Capital Region Events · Local Events · Uncategorized

The Ultimate Guide to the 2018 Hannaford Kidz Expo

Hard to believe it’s been one year since our last trip to the Hannaford Kidz Expo! The 2018 Hannaford Kidz Expo will be held on Saturday, March 3rd from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm at the Egg and Convention Center in Downtown Albany. We’re back again with another Ultimate Guide to the Expo to help you plan your day. Just like last year, we’ll plot out where all of the different attractions will be. A new addition to this year’s post is we’ll be referencing questions posted on the Hannaford Kidz Expo Facebook event page. Let’s get to it!

This year’s featured activities:

  • Hannaford Supermarkets (Meeting Rooms 3– 4): All Day
  • The Octonauts (Hart Theater):11:00am, 1:00pm, 3:00pm
  • Meet the Octonauts (Hart Theater):2:00pm, 4:00pm
  • Win a prize at the Piñata Wall (at the Bash Birthday Parties booth in the Convention Center)
  • See Circo Comedia Performance (MR 6):10:30 am, 12:30 pm, 2:30 pm
  • Incredulous Chris & Presto Pete Magicians (MR 6): 1:30, 3:30
  • Planetarium Adventures (Concourse): 10:30am, 12:30pm, 3:30pm
  • Make a Comet (Concourse): 11:30am, 2:30pm, 4:30pm
  • Enjoy Debuts Theater Performance (MR 6): 11:30am
  • Battlefield Live Laser Tag (Concourse)
  • Observe dance and movement shows by Dance Dimensions (Concourse): 11:00am, 1:00pm, 3:00pm
  • Ride the Rails at Roaming Railroad (Concourse)
  • Putt putt your way to fun at Fun Putt (MR 5)
  • See reptiles from Reptile Adventures (MR 1)
  • Lots of activities for the little ones in the Toddler Zone (Base of The Egg): All Day

How much is all this fun going to cost?

You weren’t the only one asking that question. Our first Facebook question comes from a mom in Saratoga Springs: Is everything free bounce rides face painting etc to which @EmpirePlazaEvents replied:

Empire State Plaza Events All of the shows and activities are free. Food and merchandise will be available for purchase from vendors. It is also $5 to park in Visitor Parking. Free parking is available in the East Parking Garage and in lots on Madison Ave.

cost of admission
How much does all this fun cost?

Anyone that’s attended this huge, free family fun event before knows that it has lots to offer parents and kids of all ages but it can be a bit daunting because it is so big. To help, we’ve come up with a guide for your trip to the 13th annual Hannaford Kidz Expo at the Plaza to make the most of your trip!

Note: This guide is meant to be a helpful source of information and we’re not being paid to put this together. Of course, we’ll do our best to keep this updated so if you see something incorrect please shoot us an email so we can update – tara.allen@bashbirthdayparties.com.

Hannaford Kidz Expo at the Plaza!

Parking at the Empire State Plaza for the Kidz Expo

Let’s start with parking. The Visitors Parking Lot (V Lot) is located within the Empire State Plaza and we definitely think the location is worth the $5 parking fee (weekend rate). You can reach the lot from Exit 3A off of 787, you’ll enter the tunnel that goes under the Concourse and it will be the last parking lot on your right before you exit the tunnel and the road turns around the other way (a confusing description but you’ll understand it when you see it). More info about parking in the area can be found on the NYS Office of General Services website.

Cool to Cruise Around with Strollers?

Those of you thinking of bringing strollers, you’ll find your answer from the Hannaford Kidz Expo Facebook event page.

strollers ok inside

To make it even easier, if you do park in the Visitors Lot, there are elevators that take you up to the Expo from the Visitors Lot.

Map of the Empire State Plaza

Alright, you’ve made it in to the Kidz Expo! The Expo is divided up into 4 major areas, the Egg’s Hart Theatre and the Base of the Egg (Toddler Zone), the Meeting Rooms, the Convention Center,and the Concourse . We’re going to breakdown the attractions and vendors in each area. Before we do that, you need to know where we’re talking about. We took this map from the NYS SBA and add some descriptions to let you know the areas we’re referring to:

2018 Hannaford Kidz Expo Guide Map_Bash Birthday Parties
Our Map of the Hannaford Kidz Expo at the Plaza

If you’ve taken the elevator up from the Visitors Lot you’ll find yourself at the star on the map – right in the thick of it! Now where to start? We’ve taken each area of the Hannaford Kidz Expo and broken down everything it has to offer by category: Kids Activities, Events/Rentals/Entertainment, Food, Education & Health, Shopping, Sports & Dance, Summer Camps & Kids Programs. Let’s get going!

Area 1: The Egg’s Hart Theater & Base of the Egg

The Octonauts will be in the Hart Theater at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm and 3:00 and you can meet the Octonauts at 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm. The Toddler Zone is located in the Base of the Egg along with Guido’s Frozen Desserts and Fidelis Care. Last year this area hosted face painting, clowns and balloon twisting so they’ll be sure to have lots of fun, age appropriate activities.

