For my daughter’s 9th birthday party I threw her a girls fashion show birthday party. A slumber party to boot. At the time she loved American Girl and Monster High so the party theme was split between the two.
Here’s a breakdown of the night.
Secret to a Successful Party
One thing I have found that kids love and that keeps order during a party is having helium balloons with a piece of paper inside indicating the next activity and the time written on the outside. Or you could number them. Then allow the kids to pop them at the designated time. The kids, including the birthday kid, never know what activity is inside each balloon.
The table decorations below show all the balloons with times marked at 6 pm, 7 pm, 8 pm, 9 pm, 10 pm, and 11 pm.
For all the pre-teen parties I’ve hosted, there have always been the following rules:
- No cell phones. Either enjoy each other or stay at home and play games on your phone.
- I’m in charge. I don’t allow other adults to stay or try to “help.” I’ve found it just muddies the water if someone’s mom is there allowing her to do something no one else can do.
- As mentioned above, we change activities every hour on the hour regardless of where we are on the current activity to keep things moving. I don’t allow anyone to go off in pairs and start any drama. We are at the party to enjoy everyone.
All of this may sound super strict but actually, the kids respond well to someone in charge and it keeps the party moving and stress-free.
Girls Fashion Show Birthday Party Activity Time!
Here is what activity was inside each balloon and the time it was popped!
6:00 pm balloon: Guests were scheduled to arrive at 6:00. Shortly after my daughter popped the first balloon. All the girls scrambled to find the piece of paper that flew out. The activity was a Taco Bar with Birthday Mad Libs. This was a fantastic activity, to begin with since not everyone arrives right on the dot at 6:00!
7:00 pm balloon: The popping of the 7:00 pm balloon is when the party really got started! It was time for a Fashion Show with their American Girl dolls. I had spent the day preparing the house to turn the back room a mini runway. Crepe paper was used to hang from the doorway so they could part it for a grand entrance. I taped down mini-lights and a roll of red gift wrap for a grand “red carpet.
To allow them to make a grand entrance, I recorded the girls as they entered and had Taylor Swift playing for added effect. They entered with their matching American Girl dolls and they paused dramatically for pictures.
8:00 pm balloon: Makeovers with a twist! We began with sitting in a big circle and everyone doing the hair of the girl in front the other. I gave everyone a hairbrush and assorted bows and clips but the trick was to not move too much or else your hair would end up looking a little crazy – which they all did of course.
Then everyone broke up into pairs (or I did it for them to prevent fighting) and each girl had 5 minutes to put makeup on their partner with their eyes closed. Then they switched. I didn’t hand out any eyeliner or anything that would poke anyone’s eyes. They were supposed to try their best but as you can see, I think some were a little silly.
9:00 pm balloon: The Designer dress! I split the girls into two teams and gave both teams a couple rolls of tin foil. They had five minutes to create a beautiful dress for their model. The model then tried to walk the runway. Each girl wanted to be the model so we rotated through. The girls didn’t mind using the foil from the previous “models”. They enjoyed this activity and somehow it lasted an hour.
I’ll just pause right here and tell you the kids never get bored of popping the balloon each hour. In fact, I usually find a kid who has wandered off during the activity to go look at the next hour’s balloon like they are considering popping early. You can give them a pin to pop it or I usually just tell them to sit or stand on it and figure it out as a group. This takes up time and lets you catch your breath!
10:00 pm balloon: Ice Cream Sundae Bar and Opening Presents. My daughter doesn’t like cake so I went overboard and got as many toppings as possible with chocolate and vanilla ice cream.
11:00 pm balloon was the last balloon. It was Popcorn and American Girl Doll movies. Or as I like to call it – Quiet Down Now. I got out the huge air mattress and began having all the girls figure out sleeping arrangements and got them settled in with their movies so I could go crash. Usually, during sleepover parties, they wake me up a couple times until I’m not patient anymore then everyone sleeps or else girls have to sleep in different bedrooms around the house, this was only enforced once.
The Next Morning
I woke them up early the next day to hurriedly get dressed before their parents pick them up. I don’t normally lounge around the next day with a house full of preteens after a full night of it.
The next morning I asked the girls what was their favorite activity. They responded with all different opnions. Walking the “runway” and the silly makeovers, including even the tin foil dress activity, was very popular. Which was surprising to me because I almost threw out the tin foil dress at the last minute.
After three years of this type of party, I finally called uncle and said I couldn’t handle them anymore. They wore me out too much! Hopefully, three years of them will be enough for her memories.