3 fun birthday party ideas your nearly teen will love!

Come to the Birthday Party!

by Susan Sundwall

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Uh, oh. You just flipped the calendar and it popped out at you. Your ten-year-old child's birthday is coming. You didn't exactly forget, but you haven't planned anything either. Now what? Don't sweat it. Here are three birthday party ideas kids will love.

Got Game?

Take a quick trip to the discount or dollar store and gather up some of old favorites like jacks, jump rope, marbles, Old Maid, or Tiddlywinks. Follow these easy steps to success.

  1. Provide table or floor space for each activity.

  2. Make sign up sheets for each game with at least two players for each activity.

  3. Finger snacks in each play area will keep the kids moving. Choose gummies, cereal snacks, popcorn, string cheese or other non-sticky treats.

  4. Give everyone fifteen minutes of playtime and then blow a whistle to swap games.

If you've never played with jacks, marbles or some of the other games, you can check out the rules at StreetPlay.com. When everyone has played all the games, call a "times up" and serve cold drinks. Use clean marbles to create the birthday number on top of the cake. When the candles are blown out, remove the marbles and serve the cake with ice cream. Fill a party favor grab bag with colored yo-yos for each child to take home.

Socks and More

Organize a Socks and More birthday party and include on the invitation a request for a new pair of socks, either kid or adult size. Make card stock invitations in the shape of a sock and explain that the socks will go to a local charity. Set up these fun and easy games and add a few of your own. Prizes are won by collecting stars. You'll need a bag of pretzels, construction paper stars and circles, a basket, several rulers, a black marker, a bag of inexpensive prizes, and gum or pencils.

  1. Pretzel Toss - Give each guest ten pretzels. Anyone who gets five or more into the basket wins a paper star.

  2. Three-Legged Race - Whichever team crosses the finish line first wins a star each.

  3. Scavenger - Hide lots of construction paper circles and some stars in your party area. Guests have two minutes to find them.

  4. Balancing Act - Teams of two balance a ruler between them on their shoulders. First team to the finish line gets a star each.

  5. Funny Face - Anyone who makes the birthday child laugh wins two stars.

Serve up birthday cake, soft drinks, popcorn, veggies with dip, and other snacks to round out the party. Guests who have won stars can claim a prize from the prize bag. Consolation prize is a pack of gum or a pencil.

Put socks in a pretty bag and write up a short note to your charity explaining how they were collected.

Balloon Bash

Plan a balloon bash and help put a smile on someone's face at the same time. Use latex helium filled balloons that are of good quality and choose an array of bright colors. Ask guests to bring the name of someone having a birthday or a special anniversary or anyone who could use a balloon bouquet. Anchor the balloons to the edge of a table at kid height with masking tape, two balloons each. Place name cards in a bag and with the following for decorating.

  1. Dark markers

  2. Lightweight colored paper and double-sided tape

  3. Heavy string

  4. Colorful wired ribbon

Have someone draw a name before you start to determine the type of messages for the balloons. Use the markers to write "Happy Birthday," "Best Wishes," "We Love You," or some other cheery message. Use the colored paper to cut out flower shapes, butterflies, hearts and stars to tape onto the balloons. Use the string to tie the balloons together and then tie the ribbon over the string for a big bouquet.

Stuff the middle of an angel food cake with marshmallows and frost the entire cake in a bright color. Poke one or two balloons, on a stick, into the marshmallows. Remove balloons just before candles are lit. Try vanilla ice cream cones with colorful sprinkles for an added party treat.

Make arrangements to deliver the balloon bouquet either as a group or later with as many kids as can come along.

Whichever party plan you choose, remember to save one treat for the end of the day; enjoy a hot tub and a cool drink to toast the best party Mom in town!

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