Works-For-Me Wednesday: Themed Birthday Parties


The first WFMW of every month is a themed edition, and this months theme is birthday tips.

When my older guys were little, we didn’t really have a themed party beyond maybe the plates and cake decorations matching. One of their favorites took place at a state park that had a little stream they could play in. On the invitations I expalined what we’d be doing and the need for appropriate clothes, and Jason (who was turning 6) delighted in telling invitees that they’d be able to get wet and dirty. 🙂 And some years we just went to some place like Discovery Place in Charlotte or just a place near by with video games, go-carts, and such and let them invite one friend.

I don’t think a theme is necessary — the kids care more about playing and cake. But over the last several years we have had a few themed ones that were really fun to do, and I wanted to share three of them with you.

1. Lego party

I saw this idea in the Family Fun magazine (which has a yearly focus on theme parties. This may be where I got the idea in the first place. They have tons of wonderful party ideas on their web site if you can get past all the ads). One of the games was building a tower out of Legos as high as you could within a time limit. At the time stores sold little $2 Lego sets we used for favors. The cake was the best thing, though, for a cake-challenged person like me. It was made to look like a giant Lego — just a regular 13×9 cake with eight cupcakes on top, spaced like the little round interlocking parts on top of a Lego, and frosted all the same color. All of my guys LOVED Legos, so this one was close to my heart.

2. Army party

For this one I made invitations on the computer using a military-looking font and clip-art of army guys, couching everything in terms like “Your presence is requested to complete a mission: celebrating Jesse’s birthday.” We got cheapy plastic camouflage helmets at the Oriental Trading Company. My husband acted as “drill sergeant” and put them through some funny drills (I think tossing water balloons back and forth trying not to break them was one, shooting something with water guns was another), then took them on a short hike through the woods. Our local grocery store bakery didn’t have any kind of army-looking cake in their book, but when I told the decorator what I was looking for she said they did have a kit for that, so the cake had little hills and roads and army tanks on it. Many of the guys wore camouflage pants.



3. Detective party

This was fun but did take a little more thought. I did the invitations on the computer again with clip-art detectives, magnifying glasses, etc. The bulk of the invitation was normal but part was written in code. We cut footprints out of black construction paper and placed them outside. We used gold foil-wrapped chocolate “coins” to represent the “loot” that was stolen and hidden. I came up with 3 clues to lead them to the coins. That was hardest — I was trying not to make it too hard, but they figured it out pretty easily. We had little detective hats, sunglasses, pads, pencils, and I think maybe magnifying glasses. We played one game that was a variation on what you might have done at showers — showed them a tray of items, let them look at it for a minute, then covered it — then they had to list as many items as they could remember (because detectives are supposed to have good powers of observation. 🙂 ) We also had one of my older sons walk through, then asked them questions about what he had one, how tall he was, etc.


Since my youngest is 13, that’s probably the last themed one. When they get to be teens, they seem to prefer pizza and cake with not much formal planning. But it was fun while it lasted. 🙂

Go to Rocks In My Dryer for more birthday tips or to join in the fun. And don’t forget my interview with Lynn Walker, author of Queen of the Castle: 52 Weeks of Encouragement for the Uninspired, Domestically Challenged or Just Plain Tired Homemaker.

5 thoughts on “Works-For-Me Wednesday: Themed Birthday Parties

  1. I love the detective theme. My little boy is too small still but I can’t wait until we can try some of these out. Thanks for the tips.

    My daughter really likes legos, I’m sure we could adapt your lego theme for a girl party (pink legos, build a lego castle for a princess, etc.)

  2. I LOVED and still do love Lego.

    2. Army party
    this one sounds fun

    3. Detective party
    Billy would like this hes into spys and detectives at the moment

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