Throw a winter birthday bash for your child. Find the inspiration for a memorable winter party with our top 10 tips.
When you’re planning your child’s winter party, remember to avoid any drama. Here’s a few important things to remember:
- Never hand out invitations at school unless the whole class is invited.
- If you’re sending a birthday treat for the class, keep it simple – cupcakes or chocolate brownies are easier to serve and eat than a whole cake.
- Don’t post photos of party guests to social media without first getting the parents’ consent.
- Specify on the invitation whether siblings are invited or not – some parents may assume the invitation is extended to the whole family.
Put on your thinking cap and get creative with your child’s invitation. If you’re throwing a science-themed party, brush up on your chemistry and use parts of the periodic table or maths equations to spell out the details of the day. But make sure you add plenty of colour and some fun illustrations to keep the invitation exciting – it is a party, not a science fair, after all!
Food truck fun
Jump on the food truck craze by setting up your own version with an ice-cream stand. All you need is a trestle table covered in a bright tablecloth, a chalkboard with the menu options written on it and some delicious treats – think ice lollies (see recipe below), ice cream scoops and a variety of toppings. If the weather calls for warmer fare, consider a hot chocolate stand with bowls of marshmallows, chocolate spoons, milk, whipped cream and sprinkles.
Photo booths are great fun and an easy way to keep children entertained. If you don’t have the budget to hire one, make your own. Here’s how:
- Hang a big piece of plain or patterned fabric on a wall.
- Gather interesting props like wigs, oversized sunglasses, tiaras and masks and store them in a basket or box next to the photo booth wall.
- Appoint someone to man the photo booth. If you’re using a polaroid camera you can give each child a copy of their photos as you take them.
- If you’re using a digital camera, have the photos printed as thank you cards.
How low can you go?
Limbo dancing is always a hit at parties and it’s easy to set up. If you don’t have a pole, make use of what you have around the house – think a broom or pool noodle. Have two adults hold the pole up horizontally, dropping it with every round to make the game more challenging. The goal is for children to pass under the pole bending backwards without touching it or falling. If they do, they’re out. Make sure you’ve got an upbeat playlist to get everyone in the party spirit.
Talent shows like The Voice and Lip Sync Battle have seen karaoke make somewhat of a comeback. Depending on your budget, you can hire a karaoke machine or buy a toy mic and download a few popular tunes for children to sing along to. Rockstar props are a must!
Take inspiration from the likes of Bear Grylls and host a sleepover in the garden. You will need adult supervision, so enlist the help of other parents or family and work in shifts.
Backyard movie night
Create your own outdoor movie experience by setting up a projector screen (if you don’t have one, look for rental options) and speakers in the garden. Pick an adventure-themed movie and make sure to serve popcorn too.
What could be more adventurous than a night-time treasure hunt? Take your cue from The Amazing Race and divide the children into groups, giving each child a mini torch (which can double as a party favour) to help them navigate their way in the dark. Instead of hiding chocolate, leave clues around the garden and whichever team finds all the clues first, wins a prize.
Once the children have worked up an appetite, get the braai going and have them make their own toasted sandwiches. Lay a table with slices of bread, grated cheese, sliced tomatoes and other toppings and let them get creative. Place the sandwiches on a braai grid and toast over the coals for a few minutes on each side until golden brown.
Too cold to go outside?
Move the party indoors if the weather turns bad. Transform your living room into a campsite and lay all the sleeping bags (each child must bring their own) on the floor. Opt for a fondue or chocolate fountain instead of toasted sandwiches – dipping marshmallows in chocolate is a nice twist on the campfire tradition of roasting marshmallows.
Find other age-appropriate birthday party ideas here
1. Make a dinosaur fossil pit
- plastic dinosaur toys
Mix two parts cornflour to one part water in a container – the amount of mixture you make will depend on the size of your container. Bury the dinosaur toys in the mixture. Leave the mixture to bake in the sun for a day or two until it becomes hard and cracks begin to show on the surface. Give each child a mini hammer, paintbrush or toothbrush as excavation tools.
2. DIY snow globe
- glass jar
- strong glue (non-water soluble)
- miniature plastic toys
- glitter or small foil stars
Remove the lid from the glass jar and glue the toy to the inside of the lid. Leave to dry. Place the glitter inside the jar and fill with water. Screw the lid tightly back onto the jar, shake and turn upside down.
3. Make your own snowflake
Take a square piece of paper and fold in half diagonally to make a triangle shape. Fold that triangle in half again and then into thirds. Cut across the bottom to make it straight. Cut both curvy and straight lines into your paper and then open it up – voila! A beautiful snowflake.
Winter party winning snacks!
Sugar-free nutty chocolate brownies
- 200ml (3.4 cups) almond flour
- 45ml (3Tbsp) cocoa powder
- 80ml (1/3 cup) xylitol
- 2.5ml (1.2tsp) bicarbonate of soda
- pinch of salt
- 1 handful assorted nuts
- 3 eggs
- 5ml (1tsp) vanilla essence
- 60ml (1/4 cup) melted butter
- 1 cup whipped cream
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Grease a small ovenproof dish or baking tin.
- Mix all the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl.
- In a separate bowl, mix all the wet ingredients together. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until all of it is combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared dish. Bake for 15 minutes or until the brownie mixture stops jiggling.
- Be careful not to overcook the brownies as they can dry out quickly.
- Once cooled, cut into 4cm squares and serve with whipped cream.
Tip: leave out the nuts if any of the children have allergies.
Raspberry swirl yoghurt lollies
- 2 cups plain yoghurt
- ¾ cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 2 cups frozen raspberries, defrosted
- Place the yoghurt, ½ cup maple syrup and vanilla in a bowl and mix to combine.
- Add ½ cup of this yoghurt mixture to the raspberries and ¼ cup syrup in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Layer alternate spoonfuls of the sweet yoghurt and the raspberry-yoghurt mixture into ten 80ml moulds.
- Swirl gently using a butter knife, insert the lolly sticks and freeze for 4 to 5 hours until firm.
Tip: cater for lactose-intolerant children by leaving out the yoghurt and making a batch of simple fruit lollies.
Read how to host a memorable party during a pandemic here