1 year old
Is this event something a one year old would enjoy?

Area 2: The Meeting Rooms

The Meeting Rooms are between the Concourse and Convention Center and will provide lots of great entertainment and shows for the kids.

Room 1: Reptile Adventures

Room 3-4: Hannaford

Room 5: Fun Putt

Room 6 has lots going on:

Circo Comedia at 10:30 am, 12:30 pm, 2:30 pm

Debuts Theater at 11:30am

Incredulous Chris & Presto Pete at 1:30 pm, 3:30 pm

 

Area 3: The Convention Center

The Convention Center is sure to be a popular area because that’s where you’ll find the bounce houses! We (Bash Birthday Parties) will be in the Convention Center at Booth 3, which is on the top tier to the right of the bounce houses. Be sure to stop by to say hi, check out our Fiesta Bash booth, and maybe even win a prize at our Pinata Wall!

Kids Activities at the Convention Center:

Bounce Houses from Bounce N’ Play

Take a pull at the Piñata Wall with Bash Birthday Parties

 

Events/Rentals/Entertainment at the Convention Center:

Piéce d’Occasion – Photobooth Fun, giveways and a chance to enter to win a Birthday Party

CRE Bushkill Group LLC

Enchanted Forest Water Safari

Funplex

Herkimer Diamond Mines & KOA Campground

Hi-4! Entertainment

Howe Caverns Inc.

Mountain Ridge Adventure

Palace Theatre

The Great Escape Resort

 

Summer Camps & Kids Programs at the Convention Center:

The Fresh Air Fund

Albany JCC Center Camps

Kreative Kidz Zone Program Inc.

Capital District YMCA

JMU 4 KIDS

New York State Network for Youth Success

SCAMP at Doane Stuart

Schenectady JCC

Summer Academy for Youth

Theatre Institute at Sage

Tumbling Tykes

 

Sports & Dance at the Convention Center:

AFRIM’S SPORTS

Northeastern New York PGA Junior Golf

School of the Albany Berkshire Ballet

 

Shopping at the Convention Center:

Action Novelty

Children’s Place at the Plaza

The Jerky Hut

Gail Laboissiere

Old Tyme Toys

Health & Education at the Convention Center:

Capital District Child Care Council

Capital Region Safe Kids

Dr Douglas Tucker DMD

Fidelis Care

Homeless and Travelers Aid Society

NYS Workers’ Compensation Board

St. Peter’s Health Partners

The Community Hospice

The Doane Stuart School

Albany Community Charter School

Albany Leadership Charter High School for Girls

Brighter Choice Charter Schools

City School District of Albany

Henry Johnson Charter School

KIPP Tech Valley Primary School

RiverRun Community Montessori

Sacred Heart School

Saint Gregory’s School

SKribblers Magazine Inc

UPSTATE NEW YORK FALUN DAFA ASSO

Yacon Village Learning Community

 

Home, Auto & Finance at the Convention Center:

LeafFilter North of New York, LLC.

New York Life

New York Power Authority

Renewal by Andersen

NYS ITS

 

Area 4: The Concourse

The long hallway of the Concourse offers up a little bit of everything.

Kids Activities at the Concourse:

Planetarium Adventures: 10:30am, 12:30pm, 3:30pm

Make a Comet: 11:30am, 2:30pm, 4:30pm

Battlefield Live Laser Tag

Dance Dimensions: 11:00am, 1:00pm, 3:00pm

Ride the Rails at Roaming Railroad

Create art inspired by the Empire State Plaza Art Collection with NYS Curatorial and Visitor Services

Star Wars Characters from The 501st Legion & Garrison Excelsior

Events/Rentals/Entertainment at the Concourse:

Hoops By Jem

Sparkle Spa Parties

TANTRUMS SPA BOUTIQUE

 

Summer Camps & Kids Programs at the Concourse:

Albany Boy Scout Troop 2

Capital District Youth Pipe Band

NYSDEC

 

Sports & Dance at the Concourse:

Dance Dimensions

Tri-City ValleyCats

Westland Hills Park

Shopping at the Concourse:

Action Novelty

Tupperware

Usborne Books and More

BLAM ENTERTAINMENT

 

Health & Home at the Concourse:

Albany County Department of Health

Albany PD

NY State Fire

NYS Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force

NYS Division of Consumer Protection

 

Food at the Concourse:

Cravings Too Inc

Dom’s Fried Dough and Pizza

 

 

And that’s our guide. We hope it helps you make the most of your trip to this year’s Expo and don’t forget to say hi to us in the Convention Center! We’ll be posting all sorts of pictures the day of, so follow us on Facebook and Instagram (@BashBirthdayParties). See you there!

-Tara

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kids activities

5 Screen Free Indoor Activities for Kids

Hi everyone! Happy 2018! It’s a new year and that means more new fun ideas from us here at Bash Parties! Let’s get to it!

