Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Birthday Party Wrap Up!

As we end our birthday party series blog, we thought we'd provide a few last minute gift ideas as well as some ideas for thank you notes and how to tackle that.

Our friends over at provided some great ideas on group gifts for kids and we thought we would throw in a couple of last minute gift ideas.  We often give or ask (if given the opportunity) for a "gift of an experience."  Memories of going somewhere or doing something they enjoy are priceless!  Does your child love to swim, dance, or create?  Think passes to the pool, a contribution to dance classes or a gift certificate for a class at the local arts center.  Opportunities for a gift are endless with this idea and you aren't left wondering do they already have this or that, will they enjoy it, etc.  If you know that the child loves to do gymnastics why not foster that enjoyment?  Just last week I picked up a few tickets to the Montshire for some out of town youngsters that have never been there, we packaged them up in a large envelope complete with the Montshire's most recent newsletter and brochures and they enjoyed looking at the pictures of some of the things that they would see when they visit.

Often people want to have a gift for a child to open versus an envelope with a piece of paper in it that is intangible to a young child.  In this case, wrap up a beach towel with a pass to the local pool for a day of swimming or a brand new set of crayons or paint brushes to go with that gift certificate to the local arts center.  There are lots of little things you can do to provide a gift of an experience and still provide that "oohh and ahhh" for a child as they unwrap something special.  We are very fortunate to have so many venues that offer endless opportunities for activities and things to do right here in our area that are perfect for gift giving.

And lastly, let's talk about thank you notes...Let's face it, it is a bit challenging to get them done and out in a timely fashion, however I've found that as kids get old enough to scribble or create something on their own it's as simple as turning it into a project over a couple of days.  Here are a few ideas to help tackle the thank you's:

1.  At the top of the list is a plain old on the spot, "Thank You" from the child after opening the gift, sometimes this is enough depending upon the age and the guests.  I picked up a tip from a friend a few years ago about a game she played with her children to foster giving thanks upon receiving gifts.  A few days or even a couple of weeks prior to a birthday or even a holiday practice wrapping up something (anything around the house) in a towel, bag, paper, whatever you have lying around the house and then pass it to your child.  The child has to open it and say something nice ("I love this" or "this is a pretty color") about the gift as well as thank you.  Have the child choose something to wrap up and pass it back to you with the same expectation.  Just a couple of rounds of this game a few times before an event is great practice and a valuable teaching tool when it comes to receiving gifts.  We've tried it and it works!

2.  Purchase or make your own postcards.  Children love to draw and create, have them color one side, you write the note and if they are able to they can even sign their name.  This is a great idea to use with stamps, paints, colored paper and glue or stickers.  Again, this is a project that you can spread out over a couple of days and wallah, have them sent out within no time.

3.   Send along a picture postcard of your child, this makes a nice keepsake for relatives.

4.  Coloring books are always readily available, have them send along something as simple as a colored picture with a quick note on it.

Once the thank you notes are finished, take a little field trip to the post office and conclude the project with having your child stamp the notes and slip them into the mail slot, every young child loves to help with that task.

This concludes the end of our birthday party blog series.  We hope you've enjoyed it and have gathered a lot of ideas for your child's next party!


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