There are a lot of factors to consider when it comes time to celebrate the birth of your child.  We have twins, a boy and a girl; so let me tell you, planning and structure are your dear, dear friends in these situations.  This last fall they turned the big 6, and we realized that at this point in their development, they are very aware of what is going on, what they want, and what they are not afraid to ask for when it comes time to plan the big day.  When you’re trying to please a gender mixed party at that age, it’s difficult to settle on a masculine theme and stock up on Super Mario party supplies or to have a girly tea party theme either.

We ended up having a great party with outdoor activities. Both boys and girls from ages 4-10, weather permitting, love to play outside and are easily corralled in the backyard with games.  We set up burlap sack, three legged and wheel barrow races with prizes for the top finishers.  Piñatas filled with small party favors and candy are also a lot of fun at any age.  My husband and I even still have them at grown-up parties sometimes.  Just make sure there’s a lot of adult supervision watching the blindfolded kid swinging the bat.

Sprinkler and slip and slide themes go back to when we were kids and I tell you what, there is a reason for that.  They are fun, under $100 and keep kids occupied forever.  Wintertime is a little harder since you’re trapped inside unless you have snow, in which case a snowball fight is warranted.  Set up a craft table where the kids can paint their own t-shirts to commemorate the event and that can double as the party favor.  Making individual pizzas where the kids can top their own is another way to keep them engaged.

There doesn’t have to be a commercial figure to set the tone of the party.  Enlist the help of a couple of the other parents beforehand and have activity be the theme of the party.  Bouncy houses are also great ways to tire kids out at a party for not too great of an expense.

Lisa is a writer on the subjects of parenting and kids’ activities. She and her family enjoy a life full of play and discovering new ways to be active as a family.