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Wed, Oct 18, 2017 05:21 PM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue

Ideas for winter birthday parties


01/25/2008 - Throwing a birthday party in the summer seems like a snap, right? With blue skies and warm weather pool parties, trips to the park, beach escapes, and so much more are available. But what about those winter babies whose birthdays fall when there is more snow and ice than sand and surf? What can a parent do about having a creative birthday party that can compete with the summer party circuit? Lots, actually.

Winter Wonderland

Just because it's cold outside doesn't mean the kids can't venture outdoors for a winter adventure. Be sure that you indicate on invitations that guests should dress appropriately, meaning bundling up and snow boots, if necessary. This way they can compete in igloo or snow-fort building, sled races, snow-ball tosses, and the other delights of playing out in a winter wonderland. Or you can set up some of the same activities you would for a summer backyard party, including a scavenger hunt or obstacle course. Remember, kids are more forgiving about weather than adults, so they should be tolerant of the frosty conditions. Carry the winter theme throughout the party and indoors if necessary. Serve hot cocoa with whipped cream, warm stew or soup, and other toasty treats to warm up cold revelers.

Beach Bonanza

Feeling hot, hot, hot, even though it's cold outside? Why not host a summer luau or mock beach party indoors? Guests can come with their board shorts or swimsuits and frolic just as if they were at the beach. Tailor summertime activities for indoors, such as table-top volleyball using a foam ball. And have dancing contests to favorite beach tunes. If your birthday boy or girl has his or her heart set on a pool party even though the mercury is dipping, see if you can have a party at a Y.M.C.A. pool or at a local health/fitness center.

Party Centers

Today there are dozens of party centers popping up in hometowns across the country. Because these places have a variety of indoor fun, they're ideal for winter birthday parties. From rock walls to video game arcades to tumbling and gymnastic centers, you can select a party center to fit the personality of your child and guests. Also explore businesses that do parties on the side, including bowling alleys, roller rinks, ceramics shops, etc. Many bakeries or pizzerias offer hands-on parties where they let guests learn how to make the foods they're going to enjoy and then get messy with the actual preparation. Some party services will even come right to your home with all of the supplies.

Fun at Home

You can still throw a fun birthday party indoors for your son or daughter. Often this is the least expensive option. Scale activities and the guest list to the amount of space you have in your home. And remember, if you're having a party for toddlers or pre-schoolers, you'll also have to factor in space and food for parents or chaperones. Maximize space by moving out bulky furniture and setting up kid-sized folding chairs and tables. To protect the carpeting, put down canvas "drop cloths" that will catch spills. You can even have kids dine picnic-style on these cloths, mimicking an outdoor party.

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