There used to be a day when the birthday child was the only one who received gifts, but those days are long gone. These days goodie bags are almost a must, and sometimes it can be the most difficult part of putting together the party. The bags may carry the theme, but they don’t need to. Goodie bags are something the children take home to remind them how much fun they had at the party, so be sure the items inside are fun too! Sometimes folks use piñatas as an alternative, just have lots of bags for kids to put their goodies into, and have some extra goodies, to add to the bags of smaller children who did not get “fair” chance at picking things up after piñata breaking. You do not need to overdo it either; a few inexpensive fun items are often better than a bag full of expensive gifts. Remember that the party is for the birthday child, not the guests.
Games & Activities
You will usually need to plan at least one for the party, even if you have an entertainer coming. Activities can range from coloring with crayons to a Ferris Wheel in your backyard. Do not deluge the kids with activities, but make sure there is enough for them to do so they are not just running around the house.
Be sure to allow time for late arrivals (there will ALWAYS be late arrivals), so begin with games or activities that can be started when the first few arrive and the others can join in and take a turn as they get there (the old standby, pin the tail on the donkey or some variation thereof is a perfect example). Art Projects are great too, have children make name badges for themselves, this may be a lifesaver for you too, always good to know what the kids’ names are.
Put away any toys other than those you intend to be used at the party. Minimizing distractions will help keep the children focused on the planned activities.