Party Planning Tips ...Activity Ideas



Fun Birthday Party Ideas & Activities by Age Group

Don't restrict your party to games, think of activities as well. At one party they set up a couple of chairs with a white sheet as a backdrop and left a bucket of props for a make shift photo booth, The mom said she raided the dollar store and found some neat things like plastic glasses, and other fun odds and ends. The pictures make a nice party favor after.

  • Preschool children enjoy simple party games, movement, and art activities. It’s helpful to plan the activities with your child. Consider mural painting, dance and freeze when the music stops, or a cooking project. Find more preschooler activities!


  • Kindergarten and elementary school children will probably have more elaborate birthday party ideas and activities in mind. If finances permit, consider an activity such as bowling. A theme party where children make puppets and perform a puppet show is a fun option and not too costly. Find more kindergartener activities!


  • Older children may request a sleep over birthday party. Consider whether this is something you would like to supervise recognizing that you probably won’t get much sleep. That said a sleep over with a small group can be a wonderful close time for children that they’ll remember for years.


  • Need birthday party ideas that range different age groups? Children of all ages enjoy being creative. Consider decorating party hats, making picture frames (and putting a group photograph of the children at the party), or having children decorate their own cupcakes or cookies.


Scavenger hunts are great fun for kids. The level of difficulty can be raised or lower depending on the age of the children. They can also be adapted to a variety of themes (Pirate treasure hunt, a princess scavenger hunt, find a pumpkin scavenger hunt). Simply make sure that there are prizes for all the children



Next week we'll explore a supply box and what should be in it (This one tip has saved many parents planning birthday parties).



Ice Ice Baby

The title of this blog is a throwback to Mr. Van Winkle . ..

During a recent file transfer, I uncovered some archives of magic tricks using household items.  Here's one from  " the kitchen".



Go grab a coffee cup, kitchen sponge, cup of water, and ice cube...And now...let's get into it.




Next week I'll have a tip SO important, and SO new, you won't be able WAIT to share with your friends (and have them thank you for doing so).

Book Release


What's been going on behind the scenes in my world is working on a great partnership with the San Jose library. Perhaps you've been to one of the shows

Wait...that was a really shitty intro.  Sorry about that.  Let me try again. ya doing?  It's been a bit...Trying to find my groove with the blog.  I'm also really excited about teaming up with the San Jose Library. After a show, during my usual chit chat, a librarian and I started talking about hobbies.  I not so subtly mentioned I had written a book, and she asked if I would like to have it available at all of the public libraries in San Jose. Umm...YEAH. We are almost there.

I'm happy to announce my last library show of the season, and book release party at the library. To celebrate the book being carried in every library, every family in attendance will receive a copy.

Thank you for all of your support.

See you on the 12th.


P.S. New Vlog drops Monday.

Even Harry Potter Had to Start Somewhere

Hey there, welcome to Pete's Picks.  Every week there will be a video blog (a Vlog if you will) of tricks to learn, tips to share, and even extras you need to know for all things birthday magic. The trick taught below used to be in the "closeup magic" section of my show.  As with anything, put in the time to make sure your friends are standing n JUST the right spot...otherwise the wrong angle may reveal how this trick is done.  Let's see how it looks to your friends...



You'll need a penny and two quarters.  Got them?  Ok, let's get into it...


Happy Labor Day

It's been awhile, and I'm sorry about that. I found out I had to move, and so have spent the past month or so dealing with that. The good news is that it's almost done, I found a cool new spot. I have a few extra copies of the July newsletter (timely I know). If you'd like a copy, just click here, and write "I'm in", and I'll get your package in the mail out to you.

Last month a bunch of magicians from the South Bay crashed an open mic. In case you want to re-watch it, here's a link.

Now that homework is established, and everyone is getting into the groove again, it's a good time to start planning an extracurricular.. The City is offering a life skills class under the guise of magic. Yes the tricks are fun, but emphasis is really on

  • public speaking,
  • ice breaking skills,
  • hand/eye coordination,
  • finding their "voice"
  • and self confidence.

Oh, and on the last class we put on a show, to share what we've learned. Classes start in a couple weeks. If you have some questions about them, let me know.


I hope things are cool on your side.

Happy Labor Day!



Avoid a Birthday Party Disaster with These Tips

Hey, I wrote a book.  It's kind of crazy.  

But I wanted to share some tips from it. "Puts on author voice"...

Planning your party 4-6 weeks in advance is best. Just as in school, waiting until the last minute to “cram” usually results in a failure. Choose a few dates around your child’s actual birthday (The weekends before and after and maybe even a little further on either side are great options). If their best friend is not available the day you are considering, choose another date.Celebrating with their partner in crime is a bonding experience, and also gives your little one some calm if things become too hectic.

Does your child have a good buddy with a birthday in close proximity? Team up to reduce effort (and scheduling) for all! At a field day themed party, the two birthday boys choses teams for the day, and competed all during the various games. With an added stake of who’ll reign supreme, the friendly competition also allowed bragging rights. Having a tug of war, or water balloon toss are some great party ideas.

You can create and share playlists on your smartphone. Some examples as I’m writing this might be on Pandora, Itunes, and Spotify.

  1. Sign up. Like most apps you can sign up easily through Facebook. A quick note here, if you DO sign up using Facebook, check the default settings and unclick “share” notifications or any of your friends will know what you’re listening to.
  2. Choose your plan (prices as of this writing vary from free to $9.99/month).
  3. Once you are logged in on your desktop, click on preferences.
  4. Go to Local Files, select the folder(s), and click OK.
  5. Once the files are imported, click on “New playlist” and you’re all set.

In every neighborhood, amongst the group of friends there is always one house that everybody goes to hang out. They may have the coolest video games, the only house with a pool, or just parents that were cool. A “home away from home” type of energy.

My house was not that house. Yours may not be either. When planning the location of the party, consider whether your home is kid friendly. The house I grew up in was nice, it was lived in, and not a museum.

Some pros to hosting the party at your home include:

  • You get to control the environment
  • The birthday child is more comfortable on their home turf
  • It makes invitations and directions easier (versus outdoor…more on that below)
  • Snacks, meals, cake etc can be made ahead of time and put in the fridge.
  • Easier to plan games, activities, and more flexibility with entertainment.
  • When all of the guests have left, a quick clean up and everyone can relax and go to their rooms. (no traffic, car seats, etc) to coordinate.

If you decide your home or apartment isn’t suitable for a children’s party, there are several offsite options that come with obvious advantages (including being able to come back to a clean home after the children have been picked up).

For a small fee, you can reserve space in a community recreation center or local park. This is a good idea if you are planning to have a lot of children attend. Ask a few parents to stick around and help out.

That's it for now. If you'd like to discover more tips, and how to plan the perfect stress-free birthday party, click here.


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