I actually don't mind indoor jumpy houses and long inflatable slides. I have even grown to appreciate the "fun" in large singing mice, cheesy pan pizza, and gobs of tickets that propel out of game machines like a crazy paper adrenaline rush. But as a parent who frequents the kid's birthday party circuit, it is refreshing to switch it up. Here are 12 ideas for kid's birthday parties that are great for the winter season (many are great the rest of the year too!).
1. The nostalgic Woburn Bowladrome north of Boston has bowling for kids that's complete with a glow in the dark setting (the more white clothing the kids wear, the higher the glow factor). Young bowlers will enjoy the bumper lanes, good tunes, and small arcade for post-bowling games.
2. If you can handle the cooler temps, snow tubing at Nashoba Valley in Westford is great outdoor fun.
3. The birthday party package at Coco Key Water Park in Danvers includes admission for all kids, where they swim their little hearts out in a huge warehouse-sized lifeguarded water park. They also offer side rooms for pizza and cake and post-swimming arcade games. If you want to party on the fancy side, you can rent a cabana that's poolside. (Also, FYI -- for a fun family outing, Coco Key offers day passes. We went as a family one Saturday and had a blast.)
4. On the other end of the physical exercise spectrum, I've heard good things about Treat Cupcake Bar in Needham, where party goers can enjoy a cupcake decorating mini-class and decorate their own aprons.
5. For crafty types, check out Dabblers in West Concord, where you can focus your party around a range of hobbies such as woodworking, soap making, fiber arts, and science. And they make it one-stop shopping for party-planning parents by including invites, goody bags, and thank you notes in the party package. Awesome.
6. Kidstock is wonderful for budding thespians.
7. The MFA offers lovely creative and educational birthday parties.
8. Pottery painting provides a great hands on activity where the project doubles as the party favor. Team Boston Mamas has had great experiences at Clay Dreams, Made by Me, and Plaster Fun Time. It would also be worth checking whether Barefoot Books offers birthday parties in their lovely studio.
9. If you want to blend outsourcing + being at home, the New England Aquarium will bring sea critters to you.
10. Obviously, outsourcing can get pricey, particularly if you have a large party size. If you have the energy and space to host at home, dance parties are great. Simply put the kids in a finished basement with the Cha Cha slide blaring and a disco ball, and you're good to go.
11. Also in the home spectrum: host a "pretend" sleepover with pizza, cake, PJs, and a movie (note, however, that this does not work when it's your daughters entire kindergarten class -- I learned that one the hard way!).
12. Finally, there's always the beautiful simplicity of sending the kids outdoors. Tell attendees in advance to bundle up and plan a scavenger hunt or simple games like freeze tag and dodge ball. If there's snow on the ground, gather your old beach shovels and pails so the kids can build snow forts. And make a big batch of hot cocoa to help the kids warm up when they come in!
Do you have other awesome winter party ideas? Feel free to share them in the comments below!
Image credit: Treat Cupcake Bar