Category Archives: Party Ideas

End-of-Summer Celebrations: Make a Back to School Party!

End of summer doesn’t have to mean end of fun. Set the tone for a great school year, with lots of positive attitudes, by celebrating with a back to school party. Awesome food and exciting games will make get your neighborhood ready for a great school year with only a little time and effort.

Setting the Scene

For an indoor party, cover the tables with white paper and scatter crayons around. Encourage the guests to write predictions, impressions or hopes for the new academic year; save the tablecloth for your end-of-school party, when you can all laugh together about how close – or how very far—the predictions were. Chalkboards, erasers, rulers, pencil sharpeners, books and alphabet blocks add to the atmosphere.

Satisfying the Hungry Hordes

Prepare school cafeteria favorites like sloppy joes, pizza, chili or spaghetti to keep the theme going. Serve the food in disposable trays that look like those used at school. Add some pint-sized milk cartons or juice boxes, and you’re ready to go. For dessert, serve up a bus-shaped cake, cookies shaped like pencils or books, or school themed cupcakes.

Sending Them Home With Supplies

Combine the entertainment with the take-home by letting guests decorate mini canvas backpacks with markers, paint, ribbons and other embellishments. Stuff them with a new chapter book, a funky pen or pencil, a shaped eraser and a pencil topper. For older kids, provide a planner/calendar, a highlighter, a fun pen, and a locker shelf or mirror.

Don’t forget the Invites!

Of course, a back-to-school theme starts before the day of the party, when you let the guests know the details. Add a fun touch that also saves time with school bus invitations from the Amy Adele. Follow up with a reminder announcement printed with paint pens on mini chalkboards.

Have other Back to School Party ideas? Share them below!

Sweeten Grandchildren Activities by Making Candy Kabobs

Kids love making candy kabobs so they provide easy and fun grandchildren activities. If you feel like you’ve taken cupcakes as far as they can go, try skewering your sweets for a change.

How to Make Candy Kabobs: All you need are soft candies and wooden or bamboo skewers. If you’re not going to eat your creations on the spot, you’ll also want to have a supply of plastic bags and ribbons to keep them safe for later. Craft stores sell pretzel stick bags that are the perfect shape. Then, all you have to do is press the skewer through the candies.

Kids of all ages can join in the fun. Set up a station for them to select and sort the candies and assemble the kabobs. Skewers have sharp ends so you may want to handle them yourself if your grandchildren are very small.

Finding Candy for Your Kabobs: Any soft treat will do. Gummy candies are especially handy because they come in so many colors, shapes and sizes.

If you’re going to indulge in your kabobs right away, you can even alternate the candy with other foods. Add chunks of fruit like melon balls or pineapple cubes. Pop a couple of pieces of candy on the end of a chicken kabob for a built in desert.

How to Use Your Candy Kabobs for Gifts: You probably won’t be able to resist eating some of your work, but why not make a few extras for gifts? Insert a personalized gift tag with a special message and then bag them up and tie the bottom with a ribbon. Your grandchildren can bring home a treat for their parents or make a small present for their favorite teacher.

Simple crafts like candy kabobs can turn any afternoon with your grandchildren into a party. Creative play is even better when you get to eat your masterpieces.

Creative Valentine Ideas for Kids

We are always impressed with our customers creative Valentine ideas for kids. Here are a few ideas using Amy’s Valentine flat cards. These are perfect for kids or adults!

It’s O”Fish”al – Package some fish crackers or gummy fish into clear bags and tape onto this card.

 

BEE-U-TEA-FUL – A perfect gift for a teacher, friend, or coworker! Enclose a tea bag with a sugar stick for a sweet treat.

Valentine Tea Bee

Meant to “BEE” – A thoughtful gift for kids to give to teachers! Any lip balm is good, we chose Burts Bees as a fun play on words! 🙂

 

Valentine bee chapstick

How to make New Years Eve Rock for the kids

New Years Eve is well known for the champagne, staying up late, kissing, and glamorous outfits. But what about those who are a bit younger? They definitely want to be able to ring in the new year with just as much fun and pizazz as their parents and older siblings! So here are a few Holiday Party Ideas to make their night just as memorable as your own.

