Party Tips & Activities
Discover a whole host of fancy and fabulous party tips and recipes, seasonal craft and activity ideas, and reading-readiness suggestions from the folks who bring you Fancy Nancy!
Looking for some great ways to make your child’s birthday party the most memorable ever? Look no further. We’ve got a baker’s dozen of great ideas that are guaranteed to help create a birthday party she’ll never forget.
1. Play fancy dress-up dolls. Ask each guest to bring a favorite doll or stuffed animal. Have a basket of doll-sized clothes, hats, socks, jewelry, scarves, ribbons, yarn, etc. and get everyone into the party spirit by dressing up their little friends. Award prizes for best dressed, most colorful, cutest, etc. Just make sure there’s a prize for every guest and friend.
2. Make paper bag piñatas. Each party guest decorates paper bags with markers, paints, glitter, and glue. Then fill the bags with inexpensive toys and candy. Blow air into them, tie off the ends with yarn or ribbon, and hang them from a strong string stretched from wall to wall (or a tree if the party is outdoors). Make sure to take a photo before the party guests get to smash their creations!
3. Nail polish go-round. Try a girly twist on the game of pass the hot potato. You’ll need ten different colors of nail polish. Have the birthday guests sit in a circle and pass around one bottle of polish at a time while singing a short song, such as “One Potato, Two Potato.” When the song stops, the girl holding the bottle paints one of her nails. Switch colors and start the song again. The first girl to have all ten nails prettily painted gets to pick the color of her choice to take home. Keep playing until everyone has “won.”
4. Be pillow artistes! Buy a stack of plain white or light-colored pillowcases and have fabric paints and markers, sponges and stamps shaped like moons and stars. Let each child decorate a pillowcase and take it home as a forever memory of a great birthday party.
5. Play princess trivia. At a princess-themed party (or any birthday party for a princess-loving girl) play a game of princess trivia. Have all your questions ready in advance and lots of small prizes. Ask questions like: Who lived with seven dwarfs? Who flew on a magic carpet? Who had a fish for a best friend? Who wore a glass slipper? Who married an ogre?
6. Decorate hair accessories. Buy a selection of inexpensive, plain plastic hair clips and headbands and an assortment of beads, buttons, sequins, yarn, ribbon, etc. Have the party guests glue on decorations and wrap or tie with ribbon or yarn. Leave everything to set while you enjoy birthday cake or another activity, then let the girls decorate themselves with the beautiful accessories they’ve created.
7. Drama in a bag. If your daughter loves to play actress, try this fun and creative party activity. Fill several paper bags with theatrical props—any random group of items will do, but the more colorful the better. Divide your guests into teams and give each team a bag and 10 minutes to create a “play.” The catch is, they must use every single item in the bag. Then draw the curtain and let the performances begin!
8. Runway relay race. Before the party begins, gather together two collections of dress-up items such as hats and scarves, gloves, glittery jewelry, clothes, and make-up. Divide the guests into two teams and have them “race” to wrap themselves in all the items in their collection. The first team ready for the runway wins. Have both teams model their collections on the runway, and take photos for the models as mementos.
9. Decorate a jewelry box. Buy inexpensive wood boxes at a crafts store, one for each birthday party guest. Lay out the decorations: buttons, sequins, paints, markers, ribbon, bows, beads, etc., and let the guests do their finest work with color, glue, and glitter. You can also do the same with plain wood photo frames.
10. A beginner’s ballet. If you have a ballet-loving little one, throw a very special birthday party by inviting a teacher or older student from a local ballet school to teach a simple lesson and demonstrate the basics at your child’s birthday party. Have pretty tutus as party gifts for all the guests and invite the attendees to watch the dancer perform a brief routine first and then learn some steps. Let them practice together and even create their own little dance performance.
11. Outside the home. A great party doesn’t have to take place in your home or in an expensive restaurant. Plenty of community centers, YMCAs, and houses of worship have party spaces available for reasonable rentals—and your local Y may even have a pool. Book well in advance since these spaces are often very popular. Your time may be limited, so make sure all decorations are simple and easy to install, such as already-blown-up balloons, streamers, and large posters and signs. Get a couple of adults to help you with setup and cleanup.
12. Make your own yum. Turn the food you serve into a party activity. Let the kids create their own English muffin pizzas with lots of toppings. Show them how to make faces or write their initials with toppings such as sliced olives, pepper slivers, or chopped pepperoni.
13. Go fly a kite. Your party activity: have the guests make their own pretty kites. They can decorate them in your birthday girl’s favorite colors. Then take guests to a nearby park and let them enjoy some great outdoor time flying their new creations. And they’re also the party favors!