The cold weather has certainly settled in here in Upstate NY, as it has in most of the country, so we thought we’d provide some easy, inexpensive and fun activities to keep the kiddos entertained (and keep you sane).

5 Screen Free Indoor Activities_Bash Parties

5 Screen Free Indoor Activities for Kids

  1. DIY Puffy Paint

    One Little Project_Puffy Paint Tutorial
    DIY Puffy Paint from One Little Project

    We love our crafts at Bash Parties and this puffy paint looks like a ton of fun. It only requires three ingredients and it dries all fluffy and puffy. You can find the instructions on Our Little Project.

  2. Paper Airplane Landing Strip

    1-paper-plane-activity-landing-strip-bulls-eye-013
    Paper Airplane Tape Landing Strip from Meaningful Mama

    We may need to add this activity to our Spy Bash party theme. Let the kids try making different style planes to see which ones fly the furthest.  You can find the full instructions from Meaningful Mama here.

  3. Indoor Scavenger Hunt

    Free Printable for Kids Indoor Scavenger HuntKids love going on the hunt for clues so this makes for an fun activity to get them up and moving. Simply print out and send them on their way. Older kids may like an additional challenge like a time limit or a restriction like they can only find one item per room. You can find the PDF here Indoor Scavenger Hunt Game_Bash Parties.

  4. Dancing

    This one is easily overlooked. Put on some of your favorite music and get moving! Take the opportunity to show the younger generation some of the group dances that were popular when you were a kid. I bet they’ll love watching and learning from you (even if they laugh a little bit). Don’t know the moves? There are a ton of tutorials on YouTube to show you the steps. Here’s some ideas to get you started:

    • The Macarena
    • The Cupid Shuffle
    • Cotton Eye Joe
  5. Chocolate Games

    Kid-Date-Night-Envelope-Dont-Eat-Pete-Instructions
    Chocolate Games from The Dating Divas

    If your house is like mine, there’s a lot of leftover holiday candy in the house. Put some if it to use in a game! The Dating Divas have a few fun games to play with those extra sweets.

Know of anymore fun and easy screen free activities? Feel free to share them in the comments below!

Thanks for reading and we’ll talk again soon!

-Tara

Bash Party Recap · party food

3 Girl Scout Cookie® Inspired Cupcakes!

Fun fact, I was a Girl Scout growing up! We’re talking Daisies all the way to Seniors, earning my Silver and Gold Awards along the way. I loved being a Girl Scout, but I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that my friends were in my troop. We had some crazy fun times together like running through the DC airport to catch our plane after our Williamsburg trip or wearing ridiculous character costumes at the Capital Holiday Lights in the Park to support the local Albany Police Athletic League and praying no one from high school recognized us. Good times.

So when my fellow Girl Scout troop member and friend, Meara, got married this summer, my friends and I knew Girl Scouts had to be incorporated somehow. We were asked to make the cupcakes for the bridal shower and that’s when we came up with the Girl Scout Cookie® Inspired Cupcakes! (Her shower was at The Hill at Muza in Troy which was lovely!) After brainstorming, we figured the Tagalong®, Thin Mint®, and Samoas® would be the best cookies to emulate.

Girl Scout Cupcakes Bash Parties
3 Girl Scout Cookie Inspired Cupcakes!
At this point, it’s noteworthy to mention that I, nor Bash Parties, is affiliated with the Girl Scouts®, Girl Scout Cookies® or the Little Brownie Bakers®. These ideas are simply inspired by the cookies we grew up selling. For more info about the Girl Scouts, check out their website here and for more information about Girl Scout Cookies and the Little Brownie Bakers check out their website here. Here’s the legal lingo: The GIRL SCOUTS® name, mark and all associated trademarks and logotypes, including GIRL SCOUT COOKIES®, GIRL SCOUT COOKIE SALE®, THIN MINTS®, TREFOILS® and the Trefoil Design, are owned by Girl Scouts of the USA. Little Brownie Bakers is an official GSUSA licensed vendor. ®, ™, © 2016 Little Brownie Bakers.

On to the fun stuff, the cupcakes!

The Tagalong® Cupcake

Of the cupcakes we came up with, the Tagalong® is the most technically challenging. Those of you that don’t know, the Tagalong® is a chocolate coated crunchy cookie with a peanut butter layer. Our idea was to mimic the chocolate coated peanut butter top by piping peanut butter frosting on a chocolate cupcake and dipping the frosting into ganache. (You can see how I did it in the quick video at the end of this post if you want to scroll to the bottom.)

Peanut Butter Cookie Cupcakes Bash Parties
The Tagalong cupcakes from Meara’s shower!

