Celebrate a Summer Birthday with a Backyard Party
I have vast amounts of envy for people who have children with summer birthdays. I have a late fall baby and an early spring baby, and neither kid’s birthday lends itself to an outdoor party in our climate. If you’re reading this and you have the luxury of planning an outdoor birthday party, I’m jealous. No expensive jaunt to the indoor bounce house place, germ-laden romp at the arcade or stressful house parties for you!
But there’s more to an outdoor birthday than just tossing the kids in the yard and locking the door behind them. Unfortunately, because how easy would that be? Have fun, kids! There’s a hose in the garden if you get thirsty! No, you have to plan ahead if you’re going to party outside. Here are four of my favorite outdoor party ideas. You’re welcome.
Take it Outside
1. Three rings: A circus theme is an easy, festive idea for little kids. Toast and Tables’ beautiful photos are sure to get you inspired. This is an easy party to pull off, because it relies largely on simple decorations in bright colors. Carnival-style games, like Capture the Duck, add to the fun: Fill a small tub or kiddie pool with just enough water to float some rubber ducks and have each kid catch a duck with their hands or a small net. Mark the bottom of each duck with a shape or number, and have prizes that match the marking. A beanbag or ring toss game is also easy and fun, with prizes for hitting certain targets. But you might want to play down the clowns, to keep kids (and adults) from freaking out at your party. Just a thought.
2. Make a mess: A messy party would make my kids so happy and would make me a babbling lunatic, but sometimes you have to sacrifice to celebrate with your kids. Boston Mama’s Christine Koh has the rundown of everything you need to get this party going with messy activities (paint! and cornstarch!) and messy party food. Although please note that Christine’s friend did not host the messy party at her house — she opted to reserve space at a park, which is brilliant, especially if the idea of cleaning up cornstarch gives you hives. Bonus: A beach towel party favor lets the guests get home without ruining the car! Which means your kid’s friends’ parents will still like you after the party is over.
3. Splish splash: Speaking of beach towel party favors, a pool party is always fun, unless you don’t have easy access to a pool. Then it’s just a hassle. Instead, turn your backyard into a mini water park. A giant octopus sprinkler would be super fun, but a standard sprinkler will do. Other options are a cool kiddie pool and a classic Slip ‘n Slide. Add some squirt guns and water balloons and it’s a water park extravaganza right in your own backyard.
4. Fore: If you’ve got a little athlete, Martha Stewart’s Tee Off! mini golf party will inspire you to transform your yard into a small golf course. A baking sheet with play sand becomes a sand trap and a cardboard gopher cheerfully marks the last hole, which guarantees that all the adults will be cracking Caddyshack jokes for the entire party. This looks like a lot of fun and it’s certainly much easier than trying to cart a group of seven-year-olds to the mini golf course.
One last thought
When planning a party for kids, keep it simple. The best birthday party my son attended this summer was a casual event held at a local park. The kids played on the equipment, ate cake and ice cream and then threw water balloons at each other. They all thought it was the best party ever, because they don’t know any better. But seriously, simple ideas are really the best ideas.
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Photo source: Depositphotos/sermovik
Published July 22, 2008. Last updated August 29, 2018.