  • Sleep over party! If you just so happen to have young ones of your own and a lack of plans for NYE, why not offer to host a sleep over for the neighborhood kids. Other parents may be appreciative of the night out, or may even offer to help you out! As a result the kids will have a safe and fun place to be for the night. Have the kids get dressed up and provide themed snacks like cupcakes bedecked in glittery sprinkles, cookies decorated like clocks, or dip sugar cones in chocolate and then decorate to look like NYE hats. Hand out noise makers and bubbles to celebrate and plastic glasses of sparkling cider. If you want to avoid the sugar of cider and the possible mess, seltzer or sparkling water adds the bubbly without the extra sugar.
  • Karaoke party! If your kids are a bit older and still want to have their friends over, try busting out the karaoke machine or singing video games. Everyone can take turns belting out their favorite tunes between munching on finger foods and dips. Kick it up a notch and offer prizes for a contest. Set up a rotating panel of judges (so everyone gets to sing and everyone gets to judge) to pass out scores. Just make sure everyone stays nice with their comments! Just Dance! and other dance related games can make a fun addition to a karaoke party. Contestants take turns getting in front of the television and trying to match their own smooth moves to the avatar on the screen.
  • Glam it up! If you have teens living at home who want in on the fun but you want to make sure they stay out of harm and out of trouble, let them invite their friends to the house. The kids can dress to kill for the night. Set up appetizer tables and a “bar” with virgin mixed drinks (just make sure they stay unspiked!). A photobooth can add a fun element as well. Set up a glitzy backdrop with 2014 or “Happy New Year” and leave out props like boas and masks for the guests to use. Either set up a point and shoot digital camera with a remote on a tripod or a webcam on a laptop. Guests can take their own pictures to be posted to a social media site or party website later. Have your kids make a fun playlist of music and offer games like Apples to Apples to keep the laughs coming and everyone actively having a good time.

The most important part of New Year’s Eve is to have a good time and make sure that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy so they can enjoy the coming year.

Holiday Gathering Activities

It’s wonderful to have family staying over during the holidays. However, after the traditional meal is devoured you might wish you had a list titled holiday gathering activities. Memories are made when you are active together, laughing and having fun, and when all are included from little cousin Jimmy to great grandma Betty. Here are a few suggestions for activities that will get the fun rolling and make for treasured family memories.

Watch Home Videos

Ask each branch of the family to bring some of their favorite home videos to share. Simply pop up a big bowl of popcorn, throw pillows on the floor for the little ones, and have a family movie festival.

Do Something Outside

It can be as simple as a walk in a park, or you can plan an ice-skating party complete with hot chocolate and mulled wine. If there is snow, maybe have a snow man making contest and get everyone involved.

Win it in a Minute

These games are based on the hit TV show, Minute to Win it. It is easy to do a web search and find just the right games for your family to play. Most of the materials are things found around the house or can be found at a dollar store. Find five or six games to play and take turns pitting age groups against each other.

Talent Show

Your family is filled with talented folk and those that just like to show off. With a little planning ahead (so they know to actually bring their clarinet), you can organize a family talent show that may just become a yearly event. Set up an area as a stage and advise your family that it’s just for fun and is to be a safe place for family to express their interests and talent.

It doesn’t take much for a family to have fun together. Sometimes they just need a little leadership, encouragement and a push in the right direction. That’s where you come in.

Nine Wonderful Children’s Wintry Party Themes

The winter months are quickly approaching and a children’s birthday party that lands during those months is challenging to plan. But if you use some creativity, each season offers lots of potentially fun activities or themes which will make any party special. Yes, wintertime is just full of great children’s wintry party themes!

A Winter Carnival

Make up games that children would play at a fair or carnival but use a winter theme. You could set up stations for different games. For instance, establish a booth with tin cans lined up on the edge of a table and have the children try to knock them down by propelling a snowball at the cans. You could let the children have sledding races or create stations for snowball bowling. Hand out prizes to the winners that are fitting of a carnival like a stuffed animal and, since it’s a carnival, make sure to serve fun carnival food like pretzels, cotton candy, popcorn and hot chocolate.

A Snowman Competition

This could end up being one of the best activities! Split the kids into even teams and place the teams at different locations in your yard. This might be a good activity for the front yard—providing you have the space—and you can get a jump on decorating for Christmas at the same time! Old accessories and clothing should be collected ahead of time to supply the kids with something to clothe their snowman. After all, there’s nothing worse than a naked snowman! Also, don’t forget about supplying them with carrots, raisins or berries and sticks for noses, eyes, mouths and arms—what’s a snowman without a face? You and other parents should stand by as judges and, when everyone is finished with their snowman, pick the best one and present the winning team with some kind of an award. Snowballs, a snowman pizza and a snowman ice cream cake make tasty treats to serve inside to hungry children after all the excitement.

