Because the kids have a lot of friends and are very social and we love to be inclusive, we had over 45 kids at the party. The ages of the friends ranged from 15 months to 14 yrs. Most kids were between 2 and 6 yrs. I divided the older kids (7 or older) and the younger kids into "helpers" and "participants." When I made the invitations, I taped on a little piece of paper saying I needed lots of helpers for this party and invited the older kids in the families to be my assistants. I got a great response from everyone. The older kids definitely wanted to be involved. Some even came over to my house throughout the week to ask what they were going to be able to help with. Some gave requests to be in charge of certain games.
Before the kids showed up, I set up nine stations, divided the younger kids into nine groups (based on age and friendship), decided where each helper would be stationed and wrote each participants name on a lunch sack. When the kids came, I had the participants play "Duck, duck, goose," while I explained to the helpers their duties and places. I had one helper assigned to each station and one helper assigned to each of the nine groups (they would rotate with the groups and keep the small groups together.) The groups had only 3-4 kids in them. That way there were 2 helpers at each station.
I had each station placed strategically throughout our yard so we just had to rotate counter-clockwise when I blew my whistle. The first couple of rotation were a little rough, but after the helpers became a little more familiar with how it worked, things went much more smoothly.
and had a birthday game. We put two piece of OSB on the dirt in shade - one to stop the balls the kids threw and the other for the kids to step on!
If they got tired of the can game, they had the option of playing in the sandbox. The kids LOVED the sandbox!
2. Ring Toss
5. Tin Can Stilts/Sidewalk Chalk
After we rotated all the groups through all the stations (about 5 minutes each), I brought out popsicles for everyone to eat. I had some water and lemonade out the entire party that people could drink from if they got thirsty! The cupcakes were just normal cupcakes. I had to make 5 dozen and didn't have the time or money to make them fancy.
Cadence and her very best friend. They are inseparable. She lives next-door to us!