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Archive for Party Articles


How A Balloon Is Made

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Ever wondered how a balloon is actually made?  Those bright colourful things we have at parties, use as decorations or bend and tie into different shapes go through quite a lot of steps when they are made.

Did you know they go through a treatment process to ensure people with latex allergies will not be affected?  Did you know that balloons come in 53 different shades?

Have a look at this clip from the Science and Discovery Channel and see just what steps they go through in the manufacturing process.  It’s fascinating.

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Be The Star Of The Party

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Coming up with entertainment ideas for children’s parties is not easy, especially if you’re looking for something that is not too expensive.

Have you ever thought about becoming the entertainer?

With a few simple magic tricks you can keep a group of children enthralled for ages.  We found these clips which will teach you a couple of simple magic card tricks to start off with.  After a little practice you will be as good as the magician in the clips.

Oh, by the way, we followed the link to his website and found that he offers a free 17-Part Magic Course by email.  We don’t know what it’s like but if you like the idea of becoming a magician it might be a great place to start.

Here you go.  Get started.

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Parties For Toddlers

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When planning parties for toddlers then there is one main thing you need to take into account – simplicity.  Generally the toddler age range encompasses the first birthday or any other special celebration event prior to the second birthday and for this age group, the simpler the better.  They are just learning to walk, may still be a bit unsteady on their legs and have a very small attention span.

These are all things that need to be taken into account when planning the party.  Toddlers, although no longer babies, can be overwhelmed by a large number of guests.  Keep the guest count low for starters and plan the party around your child’s nap – usually a morning party works well before the midday or afternoon meltdown occurs.

By all means plan a tempting feast but know that the simplest touches like tablecloths and cutlery can become a hazard in little hands.  It is also best to avoid balloons at the event as toddlers will not appreciate a popping balloon going off in their hands.

Children of course love presents, however at this age, it is best to open the gifts after the event to avoid further anxiety from the birthday toddler and their toddler friends.

When planning the event – outside is best to avoid destruction and breakage occurring within the house.  A backyard or nearby park is great – anywhere that allows the toddlers to run around and play.

Weather depending, you can plan activities for the party although again aim for simple unstructured fun.  Fun in a paddling pool or sandpit is a great way for kids to experiment or how about an age appropriate jumping castle?  Children of all ages love bubbles and music – toddlers being no exception.

In reality, birthday celebrations for toddlers are more for the parents than the child, but you can still make sure that they enjoy the event as it occurs – even if they don’t remember it afterwards.

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Amazing Cakes

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You may be in a slight panic due to the fact that your child’s birthday is coming up and you want to at least attempt to put a home-made cake on the table. Great cakes or even amazing cakes do not have to be difficult.

Take a leaf from Martha Stewart’s book and get inspired. Somehow she manages to make cake making effortless. For girls try this hopscotch inspired polka dot number filled with orange marmalade. Boys will love this rocket ship cake covered in delicious buttercream icing. And for those mums that hate to bake – how about this non-bake rice cereal confection cake. It looks traditional enough for a birthday celebration and no doubt tastes great.

But we don’t have to look abroad to source fun and innovative cake making ideas. Australia’s very own Woman’s Weekly is constantly coming up with amazing and tantalising cakes to appeal to all age ranges which have all been triple tested for your own benefit.

These flower themed cupcakes are perfect for a spring birthday party or for movie night, kids will love this popcorn centred baked treat.

Cakes can also be created at special times of year such as Halloween. This is the perfect time of year to create a spooky raspberry ice cream cake or even spider covered cupcakes.

Whether your child is into pirates, Dorothy the Dinosaur, loves skateboarding or just hanging out at the beach – you are bound to find something that will suit their style and your cooking skills.

If you are unsure about a recipe, it is worth doing a trial bake prior to the big day. This may mean more cost to you initially (for double the ingredients) however ultimately it will mean less stress on the big day.

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Party Games For Kids

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Is it party season?   Let’s face it, parties all seem to come at once, don’t they?

If your child has been to a few birthday parties recently, it’s highly likely that the children you are inviting to your child’s party have been to the others as well.   You are probably scratching your head trying to find something different to do.

What about these games?

Marshmallow Towers

Divide the guests into teams of equal numbers.  Give each team the same number of toothpicks and mini marshmallows.  Then, set a time frame for them to work in - 5 minutes is usually long enough.  The team that builds the tallest tower using only the toothpicks and marshmallows is the winner.

Blind Cotton Ball

Blindfold each child as they take their turn to move cotton balls from one bowl to the other using only 3 scoops.  The person who moves the most cotton balls over is the winner.  If there is a tie, repeat until you have a clear winner.

These games came from Party Game Ideas where you will find plenty more to choose from.

Have a fun party!

