How to Plan a Kid's Birthday at the Park

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Because kids love to be outside in nice weather, a park is a great location for a child's birthday party. Parks provide ample room to run around and endless possibilities for activities and healthy exercise. They also keep the normal birthday party wear and tear out of the house and offer a potentially easier clean-up and recovery process as a result. Although it takes time and creativity to plan a park party, kids are sure to love the result.

Make a list of the parks you are interested in using for the party, and call the town hall or park office to find out if you need to rent or reserve the space. There may also be specific guidelines about how much decorating or rearranging of picnic tables and other items you are allowed to do. Do this far enough in advance to be able to change your plan if you are unable to meet the park's requirements.

Choose the type of food that you will serve at the party. Some parks have picnic tables and grills that can be used if you wanted to make a kid-friendly lunch of hamburgers and hot dogs. You could also pick up pizzas, or simply choose to time the party so as not to serve a meal, but only snacks and birthday cake.

Determine games that will fit the types and ages of children attending. Younger kids may enjoy playing on the swing set and attempting an organized game of duck duck goose or tag, while older children could play a game of soccer or ultimate Frisbee. Consider planning a series of relay races or a tug of war, taking full advantage of the park setting.

If you intend for the birthday child to open presents during the party, make sure there are picnic tables, chairs or blankets available to seat the children while they watch. If there is no seating available, bring at least one portable table on which guests can place their gifts and consider taking them home to be opened later.

Decorate the park area if possible and if allowed by the park office or town. Tie balloons to tables, or make a big "Happy Birthday" sign and set it up on an easel with balloons and streamers attached. This will serve both as a decoration and as a marker to identify the celebration for attending guests.

Tips & Warnings

  • Have plenty of hydrating liquids available like water or sports drinks during the party. Kids will need to stay well hydrated, especially if they are running around and the weather is warm.
  • One drawback to a park party is the fact that it can be ruined by bad weather. When you send out your invitations, include a weather contingency plan with either a different date or location indicated.
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