NEW YORK (AP) – Birthday parties are big deals. Toys “R” Us created a birthday club offering a checklist to help parents with all the details. Here are some ideas:

1. Cooking sleepover party, best for children ages 7-10. Variations: scrapbooking or fashion-makeover parties.

n Create invitations from recipe cards.

n Decorate kitchen as if it were a TV cooking show.

n Have aprons and chef hats for kids.

n Make individual pizzas for dinner, ice cream or yogurt sundaes for dessert and pancakes for breakfast.

n Activities could include videotaping the cooking as if it were a cooking show, have an “Iron Chef” cookoff, or do dinner and a movie – cook meals based on the movie selection the kids will watch later on.

2. Top-secret spy party, best for children 5-8.

n Supply simple disguises for party guests to wear.

n Create customized spy badges using a digital camera and printer that includes each guest’s alias.

n The spies could use clues to hunt down cake or party food that has “disappeared.”

n Hire a caricature artist to draw the spies faces on a template with a hat, trench coat and magnifying glass.

n Serve Mission Macaroni (macaroni and cheese), Double O Dogs and Undercover Fries, and Private-Eye Punch.

3. Tea party, best for children 2-6.

-Make teacup invitations cut from white paper or make giant strawberry invitations, from red construction paper, and decorate.

-Set up a child-sized tea party on small tables or use your dining room table so the event feels special. Cover the tables with tablecloth and decorate with flowers, and set out teapot and teacups.

-Have the guests put on fancy dress-up clothes – pink boas, for instance – before heading to the tables.

-Personalize regular – and fairly inexpensive – straw hats with craft items, such as silk flowers, ribbons, sequins and sparkles. The children can make up character names to go with their hats.

-Have a parade with the guests modeling their new hats.

-Serve miniature strawberry shortcakes, with pink lemonade or strawberry milkshakes in teacups.

On the Net: http://www.birthdaysrus.com


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