Birthday Party Themes: Sports

by Kathryn Walsh

Whether they're star baseball players or just enjoy watching the occasional game, many different types of children will enjoy a sports-themed birthday party. This type of party is ideal for children between the ages of 6 and 12, since younger children won't yet understand sports, and older teens will roll their eyes at any type of themed party. Line up plenty of chaperons to supervise games and play referee.

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Location

Hosting a birthday party at home invariably leaves the place a mess. Luckily, a sports-themed party is best held elsewhere. Take everyone to a minor-league baseball or hockey game or to the closest college basketball game. Guests will enjoy watching a real sporting event, and you won't have to worry about keeping them entertained. If there aren't any games scheduled on the party date, contact your town's parks-and-recreation office to inquire about reserving a pavilion area in a nearby park. Guests can run around and play games, and the pavilion can provide shade or protection from rain.

Activities

Coming up with activities at a sports party may seem easy, but throwing a few balls at a group of children and saying "go play sports!" can lead to chaos, injuries and hurt feelings. Offer several options for games, since not all guests will be athletically-inclined. Set up a soccer game in one area, football in another and a ping-pong game in another area for those children who trip over their own feet. If your party is a sleepover or a rainstorm sends everyone indoors, put a sports movie like "The Mighty Ducks" on the TV.

Food

Once guests have run around playing games, they'll all be starving. Planning the food for a sports party is easy, since all you need to do is raid the junk-food aisle at the grocery store for anything you'd find at a stadium -- like popcorn, pretzels, peanuts and nachos. For the birthday cake, bake a three-layer cake and trim it into a domed shape so that it looks like half a ball. Frost it to resemble a soccer ball, baseball or basketball.

Favors

You don't need to buy each guest her own regulation football in order to put together favors kids will love. Pick up sports stickers, miniature foam balls and water bottles for each favor bag. If your town has a college with a popular sports program, pick up some stickers or temporary tattoos showing the team logo. Finish off each favor bag with a referee's whistle, then pass out the bags just as guests are leaving so that you don't have to hear a chorus of whistles.

About the Author

Cooking, travel and parenting are three of Kathryn Walsh's passions. She makes chicken nuggets during days nannying, whips up vegetarian feasts at night and road trips on weekends. Her work has appeared to The Syracuse Post-Standard and insider magazine. Walsh received a master's degree in journalism from Syracuse University.

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