Plan a musical games and dance party the next time you host young grade schoolers at your home. The music will keep them moving, while the games will keep them organized. The end result will be a fun party that stands out from the rest.
Setting the StageYour decorations for this party should be modified disco theme. Although many of today's parents were children themselves during the disco era, the sounds and icons of this time period are well-known to all.
- Set up a disco ball with flashing lights and plan to dim the lights in your party room to a level that's safe for the kids, but dark enough to make things exciting.
- String mini disco type lights around your party room.
- Play popular music that the children are familiar with such as music CD's from Radio Disney.
Craft ProjectBegin your party with a craft project. It's the best way to amuse kids as you wait for everyone to arrive. They can work at their own pace, but will also interact with the rest of the group. In keeping with the disco theme, create suncatchers using blank or used (unwanted) CD's. Glue together the dull sides of the CD's before the party. Supply the children with two-foot lengths of lanyard cord to thread through the center hole. Provide an assortment of pony beads to thread on the cord before tying together the ends. Offer to help the kids tie their cords as many will be too young to manage on their own. Then give the kids an assortment of stickers and sequins with glue to decorate their CD's as they feel inspired. If any of them finish quickly, you can always give them coloring pages and crayons to fill in the remaining time.
In my experience with organizing games for young children, it's best not to have winners and losers. Instead of giving out prizes to the winners, give small prizes to everyone for participating, or skip the prizes altogether! This avoids hard feelings and tears among young kids who haven't quite mastered the art of graciously losing. Pick and choose any or all of these games for your party:
Musical Numbers - Create a circle of numbered papers or cardstock for each guest. Place slips of paper with each number in a hat. Have the children dance around the circle to music. Stop the music, ask the children to stand on the next number, and pull a slip of paper from the hat. The child on that number leaves the game with his or her numbered paper and chooses a prize from a basket. Continue until all of the children are out of the game.
Limbo - This game doesn't need a winner or loser to be fun. Children just love to challenge themselves going lower and lower under the limbo stick. Play the classic song "Limbo Rock" from Chubby Checker during this song.
"Hot Potato" - But instead of using a potato, use flashlights or flashing light balls. Lower the lights as you play this game. Hand each guest, except for one, a flashing light ball. Play music and have the children pass the lights around the circle until the music stops. The person without a light when the music stops is out. Be sure to have an extra light handy for the person who is out.
Freeze Dance - Add a twist to this classic game by telling the children to freeze in a particular shape each time the music goes off. For example, at a birthday party you could tell them to freeze as a birthday cake, a candle, a party hat, a balloon, a gift, etc.
Party FavorsSend them home with their suncatchers and other disco themed goodies such as disco ball necklaces or key chains and colorful paddle ball games. Don't forget to add as much candy as your conscience and budget will allow! Remember that kids love their party favors. Before the party, label the bags with your guests' names. That way they can add their craft and prizes won during the games to their party bags so that they won't have to scramble to find them when it's time to go home.
The FoodIn my experience with kids' parties it's best to give them their favorites, with perhaps a little decorative twist, unless you want a lot of leftovers.
- Pizza, or...
- Sandwiches cut out with musical note or instrument cookie cutters.
- Snack foods such as pretzels, potato chips, etc.
- Healthy snack foods such as grapes and baby carrots (when offered, most kids enjoy healthy options, too!)
- Juice boxes
- Butter cookies cut into the shape of musical notes or instruments.
- Birthday cake or cupcakes. An appropriate decoration for this dessert would also be musical notes. You can either draw them on your cake with black decorator frosting, or make musical notes out of chocolate by melting chips in your microwave, pouring into a plastic or pastry bag, cutting off the tip and drawing notes on a sheet of wax paper. Chill until firm and stick them into your cake or cupcakes.
If you'd like to find more of Donna Pilato's advice on hosting parties and entertaining friends and family you can visit her at The Delicious Dozen.