Snow Castle Party

Who says you need sand and sunshine to make a castle? That white stuff in your back—or front—yard can turn out to be an asset. Throw a snow castle constructing party! At this party, kids should come all bundled up and ready to spend lots of time outside using plastic toy shovels, beach pails and different kinds of carving tools to make a castle out of snow. You can have the children work together to make one big castle or make it into a competition between two teams—either way, the kids are sure to have a blast! When the fun outdoors is finished, bring the kids indoors to warm up with some delicious chili or soup and hot chocolate; but don’t forget those marshmallows! Snow white frosting and flaked coconut will make a great wintery topping for just about any dessert.

Winter Olympics

Arrange competitions and games for kids to enjoy that are built on ideas from the winter Olympic events. Put together events of snowshoe racing, snowball throwing contests and snow mound jumping, just to name a few. Be sure to have a different award for first, second and third place winners for each event. Decorations should be set to the theme of the winter Olympics—draw the Olympic rings in the snow in your back yard and use food coloring to show off the Olympic ring colors. You can also hang up paper torches inside your house and the birthday cake should be red, white and blue.

Winter Pool Party

Why should a few inches of snow stop the children from enjoying one of summer’s best activities? Indoor pools render the chance for kids to swim, splash and celebrate in a regulated climate while the weather outdoors may be frigid. You may be able to rent a pool in a community center, hotel or fitness center and decorations can be left to the imagination. You could just have tropical-colored decorations to symbolize summer. But wouldn’t it be fun to have the best of both seasons? Purchase inflatable palm trees and decorate them with paper snowflakes. How about snowflake-printed towels lain over lawn chairs? The cake could be a large swimming pool with polar bear figurines on top.

Ice Skating

Bring the children to a safe skating lake or pond for the party or rent an ice rink for a few hours. If you choose to rent an ice rink, you’ll need to rent one four to six weeks in advance; be sure to ask about package deals and if you can bring in food from home. You’ll want to have parents nearby that are good skaters so that they can help the kids that don’t know how to ice skate. Play some fun, upbeat music and let the children free-skate. Integrate a few games such as a skating version of red light/green light. The birthday child stands in front of the rest of the children but a little bit of distance away with his or her back toward them. When the child says, “green light” the rest of the kids will start to skate ahead; when the child says, “red light” and turns around, all the children have to be stopped. If the birthday child catches anyone moving forward then that person has to go back to the starting line. The first child to tag the birthday child wins the game and then takes their turn in that spot. For decorations you could hang up icicles, paper ice skates and snowflakes around the rink. If you got a package deal, hot dogs or pizza usually is included. The cake could be in the form of an icy pond with figure skaters adorning the top or in the shape of an ice skate.

Snowflake Ball

Although snow may get old for adults as the season wears on, for children the magic never fades. For this type of party, rent a banquet hall and decorate it with icicle lights and snowflakes dangling over their heads while they’re on the dance floor. Use synthetic snow and sparkles to create a wintery invitation in the entryway. For the table, purchase shimmering white and blue place settings on a snowflake tablecloth. An artificial snow making machine and ice sculptures would be an enhancement to the magical feel of the party. You can’t forget the entertainment! Make sure to have some party games that are suitable for the snowflake party such as Snowflake Trivia. Get several adults to write winter or Christmas trivia questions on paper cut-out snowflakes—one question per snowflake. Then each child pulls a snowflake out of a bowl and tries to answer the question; the child who answers the most questions wins. Or you could hire someone to give basic ballroom dance lessons. For the menu, snowflake cookies, white hot chocolate, a tray of veggie and cheese pieces that are cut into snowflakes and a snowflake cake would be a hit.

Snow Sculpting

Snow sculpting is a lot of fun and what child wouldn’t love to do this? Hand out to each child a portion of snow to use. Make up ahead of time a box full of “props” that the kids can pick from to adorn their sculpture with. Items could include: masks, boas, beads, sunglasses, flowers, leaves and rocks. Pick a time limit—say, an hour—and let the children develop their best sculpture during that time frame. Take a vote to confirm a winner in several different categories like “best executed”, “most creative” and “best over-all”. For the cake, you could have one specially made that looks like an ice sculpture!

Penguin Party

Just about all children love animals and who doesn’t love penguins? They’re so cute and would make a great party theme! Decorating can be very simple: white and black streamers and balloons hung on the walls and ceiling of the party room and you could buy a penguin-printed tablecloth with black place settings and white napkins. If you want an extra touch, place some plush penguins of different sizes around the room. Entertaining the kids will be just as easy as decorating. You can show them a movie like “Happy Feet” or “Mr. Popper’s Penguins”, give them a penguin craft to make and play some standard games in which the children will have to imitate the penguin like penguin waddle relay races. The kids will absolutely love your penguin cupcakes cake!

