that can print it and transfer it onto a cake for you.  Because of copyright issues, they may not be able to do this. A small, local bakery is more likely to make exceptions than a large bakery.  You can also buy the cake-image printer yourself and print it out.

iCarly Party Favors and Goody Bags for an iCarly Party

Here are some crazy options for iCarly loot bags – so have fun with it!

  • Funky notepads & pens (between school and the show Carly is always working on something)
  • Crazy Socks (is it just me or is Spencer always wearing weird socks?)
  • Yo Yo’s (these gadgets are always showing up in sculptures and in the shows yoyoathons)
  • Junk food (Sam loves her chips and chocolate bars but Freddie’s Mom would definately disapprove)
  • a homemade mix CD (we know how the gang loves their music & dancing)
  • a Magic Ball toy or key chain (always consulting the ball, magic meatball that is)
  • Silly Putty egg or container of Play dough (Spencer says “you never know when the urge to make a unique sculpture will hit you”)

I hope these ideas help and just remember to think outside the box for an iCarly party! The kids will love all the effort you put in!

Adapted from iCarly Birthday Party Planning Ideas by Dawn Archibald) of Canada’s Party Depot www.partydepot.ca – purchase party supplies in Canada partycanada.blogspot.com for more great party planning ideas!

20 Ways to Say Thank You

There are several different words to use in Thank-You cards. Thank-You card wording can be difficult to think of, though when you’ve got your pen in hand. Children will sometimes scribble off repetitive Thank-You cards, instead of heartfelt notes of gratitude.

Quotes of Gratitude
Printable Thank-You cards

Here are some ideas for Thank-You card wording that you can use:

1. Thank you
2. Thank you so much for the _______, I can’t wait to ________ with it.
3. I just wanted to say thank you, your gift was really special to me because________
4. Thanks so much for giving me a __________, I’ve always wanted one.
5. Thank you for the __________, I’ve never even heard of it before and I’m having a lot of fun with it.
6. Thank you for the ____________, it goes perfectly with my ___________.
7. Thank you so much for the ____________, now I have the whole collection.
8. Thank you for the _____________, I love collecting them.
9. Thank you for the _______________________, how did you know I wanted that?
10. Thank you so much for coming to my party, and thank you for the _________, I can’t wait to play with it.
11. Thank you so much for making my party memorable. I will never forget _____________.
12. Thank you for the birthday money, it’s burning a hole in my pocket.
13. Thank you so much for the gift card, my mother is taking me shopping on Saturday, with my best friends.
14. Thank you so much for sending birthday money. I was saving for a sled and now I have enough
15. Thank you for sending birthday money, I’m saving for our trip to Disneyland and I can’t wait to send you a picture of me & Mickey Mouse
16. Thank you so much for the _______________, I will think of you every time I wear it.
17. Thank you so much for taking me to __________ for my birthday, it was a very special day that I will never forget
18. Thank you so much for celebrating my birthday with me
19. Thank you for remembering my birthday. Your card and ______ were a lovely surprise
20. Thank you for the ___________________, it’s my favorite gift this year.

I found a great website with other thank-you note suggestions, in case these dont’ meet your needs. Check out My Thank-You Site

Plan a Birthday Party in Just 4 Weeks

Your child’s birthday party is approaching and you want it to be special. Following is a checklist of items to consider when planning your child’s birthday party.

4 Weeks before the Birthday Party

*Select the date, time and location of the birthday party.
*Get the birthday child involved by letting them pick out the theme. Party themes can range from a favorite character to their favorite place (e.g. a pool, bouncy house, or park) or time of year (e.g. a summertime luau theme for a winter party).

3 Weeks before the Birthday Party

*Create the guest list.
*Determine if you will need to arrange for party helpers based on the size of the guest list.
*Mail the invitations.
*Plan the party activities, such as a scavenger hunt or a piñata where it’s easy for everyone to join in on the fun.
*Think about decorations. Consider a welcome sign and colored streamers. This is a great activity for the birthday child to help with the night before the party.
*Plan the menu. Will it be held at a time where you will need to serve pizza or chicken fingers for lunch, for example? Or, will it be held during a time where a snack may be required? Are you hosting the party off-site? If so, does the facility have special requirements regarding food?
*Determine the party favors. Character-themed bags are a nice addition to a themed-party, though not necessary. Sometimes seasonal bags offer a fun change, such as a bucket (which serves as the party bag) filled with a shovel, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, or other activities for a summertime party.

1 to 2 Weeks before the Birthday Party

*Buy a birthday present for your child!
*Buy the party supplies, decorations and favors.
*Order the birthday cake (unless you plan to make it yourself) and the helium balloons.

1 to 2 Days before the Birthday Party

*Pinpoint an exact guest count by calling those who have not responded.
*Prepare the party food.
*Decorate the area and prepare for any activities and games.
*Pick up the cake, helium balloons and any last minute supplies.

The Day of the Birthday Party

*Set out the food, plates, napkins, juice boxes, etc., or order the food, such as pizza, as appropriate.
*Place your present for the birthday child in an area to serve as a precedent for where guests should drop off presents.
*Set the bags in a spot where you will remember to hand them out to guests when the party is over.
*Make sure your camera is accessible! If you feel you will be busy managing food and activities, assign a trusted friend or family member to snap photos of the party or videotape it.

*Above all, remember that this event is being held to celebrate your child. Don’t worry if you end up one juice box short, or if something goes awry with one of the planned activities. Once the party begins, relax and enjoy the smile on your child’s face.

Hilary Basile is a writer for MyGuidesUSA.com.Where you will find valuable tips and resources for handling life’s major events. Whether you’re planning a wedding, buying your first home, anxiously awaiting the birth of a child, contending with a divorce, searching for a new job, or planning for your retirement, you’ll find answers to your questions at MyGuidesUSA.com.

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