March 1, 2009
Western Birthday Parties
First of all, you must get the invitations ready. Print wanted posters, and have them read “WANTED: CHILD’S NAME, for BIRTHDAY CHILD’S PARTY” . Let the attendees know there will be a reward for those who show up. To give a little personalization, have the child’s picture on invitation poster.
Once the crew gets to the farm, hand out cowboy hats for all. To keep them busy until everyone arrives, offer a petting zoo. It’s easy and fairly inexpensive to borrow a few small farm animals - and if you live in the city it will be a real novelty. Have the kids hang out and feet the goat or chickens. You will have more fun watching them shriek with delight as the critters come looking for more.
No trip to the wild west would be complete without a gold rush. Have your little cowboys and cowgirls ride the stick horses across the wild west, and then they can dig for the treasure. This can be set up like the real gold rush, with treasures mixed in the sandbox, or you can make it more of an Easter egg hunt type game. Have kids stash the goodies in their cowboy hats to keep up with. Treasures from this hunt can include baggies of “Gold Dust” (glitter), coins, and maybe even a few dollar bills.
Once the kids have their treasures, let them go to “town”, designed from cardboard store fronts, and they can trade their treasure for rewards. Have a shop of stuffed animals, sticks horses, candy and stickers. Family members or older kids can be the shop-keepers, with the kids learning while playing.
For those fortunate to have enough room, have a pony ride for the kids. Many children would give anything to ride a pony, and this will make the party over the top. Usually, you don’t have to do anything once you have hired the service. You will be the top ranch with this part of the party (just make sure you have any waivers signed).
Of course on the ranch, it’s always a full blown meal. Picnic tables set up with genuine camping plates - aluminum pie plates are an inexpensive option, along with a full sized ranch hand meal such as bbq, baked beans and potato salad, will be a real hit. Homemade lemonade and sweet tea, and you’re all set. The parents won’t want to leave little ones with you for this, since they’ll want to get a few bites in. Give these western party favors to each guest at their seats. These western candy wrappers are sure to be a hit.
For dessert, you must have the cake (find some great western cakes here) - but don’t forget the campfire. Make sure you have the making for smores, or grilled hot-dogs if you skip the big meal. It doesn’t have to be completely dark to start the campfire. If you listen carefully, you might be able to hear the coyotes in the distance…
Making a child’s western dreams come to life for a birthday will create memories to last a lifetime. Giddy-up partner! Have a Texas sized birthday.