Even educational themes can be fun for kids if you make the right choices. When searching to find that special idea for your mini me’s celebration, it’s always great to think completely out of the box. An educational theme certainly is not the norm. Combine that with fantastic details and you have a win win situation.
Recently, lifetimemoms.com quoted “yours truly” in an article about bringing learning into the game of parties. Photo by hwtm.com
Tips for Planning an Educational Birthday Party from lifetimemoms.com:
Choose a Theme: A theme “highlights the interests of the birthday child and brings a focus,” explains Ashley Renee Jefferson, an early childhood enthusiast and play time expert, who runs My Play with Ashley. A favorite book, animal, or activity makes a great theme. Jefferson adds, “Trust me, it makes it easier on you! Choosing between a princess party or circus party does not matter. They can all be educational so long as it is executed well.”
Invite Learning: Set the tone from the beginning with an invitation that ties into the theme and gets young guests thinking. “Send your toddler guests an invite made out of eco-friendly jumbo puzzle pieces,” suggests Marley Majcher, The Party Goddess!, who has celebrity clients including Britney Spears, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Pierce Brosnan, Katherine Heigl, and Snoop Dogg.
Short and Sweet: “Short people need short activities for their short attention spans!” advises Dylan Glanzer, founder of Parties by Dylan & Company, who also holds an M.A. in early childhood education. “Successful parties for ages one through six involve short, hands-on activities that include creative props and music.”
Feed Me: “Feed children before they do any entertainment,” warns Glanzer, “Hungry children don’t like to play anything!” Provide some healthy options, like fruit, for a brain-friendly snack. Getting kids involved in the refreshments is another way to spice up an educational party. Make your own pizzas or decorate your own cupcakes encourages creativity.
Man Your Stations: Take a tip from classroom teachers and break kids up into groups of three to five to rotate them around stations for some of the activities.
Get Physical: Children, especially young kids, need to be up and moving. Provide a good mix of sit-down crafts and activities that get everyone dancing, racing, and jumping. You can tie these physical activities into the theme. For example, try a freeze dance with everyone moving like their favorite animals. Obstacle courses and scavenger hunts work with most themes and will encourage kids to get up and explore.
Play to the Crowd: Modify existing popular games and activities to fit your theme. Melissa Taylor of Imagination Soup created a Greek Gods-themed “Go Fish” game for her kid’s Percy Jackson party.
Think Outside the Goody Bag: If you are looking for an alternative to candy or toys, “coupons to visit local attractions are ways to provide children with cultural and educational opportunities — memories that will carry them throughout life,” says Greg Jenkins of Bravo Productions.
While it is important to be organized, leave plenty of room for open-ended fun. Ashley Renee Jefferson notes,”Many of the party companies that I’ve seen come and perform, but with the work that I do I show up to facilitate. There’s a difference. I bring the goods and more but my job is to set up a platform for children to play together and explore without giving an overwhelming amount of direction.”
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