The Tagalong® Cupcake Instructions

  1. Bake your chocolate cupcakes. Cake purists will balk at this, but I use box mixes. They’re easy and taste great.
  2. Prep your ganache and put to the side. Ganache is one of the easiest and elegant things to prepare when you’re making dessert. It’s basically equal parts heavy cream and dark chocolate. You warm the cream on a stove until it’s a low boil, then you add the chocolate, remove from heat and stir until combined. (Here’s a recipe for reference: Chocolate Ganache Recipe).
  3. Make your peanut butter frosting. Sometimes PB frosting can get a little greasy, I did not find this to be the case with this recipe: Peanut Butter Frosting Recipe.
  4. Pipe peanut butter frosting on cupcakes. I simply put the frosting in a decorating bag, cut a hole and carefully piped a disc of frosting on the top of the cupcake. Then I went back with my spatula and smoothed out the top.
  5. Dip frosted cupcake into ganache. This can be a little tricky, but I have faith you can handle it. Hold the cupcake upside down and dip only the frosting into the ganache. Once coated, flip back over and let any excess ganache drip off and voilà! You’re done!

The Thin Mint® Cupcake

My long standing favorite, the Thin Mint® is a crunchy chocolate mint cookie and they are addictive! We kept this cupcake simple with chocolate cake, a mint buttercream and chopped dark chocolate topping.

Thin Mint Cupcakes Bash Parties
We made a little sign so everyone knew what was in each cupcake.

Thin Mint® Cupcake Instructions

  1. Bake chocolate cupcakes
  2. Make mint buttercream frosting. Here’s the recipe I used: Mint Buttercream Recipe.
  3. Pipe mint buttercream on cupcake. For this frosting, I used a decorating bag, cut a hole and just did a simple swirl of frosting. (Demo in the video at the bottom of the blog post).
  4. Top with chopped dark chocolate. I had dark chocolate on hand because I was making the ganache but in a pinch you could use milk chocolate or even crushed chocolate cookie. For the chopped chocolate, simply put the chocolate on a cutting board and using a sharp knife, chop it up until you reach your desired texture. Sprinkle on cupcake.

The Samoas® Cupcake

As a kid I did not understand what the big deal was, but now I totally get it – Samoas® are amazing. Crispy cookies coated with caramel, dark chocolate and coconut that are downright addicting. This was my favorite Girl Scout® cupcake to make because I think it’s the prettiest of the three.

Samoas cupcakes Bash Parties
So decadent, these Samoas cupcakes were a fan favorite at the bridal shower.

The Samoas® Instructions

  1. Bake vanilla cupcakes.
  2. Prep toasted coconut and get ready for your house to smell amazing and beachy! Put a thin layer of shredded coconut on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake at 350º for about 7 minutes. Let cool.
  3. Make caramel buttercream. Normally, I’d be ambitious and prep my own caramel to add to the buttercream, but after making 3 varieties of cupcakes I decided to take a shortcut. Here’s the recipe I used – Caramel Buttercream Recipe.
  4. Pipe caramel buttercream on the cupcake. I used a large star tip to pipe a big rosette on each cupcake.
  5. Drizzle with melted dark chocolate. Simply put some dark chocolate chips into a decorating bag, microwave until melted and drizzle on cupcake. (Microwave tip: First microwave for 20-30 seconds, remove and check consistency, then do 10 second intervals until entirely melted. Chocolate is finicky and doesn’t like any more heat than it needs or it will ‘seize’ and get all gross and grainy.)
  6. Top with toasted coconut.

Those are the three Girl Scout Cupcakes we came up with for Meara’s Bridal Shower! Here’s a quick one minute video to show how each cupcake was assembled.

As always, you can follow us on Facebook to see more of what we’re up to @BashBirthdayParties and of course, check out our website, www.BashBirthdayParties.com to learn more about our parties or book your Bash. Otherwise, feel free to comment below or email me at tara.allen@bashbirthdayparties.com with any questions you may have about today’s post.

Thanks and have an awesome day!

-Tara

Capital Region Events · Party Decorations

Party Pig Paper Lanterns Tutorial (with free templates)!

Hi everyone!

Long time no talk! Today, I have an adorable and easy DIY Party Pig Paper Lantern to share today that will enhance all sorts of different events, such as:

  • Summer Cookouts
  • Petting Zoos
  • Pig Roasts
  • Peppa Pig™ Parties
  • Farm Themed or Barnyard Themed Parties
Pig Paper Lantern from Bash Birthday Parties
Party Pig Paper Lantern Tutorials!

I created these party decorations for Troy’s Annual Pig Out, hosted by the Troy BID,  which was held on July 15, 2017. It’s a full day food festival that features a BBQ competition, live music, lots of awesome craft vendors, hot dog eating contests, cornhole tournaments and fireworks! To participate in the festivities, we at Bash Birthday Parties hosted a Decorate your Own Piggy Bank booth for the kids, pictures can be found on our Facebook page.  The kids did such an amazing job decorating their little pigs!