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Holding A Baby Shower

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Baby showers are a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the impending arrival of a new little babe into the world or even to celebrate the birth itself, depending on when it is scheduled.  Traditionally showers were only for the first born child however of course for many, showers are now held for every child regardless of their position within the family.

In Australia, invitations are usually sent out and the mother is “showered” with baby related gifts on the day.  Similarly to that of a children’s party, games are played and often they are taken directly from that of a child’s party.  Pass the parcel, food tasting, egg and spoon races, hopscotch and singing of children’s song are known to be favourites of such an event.

Food wise, cake and other delicious finger food is generally served and often the parties are themed.  Pink or blue is an obvious theme if the sex of the baby is already known, otherwise you can select a theme which is suitable for either gender.  Suggestions include a basic nursery theme such as stars or the alphabet or you can go so far as to select a character such as Winnie the Pooh or the ever popular Beatrix Potter characters.

If you are looking for some fun and inspirational ideas for baby shower favours, visit Martha Stewart.  Ranging from flower power to cherries and chocolate, your guests will undoubtedly appreciate your efforts.

Whatever you decide on, it is important to remember that the aim of the shower is to provide a fun and relaxed environment for the mum-to-be.

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Theming A Party With Colour

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A party with a theme is interesting and often easier to plan than a party with no set theme. One of the simplest and most effective themes to put together for any kind of party is one of colour. Whether you choose one favourite colour, a couple of complimentary contrasts or the colour of your favourite sporting team, once you know what direction you’re heading in, you can become very creative with the use of colour.

Choosing one colour (pink is a good example as this seems to be a popular colour with girls), can have its pros and cons. It might seem a simple option from the outset, but it can present you with some real challenges. For instance, do you choose one particular shade of pink for absolutely everything? Or will you include every single tint, shade and tone in the pink spectrum, so long as it’s pink? Do any of your pink colours clash? Creating a party venue that is a complete melting pot of pink colours may not exactly give your guests the pretty visual effect that you are after.

That’s where it can be good to break it up with a complimentary contrast. Perhaps you could try a combination of pink and white, pink and silver, or pink and yellow? You can still have most of your themed decorations and food in the colour of your first preference, but by adding a sprinkling of a second colour, it can break up the tones and help to accentuate the main colour.

Balloons, streamers, buntings, plates, napkins, candles, cutlery, cups and table settings can all be chosen according to your colour theme, and there are so many fun food and drink options that can be included in your colour plan. Soft drinks and cordials are available in a wide variety of colour, and it is easy to add a couple of drops of food colouring to each cup or glass before pouring drinks to give an instant colour change without affecting the flavour.

Food dyes are easy to add to any type of food – sweet or savoury – to achieve a feast that fits in with your colour theme. Plan your food colour changes carefully because if the food already has a strong colour, you need to be aware of what it will look like once the food dye has been added. For instance if you add a few drops of red food dye to something that is naturally yellow you are going to end up with an orange shade. It pays to practice a bit and select foods that have very little colour of their own if you want to dye them to match your theme. Also keep in mind that although green eggs and ham might seem like a fun idea, most people will hesitate to actually eat them. There are many natural food dyes available too if you prefer to provide a pink banquet for a little girl’s party, without giving all of your guests “the red cordial effect”.

As always, the success of the party comes down to the preparation done before the actual event. It is important to start planning a few weeks in advance to make sure you can get all of your coloured decorations, ingredients and party favours you need to fit your theme. That way you know that the day will run smoothly and you will find that you can relax a little and just enjoy the day.


Birthday Cards For Kids

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Most children’s birthday cards are boring. They have the standard princess, unicorn or cake on the front with a simple and unnecessarily dull message inside.

No wonder they throw the cards away without a second look. Give them something a bit more exciting this year. We’ve had a look around and come up with these great finds.

1. The Spotty Napkin

Well you didn’t think I’d forget our cards, did you? We don’t stock dull cards. Ours are full of life and colour. They suit ages 1 to 10 and each age has the choice of a card for a boy or girl. You’ll notice that the designs are all age appropriate, too. We know kids love them because we’ve seen their faces when they are given one.

2. Thinkcards.com.au

Thinkcards has a great range of cards for all occasions but we love their children’s range. It’s small but clever.

The Charlie and Lola cards use characters that look just like those in the popular cartoons of today. They are quirky and because the cards have both male and female characters in them, they will suit both boys and girls. This one will even suit a hippo.

While you are there, have a look at the Pango cards. The little devil caught our eye. The cards are boldy coloured with simple graphics but the best part is that the main figure is actually a magnet. Your child can put it on the fridge and keep it.

3. Yahoo Kids

Yahoo Kids is a fun site that allows kids to create their own e-cards. Often, getting an e-card is more exciting for the junior generation than getting a card in the mail.

The cards are bright and funny and all your child has to do is to enter the name and email address of the recipient and click.

4. Shop4Toys.com.au

Cards can be very expensive. At Shop 4 Toys you can buy birthday cards for only $2 each. They have cards to suit newborns to tweens.

