Birthday party...oh Lord

Updated on May 18, 2011
E.B. asks from Tacoma, WA
22 answers

I am throwing my first BIG birthday bash for my six year old. What do I do with twelve 6 year olds?? the party is three hours. We have tons of outside toys and is suppose to be nice! Game ideas...I am getting a Pinata....What other cheap ideas for games or crafts do you have?? My budget is pretty tiny...there will be plenty of adults...I am thinking about making a obstacle course for the kids to those are the two things I have figured out on my own.

Please anything you have done at parties or have seen done! I am not good with this sort of stuff :)

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So What Happened?

Invites have been sent out...I did the timing for it by how the other kids parties have been done this year.

All these ideas are awesome!!!! Thank you guys so much!!! Next year I am going to keep it a little smaller. I think I bit off more then I thought I could handle!! It will be alot of fun though!!

Featured Answers



answers from San Francisco on

two words: face paint. We hadn't even planned on making this an 'event' at my twin DD's 6th b-day party but they just mentioned to their friends that they had face paint and in an instant we had a dozen 6YO's happily squealing "face paint! face paint!" - maybe a couple of adults can help you with this, face paints are pretty inexpensive at craft stores and you could probably google up some DIY face paint recipes too

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Redding on

I bought some cheap whie pillow cases and a package of fabric markers for my daughter's 6th bday party. They were a huge hit. They all loved decorating them.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Washington DC on

WE love homemade parties.
As the guests arrive have a coloring sheet for them to do. Download coloring pages from the internet.

Get some of the big poppy packing stuff from the Mail Boxes stores. Get plenty. Put it on the drive way and bring out a dance cd and have them stomp on the poppies until the music stops. THe one still moving is out.

Musical chairs in the yard

Find old dress ups of yours and some of your hubbies and have dress up races. THe kids start at one end of the yard, put the clothese on, run to a tree then back and take off the clothes, next one does it

Fill pantyhoses with flour and have a snowball fight. Cut the hose into little tubes and tie off the tubes with flour inside.

LArge mayonnaise containers make great catchers for clothespins. Kids have to stand on a chair and drop her clothespin into the jar. Then run back to the others in her team, do this for a specified time, like 2 minutes.

Do you have a boat? Put the kids in the boat and have adults underneath and let the kids "fish" you place candy and stickers on their clothespin or paperclip fishing hooks.

Get a tarp and have the kids in swim suits. Then make your own slip and slide, run a sprinkler down the tarp. Serve fish stix and gold fish crackers and Swedish Fish.

Water balloons, there are so many games to play with water balloons.
Have the kids in two liines. In the distance have two chairs. Kids have to run with their balloons and sit on them to break them on the chair. Have adults hold the chairs as they may tumble with the little ones.


Money in a sandbox, hide change in the sand box and let them treasure hunt.

I know there are more. But we have piano lessons.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

What a perfect age for a "classic" backyard party!
- Obstacle course would be great and ask your friends/neighbors to donate items to be returned (like jump ropes, hula hoops, buckets, bean bags, etc)
- Pin the Tail on the Donkey (my mom used to make her own using whatever our favorite animal was at the time)
- Balloon toss
- Egg & Spoon relay race
- 3 legged race

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

My sister did a scavenger hunt at her son's 5th birthday party. There weren't 12 kids there but they loved it. My son, over a year later, asked if we could do one sometime for fun! It was "pirate" theme party and the "treasure" was at the end of the hunt....

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Joplin on

Age 6 is easy to musical chairs, do your pinata...they don't need a lot of structured activities. Let them play. Between cake and presents it will fly by. If you are set on a craft then go to a store like Michaels or Hobby Lobby and buy one of those all in one packages that is usually the easiest, they have all sorts of foam type crafts that are simple and cute. Make treat bags with fun things to do outside like a whistles = ) or bubbles.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

how about good old pin the tail on the donkey and dropping clothes-pins into a jar while blindfolded?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

We just did a bounce house for our 6 yo's bday party just last weekend. Oh my goodness, the were in there non-stop it was hilarious! Didn't need to plan anything else as far as games go because that kept them occupied the entire time.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Hi there,
I have the PERFECT solution for you! Have you seen the little cardboard kits by Calafant? You can choose from different designs: Dinosaur, Racecar, Spaceship, Circus Wagon, Farmers Market, Steamer, Airplane and more. Each kit comes with 6 markers (washable) and each kit can easily be assembled by any 6 year old. Not only is this a great craft for outside, but you'll see that your little guest will run around and pretend play with their toy that they designed themselves for the duration of the party. Plus, you won't need any other goodie-bag items - just let them take home their toy (very durable). They'll be so proud showing their creation to their parents :) We've done plenty of birthday parties for boys that way and it's always been a success. I feel a little awkward because I'm selling the kits at my store, but please know that this is my honest experience (I only sell stuff that I love and have tried with my kids). The 12-pack is on sale right now and shipping is free. Check it out here:
No matter what you decide, I'm sure your party is going to be a BLAST!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Modesto on