Now, on to the tutorial! For my pig paper lanterns, I used my Cricut Explore® machine to cut out the glasses, noses and ears then I glued them to my paper lanterns. I’ve listed my Cricut Design Space™ file below for you to use for free. However, a Cricut® machine isn’t necessary for this project. I’ve provided a free template below that you can print on your home printer then cut out the pieces to glue to your lantern. Let’s get to it.

For the Cricut Explore® Method:

For the Cricut Explore® Method, you’ll need:

  • Pink Paper Lanterns (mine were about 7″ diameter)
  • Pink, Black and Gray Light Cardstock Paper
  • Score tool for Cricut®
    (optional, just turn off score lines)
  • Black Pen for Cricut®
  • Craft glue (Tacky or hot glue holds better than regular school glue)

I’ve created a Project File in Cricut Design Space™ that you can find here, Party Pig Paper Lantern Pieces.

Open the Cricut Design Space™ file and cut out your pieces. From there you assemble your pig.

  1. Start with assembling your paper lantern.
  2. From there, I recommend gluing the aviator glasses pieces together first, then glue the glasses to the paper lantern.
  3. Then you can add your pig nose and ears.  The glue should only be applied to the folded flap of the pig ear cut out.

Glue Application on Pig Ear for Party Pig Paper Lantern Tutorial

For the Print Out Method:

For the Print Out Method, you’ll need:

  • Pink Paper Lanterns (mine were about 7″ diameter)
  • Pink and White Paper – Light Cardstock is preferred for best results
  • Scissors
  • Craft glue (Tacky or hot glue holds better than regular school glue)

Here’s the print out for your pig pieces, Party Pig Paper Lantern Print Outs.

There’s 2 pages in the document, page 1 should be printed on white paper and page 2 should be printed on pink paper (it’s also noted on the document). From there you can cut out your pieces and assemble.

  1. Start with assembling your paper lantern.
  2. From there, I recommend gluing the glasses to the paper lantern first.
  3. Then you can add your pig nose and ears. Fold the ears along the dotted lines then the glue should only be applied to the folded flap of the pig ear cut out to be attached to the lantern.

Glue application for Print Out Pig Ear for Party Pig Paper Lantern Tutorial

That’s it! Very easy to put together, I assembled 4 lanterns in about 15 minutes (not including the time to put together the Cricut Design Space™ file, but that’s been done for you!)

 

 

Party Pig Paper Lantern on Hudson River_Bash Birthday Parties
Pigs on the Hudson River! Don’t they look cute relaxing by the water?

I hope you’re all having a fantastic and fun summer! I’ll be back with more decoration tutorials soon so stay tuned. In the meantime, feel free to visit our Facebook page or leave me a comment or question about the tutorial here on the post.

-Tara

Bash Party Recap · kids activities

7 Easy Clues to Create the Ultimate Scavenger Hunt!

I recently helped host a one year anniversary party at a local business here in Troy named Culinary Square. Run by Sam and her mom Carolyn, they offer a fabulous selection of high end cookware and kitchen appliances (To learn more about Culinary Square you can check out their website, Facebook and Instagram). This past October (2016) I was invited to host a Halloween cupcake bar for Troy Night Out, our monthly cultural event here in Troy that encourages everyone to get out and enjoy everything our awesome city has to offer. We had such a fun time that they asked me back to help them celebrate their one year anniversary this April!

My idea for a scavenger hunt came to me because they have SOOO much amazing inventory in their store and I thought it would be helpful to encourage customers to wander around the store to see what they can discover. Customers that completed the scavenger hunt during their one year anniversary party were entered into a raffle for a $100 mandolin (not too shabby for a free contest!).

Scavenger hunts are perfect for kids birthday parties but can be a pain to put together. This post lists 7 easy clues you can adapt and put it together in a timely manner. Let’s get hunting!

Getting Started: Determining Boundaries

I lucked out because I could use the entire store for my hunt but if you’re hosting a scavenger hunt it’s important to set boundaries. Kids are curious and when it comes to competition they can sometimes forget about manners so unless you want a child rummaging through your underwear drawer looking for their next clue I suggest you explain the Off Limit areas before you start. Some areas to consider off limits: bedrooms, bathroom cabinets, the garage, kitchen drawers, etc. You may also want to consider setting all drawers and cabinets off limits and explain that all of the clues will be out in the open. You just never know what kids can get into or find so it may be best to keep all drawers and cabinets off limits.

Select your Clue Locations

I find it’s easier to select the clue locations before you start creating your clues. In my case, I selected my spots then put them in order around the store so people wouldn’t have to keep walking from one side of the store to the other. If your scavenger hunt is for kids that may be exactly what you want them to do because it stretches out the activity and it keeps them moving around.

Coming up with Clues

This is where things can get tricky. To help you out I’ve put the clues in order of quickest to develop to most difficult so if you’re trying to throw this scavenger hunt together in a hurry I suggest sticking to the first three or four clues I’ve listed and use them multiple times.

