Tag Archives: birthday party

Taking the Party Outside, OC-Style

Taking the Party Outside, OC-Style Three million people can’t be wrong. Orange County offers a near-perfect climate and a variety of recreational areas for family outdoor activities. Listed below in alphabetical order are some of playparty.net’s favorite Orange County parks — great venues for the Best LEGO Party or Ultimate Race Car Party for your kid’s birthday celebration.

Carbon Canyon Regional Park, Brea

Image from Dianne S on Yelp

Voted the “Best Picnic Spot in Orange County”, Carbon Canyon Regional Park boasts 124 acres and is located upstream of the Carbon Canyon Dam.

Sixty acres are developed and include large, grassy areas for picnicking, sports facilities, and a lake with two piers for fishing. Trees are everywhere — sycamores, eucalyptus, Canary Island pines and pepper trees provide plenty of shade.

The undeveloped area features a trail that leads to a majestic sight — the only grove of Coastal Redwoods in Orange County.

Ralph B Clark Regional Park, Buena Park

Image by Ron B on Yelp

Nestled at the foot of the Coyote Hills, 105-acre Ralph B. Clark Regional Park features large shaded picnic areas, hiking and biking trails, and children’s playgrounds. For sports enthusiasts, there are tennis courts, sand volleyball courts, softball fields and a baseball diamond.

Children of all ages are welcome to fish in the stocked three-acre lake. The award-winning Interpretive Center displays a glimpse into Orange County’s prehistoric past.

Ted Craig Regional Park, Fullerton

Image from ocparks.com
Image from ocparks.com

Ted Craig Regional Park offers 124 acres of beauty and serenity, with rolling hills, a variety of mature trees, open space, year-round creeks and a rose garden. Walkways, picnic tables and park benches are scattered throughout the park.

A small lake is visited by annual migratory waterfowl. Fishing for catfish and bluegill is allowed with a California Fish and Game License.

In addition to bicycle and hiking trails, the park has softball fields, a baseball field and a sports complex with basketball, volleyball, and racquetball / handball courts and horseshoe pits.

Irvine Regional Park, Orange

Image from Les S on yelp.com

The rolling foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains surround 475-acre Irvine Regional Park. Heritage oak and sycamore trees create relaxing, shaded spaces. Santiago Creek bisects the park, and a lake with a stonework waterfall and footbridge is located at the center.

Picnic tables and barbecues are scattered throughout the park with convenient parking and restroom facilities nearby. A paved bicycle / walking trail meanders through the park, providing easy access to playgrounds, softball fields and horseshoe pits. A three-mile equestrian trail on the perimeter provides scenic views of the park.

With fishing, paddle boats, a train and the OC Zoo, Irvine Regional Park has something for everyone.

William R Mason Regional Park, Irvine

Image from Matt M on yelp.com
Image from Matt M on yelp.com

Voted the “Best Park for Kids” by OC Weekly, Mason Regional Park has three tot lots with jungle gyms. Situated on 345 acres, the park has plenty of green grass so kids can cut loose; rows of trees offer shade and a place for them to catch their breath.

The park features picnic areas, a physical fitness course, a softball back stop, sand volleyball courts, bicycle paths and a wilderness hiking area. Visitors can sail model boats on the nine-acre lake.

Mile Square Regional Park, Fountain Valley

Image from ocparks.com
Image from ocparks.com

Mile Square Regional Park, a former practice landing field for the military, encompasses 607 acres.

Its expanse includes fields for soccer, softball and baseball; courts for basketball, tennis and volleyball; three golf courses; two lakes for fishing; and an archery range. And of course, there are many grassy areas for picnicking. It’s the perfect park for you and your family.

Tri-City Regional Park, Placentia

Image from Alzel A on Yelp

The 40-acre Tri-City Park is located in the City of Placentia, borders the City of Fullerton and is less than a quarter-mile from the City of Brea.

Barbecues, picnic tables and benches are scattered throughout the park. Recreational opportunities include playgrounds, bicycling, walking, model sailboating and fishing.

The park is also a wildlife sanctuary and a popular birdwatching destination. Flocks of migratory waterfowl visit the park’s eight-acre lake every year.

