Help me pull off this birthday party!
July 31, 2010 10:06 AM   Subscribe

I'm starting to stress about my daughter's 4 year birthday party tomorrow! Any advice?

Its tomorrow at 2 at a local park that as swings, slides and such, and it will probaly rain. We'll be under a pavillion, but what then? I'll have sidewalk chalk, bubble blowing supplies, pizza and cake. I intended for the playground equipment to handle the entertainment, but with the weathe? There will be up to 12 kids. Any ideas?
posted by hollyanderbody to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Games like pin the tail on the donkey. If there is a place to hang it from, a pinata.
posted by ishotjr at 10:13 AM on July 31, 2010


Set a time limit of two hours (at the most) and break it up into blocks. Thirty minutes of free play, thirty minutes of cake and ice cream, thirty minutes of opening presents, thirty minutes of free play. It will go by a lot quicker than you think. Also: kids love playing in the rain. And eating cake with their hands. Have fun.
posted by ColdChef at 10:14 AM on July 31, 2010

Unless there's lightning and a downpour, just let the kids play in the rain. Don't let them climb too high, though, to minimize slipping. No one ever lets kids play in the rain, but it's so much fun! Take a lot of extra towels and be the cool parent.
posted by phunniemee at 10:14 AM on July 31, 2010

Depending on the floor of the pavilion, some rugs, mats, cushions etc could make it feel a little more cosy. You could have story time if the kids are chilled, or a game of Pass the Parcel?
posted by unlaced at 10:14 AM on July 31, 2010

Also: take tons of pictures. That can eat up a bunch of time, too. Bring silly hats and let the kids choose from them and make silly faces. We do this for hours on end at my house.
posted by ColdChef at 10:15 AM on July 31, 2010

Bubbles love humidity. You can make a big-bubble-blowing spectacle pretty easily and cheaply if you have plenty of bubble fluid. Shape a wire hanger into a loop and you can blow huge bubbles! (Bring a disposable pie pan or a cake pan to dip it into.) A (clean) fly swatter produces tons of tiny bubbles! If you don't mind getting soapy, show the kids how to blow bubbles with just your hands. Mefite beandip gives great instructions for enclosing a child (temporarily!) in a giant bubble.
posted by Elsa at 10:15 AM on July 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

Bring a music player loaded up with songs like "If You're Happy And You Know It." Sing alongs are great. And/or a giant piece of butcher paper and some tempura paints. Have everyone help make a mural. And/or stuff for a relay race -- like each member has to run, put on a jacket AND hat AND boots, take them off and run back.

There's tons of ideas out on the web.
posted by jfwlucy at 10:16 AM on July 31, 2010

How big is the pavilion? Is there room for games like Duck, Duck, Goose? Little kids love that stuff.
posted by Sara C. at 10:18 AM on July 31, 2010

I agree. Kids love the rain, but parents love it less. I second the extra towels, and maybe bring hot chocolate or hot cider to warm them up when they are finished being out in the weather.

Also, have races to see who can "run between the raindrops". Facepaint is also great, entertaining and fun to watch dissolve if it gets wet.
posted by Edubya at 10:26 AM on July 31, 2010

Not to worry...4 year olds are easily entertained and will just be excited to be around 12 kids their same age. Agree with ColdChef about breaking it up into short blocks of time and also with a few others that have recommended Duck, Duck, Goose and sing along songs...those are always a hit.

You could try a cheap and easy craft project. Get a package of brown paper lunch bags and have the kids make puppets. Glue sticks, stickers, yarn, pom poms, glitter...just collect stuff you have around the house or get stuff at the craft store. The added bonus is that they can use the bag to take goodies home.

Relax and go with the flow....
posted by victoriab at 10:30 AM on July 31, 2010

Sounds like a good time for a waterfight since they will already be wet. Bring extra brollies for the delicate children.
posted by saucysault at 10:34 AM on July 31, 2010

Paper plate maracas and some good music!

You will need:

Paper plates (at least one for each guest)
Dry beans (enough for a handful in each plate)
A stapler/staples
Things to decorate the plates which require negligible drying time, if any--stickers, dot markers, crepe paper/glue sticks, crayons, etc.

Have each guest decorate his/her plate. Fold each plate in half, place a handful of beans inside, and staple the plate closed. Tape over the staples if the maraca owners are the type to pick at staples and jab themselves (or if their parents are the type who believe their children are at risk for a jabbing.)

Have the kids sit in a circle and fire up some kids' music--Laurie Berkner/Raffi = good. Bargain CDs of 100 Kidz Greatest Hitz! = not nearly as good. They can sing / shake their maracas / dance to their hearts' content. The Freeze Dance is also a good option: they dance while the music is playing and freeze when the music stops.

Maracas and music together will take up approximately 30 minutes, 45 if you're lucky and have some good songs.

I love the Duck, Duck, Goose suggestion. If the floor of the pavilion is concrete, keep an eye on young friends who love to run and then wipe out by rolling/skidding/falling on the floor. I work in a preschool and there are at least three of these thrill-seekers in every 4-year-old class.

If you let them play in the rain, bring beach towels. Be prepared for some parents to not be thrilled with the idea.
posted by corey flood at 10:41 AM on July 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

My favorite party game for that age, that my friend from New Zealand taught me, is called "whose under the blanket?" you need only a blanket or beach towel, explain to the kids that everyone lays on the floor with their eyes closed, and one child will be covered by the blanket, remind the child who is covered by the blanket that they should stay laying down. Once the child is covered, ask all the kids to stand up and guess who is under the blanket. This takes a lot of time to play and it is especially a good game for birthdays where not everyone knows each other.
posted by momochan at 11:37 AM on July 31, 2010 [2 favorites]

1. Wrap a statue. This can be done in groups or in front of the whole party. One child is selected to be the statue. Another child then wraps the statue in blue streamer ribbon. When some amount of the blue ribbon is on a second child wraps the statue in red ribbon. At some sufficient point, the statue comes forward and rips out of the streamers. If there are groups, all the statues do this together.

2. Highest tower. Group 1 builds a tower out of blocks. The tower is measured against an adult's leg. Tower is knocked over by all the kids. Group 2 builds a tower. The tower is measured against the same adult's leg. Some group wins. Everyone knocks the tower over and has a free for all with the blocks.

3. Twister. For real.
posted by zizzle at 11:55 AM on July 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

All of the above and bring towels.
posted by batmonkey at 1:38 PM on July 31, 2010

A thought on pinatas: I saw some four year olds blindfolded, spun & put on pinatas recently. They couldn't find it with the bat, & the few that got lucky didn't have the arm strength to break it. So if you DO go with a pinata, consider doing it the Hispanic way: put it on a rope, throw the rope over a crossbeam (or another rope strung across), and bounce it like you would a cat toy by pulling the rope. That way you can make it easy or hard to hit as the kid's skill & strength demands.
posted by Ys at 3:07 PM on July 31, 2010

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