Whether you’re trying to get rid of those winter blues or planning a birthday party, one of these winter party themes are sure to be a hit. You’ll want to check out our great website for everything you’ll need for your party!

Fall Celebrations

Curling up with a good book is a strong temptation in the fall, when the weather turns crisp or autumn rains begin, especially during October’s National Book Month holiday. Celebrate the possibilities open through a love of reading when you choose a book theme for birthdays and other parties. From classics to contemporary, stories come alive with a little creative planning, and it doesn’t have to involve spending a lot of money to incorporate holiday party ideas. Provide book-related party favors to keep the enchantment going long past the last guest’s departure.
Invitations, Decorations and Favors for a Book Theme
Set the stage for a book-themed party with invitations made from library checkout cards and book pockets. Type or write the party details on the card, slip it into a pocket and put them into an envelope. Or, to take the theme to another level, glue the sides of a book dust jacket together, add the card and pocket to the inside and address the “envelope” on a bookplate sticker adhered to the outside of the jacket. Stitch two pages of a book together and glue on a ribbon handle to make goody bags that you fill with bookmarks, playtime eyeglasses and maybe a copy of a paperback book, as well. Make garlands from book covers or pages to decorate the party room or place framed book pages around the table and on other surfaces.
Food for a Book Theme
Take some ideas from the books themselves when selecting foods. For example, display Dr. Seuss’s “One Fish, Two Fish,” and serve goldfish crackers or fish-design cupcakes or cookies. Add a storybook-shaped cake to the menu, along with food-dyed “Green Eggs and Ham.” Chocolate chip cookies fit with “When You Give a Mouse a Cookie,” and many other books present ideas for food and drinks that pertain to those stories. Gummy worms and apples also make great book-related treats.
Classics and Book Themes
Well-loved classics offer a variety of possibilities for your party. Hold a silly tea party with an “Alice in Wonderland” theme by labeling foods with “eat me” or “drink me” tags, use mismatched tableware and make cakes, cookies and other confections in unusual sizes. Or throw some pillows around on the floor and enact “One Thousand and One Nights” by encouraging guests to share stories. For adults, recreate “The Great Gatsby” with 1920s clothing and great jazz music. Use cookbooks related to the story to share the four-course afternoon tea from “Anne of Green Gables,” serving sandwiches, raspberry cordial and other treats.
Historical Fiction and Book Themes
Invite guests to the “Little House in the Big Woods” or “Little House on the Prairie” for a celebration of historical fiction. Encourage guests to dress for the occasion in pioneer-style clothing, and add some of the foods in the books to your menu. Combine history and gardening with a “Secret Garden” party that includes glittered keys to open the garden’s gate for bird-, flower- and butterfly-shaped cookies and treats. Let guests “chaaaarge it” with make-believe key cards when you turn “Eloise at the Plaza” into an entertaining theme, with guests playing dress-up and munching on Eggs Eloise omelets, Teeny Weenies, and Skipperdee sandwiches, named in honor of Eloise’s pets.
Fantasy, Science Fiction and Book Themes
“Charlotte’s Web” combines fantasy with classic literature. Serve up a pig-shaped cake, along with popcorn and farm-fresh produce, before letting guests decorate their own pumpkin with markers and stickers. Send guests on a Percy Jackson-themed treasure hunt, complete with clues that refer to mythology and to events in the book.
Animal Fiction and Book Themes
Animal books like “Brown Bear, Brown Bear” and “Curious George” give you lots of ways to bring the books to life at your party, while “Horton Hears a Who” gives you the perfect excuse to serve cake pops as the featured refreshments. Let guests make their own masks, crowns and wands before dancing the wild rumpus dance from “Where the Wild Things Are.”                          Contact us for more holiday party themes and tips.books-girly-al

Party Planning Tips for Children’s Birthday Parties

A child’s birthday party may seem easy to plan, but anyone who has done it knows it is no easy task! Party planning takes a vast amount of time, planning, and energy. With all of the decisions to be made, sometimes it can be hard to know just where to begin! Here are some must-know party planning tips that will make throwing your child’s birthday celebration much easier!

Theme: When planning a party, the best way to start is to first decide on a theme. What is something your child really loves or has an interest in? Whether it be cats or dogs, tea parties or sports, dinosaurs or cars, the perfect theme is right at your fingertips!

Invitations: Once you have picked your theme, the next step is to find and send out invitations. Invites are a great way to set the tone of the party, so try finding ones with graphics that go along with the theme of your celebration. This will not only delight your child, but will also get your guests excited too. Check out our selection of invitations that are perfect for all of your party needs!