Yorba Regional Park, Anaheim

Image from ocparks.com
Image from ocparks.com

Located at the mouth of Santa Ana Canyon, Yorba Regional Park is over one mile long and offers 140 acres of family relaxation. Four lakes and connecting streams provide opportunities for fishing and model boat sailing. Bicycle trails wander through the park and meet up with the Santa Ana River Trail, leading some 20 miles to the Pacific Ocean.

Playgrounds, picnic tables, barbecue stations and restrooms can be found throughout the park. Volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, two ball diamonds and a physical fitness course are also available.

Hike. Fly a kite. Throw a Frisbee. Walk around with a camera or sketchpad. Or take a nap under the shade of a tree. However you define “down time”, you’ll find it at Yorba Regional Park.

♥          ♥          ♥

And in the evening, when your child murmurs, “Thanks, Mom. Thanks, Dad. My birthday was awesome!”, before dropping off  to sleep, you’ll feel like this — serene, grateful and oh so happy.

Image by Justin M.

Full-Throttle Decorations for a Race Car Party

Most three- to seven-year-olds are flat-out crazy about auto racing. When it’s time to celebrate your son’s or daughter’s birthday, call playparty.net and book the Ultimate Race Car Party.

Then have fun decorating. Bring the excitement of the speedway to your home! Here are a few suggestions.

Pave the way for your guests on race day. Tie black-and-white checkered flags to your mail box. Hang a banner that says,“Welcome, Race Fans!” or “Start Your Engines!” on the porch.

This cars-and-balloons wreath adds a cheery automotive element to the front door.

Cars-and-Balloons Wreath
Image from palomapaperdesigns.com

As guests arrive, give each child a personalized “Driver’s License” or “Pit Pass”.

Or make your own. Start with this free template; add text and images.

Turn a patio or hallway into a race track. Make this floor runner with a black plastic tablecloth, strips of white felt, and white adhesive tape. Accessorize with orange traffic cones, home-made traffic lights, and empty motor oil or engine additive boxes.

Let the kids draw on the wall — yes, really! Oversized coloring pages make easy, inexpensive decorations and a fun party activity. When taped to glass doors, the pages also help to protect unwary guests from accidental collisions.

Coloring Wall
Image from simonemadeit.com

There are so many options for table-top decorations. Create a race track with a black plastic tablecloth, white or yellow window marker, and color coding labels.

For the centerpiece, use shiny gold trophies, die-cast toy cars, DIY (painted bathroom tissue rolls) race cars,

TP Race Cars
Image from kiflieslevendula.blogspot.com

or colorful race flags.

Race Flags Centerpiece
Image from mommysideabook.com

Don’t forget to stake-out the pole position for the birthday child. Tie green, yellow, red, black and white balloons to his or her chair!

 

Happy Halloween, Birthday Ghouls and Boys!

Happy Halloween!
Image from eurobricks.com

Was your child born on October 31? Throw a Halloween birthday party mash-up for your little ghoul or boy!

Add our secret ingredients, entertainment by playparty.net and DIY race car driver and LEGO brick costumes. Celebrate with a few tricks and lots of treats. Here’s how…

 

Race Car Driver Halloween Costume

Book the Ultimate Race Car Party.  Then, go from 0 to 50 in a jiffy with this easy homemade costume from Real Simple.

Materials

  • Track suit or matching sweatshirt and sweatpants
  • Baseball cap or painter’s hat
  • Black and white checkered duct tape
  • Black masking tape
  • Race car iron-on patch
  • Race car stickers
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • White ribbon (about 2 yards)
  • Black ribbon (about 2 yards)
  • Dowel

Jacket

Affix a length of the checkered duct tape down the middle of each sleeve. Use the black masking tape to make a horizontal stripe across the middle of the jacket. Glue the iron-on patch to the front of the jacket on the top left side.

Pants

Affix a length of the checkered duct tape along the side seams of each pant leg. Start from the waist and work your way down to the hem.

Cap

Decorate the front of the cap with the checkered duct tape, black masking tape and race car stickers.

Flag

Cut strips of black and white ribbon to the desired length of the flag. Weave the ribbons together and glue at each end. Cut off excess. Cut and sand the dowel. Glue ribbon flag to the dowel.

MetroWest-Mamas added a few special touches of their own.