Party on, Dude!

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Party Buntings

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Theme parties are so much fun and the easiest way to decorate your home or party venue is with a bunting.

You can choose from gorgeous bunting designs in popular party themes such as animals, dinosaurs or pirates as well as a wide range of colours to suit any party occasion.

Buntings are easy to put up and cleverly placed, they can make any room feel festive and help to generate a particular party atmosphere.  Made from light and colourful paper, a bunting is easy to place around the room using string and sticky tape. Make sure you use removable tape or adhesive, which won’t mark or damage your paintwork.

Before you start, make sure you know how long your strings of bunting are and try to create patterns and a sense of balance by using the same colours and numbers where possible and mix it up, alternating balloons and other feature decorations between lines of the buntings.

Attach the bunting at the same height at each end and allow it to drape a little lower in the centre creating an upside-down arc.  A common way of using a bunting is to hang it around each of the walls and across the ceiling, meeting in the centre.  If you have a lighting fixture in the centre of the ceiling you may be able to make use of it by hanging a bunting centrepiece or balloons from, but only do this if it is safe to do so.  If you have two or more lighting fixtures you can make corresponding crosses of buntings, one meeting at each light fixture and a centrepiece hanging at the centre of each cross.

Buntings can also be used to trim the table and other furniture by attaching them to the edge of the table cloth or directly on furniture edges.

One of the best aspects of a bunting is the easy cleanup aspect after the party is over. You can refold the bunting so it can be used at another party, or easily fit it into your recycling bin for disposal.

By Tegan Benfell, Co-Author of Additive Free Kids Parties

Yesterday I told you about the ingredients in prepackaged foods and what they can do to your children’s health.  Every child wants a fun birthday party full of all the foods they love so here are a few tips on how they can have their fun and no one will suffer for it.

A few hints and tips:
1: Instead of purchasing pre-popped or microwave popcorn, you can avoid a few very nasty additives by simply purchasing the popping popcorn and popping it the day before the party. Even the “natural flavoured” microwave popcorns tend to have nastys in them, so are best to just be avoided all together. Save yourself some money and pop it yourself. To add some flavour to it you can sprinkle over some icing sugar or some salt and butter, but most children will eat it plain too.

2: Frankfurt sausages and most shop bought sausages are little chemical cocktails. The Frankfurt sausages are known to contain a combination of the worst kind of artificial colours and preservatives, these chemicals have been linked with causing asthma, learning difficulties, behavioural issues and much more. “normal Sausages” are also commonly found to contain more fillers than meat, as well as artificial colour, preservatives and MSG. My advice when purchasing sausages in to find your local wholesaler and purchase gluten free and organic, this can be a little more expensive, but if you buy in bulk you will save lots of money and they are much healthier.

2: At every single party I create, I always make sure there is either a fruit platter or some fruit skewers. These are so bright, colourful and healthy and are always the first thing to be eaten off the table.

3: Fairy bread can either be a relatively safe food, or one of the most toxic items on the table, depending on which ingredients you purchase for it. Your fairy bread will be perfectly safe as long as you buy preservative free bread, butter NOT MARGARINE and instead of buying the brands of sprinkles which are coloured with coal tar dyes that are derived from petrol, choose the brands of sprinkles that are coloured with natural ingredients, from food. Or simply grate some organic chocolate over the top. Yummy!!

4: Instead of purchasing cordials and soft drinks which are generally coloured with coal tar dyes and have artificial preservatives added, why not purchase preservative free fruit juice and natural mineral water? You can create your own fizzy drinks by simply pouring two drinks into a jug. I also always serve water at my parties, children can get dehydrated very easily while running around at parties so they should be encouraged to drink as much water as possible.

5: When purchasing lollies it is very easy to source the natural options, most supermarkets now sell the natural coloured and flavoured options, many shops even sell organic lollies and chocolate too and they are very affordable.

6: If you are buying corn chips, there is no doubt that the better tasting ones are the ones coated in MSG, but you need to remember that MSG and all other forms of MSG are like a magical powder, they are colourless, odourless and flavourless. They are simply a chemical that has been created in a lab to make your taste buds believe that what you are eating is yummy. Food manufacturers choose to use MSG instead of real flavour because it is cheaper and highly addictive. You will notice that if your children eat a lot of products with MSG in them, they will start to refuse to eat “blander” foods, as their taste buds are no longer being satisfied with the chemical they are used to. When purchasing corn chips, I always choose the plain ones, or the certified organic brands, they are a little blander but they are safe and they are what real corn chips taste like.

7: For over 150 fun, colourful and yummy additive free recipes, including hints on where to purchase foods, you can purchase a copy of Additive Free Kids Parties. Head to www.healthyshelf.com.au or www.naturalnewborn.com.au.

I wish you many, many fun, loving and joyous parties to come!