Would Love Your Ideas for a 6y.o. Bday Party Outside in AM!

Updated on June 29, 2012
P.N. asks from Bennett, CO
14 answers

So, my lovely soon-to-be 6 y.o. wants to invite his preschool friends to a birthday party in July. I'm trying to be frugal, keep the mess outside, and keep it in the A.M., so that we can have a normal rest of the day.
Any ideas? The only thing I had come up with so far was instead of a birthday cake, I was going to do a "donut tower cake", and stack glazed donuts up like a multi-tier cake. Also planned on putting out cut fruit, milk, juice, coffee for adults, and maybe some mini bagels and cream cheese for the adults, too.
But I want the kids OUTSIDE! We have a big, unfenced backayard. There is a swingset. We have a deck. Now I need ideas to keep probably 10-12 5 year olds entertained and occupied for 90 minutes :) The only thing I could think of was bubbles. So, moms, bring on the ideas! I'm trying not to have too many "take turns" items, as preschoolers lose patience fast!

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answers from Grand Forks on

My city's Parks and Rec department has game packs you can rent. For about $30 we got ring toss, bean bag toss, big parachute, tug-of-war rope, and soccer kick. We also had the Little Tykes basketball hoop, bubbles, and sidewalk chalk out, and all the kids got a tatoo. If you can get ahold of a parachute, the parachute games were the highlight for all the kids.

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answers from Kansas City on

My first thought was to set up a sprinkler, slip n slide, water balloons, etc. It will easily keep the kids entertained! You could start with one thing and add in others or rotate through in groups so that they don't get bored right away.

My second thought was to agree that you need a theme, water games can easily be a theme, but I like a theme! ;)

A perfect theme for July however, would be the Olympics. It would be sooooo fun! I'm considering throwing an Olympics party just because it's the Olympics for my preschooler and her friends, if I had a birthday to go along with it I'd be beside myself!

You can set up different obstacles or events and use what you already have. Your swing set probably has at least two different events built right into it! You could even include things like water balloon toss, sack race etc. And I saw the Family Fun this month too and it did have cute ideas, including cupcakes with M&Ms in the shape of the Olympics rings on it, soooo cute! You could still do your donuts, just get plain or glazed like you mentioned then offer bowls of frosting that you've dyed in the colors of the Olympic rings and let the kids frost and decorate with gold sprinkles. For goody bags you could totally do medals and maybe a red, white, and blue headband or wristband. If you have the party after the 4th, you could probably get a lot of "team USA" aka red/white/blue stuff on sale!

Have fun!!!

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answers from Lynchburg on

Hi P.-

One of the best things I learned to do with LARGE groups of little kiddos was to 'divide' and conquer!

I would come up with a 'theme'...and have a series of activities set up all over the yard that you can have them 'cycle' thru in 'pairs' or groups of three. It sounds like you will have other adults there, so when they come...assign each of them an activity to 'oversee'.

For example...a 'water' theme...teams could be water related...'sharks'...'whales'...'starfish' ect. Give them 'team tags'.

Get some cheap 'wading pools'. One station can have those magnetic fish and poles...and they 'fish'.

One pool can have large marbles that they fish out with their toes...

pin the tail on the fish station...

Fish rubbing station... (real fish with scales on...brown paper...flat crayons)...and their 'effort' is a 'take home' goodie!

A water slide station

A BIG bubble station...

Plastic bowling pins with squirt 'iems' to knock the pins over...

Your imagination is the limit.

A 'fish' shaped cake...

Anyway...have fun...enlist help of other adults...(and PRAY for good weather!!!)

Best Luck!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

There was a section in the Disney Family Fun magazine about some games that were really cute.

The one was to take a tissue box and put a belt through the bottom of the sides so it could be worn around the waist. Then put some ping pong balls inside and see who can shake all of the balls out the fastest. You could use string or ribbon instead of belts if you don't have any handy.