More ideas for kid's race car driver costume
Image from metrowest-mamas.com

Shoes

Sneakers or slip-ons go great with this costume. Checkered duct tape and race car stickers are optional embellishments. Even better if your kid already has a pair of Lightning McQueen sneakers or slippers!

Trick or Treat Bag

As a birthday present for your little speedster, get the Neat-Oh! Hot Wheels ZipBin Wheelie Car Case. The perfect accessory, it completes the race car driver costume and holds plenty of Halloween goodies. When Trick or Treat is over, it’s a storage case and two-lane race track.

 

LEGO Brick Halloween Costume

LEGO Brick Costume
Image from countryliving.com

Book the Best LEGO Birthday Party.  Then, check out Country Living‘s directions for turning an ordinary cardboard box into a fun costume for the LEGO brick lover in your house.

Materials

Cardboard box, about 16” W X 29” H X 11” D
Utility knife
Packing tape
8 round craft boxes, 2” H X 4” diameter
Wood glue
Spray paint

Instructions

1. Cut off the bottom flaps of the box with a utility knife. Tape down the top flaps.

2. To create openings for your child’s head and arms, trace a dinner plate on the top of the box and saucers on each side of the box. Cut out the holes with the utility knife.

3. Place the box on a flat, hard surface. Use wood glue to affix the round craft boxes — without lids— in a 2 X 4 arrangement, as shown. Make sure the bottoms of the craft boxes face out.

4. Allow the glue to set. Then, spray-paint the entire box a bright, glossy color. Let dry and apply multiple coats as necessary.

 

Happy Halloween!

 

Visit us again soon for more kid’s birthday ideas.

 

 

 

 

 

Happiness Isn’t Measured in Dollars: Fun and Frugal Birthday Parties

birthday-party-park_655w-web

The U.S. economy is steadily expanding but for many workers, paychecks barely keep ahead of inflation. During these financially challenging times, smart moms and dads carefully monitor household spending.

A birthday party needn’t be an extravagant affair.  You can create a fun and fabulous event for your child at a reasonable cost.  Here are a few tips from playparty.net.

1. Sharpen your pencil; be realistic. Figure out how much you can afford to spend on the party. Then, stick to your budget.

2. Use your home or another low-cost location as the party venue. For example, the neighborhood park is free and offers plenty of space for the kids to play.

3. Consider scheduling the party on a week day. Ask prospective vendors if they offer discounts for events held between Monday and Friday. (Hint: playparty.net’s Mid-Week Discount saves you $50.)

4. Before selecting a time for the party, think about the type of refreshments you’ll serve. Does your budget permit you to provide a meal? Or are snacks a better fit? Meals are appropriate for parties held between 11 AM and 1 PM or between 4 PM and 6 PM. If the party is scheduled for mid-morning or mid-afternoon, snacks may be sufficient and acceptable.

5. Send invitations electronically if you have email addresses for all of your guests or their parents. (Hint: Check out paperlesspost.com, evite.com and punchbowl.com.) Not only will you save on postage and stationery, but on-line services make it easy to track RSVP’s and send reminders.

6. Try to prepare most of the refreshments yourself. (Hint: Don’t be afraid to ask family members for help. Your child’s favorite auntie would probably be thrilled to make the birthday cupcakes.)

7. Purchase food, such as crackers, pretzels or fresh fruit and vegetables, in bulk.

8. Serve beverages, such as juice or soda, from large bottles instead of purchasing individual-sized containers.

9. If possible, use items that you already have at home as part of the decorations.

10. Buy decorations and other party supplies from a discount store.

11. Prizes and party favors are optional. If you choose to provide them, keep in mind that they needn’t be elaborate or expensive.

12. Use paper bags to hold party favors. During the party, have guests decorate the bags.

13. If your child wants to celebrate his/her birthday at an amusement park, allow him/her to invite just one special friend.

14. Remember what’s most important about marking your child’s birthday — honoring his special place in the family, and reminding her how much she is loved.  Savor the sweetness of the day.

 

Contact us for more birthday party tips and to book the Best LEGO Party or the Ultimate Race Car Party .

Girl Power! LEGO Party

girl-power-starburst

For over 50 years, LEGO toys have engaged kids in creative play, encouraging them to imagine, invent and explore.

