Plan ‘B’ Birthday Party

What do you do when your outdoor children’s party is under threat of being rained out? This is a question that can make parents shudder in terror and children sound, what I call, the horn of disappointment (you know, that nasally ‘Awwww’ sound with an accompanying sulky, slow walk followed by tears). Since for many, postponement is not a desirable option, here are some last-minute ideas for a good plan ‘B’. By the way, the reason I am covering this topic right now is because this is actually my current situation for child number four.

Entertaining kids indoors can be daunting. But to make it less so, break it down into bite-sized pieces. For example, our party is only two hours long. Cake and presents will take about 20 minutes which means we will only have to fill 100 more. That’s doable.

Plan ‘B’

1.     Play Time. What? Yes! Don’t underestimate kids’ desire just to play together and explore your house as everyone is arriving. (15 minutes)

2.     Treasure Hunt. Hide something somewhere in the house. Write enough clues for each child to have one. Have kids work together or in teams to find the object. The winning team can receive a prize. Candy is always a popular choice. (10 minutes)


3.    Group Jenga. Set up the game, Jenga on a counter. Have the kids line up and take turns. (10 minutes)

4.     Board Game Palooza. Pull out enough board games for all of the children to be engaged at once. Think ‘speed dating’. Set a timer for 5 minutes. When time is up, have them rotate to another game. They can take over where another player was and continue the game. This can be done in teams as well, having one member from each team playing each game. When they rotate, they continue playing where their teammate was. (20 minutes)

5.     Trust walk. Have kids pair up. Blind-fold one person in each couple. Then have the sighted child guide the one with the blindfold through a course, only using vocal commands. Time each pair to determine the winners. (10 minutes)

6.     Fashion Designer. We are doing a Moana party so we have grass skirts and bandanas from Dollar Tree. The girls will each be given two bandanas and will create a top, only using safety pins. Alternatively, let kids loose with scrap fabric or bed linens. You can even see what they design with a roll of toilet paper! (10 minutes)

7.     Dance Party. Teach the kids a simple dance, like the “Macarena” or “Electric Slide”. Since we are doing a Moana party, we will do the “Hookala”, a Hawaiian dance I learned in third grade, no kidding. (10 minutes)


8.    Craft Time. Not everyone has a closet full of craft supplies. But if you do, think of something simple to make with the party goers, such as beaded jewelry, tissue paper flowers, popsicle stick structures, broken crayon picture frames, or simple paintings. (15-30 minutes)

9.    Wind down. The birthday child will probably want to play with some of his/her gifts. This would be a good time to all play together and also have kids gather their gear. (10 minutes)

If you’ve been doing the math, all this adds up to more than 100 minutes. Also, in my experience, we often end up with more games than time, which is ideal, especially if you are throwing things together last-minute. The kids will have a ball, whether inside or out. So, next time plans have to change, embrace Plan ‘B’!