THREE HOURS? Omg, you are insane, lol.
I have no suggestions but I hope you have a fun time.
Keeping the moms happy will be harder than keeping the kids happy.
I had ONE birthday party for my oldest when he was 6, and never had another one, it's frustrating and you have to really be "into it" to make it work, I didn't like having to make sure everything was structured.. not for me.... the party was fine... we had a pool and water balloons, but NEVER again. I'm sure you will get tons of good advice from the moms on here that love that type of thing. I'm more of a party "goer" not a "doer".

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Check out, it is awesome! You can search ideas by age, theme, etc.
Three hours is pretty long for that age, if you haven't already sent out the invites I'd change it to two hours, that's PLENTY. Have fun!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Spokane on

Between cake, presents, pinata, coming and going, just letting them loose with some water balloons or something should keep them sufficiently occupied. Set up a sprinkler and let 'em go. I think at that age just having *that* many kids will kep them busy. You'll just stress yourself out if you try to structure the whole me!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

at the end you could have a water balloon fight... you could also have relay races, like with the balloon in between your legs, boiled egg on the spoon or some type of ball carrying it down, pin the tail on the donkey, musical chairs, red-rover-red-rover, maybe a sit down craft project... I bet the time will fly by...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Pinata and obstacle course sounds good!

Maybe a water balloon toss, just pair up the kids and have them toss the balloon back and forth.

Simple relays, like balancing a golf ball on a spoon.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

scavenger hunt is always fun!



answers from Seattle on

Hi E.,

I have done the following games at my kid's parties:

-Ring toss
-Bowling (Target is inexpensive)
-Blow up baseball guy and they toss the ball into his glove
-Tape the eyepatch on the pirate/tape the tale on the donkey (dollar store has these)
-Toss the hoolahoop over the balloon (helium balloon on a string tied to a rock or something heavy)
-Color table
-Lego table

Not all kids will want to play game so it's nice to have other options (like the legos or coloring) for them.

Have fun!! :-)



answers from Portland on

You don't need money for six year olds. Be the organizer of a game of freeze tag, play musical chairs, try a hide and seek game either traditional or one like sardines. Boys have lots of energy so anything that will get them moving is good. Girls will play all the above too.

If it's a nice day out maybe you could turn them loose with squirt guns. Just ask that they bring a swimsuit.



answers from New York on

You can go to Walmart or Michaels and buy an inexpensive craft for the girls to do - perhaps friendship bracelets or sand art? Then they will have something to bring home with them.

You can make cupcakes and let each girl decorate one.

You can make an ice cream station and do make your own sundaes.

Have fun!