If your daughter is a LEGO fan, celebrate her birthday with the Best LEGO Party. Infuse the festivities with Girl Power! Feature female mini-figs in the invitations, decorations and party favors.

Take a peek at some of our favorites.

A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN LEGO LAND

The farmer wakes up every morning with a big grin on her face. She loves the country life, even when she’s mucking out the stable.

Farmer

The zoo keeper tends to the health and well-being of all of the animals in the Primate House.

Zoo Keeper

At the police station, the officer reads the shift reports, then strides purposefully to her car.

Police Officer

The attorney packs up her briefcase and prepares to meet a new client.

Attorney

The justices* pause for a moment on the steps of the courthouse, enjoying the view of the promenade. They return to chambers, ready to consider the merits of the cases before them.

At the medical center, the doctor sees patients in the Urgent Care department,

Doctor

while the surgeon studies X-rays prior to a procedure.

Surgeon

At the Research Institute*, the chemist wears goggles while conducting experiments in the laboratory. Safety first!

Chemist

The paleontologist unlocks the mystery of dinosaurs with a microscope and magnifying glass,

Paleontologist

and the astronomer uses a powerful telescope to explore the universe.

Astronomer

 

The Institute videoconferences with colleagues on Science Adventures*, gathering data out in the field. The geologist wields a rock hammer to uncover intriguing mineral deposits.

New Geologist

Kneeling behind jungle vegetation, the wildlife biologist observes a tiger.

New Biologist

The archaeologist examines bones and artifacts for clues about an ancient civilization.

New Archaeologist

 

Meanwhile, back in LEGO City, the tennis player serves up a sizzling ace.

Tennis Player

The swimming champ displays little emotion while accepting a medal.  (On the inside, she’s dancing with joy.)

Swimming Champ

The bank manager welcomes customers to the branch.

Banker

The librarian selects a book to read during Children’s Story Time. Is the “Shhh!” on her coffee mug a joke or a warning?

Librarian

Outside the library, the skateboarder noisily ollies, flips and grinds across the urban landscape.

Skate Boarder

 

And it’s impossible to shush the construction worker. She’s got a jack hammer and she’s ready to rumble!

Construction Worker

* LEGO IDEAS: RESEARCH INSTITUTE, SCIENCE ADVENTURES & LEGAL JUSTICE TEAM

The Research Institute began as a project submitted by geochemist Ellen Kooijman (also known as Alatariel) to LEGO Ideas, a fan-sourced platform. Alatariel called her project the “Female Minifigure Set” and the LEGO Ideas community embraced it. The prototype is shown here.

Prototype Research Institute

After attracting the required 10,000 supporters, the project was approved for production, released as a limited edition item under the “Research Institute” name,  and quickly sold out.

Alatariel’s new project, Science Adventures, has already garnered 10,000 supporters and is now being considered by the LEGO Review Board. Updated information on the Science Adventures project is available here.

Maia Weinstock created the Legal Justice Team. To support, share or learn more about the Legal Justice Team project, click here.

 

A MESSAGE FOR THE BIRTHDAY GIRL

 

WyldstyleWe close with a quote from Wyldstyle — a message for your very own “Special” —

“The prophecy states that you are the most important, most talented, most interesting and most extraordinary person in the universe. That’s you, right?”

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday and Girl Power! from play party.net

 

 

Rain Doesn’t Dampen Lego Birthday Party

duplo-thankyou

 

 

We love when are clients are happy, so we are thrilled when we receive a lovely Thank You note like the one below.  Thanks, Tamara!  Glad your child’s LEGO birthday party was a success.

Everyone at Playparty.net strives to provide the most fun parties for your kids, and no-stress for the parents!

Hi Mike,

I wanted to let you know that I had a Lego party on Saturday that went exceptionally well in spite of the rain.

The two party hosts that represented your company were so wonderful. I was scrambling around trying to figure out where to put the tables so the kids could play out of the rain. Your party hosts were so nice, calm and so helpful and worked it all out for me!

Thank you!
Tamara Gross

Mike’s Top 20 Tips for Planning a Happy Birthday Party

Dear Mike,

Help! My little munchkin Taylor is turning 4. We had small family gatherings to celebrate birthdays 1, 2 and 3 but this year I’d like to include Taylor’s pre-school friends. I’m nervous because I don’t entertain a lot and I don’t know the other parents very well. How can I make sure the party will be a success?

