Stumped for a theme for your child's birthday party? Sometimes finding the perfect favor can inspire an idea.
Take a look at these favors and consider the themes you could build around them.
For a woodland themed party, buy elf-like hats for the kids or sew them yourself (author Amy Karol has an easy tutorial in her book Bend the Rules Sewing). Hang the hats along a clothesline either in your home or between two trees if you opt to have the party in a park or wooded area.
P.S. Fairy wings would also make good favors for a woodland-themed birthday party.
Throw a birthday that's all about birds. The invitations could be simple bird silhouettes cut from cardstock with the party details written inside.
For snacks, serve small bags of "bird seed," which would just be a mix of sunflower seeds and chocolate chips.
Bake the cake in a bundt pan and frost it brown to resemble a nest. Scatter stick pretzels and brown-dyed coconut flakes around the plate to make it look more natural, and place plastic toy birds on top or make bird figures from fondant.
If your child's birthday falls during winter, celebrate the season with a snow-themed party.
For a gift, give a young child books about winter, such as Flannel Kisses by Linda Crotta Brennan, The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats or The Mitten by Jan Brett. Older kids might like a day of skiing or ice skating (in fact, the party could be held at an ice-skating rink).
To decorate, hang handmade snowflakes cut from coffee filters around the house. The mitten favors could be part of the décor, too. Hang a clothesline or pretty ribbon across your fireplace mantle and clip the mittens to the line with wooden clothespins. A tag could hang from each pair that reads "Thanks for the warmth of your friendship on Sam's special day," using your child's name instead.
Serve hot cocoa with marshmallows or warm apple cider. The cake could be shaped like a snowman and you could use long pretzels for arms and candy for the eyes, buttons and other details.
How about a birthday party that's all about jumping?
Give the kids their jump rope favors at the start of the party, and teach them jump-rope rhymes as a party-time activity.
Decorate the cake with frosted images or plastic figures of things that jump such as kangaroos, frogs and crickets.
Gifts for the birthday kid could include a pogo stick, a trampoline or the book The Very Quiet Cricket by Eric Carle.
Throw a teddy bear tea party and send the kids home with a small stuffed bear at the end.
Serve small cookies, tea sandwiches (even pb & j looks fancy when it's cut into small rectangles or triangles) and fruit punch "tea" in porcelain teacups.
Set out fancy hats, costume jewelry and other dress-up clothes for the kids to wear or ask everyone to arrive in their fanciest attire.
Decorate the table with a lace or floral tablecloth. Place the bears that you'll give out as favors at each place setting, with a tag around their necks with each child's name on it. You could buy the bears or make them yourself if you enjoy sewing.
Let's get ready to plunder! Throw a Viking-themed party for a kid with lots of energy and a good sense of humor.
To decorate use rough-looking fabrics throughout the party area such as a piece of burlap for a tablecloth on the food table or cheesecloth hanging above doorways. Paper products should be shades of brown, black and gray.
Serve beverages in goblets and set out a hearty meal, such as chicken drumsticks, baked potatoes or shepherd's pie.
Plastic viking hats can be purchased for as little as $3 each or crochet your own if you have the time and the skills.
I (Heart) NY T-shirts
Host a big-city party even if you live miles away from the Big Apple.
Set out a basket of apples on the snack table and serve classic New York City food such as hot dogs, pizza, bagels or Chinese food.
Hold the party at night and attach white Christmas lights to your walls in the shape of skyscrapers using duct tape. If you use enough lights, that might be the only illumination you need.
Create or buy life-size cutouts of people with openings at the face where kids can have their pictures taken. The cutouts could be of a man and woman dressed for an evening at the theater, a food-cart vendor serving up hot dogs or King Kong on top of the Empire State Building.
Make a skyscraper cake by building a square-shaped cake as tall as you can, covering it with gray frosting and piping windows on with white icing.
Once you start looking around for favors, you'll likely be inspired with all sorts of party ideas, especially if you skip the conventional party-favor suppliers. Sometimes the most ordinary objects spark the most creative themes.