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Planning For Kids Themed Birthday Parties

I know our oldest just turned five this January, but I have had next year's birthday on my mind lately. This is completely involuntary. It's all my son's fault for telling me the other day that next year he would like his birthday party theme to be Kungfu Panda.

So here I am, thinking that he's only five and how many more birthdays do I have to plan for him in coming years? Will I run out of fun ideas? Let us not forget that I have 2yr old twins who were also born in the month of January. So to make myself feel better, I decided to make a list of the little things that have worked well for us in the past and helped to make our parties a little more special.

Basic birthday party supplies usually include the same things no matter what theme you are shopping for (i.e. cake toppers, plates, napkins, candles, cups, noise makers, etc . . . ). Here are some fun things we have done in the past, including some different uses for regular party supplies:

1) We've used cupcake rings as napkin rings. We rolled the plastic utensils inside a napkin (plain or themed) and slid the cupcake rings around the little bundles. This was something fun for the kids to have while they ate cake and it made the table look nice.

2) We have chosen cake toppers that were actually toys. The Speed Racer car you see in the photo above is actually a pullback racer. This was actually a cake topper, but you can find lots of different non-toxic toys to use to decorate your cake. Then afterwards, you can do a simple game to give the topper away to one of the guests. In our case, however, my son wanted to keep the car for himself.

3) Hats are always fun. We haven't had any themes that were appropriate for hats, but my son always loves getting hats at birthday parties he's attended. This is much better than giving a big bag of candy because the children can take them home and play dress-up. I also think it would be an extremely entertaining activity to decorate hats, even if it's just plastic fedoras decorated with stickers.

4) For wintertime birthdays, I think an organized party away from your home is a good idea. We have done parties at Build-a-Bear and a crafts place. Both were extremely successful. There is someone else in charge of keeping the party going, there is very little set up and almost no cleaning up for you to do. Plus you won't have 15 children tracking snow into your house. The best part is that the children get to do something creative and they get to take something special they made themselves home with them.

That's all I've got! Now I'm ready to hear your ideas. I probably won't be concentrating on my son's 6th birthday party until the fall, but I will write down any ideas you have to offer.