— Hazy on Hosting, Southern California

Ask Mike

Dear Hazy,

Planning a party can be enjoyable.  It just takes a bit of time, a bit of organization and a bit of creativity.  Start by checking out this Step-by-Step Guide.

Here are my top 20 tips for coordinating an event that’s fun for everyone — your birthday munchkin, your guests and especially you, the proud parent and happy host.

1.   Remember that your child is the reason for the party. As much as possible, involve him or her in decisions about the theme, guests, activities and food. Don’t worry about trying to impress the other parents.

2.  Kids’ birthday parties typically last about two hours. Don’t schedule the party during your child’s usual nap time.  Specify start and end times on the invitations.

3.  For younger children, it may be best to have the party at home. Little kids usually feel more comfortable in a familiar environment.

4.  Be mindful of the season. If your child’s birthday is in August, avoid the heat by holding the party in the morning or late afternoon. If festivities will take place outdoors, check that there’s adequate shade, or consider renting a tent.

5.  If you’re planning an outdoor celebration for a child born between November and March, reserve a back-up venue in case it rains.

6.  Book entertainment that’s age-appropriate. The Ultimate Race Car Party is perfect for 3- to 6-year olds. And 4- to 8-year-olds love the Best LEGO Party.

7.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Enlist your spouse, babysitter, relatives or neighbors for assistance. An extra pair of hands is especially important if guests will be dropped off by their parents.

8.  Remove pets from the party area. Some children are allergic to or afraid of animals.

9.  Tie balloons to your mailbox or use other decorations to mark the party location.

10.  Play music to create a festive atmosphere.

11.  As guests arrive, invite them to do arts and crafts.  Some children need time to transition into party-mode. A little later, playparty.net will kick-off the Ultimate Race Car Party or Best LEGO Party. Afterwards, serve refreshments and the birthday cake. Let the kids wind down as the party ends.  Guide the birthday child in saying “thank you” and giving party favors to each guest as he or she departs.

12.  Serve kid-friendly refreshments. Simple, familiar foods like hamburgers, hot dogs or sandwiches are good choices. Consider ordering pizza to be delivered — it’s much easier than preparing the refreshments yourself.

13.  Avoid serving any food containing nuts or shellfish, as many kids are allergic to them.

14.  Place trash cans and recycling bins in strategic locations to simplify clean-up.

15.  Ensure that the party site is safe for kids.  Be especially attentive to potential hazards such as vehicle traffic on the street, a pool, steps or stairs, decks or balconies, glass doors, windows and chemicals.

16.  Check and restock your first aid kit.  Put extra ice in the freezer or ice chest. Bandages, antiseptic spray and ice will come in handy if a guest gets a cut, scrape or bruise.

17.  With younger children, be prepared for possible melt-downs. Their moods can change suddenly. Keep a box of tissues handy.

18.  If babies will be present, make sure that party favors are large enough not to be a choking hazard.

19.  Be flexible. If  kids don’t like an activity, move onto something else. On the other hand, if a game is unexpectedly popular, allow kids to continue to play. The goal is for guests to have fun, not to check-off items on an agenda.

20.  Enjoy this special milestone in your child’s life. Celebrate the unique person that he is. Show her how much she is loved. And most of all, have fun!

Turbocharged Fun for Your Child’s Race Car Birthday Party

Good job, Mom! Junior’s birthday party is next week and you’ve made all of the arrangements to ensure the celebration is fun, fun, fun.

The cake has been ordered and the decorations are ready to go. For entertainment, you’ve booked the Ultimate Race Car Party with playparty.net. The backyard looks great — it’s the perfect setting for the Roller Coaster Race Track, Giant Oval Race Track, All American Drag Strip, and LEGO Car Building and Racing Track.

Just one more thing to do…

Plan a few activities to bracket the main event entertainment.  We suggest the following crafts and games to help youngsters warm up to or cool down from the excitement of the Ultimate Race Car Party.

 

RC Coloring PageIf a guest initially hesitates to join the festivities, give him or her time to acclimate to the environment.  Offer a race car coloring page and an assortment of colorful crayons or markers.

