Invitations - Make fun summer invitations with the birthday boy or girl. You can cut out shapes of beach items and
glue them onto construction paper or use summer stickers to make them more festive. Tell your guests to dress for the beach!
Decorations - Spread a large plastic tarp over your floor (blue is the most nautical-looking). If you can tolerate the mess, get some bags of sand, fill a deep plastic bin with it, and provide some plastic shovels and containers for kids to dig and pour with.
Put a small plastic swimming pool on the tarp. Fill it just enough so the water comes up to the guests’ ankles. Give your guests a set or two of those small plastic fishing rods that come with fish and other sea creatures that you can catch. Fishing for these or watching other kids do it will provide hours of entertainment. (Adult supervision is a must.)
You can also scatter a few inflatable beach toys (like turtles or fish) around the room for kids to climb on and fool around with.
Fun in the sun - With all these props, young children are usually able to create their own excitement. But it’s always a good idea to have a few more structured activities in mind just in case.
Here’s a few of our favorites:
Musical beach towels. This is played just like musical chairs except you use the kids’ beach towels instead of chairs. Scatter the towels around the room, using one less than the number of kids playing. For the music, pick something summer-themed like The Little Mermaid or The Beach Boys. When you stop the music, everyone needs to run for a towel to sit on and whoever is left standing is out. Keep it up until the last child claims the remaining towel. This game can be played as long as the kids are enjoying it. Once they get the hang of it, you can even put a child in charge of the music!
Keep the beach ball airborne! Put on the summer music and have the kids get in a circle and tap the ball in the air, passing it randomly to someone in the circle. This may sound silly to grownups but children love it!
Seashell search. Hide different sized seashells in a sand-filled container or containers and have the kids dig for them. Let them keep any shells they find as party souvenirs!
The cake - A beach ball cake is easy to make with kids and looks great! Ice it with white frosting, then divide the top like you would a pie and sprinkle each section with a different color sugar (red, green, blue, yellow). We found that ice cream treats on a stick were always a welcome variation from the standard dish of ice cream.
Treat bags - When the guests arrive, greet them with paper bags and crayons and let them decorate their own ‘beach’ bag. Fill these with sunglasses, colorful gummies, like sharks and fish, plastic leis, bubbles or summery toys, like fish that squirt water when squeezed.
Be sure to join in the summer fun! Winter can be hard on parents, too, and it’s never too early to start dreaming of summer!
Sue is a freelance writer, and a frequent contributor to family magazines. She loves parties as much as her kids!
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