Celebrating a birthday is pretty universal. No matter where you live in this world, odds are you recognise the passage of another year in some way, shape or form. For children, this acknowledgement is more than an occasion to receive gifts and have cake and ice cream--it's a time to soak up the love and attention of friends and family. A simple backyard get together where the birthday child feels celebrated is wonderful but if the need arises for a theme party this article will give you a few ideas.
Spa or Beauty Shop
What eight year old girl (or any girl for that matter) does not like to be pampered? Consider a spa or faux beauty shop sleepover party for your child. Create some fancy signs on poster board that list services offered at the "spa." Some ideas are nails, massage, hair and make-up. Hang these around the house to designate areas for each speciality. While one girl is getting her nails painted, another can be getting a new updo or some smoky eyes. Enlist older siblings to help if you can.
Every birthday girl has grabbed a hair brush and sung from the depths of her soul along with her favourite singer or musical group. Have the guests make their own T-shirts by using transfer paper to iron on a computer printed decal. Then have them add their own flourishes with fabric paint and sequins. As the shirts are drying glam them up with some rocker make-up and funky hairdos. Have them put on their new duds and rock out to their favourite songs. Rent a karaoke player for extra giggles.
The American Girls dolls appeal to kids ages 8 to 12 and parents are fond of them because they encourage learning as well as playing. There is a story behind each historical doll--Addy has escaped from slavery, Kaya is an American Indian from 1764 and Rebecca is a Russian Jew in 1914's New York. The modern dolls, like Crissa, address social issues like bullying and competition. Have the guests bring their own dolls and include them in the party. The girls could create matching hair styles, have a tea party, or talk about real world issues and how their respective American Girls would solve the dilemmas.
Movie Star Awards
Have guests arrive for the party in their Sunday best. Make sure to roll out the red carpet (a couple of yards of red cotton works well) and take pictures of them walking in. Hand each child an dramatic task--have a crying jag, sing a song, pretend to sleep--and let them put together their own movie. Film it if possible or simply document the performance with pictures. Make sure each child receives an "award" at the ceremony after the show is over.
Ice Cream Party
You can't go wrong with ice cream no matter what age you're turning! Before cutting the cake bring the birthday guests into the kitchen and make some home made ice cream. There is a fun recipe for ice cream in a bag which only takes about 15 minutes. Everyone can customise their own flavour and no ice cream maker is needed (see Resources for the link).