 

 

 

Traffic LightsPre-schoolers enjoy making stop lights from paper plates, construction paper, paint, glue and yarn.

 

 

 

Tattoo 2Create a race car-themed Tattoo Parlor with kid-friendly, non-toxic temporary tattoos.

 

 

 

Tattoo 1Ask a friend or neighbor to help the little ones, and stock the “Parlor” with cotton pads, rubbing alcohol, wash cloths and warm water.

 

 

 

Auto Paint_DetailSet-up an Auto Body Repair Shop and invite guests to paint and decorate little wooden cars.

 

 

 

Tire BB TossIf the kids over-indulge on cake and ice cream, burn off their excess energy with a Tire Bean Bag Toss.  Take the spare tire out of your car.  Put uncooked rice in sandwich-size plastic bags, and wrap each bag in a bandana, napkin or wash cloth.  Start the game with a wave of the green flag.  Your guests will love the challenge.

 

 

Traffic Light BB TossIf you’d prefer an indoor version of the game, consider this hand-made Traffic Stoplight mat and four “car” fabric bean bags.

 

 

 

 

Balloon 1Here’s a clever idea. Slip a miniature car inside a balloon; then, blow it up.  Give an inflated balloon to each of your guests.  Tell them to to pop the balloons —  by sitting on them, squashing them or whatever — to find their party favors.

 

 

Balloon 2Have your camera ready to capture the moment each balloon pops. The kids’ reactions are priceless.

 

 

 

Race Car DriverWhat’s next?

Book the Ultimate Race Car Party with playparty.net, Southern California’s premier provider of children’s birthday party entertainment.  And come back soon for more birthday planning tips.

 

Everything is Awesome: Cool LEGO Party Favors

If your son or daughter enjoyed The LEGO Movie, chances are that your little “Special” got hooked by the bouncy theme song and has been singing it ever since.

“Everything is awesome
Everything is cool when you’re part of a team
Everything is awesome when we’re living our dream…

“Rocks, clocks, socks
They’re awesome
Trees, frogs, clogs
They’re awesome…”

 

EmmetWhile Emmet Brickowski may think they’re awesome, playparty.net doesn’t recommend rocks, trees or frogs as party favors.  Looking for something LEGO-ish that kids will appreciate?  Here are some cool ideas.  Be creative — unleash your inner “Master Builder”.

 

 

 

Start with these cute gift bags by Tricia.   Buy brightly colored bags and matching card stock.  Use a circle cutter or scissors to make eight half-dollar size circles for each bag.  Attach the circles to the bag with pop dots or double-sided tape.

 

 

Mini Fig Sticker

 

The LEGO Shop offers a wide selection of free downloadable mini-figure stickers.  Just print, cut and package.  The mini-figures are adorable and your guests will love the stickers.

 

 

Buy LEGO elements in bulk, then create an individualized assortment for each guest.  LEGO Basic Bricks Deluxe has 650 bricks in white, orange, red, blue, yellow, brown, black, dark green and light green.  The LEGO Creative Bucket contains more than 600 elements including wheels, and decorated face and eye bricks.  Each set costs about $30; “Kragle” not included.

 

Plastic food storage bags are perfect for holding party favors.  Fill bags with LEGO stickers, LEGO bricks, crayons or notepads.  Dress them up by folding card stock over the top of the bag and stapling it shut.

 

 

 

Carolyn of Silly Happy Sweet puts colorful M&M’s into snack-size bags and labels them “LEGO Man Poop”.  And every parent knows that kids are wild about bathroom humor.

 

 

Aussie Party PackKendra shares a free printable LEGO Party Pack on Aussie Pumpkin Patch.  The Pack includes raisin box wrappers, bubbles labels, and a coloring book that guests will enjoy long after the birthday party has ended.

 

 

 

Jolly Rancher PopsTonya offers a tutorial on making LEGO lollipops with Jolly Rancher candy and a LEGO bricks ice cube tray.

 

 

 

LEGO Cookies

And now, the “Piece of Resistance”…  If you like to bake and decorate sugar cookies,  then you’ll love this LEGO Man Cookie template by Sweet Sugar Belle.

 

 

And of course, for the main event entertainment, book your LEGO birthday party with Playparty.net now!