So your child's birthday is just around the corner, and you don't have time to plan and prepare the perfect party? Don't despair. There are plenty of fun places to hold kids' parties that'll save you time in planning, preparation, and cleanup. Most importantly, your birthday child and guests will have a blast.
Try some of these party places for kids of all different ages. When you call, ask what amenities are available and included. Many sites provide invitations, food and cake, balloons and decorations, a private party area, a gift for the birthday child, and other special birthday services.
Skates & Blades - Roller skating rinks are again gaining popularity, and most offer a choice of inline or roller skate rentals for today's kids. Also, consider ice-skating and ice or a roller hockey party as a fun alternative.
Strike it Big – Bowling parties are a fun form of recreation for kids of all ages. Preschoolers can score every time with bumper bowling, while teens can go cosmic for glow-in-the-dark fun. Add to the amusement by offering small prizes for low and high scores and the most and fewest gutters.
Pizza and Play – Preschool and early elementary children thrill at invitations to these parties. They can play kiddie arcade-style games, win tickets for prizes, hop on coin-operated rides, and romp in soft play areas.
Water, Water Everywhere – Head to a wave pool or water park where big kids can ride the waves, swish down water slides, take a plunge, and go on tubing adventures. What better way to cool off and party on a hot summer day? Indoor water parks are a fun alternative for the colder months.
Old MacDonald Had a Farm – Check with your nearby farm, ranch, or apple orchard to find out what activities are offered. Many include hayrides, petting zoos, corn mazes, apple picking, and more. These are perfect for fall birthdays.
Recreational Romp – Recreation and fitness centers offer a wide variety of activities for birthdays, including gymnastics, swimming, basketball, and arts and crafts.
You Should be Dancin’ – Check with your local dance studio for birthday party packages. Some offer professional dance instruction and allow food and party treats to be brought in, so the whole shebang is done right there.
Craft Magic – Young kids love to create. So schedule a craft party at a fabric shop, craft store, or scrap-recycling center where kids' activities are offered.
Fast Food Fun – For a simple and inexpensive toddler or preschool party, McDonald's, Burger King, and other fast-food joints are excellent choices. Children can crawl through a playscape and dive into a pool of balls while enjoying their favorites: hamburgers and French fries. Call ahead to make your reservation.
Putt-Putt & More - Family fun centers offer a variety of entertainment, including batting cages, miniature golf, video games, bumper boats, and go-carts.
Beach Party – Give your teen some fun in the sun with a beach bash. Contact the park for information on volleyball equipment and to make a reservation for a covered picnic area. Look for a spot with horseshoes and plenty of sand, and don't forget the beach balls, pizza, and cooler of pop.
Keep the guest list manageable to avoid chaos, confusion, and conflict.
Request an RSVP with a specific deadline, so there is time to invite others should the guest list fall short.
Offer your child choices for the party, ask for input, and allow them to assist in planning.
Send out written invitations. Verbal invitations are easily forgotten.
Kimberly Blaker is a freelance writer. She also owns an online bookshop, Sage Rare & Collectible Books, specializing in out-of-print, scarce, signed, and first editions; fine bindings; ephemera and more at sagerarebooks.com.