I like to make all of my clues little games or puzzles. It makes the hunt more interactive and it slows the kiddos down a bit. After all, if you’re spending all of this time on a great scavenger hunt you don’t want the participants to run through it in five minutes.

Let’s get started with some of the easier clues to put together:

1. Word Scramble ClueViking Stainless Steel Clue_Bash Birthday Parties

This clue is super easy to put together. Just take the letters and scramble them up in the wrong order and you’re done! One thing I like to do with younger groups is add a helpful picture to the background or attach a picture to the clue so it gets them on the right track.

The word scramble we did at Culinary Square was for their Viking Stainless Steel™ products so we added a viking hat and a stainless steel pot to the background to help the hunters out.

 

2. Jigsaw Puzzle Clue

Don’t let the sound of this one fool you, it’s super simple. Think of a picture that would tell the kids where to go next, for example a couch would tell them to go to the living room, a dining room table would send them to the dining room, etc.

Dining Room TablePrint out a picture of that item onto a sheet of paper (thank you Google images), use a pair of scissors and cut the picture up into various pieces (Use your discretion and based on the age of the group decide how small the pieces should be, but I’d say keep it to under 20). Take the pieces and throw them in a ziplock bag or envelope and boom, there’s your clue. See, I told you that one was easy.

3. Rebus Clue

Rebus
A Rebus of a Rebus

A rebus is a puzzle that has pictures and letters that the solver puts together to make a word or phrase. For the Culinary Square event, Sam wanted to feature their new Corksicle™ tumblers (she was even kind enough to send me home with one as a thank you) so I thought Corksicle™ is an easy word to put together with a rebus.  Here’s what I came up with:

Corksicle Clue_Bash Birthday Parties

I put it together pretty quickly – here’s how. I opened up Word and used their Clip Art to find the pictures then I pasted them in the right order in the document. To insert Clip Art go to Insert then select Clip Art (it’s the 6th button from the left) then enter in the image you’re looking for in the Search for: field at the top of the Clip Art box. A quick tip on working with pictures in Word: if you find that the pictures won’t move or go in the right direction, select the picture, go to Format then on the right there’s an area called Arrange from there select Wrap Text and then the In Front of Text option. This allows you to move the pictures around the page as you need.

To give you a little more inspiration or if you’d like to use these clues yourself, I’ve come up with a couple here for you (Bathroom and Mailbox Clues for Scavenger Hunt Print Out:

Bathroom Rebus_Bash Birthday Parties
Bathroom
Mailbox Rebus_Bash Birthday Parties
Mailbox

4. Idiom Clue

At Culinary Square they have a large, colorful selection of kitchen towels with clever puns and adorable designs so I really wanted to find a way to show them off. For the towels I created an Idiom clue:

Fill in the Blank Clue_Bash Birthday Parties
A quitter never wins, I’m not throwing in the TOWEL!

(One note about these clues, younger kids may have a hard time with these simply because they aren’t familiar with the phrases so that’s something to keep in mind.)

Some examples that you may be able to implement in your scavenger hunt are:

“The next step is up to you, the ball is in your ________ (court).” This one is perfect if you have a basketball hoop at your party location.

“Wow you are awesome! I’d say you’re the best thing since sliced _______ (bread).” This clue should send them to the kitchen.

“That’s top secret information, don’t let the ______(cat) out of the bag.” This can lead them to the cat’s water bowl or to a stuffed cat you set up somewhere.

5. Trivia Question Clues

One clue that I didn’t utilize in my scavenger hunt but does work well is Trivia Question clues. Some neat trivia categories that work great for kids of all ages are TV shows, movies, sports, food and candy. A few examples of some trivia questions that can work for your scavenger hunt:

  • “Where would Nemo and Dory enjoying spending time?” (the aquarium or fish bowl)
  • “In baseball, when you hit the ball over this thing it’s considered a home run” (a fence)
  • “Hermine from Harry Potter and Belle from Beauty and the Beast are bookworms. Where would you find them hanging out in the house?” (books or a bookshelf)

6. What Am I?

Mandolin What Am I Clue_Bash Birthday PartiesThis clue has a fun twist to it because you get to describe the item as if you are that item. For the Culinary Square hunt the clue answer was a mandolin.

One clue I thought would be fun for a kids party is a television, here’s my description:

“I come in lots of different sizes and I’m usually black in the back and colorful in the front when I’m turned on. The whole family can use me at the same time. I can’t eat, but if I had a favorite snack it would be popcorn”

 

 

7. Password Cipher Clue

Here’s our final clue for today’s post. We used this as our last clue for our Culinary Square scavenger hunt. What you do is give the hunters a code they need to crack with a password cipher. The cipher will tell the hunter what each symbol means. Here’s the code I used for the Culinary Square, we used cooking and kitchen symbols for the password cipher:

Password Cipher Clue_Bash Birthday Parties
What’s the answer? Your hint is it’s a name brand

The one we used for our hunt would be a little difficult to duplicate because we downloaded a new font for the kitchen symbols. However, a quick and easy way to come up with your own codes are Wingdings! You know that weird font that no one ever knows what to do with? Well now you have a reason to use it!

