Party Time For Kids

By Kathryn M. D’Imperio

Planning a child’s birthday party is a lot like making an ice cream sundae. You may start out with an idea of what you think you want, but as soon as you see all the options for flavors (venues) and toppings (all those little “extras”), you can become quite overwhelmed at the thought of it. Thankfully, kids’ parties are about as easy to customize as an ice cream sundae, so you needn’t worry if your little one is heart-set on a specific flavor (predictable and easy to please) or more interested in all the toppings and flavor combinations (indecisive and fond of many things). Remember, in a child’s eyes, it’s the little things (sprinkles) that count!

As you begin to plan your child’s party, think first about the basic details. What time of year will you have it? How many people do you plan to invite? Will you host the party at your home or do you prefer to have the event at an outside attraction or other location? Also keep in mind your party budget and the theme you choose for your son’s or daughter’s birthday party. Now comes the fun part – selecting the party’s location. Consider these fun and exciting birthday party venues for kids of all ages.

Home Parties

Tried and true, parties hosted at your own home can often save money and hassle while making your child’s party a bit more personal. Bake the cake yourself or order one to fulfill your little one’s wildest dreams. Throw together a list of party games like Pin the Tail on the Donkey, Hot Potato, Musical Chairs, and a Mystery Prize Game, or you can even include old school games like Twister.

If you plan to have a bit of a grand scale party at your home, look into a moon bounce or other bounce house rental for your kids to enjoy. Opt for a piñata or maybe even surprise pony rides, compliment of a service like the Travelling Pony Ride & Petting Zoo by Sleepy Hollow Ponies, based in Allentown. You can also look into a clown, magician or other entertainer. Don’t forget the party bags!

Amusements and Activity Parties

From even the earliest ages, kids seem to love family attractions and activities the whole family can enjoy. Consider hosting a bowling party any time of year for almost any age – even your four or five year olds can play if you get the lanes with bumpers. In the Lehigh Valley, you can consider AMF Parkway Lanes in Allentown, complete with its own DJ and Karaoke on Friday nights.

Your active children may also like an ice skating or roller skating party – check out Bethlehem Skateaway for roller skating parties or Bethlehem’s Earl E. Schaffer Municipal Ice Rink or Steel Ice Center for ice skating parties. Some other fun activities to wrap into kids’ birthday parties include a trip to Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, a trip to see the Iron Pigs baseball team play, or a birthday party at a venue like the newly opened GAMETIME Field House for sports fun and games, BounceU for – you guessed it, or Lehigh Valley Sports Academy, with its trampoline, giant moon bounce, foam pit, obstacle course, and more.

Crafty Parties & Star Treatment

Whether you decide to take all the little girls to the nearest nail salon or plan an upbeat dance party for all to enjoy, star treatment style parties can go a long way to making your child feel like a local celebrity. Check out any number of party packages at the local dance studios to create a fun birthday they’ll never forget. For your daughter and a few friends, consider renting a limo for her Sweet 16 or other special birthday party, complete with sodas, snacks, and a trip to the spa or salon.

Birthday parties centering on crafts can be a lot of fun as well, with choices ranging from pottery and ceramics to hot glass parties (glassblowing) at ArtsQuest, bead making, jewelry making, and more. Artists at Heart, a creative company serving up pottery-making and beading experiences, brings the fun of creation to your location. Kids’ parties can focus on bracelet making or sculpting and painting air-dry clay, two fun and crafty activities that leave your young guests with their own treasures to take home.

“Kids actually get to make something of their choosing,” says Virginia Ellen, a partner at Artists at Heart. “When we do our parties, they get to make it from scratch. We try to customize each party to the theme. If they choose bears for the theme, we do something with bears, and custom design a project just for their party.”

Educational Parties

So many kids love to learn, so foster that curiosity by creating a fun party in an educational setting like a museum or other educational attraction. The Lehigh Valley boasts numerous unique educational venues that also offer birthday parties, including The Crayola Experience in Easton, the Da Vinci Science Center in Allentown, or the America on Wheels Museum, which could be a great party venue for the young guys in your life.

Food Centric Parties

It’s hard to go wrong with a party focusing on food! Whether you host it at home or rent out a party room at the restaurant or site, this type of party is usually an easy crowd pleasure. Choose from a pizza party or a fast food party to a venue that mixes food with activities.

And last but certainly not least, you can come full circle and actually have an ice cream sundae party for your kiddos. Plan one at your house with many flavors and lots of candy toppings or look into private parties at places like the Ice Cream Lab, where they make it so easy go from interactive play to ice cream sundae building. So keep piling on the toppings and extras, or just keep it simple with some hot fudge and a cherry on top. Whatever you decide for your child’s birthday party, make sure you snap some pictures and go heavy on the sprinkles.

Follow @LehighValleyMarketplace on Instagram