Another was to take shower caps and put shaving cream on top and have a partner *from a short distance away* throw cheese doodles (popcorn would work too and be cheaper). Object was to see which team could get the most on the cap.

They also had a ping pong ball throw set up with cups on a table and then you had to see who could get the balls in the cups.

I think I've seen ping pong balls at dollar stores...

Also, my mom always had balloon pops and we loved them! You make two teams and have two chairs and enough balloons to spell out something like "Happy Birthday!" for each team. If that is too difficult, make it your son's name. In each balloon, put a slip of paper that can be found when the balloon is popped (it's popped by sitting on it in the chair). Some of the papers should have the needed letters and some of the papers should have something else (Try Again, :(, a symbol like a star, etc.). The goal is that the team pops all the balloons and then works together to spell the message to win.

You could also have a pinata and that can be cheap if you make it. You use an inflated balloon and a glue and water mixture with newspaper strips. (google for exact instructions) Paint or leave the way it is if you use the comic section....fill with candy and duct tape the small opening where you put the candy in at. Hang and enjoy! I loved making a few pinatas with my mom when I was younger and can't wait to make one with my daughter someday!

Sack races with old pillow cases would be fun too!

Also, you could have a relay race with small water balloons on spoons...Make sure to have extra balloons on hand for when they burst so they can keep going! LOVED that one when I was little!

Just some suggestions. Hope they help....

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answers from Minneapolis on

This book is my ultimate favorite go-to for games and activities ideas. I have not been let down once. Everything is very cheap if not free, and the kids love the activities. They're classic and tried and true. You won't be disappointed.

One of the games that were absolute favorites:

Spiderweb - you take several different colored skeins yarn or twine (enough for every party-goer if the party is smaller in size) and tie one end to a prize or objects and weave the remaining thread/yarn all over a room, around furniture over lights, criss-crossing over other colored lines of yarn until it looks sort of like a spiderweb (actually more like a museum protected by an infrared lazer beam alarm). Anchor the ends in the same area, and mark the floor with small sign labled "start." Have each party goer choose one colored thread and signal "go." It is crazy fun watching the kids climbing all over each other and under and over things trying to get to the prizes at the end without getting tangled with the others. They get the prizes at the end if they can artfully get through the maze without getting tangled. If they go slower, methodically, and communicate with the others, it is fun like a very sophistocated "pick up sticks" game of skill.

For more ideas see this book: http://www.amazon.com/Great-Big-Book-Childrens-Games/dp/0...

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answers from Honolulu on

Kids that age are typically busy and active on their own, especially boys!
I have a 5 year old son, who will be 6 this year.
All I know is, he and all his friends are pretty active all on their own, and they play and do things in our yard, without much prompting.

One thing I might suggest is getting a Pinata.
Kids like that. And that is the thing that my son is asking for, for his 6th Birthday.
Just fill it with whatever you want.
90 minutes is not long... to entertain.
It will go by, FAST.
And you need to figure in the time for cake eating, and/or if you will be opening presents during the party or not. Because that takes up time, too.

Bubbles is fun.
Or a treasure hunt. Just hide various little toys/prizes in the yard and have them find it. But remember how many things you hid, or it will be found like weeks later, etc. LOL

Or turn on a sprinkler and let them play in the water. Then you'd need to tell the parents to bring extra clothing and towels.

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answers from Portland on

First, if you are doing 'prizes', do them goody-bag style, so everyone gets one.

Sack races are fun. Kids can use the smaller-sized plastic trash bags if need be.

Another race is the plastic-egg-on-the-spoon one.

In both cases, just cheer for the winner. No need to hand out prizes, or expect tears.

If you have a concrete pad or driveway, how about some sidewalk chalk?
If you have big bins, consider offering water play with scoops, cups, and other things you can easily pull from the kitchen.

Mostly, the kids will just play with each other. I agree with not having to many take-turn things. Also--don't worry about programming too many activities-- the kids will just be happy to see each other. Your biggest challenge, however, may be keeping them in the yard. Might be good to use tent stakes and bright plastic ribbon (think Home Depot or Lowe's) to mark where your yard is. This will give the kids a clear boundary. Have fun!

