Keep ‘Em Wanting More: The Magic of a Short Birthday Party

With temperatures climbing and the sun shining, our weekend agenda was packed with three parties in one day. Each party was entirely distinctive in theme and activities, and yet each one was equally a glowing success.

What was the secret? Party duration was just an hour and a half! Full disclosure: one of these parties was my son’s party. Yet each of us party planning moms had printed the start and end times on the birthday party invitations as an hour and a half. While some guests certainly left on time and others stayed on for a bit, by the end, almost everyone left wanting more.

3 Parties… 3 Themes… Only 1-1/2 Hours Each!

Pirate Beach Party The payoff here was low cost and lots of original fun. Keeping the duration of the party short, even at the expense of having to cut out one of the planned games, paid off when kids kept busy and left excited. Here’s what happened in an hour and a half:

  • Arrivals got their pirate tattoos.
  • Blackbeard tested potential mateys with Pirate Games such as Swab the Deck and Hook the Pretzel.
  • The Treasure Hunt was the main event. Two teams, The Blackbeards and The Buccaneers, set off with homemade maps in hand to find treasure (candy!) buried in the sand.
  • Chocolate Pirate Cake and Ice cream.
  • Party Favor: Personalized paper bags stocked with spyglass, compass, eye patch and candy treasure.

Rollerskating Rink Party A party organized outside of the home by people who do it every day lets a hosting parent enjoy the kids and other adults. Roller rinks provide the energetic music and colorful lights. The biggest headache is watching out for spills on skates that bruise knees or bump heads. Here’s what happened in an hour and a half:

After choosing their skates and lacing up:

  • Skated to music with friends.
  • Rink’s party organizers set up barefoot races and party sing a longs.
  • Cake and ice cream.
  • Favor: Homemade music CDs.

Pool Party Swimming at a pool party is about the most fun a kid can have. No organized activity needed here–just close supervision! The highlights of a good pool party revolve around the pool. Outdoor kid-friendly food and favors are a plus. Here’s what happened in an hour and a half:

  • Swim
  • Swim
  • Swim
  • Hotdogs and cheese puffs, homemade monkey cupcakes and streamers with monkeys hanging from freestanding umbrellas lent a fun atmosphere to this pool party.
  • Favor: water blasters

So next time you fret about what start time and end times to print on your child’s birthday party invitations, stick to the hour-and-a-half rule.

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