We even created this handy, dandy Scavenger Hunt Password Cipher Printable_Bash Birthday Parties. All you have to do is type out the clue words that you want the hunters to crack in CAPS, highlight the word and change the font to Wingdings and print. (Don’t forget to type the words in CAPS, otherwise it won’t match up to the password cipher) That’s it! Give them the password cipher and their code to crack and off they go.

Scavenger Hunt Password Cipher Printable_Bash Birthday Parties
The Bash Birthday Parties Password Cipher

Printable here (it prints 2 ciphers per page): Scavenger Hunt Password Cipher Printable_Bash Birthday Parties

You may want to use this as the last clue that way you can make it a message like, “go find Jack’s mom to claim your prize” or “You’ve complete the hunt, congratulations”.


Overall the scavenger hunt was a fun way for customers to enjoy the store and the anniversary party! I hope you’re able to take some of these clues and easily apply them to your own hunt. If you end up trying any of these out let us know in the comments section. We’ll be back with more party ideas (like our next post about the Girl Scout themed cupcakes I made for my friend’s bridal shower!).  You can also check out our Facebook page or Instagram to see more of what we’re up to –  lately it’s been a lot. Thanks for reading and talk to you soon!

Party on!

-Tara

kids activities · Party Decorations

15 Items to Include in a Goody Bag (That Aren’t Candy)

Most kids love candy and of course parties are a special occasion, but when it comes to goody bags I like to send our guests home with interactive and playful items. Today, we’ve compiled a list of items that hopefully spark some inspiration for your child’s goody bag.

Working with your theme when putting together your goody bag

Something to consider is tying your goody bag to the theme of your party. For example, at our Girly Girl Bashes the girls receive cutesy stuff like nail stickers and lip gloss while our Spy Bash guests receive espionage tools like invisible ink pens and black sunglasses. Think about your theme, maybe you’re throwing a nature party so you can provide your guests with bug nets and magnifying glasses or a spa party so you can give out bubble bath and loofahs. That can help you come up some ideas of your own.

Spa Goody Bag
Adorable Spa Party Favor Basket

A Fun Alternative – One Big Gift as a Favor

Something I’ve seen on Pinterest lately is in lieu of a goody bag, parents are handing out one large gift that fits the theme. Say you want a Curious George party, you could give away copies of a Curious George storybook. I saw a baseball party that provided each guest a wiffle ball and bat with a box of Cracker Jacks tied to the top – adorable! (http://catchmyparty.com/photos/1288843)

Wiffle Bat and Ball Favor
Take Me Out the the Ballgame Party

Creative ways to wrap up your goody bag items

Those little gifts don’t need to go in a plain, ole bag! Here’s another awesome way to get creative and tie the goody bag into your theme.

The goody bags from our Spy Bash are known as “Spy Kits” and come in black cardboard boxes to simulate a briefcase.

A mom from one of our Cake Bashes this past Fall made these adorable, personalized cups with paint pens and filled with candy and lip gloss. Shout out to Tessla’s mom!

We use cellophane bags for our Girly Girl Bash favor bags that we tie off with pink ribbon and purple flower tags.

Now, what are we going to put in those goody bags?

15 Items to Include in a Goody Bag (That Aren’t Candy)

  1. Playing Cards – these never get old and you can even buy the special game packs like Go Fish or Crazy 8’s.
  2. Fake Tattoos – I’ve yet to meet a kid that has received one of these and not wanted to put it on immediately. It’s a fan favorite.
  3. Glow Sticks – I think everyone has a soft spot for glow sticks.
  4. Twisty Straws – Fun, safe and reusable.
  5. Stickers – We all know how much kids love stickers. Make sure this is age appropriate for your group; you don’t want parents calling saying their child put stickers all over the window of their car.
  6. Bubbles – Perfect for younger groups. Check out Pinterest for printables to make custom labels to add a bit of personalization.
  7. Fake Mustaches – Awesome for kids of all ages.
  8. Coloring Books – With the whole adult coloring fade, everyone is getting back into coloring.
  9. Nail Polish – Again, make sure it’s appropriate for your age group.
  10. Chapstick/Lip Gloss – Up here in the Northeast chapstick and lip gloss are most welcome in the winter.
  11. Gummy Snacks – A nice alternative to candy and Annie’s makes a tasty gluten free, peanut free, dye free fruit snack. (Check out Annie’s website for the most up to date nutrition info http://www.annies.com/products/snacks/bernies-farm-fruit-snacks)
  12. Sunglasses – If they open their goody bags before they leave you can get a great party photo with them wearing the glasses.
  13. Dress Up Jewelry/Clothing – Bracelets, rings, bow ties – kids love dress up!
  14. Hair clips/hair ties – Parents love these too, they always come in handy.
  15. Funky Pens/Pencils – I had a Puppy Art Bash last month and the mom found dog pens at Target that she gave out as a favor. The other day I found candy scented gel pens. Too cute!