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answers from Detroit on

I would do a cowboy theme
-bandanas $1 ea can be a nice giveaway
-create a poster for the food table that says " Chuck Wagon"
-create a poster for the drink table that says "Watering Hole"
-get a bag of pink balloons from Walmart. Blow them out and draw pig faces. You can give them out or play pop the pig
-if you have time you can create a western town using large cardboard boxes. Check with your local appliance store they may be able to give you boxes for free.

If you want a no theme party
-I spy bottles or bags. You can use empty pop bottles and fill them with rice and little trinkets. You can also make ispy gel bags. I would use a freezer grade ziplock, hair gel from the dollar store and add food coloring if you want and some glitter and ispy things that won't puncture the bag. then duct tape around
-a basket of balls can also be a hit

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answers from San Francisco on

The good thing about this age is that will will play well on their own without much direction.
Bubbles are good. Can you also set up a kiddie pool or water tub or table where they can fill up squirt guns?
Play pin the tail on the donkey. Even if YOU think it's old fashioned they will love it!
Have a treasure hunt. Have all the kids hide in the house for 1 or 2 minutes while you throw small candies, coins and other little treasures all over the yard, give them goody bags and let them go for it (do this at the end) or you could do a pinata.
I always like to have a "craft" area set up (this can be nothing more than a table with coloring books and crayons.) It just gives a place to go for kids who may need a break from all the running around and excitement.
Happy birthday to your son and have fun!!!

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answers from Cleveland on

How about a Carnival? Walmart online has a $39 carnival giant decorating kit and for $4, a 40" inflatable elephant as well as a few other animals if you're so inclined. See if you can borrow some games from friends, check the library too. A few simple relays that are really fun are a "Mom Calling Relay" (kids are blindfolded and have to go find their mom), "Getting Dressed Relay" - kids can leave their own shoes at dressing spot, put on a hoodie, etc., or have opposite sex clothes in a suitcase or box. Water balloons, cupcake or pie eating contest, ring toss, duck pond, fish cups, golf hole-in-one (walmart has inexpensive plastic golf sets), bowling, etc. Search for carnival savers.

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answers from Fort Collins on

We just had a really fun summer bday party! We had beach balls, kiddie pool, sprinklers, slip-n-slide, water balloons, and water table all set up. We ate (mostly) food on a stick....fruit kabobs, veggie kabobs, chicken skewers. We did habe a bday cake, although I thought it would be cute to have popcicles too.

It was a great party! The kids had a blast in the water first, then we grilled and ate, presents were opened and all went home and we went to nap!



answers from Denver on

Let everyone know up front, the party is outside. The first fifteen minutes be free play while allowing all the kids to arrive. Play tag, red rover and "old fasioned" games. Musical shoes..like musical chairs except kids use their shoes, duck, duck goose, make up games. Have paper cups and glue, get gooogly eyes at a craft store, potting soil, and grass seed. Make faces on the cups, and the grass seed will grow to be hair. Buy shoe string licorice and string fruit loops and make necklaces. Have cake and ice cream and the last fifteen minutes be free play, but suggest a game if you need to. I would not worry about doing food, or coffee to cater to any of the adults..it is a six year old birthday party..make it about your son. I always told parents the could stay if they were more comfortable, but feel free to run an errand or spend some time with their other kids. Don't do party favors..the fruit loop jewelry and grass seed person serves the purpose.
One more idea...have some hula hoops balls, blankets that could be used as capes, face paints etc. let the kids be in charge og coming up with their own show, or circus..including painting one another's faces.



answers from Dallas on

You can rent a bounce house those are usually a big hit!



answers from Denver on

When my kids where that age we did face painting and the kids loved it and it doesn't take very long.Michaels has face paint even the dollar store carries it and they show the picture on how to do spiderman butterflies and a lot more..Good Luck!!

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