Decorations: Atmosphere is key when it comes to a fabulous party, so get creative! If you’re DIY handy, this is a great way to incorporate your theme into your décor. Not so crafty? No problem! Head straight to the party supply store and knock out all of your decorating needs in one stop!

Budget: Spending a fortune on a party is easy to do, so be sure to make a budget. Remember, kids just want to play and have fun, so make it simple. Games, crafts, and kid-friendly snacks are the ultimate combo for an excellent party. And don’t worry about loading guests up with goody bags. Stickers and trinkets are nice, but most parents find it unnecessary. Talk about a money-saver!

For after-party extras, be sure to check out our large selection of stationary for those must-send thank you notes!

Gluten Free and Dairy Free Children’s Party Ideas for Snacks

Kids these days seem to have way more allergies than ever before. If your child has food restrictions, you probably already know what to serve and how to adapt meals to get rid of the offensive ingredients. But what if you’re just having a birthday party and want everyone to feel welcome?  Here are some childrens party ideas for foods that everyone can enjoy without worrying about going home sick.

Gluten Free Birthday Party Foods

The birthday cake; it’s a rare treat for a kid with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten insensitivity.  Conservative estimates say that only 1% of the US population has full-blown celiac disease, but an even higher percentage has a non-celiac gluten intolerance, which can be part of Crohn’s disease or a stand-alone condition.  Basically, these kids can’t have anything with wheat flour in it and even white flour is made with wheat.

Ditching the cake is one idea, but most grocery stores now have a gluten-free section with birthday cake and frosting mixes just like the regular baking section.  Unfortunately, if you’re stirring with a wooden spoon that’s been used for regular recipes, the gluten can cross-contaminate the gluten free cake and cause a reaction in the most sensitive kids.

If you’re serving a child with very severe allergies, make sure their parents are aware that the cake wasn’t prepared in a gluten free kitchen. Some kids’ reactions are so bad that their parents would prefer to not take ANY chances.  Consider enlisting the help of the parents of extra-sensitive kids, to ensure that the cake is safe enough for them to eat. Some communities have gluten free bakeries that can whip up a cake with frosting and themed decorations just like any other bakery.

Birthday Party foods for Gluten Free and Dairy Free guests.

Here are a few snack ideas that are generally gluten free and dairy free.

  • Fruit kabobs
  • Corn tortilla chips and salsa or guacamole
  • A veggie tray (Hummus is a nice nondairy dip)
  • Nuts (that’s an entirely different allergy)
  • All-fruit popsicles
  • Fresh berries
  • Popcorn (avoid butter and caramel for dairy free kids)
  • Trail mix (be sure they’re labeled gluten free, oats sometimes carry gluten)
  • Olives and pickles

Feeding a bunch of kids was probably a lot easier 25 years ago and catering to the dietary needs of other people’s kids can be a drag. Imagine having dietary restrictions and always having to decline goodies and treats at parties? Serving up safe snacks for children is the ultimate act of hospitality. Being able to eat whatever you want is one of the joys of childhood and when you serve safe party snacks, everyone will have more fun.

Children’s party ideas: 3 sweet cookie recipes

Looking for some easy and sweet cookie recipes for your next children’s party? Then look no further! Below you will find 3 terrific cookie recipes that will satisfy even the pickiest eater, and create leftovers that the whole family will enjoy.

Peanut Butter Sweeties

Similar to a peanut butter blossom, this cookie variation features the beloved chocolate kiss atop a peanut butter cookie, and can be made in less than an hour. Head to the store and buy a bag of your favorite candies, and follow this recipe by Miss Betty Crocker. This recipe can be used for anything from a birthday party to even a Valentine’s Day Themed affair, where you replace the chocolate kiss with a chocolate heart.

Lovely Chocolate Cake Mix Cookies

These simple (and cute!) cookies are as easy to make as they sound. It’s as easy as following baking directions for a cake. Simply, get a box of Devil’s Food cake mix, follow the preparation instructions, throw in a dash of vanilla, some sprinkles, maybe add some M&M’s for color and flair, and mix it all in a bowl. Once thickened, roll into balls and bake per the directions. Voila! Fudgy, cake cookies for all of your partygoers to enjoy.

Snickers Bar Stuffed Cookies

Gosh… did you mouth just water? This recipe takes the disguise of a regular chocolate cookie recipe (the unbeatable classic loved by generations) and replaces the chocolate chips with Snickers bars. Simply, make your favorite cookie recipe, chill for 30 minutes, remove from the fridge, press pieces of Snickers into the dough balls, form into cookies, bake. Seriously, if you thought chocolate chip cookies were good before? You must try this recipe. Definitely a crowd pleaser.