Most kids love puppies. So much so, that it's likely yours has asked for a dog as a birthday gift. If you can't give them the real thing, go for the next best idea: am adorable dog themed birthday party.
Dogs may be man's best friend, but cardstock is a party planner's pal. Use colored variations of this craft paper to make your own, adorable, dog-themed invitations. Simply cut the cardstock into the shape of a dog's face, a bones or a doghouse.
Then use colored markers to decorate accordingly. Write the party details on the flip side.
- Decorate your house with the colors of your child's favorite dog breed. For instance, brown, black and yellow would be great for a Labrador lover, while black and white will please the Dalmatian fan. Use this color scheme for your tableware, balloons and streamers.
- You can also find dog-themed party decorations in the party supply store. Here you can choose from puppy-patterned plates and napkins to paw-print party banners (if you're crafty you can even make your own dog-themed party banners).
- Turn ordinary party balloons into doggies by drawing on the faces and attaching ears made of paper or felt.
- Another dog party decorating idea is to cover your floors and walls with paper paw prints.
Dog Themed Party Food
Get their tails wagging for some of these yummy, puppy party treats! Translation: feed these fun dog-themed foods to your party guests.
- Hot dogs! They are a choking hazard, though, so it would be wise to reserve those for the older kids at the party.
- Meatloaf or a bean dip (to resemble canned dog food), presented in a (new, clean) dog-food bowl.
- Another fun food to serve in dog-food bowls is people puppy chow. It looks like real dog food, but is a sweet snack mix.
- Pizza that has been molded into the shape of a big dog bone.
- The cake could be shaped like a dog or you could assemble cake and marshmallow cereal treats into the form of a 3-D dog house and place a plastic dog figure outside.
- The book Hello, Cupcake! by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson contains instructions for making darling doggy cupcakes.
Dog Birthday Party Games and Activities
What activities can kids do at a puppy party? Of course, it depends on their age. If your party guests are very young, you don't need to organize any fancy party games. They'll be happy to be set free, pretending to be dogs, crawling around and on top of each other.
Older kids might enjoy some of these activities:
- Dog-themed party games.
- A friendly game of tug o' war.
- Playing Pin the Tail on the Dog.
- A few rounds of musical chairs, set to a dog-themed song, such as "How Much is that Doggy in the Window" or "B-I-N-G-O." Play other songs about dogs throughout the party.
- Speaking of Bingo, play a game of Puppy Bingo with the kids. Make cards that spell P-U-P-P-Y across the top, then randomly fill the squares below with photos of different dog breeds. Have someone draw the dog breeds randomly out of a sack (clearly showing the picture since, depending on age, kids might not know the difference between a Border Collie and an English Sheepdog).
- Hire a balloon artist to twist balloons into dog shapes.
- Here's an activity that's a little more complicated but would make a neat party favor for kids to take home. Have the kids make dog-breed silhouette T-shirts, similar to the famous Black Dog shirts sold on Martha's Vineyard. Follow instructions for making freezer-paper stencils. You could make all the stencils that same, perhaps using the birthday kid's favorite breed (if the birthday kid is old enough to express this). Or, make a variety of breeds and let the guests choose. Make the stencils ahead of time, then have other adults at the party help you help the kids paint their T-shirts toward the beginning of the bash. That way, the shirts will be dry before it's time for everyone to go home.
- Another idea is to take your party guests for a visit to the animal shelter. There, they can have a lesson on dog care, adoption and rescue, as well as get a chance to meet some real, live pups.
Puppy Party Favors
If you're looking for a more simple party favor idea, give the kids plastic dog noses to wear home instead. Other ideas include:
- A traditional sack of candies, trinkets and perhaps, packed in restaurant-style doggy bags.
- Bone-shaped sugar cookies.
- Dog-ear headbands.
- Dog collar jewelry (use paw-print patterned ribbon to make bracelets. Or, make I.D. tags that resemble dog tags for the kids to wear.
- Storybooks about dogs.
One final idea for a dog themed birthday party: If your birthday kid is willing, consider asking guests to bring a bag of dog food in lieu of gifts and then donate the food to a local animal shelter.