I may not like hosting and planning parties, but I’ve become somewhat good at it over the years. Lets see I’ve planned 34/38 birthday parties now… Does that make me an expert?
Rae’s 8th birthday party will mark my 5th pajama party.
Invitations: These are the invites I made. I used clip art from here for the picture.
If you like it, feel free to use a PDF to Word converter to open and edit and print for your own use.
I send out invitations so they arrive about 10 days ahead. I’ve found that any more than that and people forget and any less and people don’t have time to decide or they already have plans.
Now, what I wanted was to set up our old mattress in the family room and have mosquito netting and fairy lights around it with these cute little lanterns.
*I don’t get paid for these links.
But we’re a little short on space right now and, well, a budget is a budget. If I’d been able to do those, we would’ve turned the lanterns into a fairy garden as an activity.
What I did instead was make a trip to the dollar store. I found a plethora of decorations that were spring colors with happy little butterflies. It worked. I got a banner, pennants, dangling butterflies, some paper lanterns, and an absolute ton of balloons. Decorations: $6. That’s a win in my book.
Games and activities:
I’ve learned to have more games ready to go than I have time for because often, I run out of things to do before I run out of party and then everyone goes tearing through my house like wild animals and since we have wood floors, somebody inevitably slips and falls and gets hurt. Last thing I need is a trip to the ER with somebody else’s kid. Keeping things under control at a kid’s birthday party is essential even without wood floors.
- Make up art. I printed a coloring page of a face for each girl found here and had crayons ready. This is an opening activity for while the kids are filtering in.
- Nail Polish Center. Another dollar store find. I got lots of different colors of nail polish and set up the station with cotton balls, polish remover, and lots and lots of nail polish.
- Karaoke. Last year Rae got a karaoke machine for Christmas. Another option is to turn on YouTube and create a kid-friendly karaoke list. This is easier if you have a way to stream internet on your TV.
- Just Dance. We no longer own a Wii thanks to an incident with paper towels going into the slot; so we used the YouTube method mentioned above. We’ve been doing this daily to get the after-school wiggles out anyway and the kids don’t care that it’s not “for real.”
- Hula-hoop musical chairs. Just like you would imagine, only with hula hoops instead of chairs. This is one of my better ideas. Someone always gets hurt in a game of musical chairs. I don’t know why.
- Hot Potato – similar to musical chairs only you toss a potato (or in our case, a pillow). This video shows how it’s played.
- Pillow case painting. This was the one thing I wanted to do, and the one thing I didn’t think I’d be able to do. But I lucked out and found the exact number of pillow cases I needed, also at the dollar store. I almost ordered them from Amazon here, but I’m glad I didn’t. The other things needed for this activity are fabric markers and lots of time.
- Face painting.
- Board games and cards
- Camp stories. I don’t recommend ghost stories for the littler kids unless you want to explain to all the moms at 11 pm why they had to get out of bed to come pick up their child. Some funny camp stories are better for the under 12 crowd.
- A movie for the over-night guests.
*Updated: The coloring pages were a good idea. The nail polish and dance games were a big hit. The pillow cases were the highlight of the party, apparently. Karaoke and the hula-hoops were a bit of a mess logistically because I had more kids show up than I expected. We ran out of time for everything else. I really could’ve used an extra pair of hands, but Sweetie and Ali were gone and Beth was keeping her brother happily occupied and I don’t really know any other moms. So I was on my own.
- DIY Pizzas. I got frozen pizzas and toppings for them to add on their own.
- Popcorn with add-your-own toppings.
- Cake and Icecream. *Updated: I used to decorate cakes and Rae asked for a cake that looked like a sleeping bag with a pillow. I had full intentions to make said cake, but I ended up getting sick the night before the party and I had some other set-backs, so we bought a sheet cake from the grocery store an hour before the party. Not what either of us wanted, but ohmygosh. I hate chocolate cake, but this cake was absolutely decadent. It melted on your mouth like an expensive chocolate bar yet was fluffy and delicate. I’ve never used the Macey’s bakery before, but they’ll be my go-to place from now on.
Don’t forget plates, cups, and utensils!
- Their pillow cases
- Hot chocolate mix and fruit snacks
- A teddy or plush doll
- A sleep mask. Again, time was short, so I got ours from the dollar store. My favorite place, can you tell? But they’re super easy to make. The Red Kitchen has a tutorial, or there are other tutorials all over the web. I’ve made them before and I usually get a package of elastic headbands like these in fun colors for the elastic and it works well. Plus, if you have time, it’s a lot cheaper and cuter to sew them up. If I’d had time, I would’ve done owls.
And, that’s our sleepover plan.