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It’s Party Time! Planning your child’s birthday can involve deep-breathing and militarystyle planning. This annual event has kids jumping for joy but many parents breaking out into a cold sweat. Claire Winter takes a look at some different party ideas to inspire you. Food Parties Kids love food, so why not theme your party around it? A pizza making party is always a winner. You can go to your favourite pizza restaurant or hold a DIY party at home. Cupcake decorating parties also go down well and the guests can take home the tasty treat instead of a party bag. How about a doughnut themed party? They are even trending on Pinterest! Why not set up a Doughnut Wall covered in a variety of doughnuts? You could even attempt a DIY version. You could also serve food that has a surprise element to it. A cake that is full of sweets when you cut it. Ice cream cones filled with savoury fillings. You could also mix up healthy food with treats, such as marshmallows and fruit kebabs or tortilla chips with hummus and crudités. Number cakes decorated with fruit, meringues, and flowers are also all the rage. They make a great centrepiece on a party table. Active Parties According to Pinterest, searches for scavenger parties are up by 302%. These are similar to treasure hunts and start with a list of things to find (or do) and a time limit. But there is no set path as players scavenge around and search for all of the items on the list. The player or team

who finds everything on the list first or finds the most items before the time is up wins. These parties can be great fun and relatively inexpensive - you could hold one in your garden or a local park or wood. You can also do a whole variety of different activities at your local leisure centre. They often offer a variety of swimming, inflatable and sports parties. Why not pick a sport your child loves? You could also check out your local trampoline park to see what party packages they offer. Other easy activity parties include paintballing, bowling, laser quest and go-karting. Parties at Home If you want to host a party at home, think about hiring a company to help. You can even get specialists to come in and set up a sleepover these days. They will put up tents in your garden or your home, and some even supply breakfast on a tray! Or host a science party where someone comes in to do experiments and make goo with the children. They’ll even clean up afterwards. There are also gaming party providers who bring all the entertainment to you. If you prefer a more traditional party, why not hire an entertainer like a magician or clown?

Themed Parties Magical forest and flower-themed parties are great fun to host if you like being creative. A perennial favourite is also a superhero party. It ticks a lot of boxes and offers great fancy dress options for boys and girls. There are also loads of great decorations you can make, or buy if you don’t have the time! Another popular party is a Harry Potter party. You can make up lots of magical games to recreate a mini Hogwarts at home. You could also try something a bit different like a Mexican themed party. Decorate the house with cacti, serve guacamole and dips, hit a Piñata and have plenty of themed games. Art Parties If your child loves making things, an arts and crafts party is the perfect choice for them. You can go to pottery centres, art studios or get a party provider to come to your house to host a craft party. You can do a huge variety of things like mosaics, pottery, painting and jewellery making. Your potential Picassos will also get to take their masterpiece home instead of a party bag. Remember not to stress too much! Your child will remember your efforts whether you hire a circus performer and a bouncy castle; host a fun party at home or organise a trip out the cinema or a trampoline park. Enjoy it and embrace the mayhem; they grow up quickly!

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Families Thames Valley West • 15

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Families Thames Valley West May June 2019 issue 101