answers from Portland on

Play dough and balloons! Cheap and will entertain for hours! Of course, there is a downside... playdough will be messy. Are you ok with the crumbs getting swept into your yard afterwards? Set up an activity station or three, where kids can roam and do what they like to do... Have a plastic tablecloth and set up play dough stuff at one station. Blow up balloons and let each kid have one to toss around and chase, or make a game of it. (do NOT go the water balloon route, it is so messy and can be the cause of someone getting hurt) The obstacle course is a great idea! Bubbles are another fun thing for that age.
Keeping 12 six year olds on the same page for three hours could be challenging. I hope you will have some other adults there to assist. Paper Jet building is another cheap but fun activity. Have the basics figured out in advance, have some adults who can assist and instruct, and then once everyone gets their jets built, and decorated if you want to take more time, line them up and let 'em fly! Have a fly off, maybe everyone who got their plane across this line goes again and so on. or just let them keep throwing them around the yard. You will have some kids who are like Tigger and just keep going and others who will want some quieter activities. So being able to keep everyone happy is your mission. Flarp or silly putty are popular with this age. Maybe have some of this on hand. Bring out the legos and have them in one area to play with.
I will say that while we have done plenty of pinatas, they ARENT cheap to do... because they cost about $15 themselves, then you need to fill it! That is the spendy part. The cheapest filler is really dumb stuff that you may as well not even buy. The stuff that is more fun, adds up. To avoid it becoming a complete sugar mania, we use fruit roll-ups or fruit snacks, small bubble containers, matchbox cars, packs of sugar free gum, glow sticks and even coins. The fun isnt always for the entire group, because often someone breaks it open before everyone gets a chance to hit it and there are always going to be rougher kids who scramble in and grab gobs of stuff while shyer kids hang back not wanting to get rough for the stuff. I have made everyone hold back and then divvied it out, but that was with a smaller group of girls, and they still wanted to go for it! Not sure if you can hold back the boys!
It may seem silly, but Pin The XXX On The XXX is a good cheap game, that you can buy or make yourself. This is no longer tail on the donkey, but whatever you want it to be! Nose on the clown, trunk on the elephant, monkey onto the palm tree, etc. six year olds are young enough to be into this game, and old enough to handle being blind folded and spun.
Musical chairs is a good one too. No cost to you, just get enough chairs, circle them seats out and bring out the music! The chairs could be part of your obstacle course and then pulled together for the game. And if you felt like winding down near the end, you could use the chairs again for a story time and read to the group, one of your childs favorite stories or two.
You can also use the music for a Red Light Green Light game or let them dance to the music and then when it stops, they have to freeze.
My advice is to get all of these things mapped out on paper beforehand. Determine which you will plan to do and in what order possibly, and what supplies you need for each. Perhaps assign each, or a couple, to your assistants, so that you arent running around trying to pull it all off yourself. This gives the adults in charge a little breather between their sessions, but keep the kids moving from one thing to the next. If something isnt working, dont stress - just move on. I assume at least a couple parents will stay? Recruit them!
Not sure what your cake scenerio is - but cupcakes are very acceptable nowadays, you could bake them yourself for minimal cost, then make up butter cream frosting and divide it into sandwich bags and let the kids decorate their own cupcakes before eating them! They LOVE this. have a couple bowls of options for decorating, mini m&m's, choc chips, sprinkles, etc. Put a sheet or plastic table cover down, set up some plastic knifes for spreading and clip the bottom corner of the frosting baggies so they can pipe it out. You and your birthday child could decorate a couple in advance for "examples".
Make sure someone is dedicated to being the photographer. They need to be sure they get photos of the different activities happening and also, should get a photo of each guest with the birthday child. I like to send these in my thank you cards.
And I guess I will end by stating again.... You Must Have Help! And friends, family and other parents should be glad to pitch in and help, if you just let them know what your needs are and where they can assist. Show them your list and ask if they have a particular thing they want to be in charge of. If you do not have a good camera, ask someone who does to come be your photographer (that is a full time gig!) and maybe you have a baker friend who will be in charge of the cupcake project.
I LOVE parties and am very excited for you to have a fun event and make some memories! You Can Do It!



answers from Portland on

I'm pretty laissez faire when it comes to these things... When you get a bunch of kids together like that, they usually run around in a pack, completely engrossed in their game. I find it hard to pull them away to play pin the tail on the donkey (or whatever). So I tend to plan fewer activities and just let them play free-form.



answers from Portland on

I had planned a bday party and had everything set up for my dd last year and all the kids wanted to do was run around outside. They started their own games and played duck duck goose and popped balloons. It was a rare decent day in April in the NW. It did rain/poured just before the party was over, but they didn't want to play my games.

This year, I had a couple of crafts set up and we played a scavenger hunt game for 6 yr olds and instead of giving them one more thing to do, I gave them a choice of running around outside or playing our game or doing a craft inside. Every child chose to run outside. It started sprinkling a little, but the kids still had fun.

For my son's bday, we bought a $14 tether ball (no pole) and strapped it to our deck. We saved boxes and taped them up for building towers. The kids had a great time building and knocking down. They still enjoy it when the weather turns nice. Bean bag toss is always good-use an old tube sock cut into sections and sew up the ends with beans inside. Hoola hoops from the dollar store. Chalk painting on the sidewalk/driveway, etc.


answers from Chicago on

One thing my sister ALWAYS does at her parties that is a cheap idea and really fun for everyone is the kids come in and decorate their own cupcake ... she just gets a bunch of cake mix boxes on sale of white and chocolate, makes the frosting with the diff colors and puts some in plastic baggies with the end cut off etc ... this is a fun thing for the kids/parents to do and if you do not have too many it's only a few boxes (batches) of baking the day before. She has even done the prep the weekend before and frozen the cupcakes leaving the frosting to the night before or morning of (depending on time of the party).

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