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Things to do INSTEAD of having a birthday party

March 5, 2013

With 3 kids there are going to be birthdays and holidays. That means parties. I love parties. I love throwing parties. But there are just times when I would rather not.

We have a moderately sized home and a decent sized back yard. We could have a party here if we wanted but then I have to corral the dogs, scrub the toilets and clean up after the party! No, thank you! Here are some things to do instead that might even be better! Of course you could incorporate these into a full blown party but I think they are enough by themselves!

Bloomington-Mall-660x350 Mall scavenger hunt (preteen-teen):

1. Create a scavenger hunt list!  Go ahead of time and scout out some things the “guests” could find. You might want to stick to things not inside of any shops. There have been occasions where the shop owners have complained to security. You could include items for them to buy if you want but there are lots of freebies around. Think food court for straws etc. or handout brochures at the information desk. If your guests are old enough to have a cell phone they could snap a picture of things. You could write the actual items in the list or make it harder (and more time consuming) by making each item a riddle to solve.

2. Print a few copies. Depending on how many players there are you may have 2 teams are several. Keep a copy for yourself.

3. To make this easy, have players meet at the mall. No chauffeuring for you! Parents can and hangout or return later. Just make sure parents know their child will not be 100% supervised. Also be sure to get a contact number for the parent if they are not staying. Just in case. AND HAVE A SET PICK UP TIME!

4. Divide them into teams of 3-4 on each team. Depending on age, they may need an adult on each team. If they are trustworthy enough not to have an adult, they should at least have a cell phone and should be required to check in at regular intervals that you predetermine. I would say every 10-15 minutes. HAVE A SPECIFIC MEETING PLACE TO CHECK IN WHEN DONE!

5. Have lunch in the food court, do some shopping, enjoy a foot massage at the kiosk in the middle of the mall, hangout with the other parents or spy on the kids. The game is over when one team finds everything on the list. Or when the set end time is reached, in that case the winner is the team who found the most on their list. You could buy the winning team ice cream or buy them something ahead of time for the prize.

NatureNature scavenger hunt (all ages with supervision):

Same as above. To take place at a park, campground or other outdoor venue.

cameraPhoto Scavenger hunt (teen, preteens with a responsible adult):

Similar to the previous. However, this would require a citywide hunt, team drivers and cameras. This is more suitable for older teens or those with an adult driver! Examples for the Scavenger Hunt List: specific landmarks, “group of three things that are Neon pink”, A funny license plate, a misspelled sign, etc.

Movie-Ticket-1Movie marathon BYOS (bring your own snacks) (all ages):

Ok, so this one will need your home or perhaps a projector in the back yard or rent a room at a rec center. On the invitations request that each person bring their favorite movie snacks and that drinks will be provided. You cold also provide popcorn but I’m sure someone will bring a box of microwave popcorn (especially if you use that as an example on the invitation ;)) If you do this outdoors also ask them to bring a blanket to sit/lay on.

You could also make it a BYOM (bring you own movie). This will make the selection of movies more extensive. You could let the birthday child choose which to watch, put them in a large container and randomly choose one at a time or vote!

For this, I would do cake (cupcakes) first so they can munch on it during the movies.

water gunsPaint gun tag (all ages):

This is the less painful version of paintball with a souvenir at the end!

On the invitations, state that guests should bring a bathing suit and a plain white shirt that will not be white for long. Asking them to bring their own shirt is easier than guessing sizes or asking everyone’s size. It’s also cheaper for you and depending on the ages of your guests it may be better not to know the sizes. You will need:

  • water guns
  • any paint that can be mixed well with water/koolaid might work too

Wearing the bathing suit under the white shirt will make clean up easy. Now, the kids each get a water gun, add a bit of paint and fill it with water.

Time to play tag! The person who is “it” will be spraying instead of “tagging” once you are sprayed you are now “it”. Of course your child gets to choose the rules! The game ends when everyone is covered in paint! Remove the new colored shirts and lay them flat to dry while the players hose off and dry off too. This would be a good time to sing Happy Birthday and eat cake!

The shirts can be further decorated if you desire. Everyone takes home a new shirt and water gun!


7 Comments leave one →
  1. March 5, 2013 1:03 pm

    These are some great ideas. The grand-kid birthdays are coming up soon and I’m going to try a few of these ideas. Love the Nature scavenger hunt.

  2. March 5, 2013 9:45 pm

    A mall scavenger hunt sounds like such a fun idea!

  3. March 6, 2013 12:56 am

    Great ideas! I’m not big on parties so this will come in handy!

  4. March 6, 2013 7:57 am

    What great and unique ideas! I love the mall scavenger hunt for preteens and teens…fun!

  5. March 6, 2013 11:29 am

    What fun ideas! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  6. March 12, 2013 1:38 am

    Those are such fun ideas!


  1. Party Planning For A Soon-To-Be Teen | teentoddlernewborn

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