Fun Birthday Themes
Still stuck on what your children and their friends might enjoy? Here are some suggestions for the hosts and tips for those attending to accentuate any creative theme.

Children's Party themesColorful celebrations: One simple way to plan a great party is to base the theme on your child’s favorite color. For example, if your little girl loves everything pink, throw a pink party.
-Decorate the cake with pink icing and use just a hint of red food coloring to make a pink batter. You can even snack pink. Serve strawberry yogurt, dye the milk pink and combine strawberries, watermelon and raspberries for an appropriately festive fruit salad. Pink plates, napkins and cups are also easy to find.
-Encourage guests to adorn their gifts with pink wrap and accessories, or bring them in fashionable pink gift bags. Shoppers can easily find all of their pink essentials conveniently displayed together in the Target card, wrap and stationery department.
-Remind all attendees to wear a little something pink, and make sure the birthday girl is covered from head to toe in her favorite color. You can also provide rose-colored glasses to all of the guests to ensure a perfectly pink occasion.

A sporting affair: No matter what time of year, a sports theme is always a great idea. You can specialize the party based on your son’s or daughter’s favorite sport, or design your own sports lounge recognizing the many sports they enjoy.
-For a simple snack idea for any sport, make your child’s favorite sandwich as the main course and cut them out in the shape of a football, basketball or baseball. Decorate each one with mustard or melted cheese to look like the seams and laces.
-Create a fun and unexpected cake based on a park or playing field. For example, create a great golf course cake by dyeing shredded coconut green to mirror the greens of the course. Use brown sugar for sand traps, blue icing for water hazards, and you could even sneak in a few candy golf balls to top it off.
-Want a way to get a few things done with one easy suggestion? Get fun t-shirts made up as jerseys for all of the kids. These can act as their placeholders at the table – an unexpected and thoughtful favor that leads perfectly to them teaming up for a game in the backyard.

An assist from animals:
For young children few things are as interesting as the animal world. If your little one loves everything animal, create a zoo, circus or carnival party.
-In lieu of a cake, get the kids more involved and let them decorate cupcakes with their favorite animal faces.
-Let out your inner animal in decorating for the party. Something as simple as drawing animal faces on balloons or creating garlands with circus peanuts to hang over a chandelier or railing will help to get everyone in the carnival spirit.
-Possible activities for an animal themed party are endless. Have an older brother, sister or friend paint animal faces on your child and their guests. If you want a more handmade look, get everything the kids would need to create their own inventive animal masks to wear to the party. Simple items like markers, craft paper, cotton and twist ties or pipe cleaners should be all you’ll need.

A candy-coated party: What kid doesn’t love candy? So why not use it as a fun way to coordinate your child’s party?
-Have the guests design their very own party hats with candy. Cover a basic party hat with construction paper and let the kids go wild with their sweet imaginations.
-Sweeten up your cake presentation by having cups of different assorted candies scattered around and let the party guests decorate their own masterpiece.
-Instead of using traditional ribbons to wrap each place setting, use licorice or candy bracelets. Your centerpiece could actually be as simple as layering glasses or bowls with colored jellybeans for a fun visual effect.

Rules to plan by
In planning a birthday party for your child, there are a few golden rules that Thompson and her team pass along.
-Limit the party to two hours if you are hosting it at your house. This will give you sufficient time for preparation and clean up, and it is just enough time to keep all guests entertained.
-Be sure to find out about any food allergies or general preferences from other parents. Making sure everyone can enjoy the party and all of the snacks is essential.
Hello Kitty-Short on time? Not a problem. Get one of your children’s favorite characters to help you. This year some of the most popular themes at Target include those from the blockbuster film Transformers and new offerings from the always-popular Hello Kitty collection.

Whether you have months or minutes to plan, creating the perfect party for your birthday boy or girl can be a snap. Given everyone’s busy schedules, it may seem tempting to outsource the party to a local amusement park or sports complex, but taking whatever time you have to plan a great celebration will make it more enjoyable for everyone involved … and yes, that means you, too.

“The key to planning a great birthday party is to just use your creativity, and what you know your child likes,” said Angela Thompson, American Greetings trend expert. “The first step is to decide on a theme that your child and their friends will enjoy. Once you have a theme you’ll be able to come up with ideas for snacks, decorations and fun activities for everyone.”

Thompson has some particularly interesting insights on this topic, as she and her team work year-round to scout trends for all special occasions in designing the American Greetings card, wrap and stationery department at Target. Through this work, Thompson and her team have learned the secrets to what makes for a great birthday party.