Birthday Season: Monkey Cups

Published July 15, 2012

It’s that time of year again when we get to host our children’s Birthday parties. Aside from the obvious pleasures of the screaming children, the staining of the carpet, and the torturing of the family dog…I really enjoy them. The bottom line is the kid’s love the fun atmosphere and it’s up to us to make an effort and provide the special touches that will make the party memorable for them.

Instead of hiring Clancy the deranged clown this year; try to come up with some home ideas for the party that you can do yourself.  I’ve always recommended putting together a theme for a party. Whether it’s an animal of some sort or perhaps a space theme, kids love theme parties because it gets everyone into the spirit.

There’s no question that having a good theme for your party is probably the most important element in the planning phase. Let your child be your guide for what he/she would like to do at their party. This theme should be reflected in your choice of invitations, cake and party favors. Boys themes can include movie night, a carnival theme or a favorite cartoon character. Young girls love spa themes, a “pink” party or perhaps an all- girls sleepover. The theme sets the tone for the party right from the beginning to the end. Have your child assist you in making the invitations and delivering them. If their whole class is not invited then be sure to mail the invitations so as to avoid hurt feelings at school.

Once you have a theme chosen, you should set a very simple schedule. Try to keep the kids busy for most of the party and not let them get bored.  Start with a very simple activity while the kids are waiting for others to arrive. Musical chairs or playing in the yard on a nice day is always a great way to get things started. It helps them burn a little pre-party energy and get to know one another as well. Remember that activities do not always go as planned so have back up ideas ready just in case. It’s also a good idea to keep activities short and appropriate to the age group. Pre-wrapped game prizes are a good idea to add some fun to the games.

A typical at-home party for toddlers lasts an hour or so and for kids 8 and older three hours is usually plenty. The trick is to keep the party moving along at a nice pace without any delays.

If you are looking for some quick table setting and loot bag ideas, here are a few favorites.

Monkey Cups
These little cups are easy to assemble and you can find most of the items at the Dollar Stores. Purchase the light brown or dark brown cups, black miniature pom poms, and construction paper at your local dollar store along with some craft glue. Trace the top of the cup on some light brown paper and cut it out. Cut the circle into two pieces with one piece larger than the other. Attach the eyes with glue and glue on the mouth. For the ears, cut two smaller half circles and attach on each side of the cup. You can add other monkey accessories to go with the monkey theme of the party.

Pink Girl Cup Loot Bags
I saw these at a little girl’s party and thought they were darling. You can purchase the paper frills at any dollar store. Simply attach the frills to the top of the cup and use pipe cleaners for the handle. Fill with party favors.

Digital cameras are wonderful for taking photos during the party and printing them out to add to the loot bags. Purchase photo-quality paper at Staples or other photo supply stores.