For an overview of what we discussed here today, check out our handy dandy infographic!

The Perfect Goody Bag Infographic_Bash Birthday Parties

The main thing to remember is a goody bag is a way to thank your guests for taking the time to celebrate your special event with you! Even the smallest gesture can go a long way to express gratitude.

Best of luck putting together your goody bags and if you have any suggestions or comments please be sure to add them below. Of course you can email me at tara.allen@bashbirthdayparties.com with any questions or you can message us on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/BashBirthdayParties/

Thanks and party on!

Tara

kids activities

What your child’s birthday party is missing, but desperately needs

If you haven’t noticed, not everyone is punctual. Call it fashionably late if you will, but either way, some people just don’t arrive at places (meetings, airports, weddings) on time.

I’m not here to judge those of you that run late, we’ve all done it. However, when it comes to event planning it can be tough to plan around you late-ys. This is especially the case with children’s parties because kids tend to be impatient (Are we there yet?). Of course you want to wait for everyone to arrive before you start the main activities and games, but what do you do with 10 excited kids while you wait for the last two to show up? Without a plan you can be in a real pickle (picture 10 kids running around the house and screaming – not fun).

Art Bash Table Top recolored
We can’t start until everyone arrives!

The Solution – An Opening Activity!

A simple sanity saving solution is planning an opening activity. All of our Bashes include an opening activity because I’d say 5% of our parties have started right on time. This is an activity that will keep everyone occupied until the stragglers show up, but if someone misses it he or she isn’t terribly disappointed.

What’s required for the perfect opening activity? I’m glad you asked…

Mackenzie's Cake Bash Table Set Up Oct 2016
Our Cake Bash table ready to go

Keys to a Great Opening Party Activity

There’s lots to consider when picking an opening activity – I’ve created an infographic to guide you along.

5 Keys to the perfect opening activity_Bash Birthday Parties

Our Favorite Opening Activities

Like I mentioned earlier, all of our Bashes include some sort of opening activity. Here are a few of our favorites.

Decorate a Birthday Banner

Gabby's Art Bash Birthday Banner March 2016If you have basic art skills (or ask a friend who does) use a black Sharpie marker and on the matte, non shiny side of a white poster board outline “Happy Birthday”  as well as some smaller pictures like presents, confetti, etc. As the kids arrive they can use markers and crayons to color in the BIG banner. Ask them to sign the banner or write a nice message to the birthday boy or girl.

Decorate a Party Hat or Crown

Party Hat Decorating Station March 2017Set up a table with blank party hats or crowns (you can find cute ones on Amazon or Michaels), stickers, markers, crayons, pom pops, ribbons, scissors and craft glue (raid your craft stash) and let the kids decorate their own party hat! Another option is printing hat templates on blank paper, letting the kids cut them out and then they can decorate (I found this template through Pinterest – it’s template #4). If you’re decorating the cone party hats, we recommend decorating while they’re flat. When the kids are done, you can help put them back together again with tape.

“Who Am I?” Game

Write different professions, TV/Movie characters, and famous people on index cards (one per card). Everyone will receive a card to put on their forehead with tape – they aren’t allowed to see what’s written on their card, but everyone else can see who they are. The kids will have to go around and ask each other questions to figure out who they are. One question is off limits: “Who Am I?”. Make up extra cards so if someone figures themselves out you can give them a new identity. This game works better for older kids (9 and up).

“Heads Up” Game

Heads Up! Logo
Free from the App Store!

Ellen DeGeneres is a genius for giving us this game. We’ve played this as a closing activity at Bashes as well when parents are running late for pick up. It’s a free download from the App Store and there’s a deck of clues just for kids. One person holds the phone sideways up to their forehead and the kids have to describe what the clue is on their head. If the person guesses the clue right they flip the phone down for the next word or flip up to pass. Each round is a minute long so once your turn is over you pass it to the next person. This game works groups 7 years old and up.

Personality Quizzes/Would You Rather?You want to make an impression

This is another one that works for slightly older groups so we would recommend this for
tweens and teens. You can find tons of free printable personality quizzes and Would You Rather questions for tweens on Pinterest. For the personality quizzes, they can work on their quizzes independently and then you can go over the answers with them later. For Would You Rather, you can print out the questions, cut them up and put them in a bowl. Everyone can get a turn picking a question out of a bowl and asking the group what they think. These activities definitely get a lot of giggles.


Like all children’s parties, planning is key and that starts with when the kids walk in the door. Let me know below what you think and if you have any of your own opening activities that have worked for you in the comments below.  Be sure to follow us here, on Facebook and Instagram for more party planning ideas.

-Tara