Wednesday, May 26, 2010

ARRGGHH! It's Treasure Ye Seek!

Having conducted a few treasure hunts for pirate parties, I've figured out what works and what doesn't work.
Find a bunch of half shells that your clues will go in. This makes it easy for the children to know what they're looking for and the shells go well with your theme. The clue itself could be a short rhyme that hints at an object in your house, such as a fridge. I usually print off pictures and place those in the shells. That way children of all ages can easily participate in the hunt.
Decide ahead of time if you want the clues to be throughout your house, including your child's room, the bathroom, etc. and order the clues so they are going from one end of the house to the other, back and forth, instead of all in one or two rooms. Make sure the shells are well hidden or throughout the party the children may find them and bring them to you. That will mess up the flow of the whole hunt, as you manically try to redirect the children to the next clue.
Schedule the hunt to be toward the end of the party. Parents arriving early can witness the fun and as this is perhaps your most boisterous activity, you can get them all riled up and then send them on their way. You can make their loot bags the found treasure, so having the hunt at the end of the party means the children aren't opening the loot bags during the party.
As the hunt gets underway, explain to the children that you're going to show or read the clue and they have to go together to search for the next clue. Now this next part is important. Tell them that when they find each clue, they have to bring it to you. This will prevent a stampede of older children racing all over the house and leaving the younger, smaller ones behind. Everyone gets a chance to see and search for each clue.
It's up to you if you want to have mini prizes at each shell location, such as gold coins. If you do, make sure the little pirates have small bags to carry everything in.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Name Tags with Numbers

I've said it before (on Twitter search for #partytip) and I'll say it again: name tags with numbers. As your party guests arrive, make sure each one gets a name tag. This will make it easy to label the crafts, prizes, etc. More importantly, put a number on each name tag, starting with the birthday child as #1. It's his or her special day and I've long since given up on imposing my will of how to be a good host on an excited child.

These numbers will let the children know in which order they will go for games and gift unwrapping. They live and breathe by these numbers and don't crowd in asking if they can go next. It's magical. I've seen parents embrace the numbering system as their own and it really works: no hard feelings, no competitiveness, just eagerly anticipating their numbers to be next.

This is just one sanity saver you can use when hosting your child's party!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Party Food ~ A Princess Party

When planning a princess party, inspiration for the food can come from a traditional tea party. Delicate sandwiches made with pink dyed bread can be ordered from your grocery store's bakery. I don't recommend green, as the bread looks moldy. Ask them to slice the bread horizontally and then spread peanut butter (if no nut allergies), cream cheese, Cheez Whiz, egg salad, and jam. Roll the bread and then slice it to make pinwheels. Crustless triangle or finger sandwiches with lunch meats provide a variety of shapes for visual interest.

Line the serving dishes with paper doilies. Have colorful floral napkins on hand to add flourish to the display. Use multi-level serving dishes and adorn them with silk flowers. Scatter silk petals on the table.

Hot chocolate served in a mini tea set will add to the fun. Instead of a birthday cake, have mini cupcakes that the guests can decorate with sprinkles and royal icing roses (from a bulk food store). Delicate and feminine is the feel you are going for with a princess theme!