Sport birthday party theme
Active kids will love a sports birthday party - it's a great chance for them to play outdoor games and team sports with their buddies. Whether you hire a a party professional to turn up with sports equipment or you do it all yourself, here is how to throw the best sports birthday party ever.
Whatever you do, remember to make the birthday child feel special. Ask him to lead teams or have the final say if a choice has been given.
You are dealing with kids and often you need to repeat things several times to get them into action, don't lose patience - enjoy it!
Starting time and duration
During the summer, finish active entertainment before 12 noon. If you start in the afternoon, start at 3pm. The perfect length for a party with active entertainment is 75 minutes.
Do not have your party food on show until you are ready to eat - otherwise your games will be competing with the food for your guests' attention! Also, don't allow kids to eat during the entertainment because this poses too much of a choking hazard and they may end up feeling sick as well.
Must-haves for your sports birthday party:
- A sense of humour
- A whistle
- Buckets full of patience
How to run your sports birthday party
- If you are in charge of the food and entertainment, don't think you can do it alone - get a couple of friends to help run the entertainment or get a friend to deal with the food and you run the entertainment with a friend.
- The perfect size group for sports party fun is 20 - 30 kids because you will have a ready-made fun atmosphere. This does not mean you can't have a sports-themed birthday party with smaller groups, it just means you need more games and it can take a little longer to really get the kids going.
- Keep the group together. Be conscious of those who try to wander off and try and engage them by asking them to help and they will soon hop into it.
- Don't dish out prizes while you are playing games. Kids lose focus and become more interested in what they did or didn't get and things get broken or lost. Keep the prizes for a ceremony at the end of the fun, or don't give prizes at all. Kids really don't need prizes to have fun.
- Have lots of named water bottles handy - active kids get very thirsty. Try to avoid anything but water as fruit juice and fizzy drinks just make kids more thirsty and they need water to hydratate, especially in hot weather. You could provide water bottles as the take home gift.
Games and basic equipment for your sports birthday party
- Minimum of 4 - 5 soccer balls, but you can never have too many
- 5 hessian sacks
- 5 tennis balls
- Rope for Tug of war - beware of nylon rope as it really burns
- 12 cones/markers - to mark out areas in which the games take place
- Mark out a large circle with your cones, this shows the areas within which the kids will move.
- Get your helper to stand on the cones at the opposite side of the circle to you.
- Get the children to move around within the marked area - you and your helper roll the balls across the circle at any angle trying to tip the kids with the ball. If a child is tipped by the ball anywhere between the knee and the foot, they come and join you on the outside of the circle and try and tip the rest of the group. Keep going until you have one or two left in the circle. Kids always want to do this over and over.
- Place 4 cones a few steps apart - then place a cone directly opposite some distance away - so the children know where they are racing to.
- Main aim is to get everyone cheering for their team mates and having fun together
- Split the children into teams by giving them numbers, ie; if you have 20 children split them into 4 groups of 5 by giving each child a number from 1 to 5. If you have more kids, increase the number of the teams.
Tug of war
- The main aim is to have a tussle with your friends and not the outcome.
- Find the middle of your rope and tie a colourful scarf so everyone can see it.
- Put one marker where the middle of the rope lies and two others equal distances away from the middle marker - this is where the teams have to pull the rope marker.
- Split the kids into two teams
- Get the kids to pick up the rope, but not to pull until the whistle goes.
- Safety first: it is very important to tell the children not to let the rope go while playing Tug of war. If they slip, they should hold on and pull themselves back up. Letting the rope go, unless you are on soft sand only ever ends in injuries.
Quick game ideas
- Climb into the sacks and have sack relays
- Running relays
- Egg and spoon races using wooden spoons and tennis balls
- The kids can have conehead races by wearing the orange cones
- Ask the children for an idea, and remember, the birthday child's idea rules!!
This article was created by Sue Cutbill from Kids Exercise for Kidspot, New Zealand's leading source for birthday party ideas.
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