Decorate your party room using crepe paper streamers in red, orange, yellow, green and blue. Add balloons tied on string for accent. Plan art activities instead of games and award everyone a prize, such as homemade best in show blue ribbons. Use crayons or inexpensive buckets of art supplies for party favors. Cupcakes colorfully arranged on a white piece of cardboard (cut into the shape of a palette) are an easy and artsy substitution for the standard birthday cake.
Retro carnival games can double as decor and party fun. Some game ideas include: setting up empty soda cans to knock over with a rubber ball; setting up a tray of clear glass cups half-filled with water and trying to throw a ping pong ball into one of them; floating small rubber duckies --winners marked at the bottom -- in a sink or tub to choose for a prize. Animal crackers, cotton candy and popcorn are perfect carnival-themed party snacks. Face painting or balloon animals are also fun activities for this type of party.
You don't need a farm nearby to host a farm party. Use large, painted cardboard boxes taped to moving trolleys to make horses and cows. Preschool-aged children will have a blast taking turns going for a ride and won't judge your artistic abilities if they are lacking. Inexpensive, straw cowboy hats make a perfect party favor, and when turned upside down and lined with a paper napkin, also make clever snack bowls to decorate your food table. Use bales of hay, covered in sheets or tablecloths, for additional seating. Red and white gingham and denim is the perfect color palette for this party theme.
Serve pink lemonade instead of actual tea. Consider setting your tea table in a room away from the kitchen and enlist help from dad or older brothers to serve a multicourse lunch to the ladies at the party table. Layer your tables with vintage linens and quilts to create your tea party look. Serve simple sandwiches dressed up by using a heart-shaped cookie cutter for the bread. You can also use a small heart-shaped cookie cutter to shape your cucumbers for a cucumber salad and then serve the salad in clear punch glasses. Finish your meal with pink cupcakes for your guests and a mini pink cake for your girl-of-honor.
A vegetable garden party, where you actually pot a new plant or seeds, is a perfect excuse for your kids to get some mud on their hands and have lots of fun. This is a party best thrown outdoors in nice weather. Set up a potting station on an outdoor picnic table and plant seedlings or seeds into inexpensive terra cotta pots -- these double as a perfect party favor. Serve mud pots with worms (aka chocolate pudding with crumbled Oreo cookie dirt topped with gummy worms) for dessert instead of cake or cupcakes. Use new, plastic garden utensils as servers for your buffet. Decorate your party with green balloons and crepe paper.
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