Age Group: 5 and Under
Number of Guests: five
Indoor/Outdoor: either is fine
Hotel for Dogs is the latest film that shows a group of kids rescuing dogs, but there are a ton out there—it’s no wonder that this is a favorite kids’ party theme!
Special Notes: Many children of all ages love dogs, and this theme is adaptable to older children as well. These particular suggestions are meant for the 5-and-younger crowd. Really, parties for this age group should not go more than an hour to ninety minutes. If you hire an entertainer, it will cut down on the activities you have to plan, but there are plenty of ideas below to help you fill the time as well.
Given the age group, you don’t really have to spend a lot of money to entertain the children, so this party plan gives you a good assortment of activities for different budgets. Many of the games will take little time to plan as well since they are old favorites.
It would be great to have the family dog around at this party to make it even more authentic!! Another option, especially for toddlers, is to have your guests dress up like puppies. Very cute!
Pick up your dog birthday party supplies and then have a look at these planning ideas:
One idea is to make your invitation in the shape of a dog house, and attach some flaps to the front. When your guests open the flaps, all your party details will be inside.
You could also make the invitation in the shape of a bone.
When writing out your party details, use “puppy speak,” such as, “Come join us for a bow-wow good time!”
Make paper paw prints and place them on the ground leading up to the house. You can put them on your sidewalk, the pathway to the front door, and around the party area.
Use large, old boxes to make individual dog houses—one for each of your guests. The kids will be able to play in the doghouses during the party. This will work well with five guests or fewer. If you have more, you can just make the fronts of doghouses, and lean them up against the party room’s walls. Make sure to make the doghouses unique, and write a specific guest’s name on each one. You could also make one big doghouse out of a large box for all of the kids to play in together. In the doghouse, put balls, Frisbees, and soft toys. They will love this!
Decorate with festive balloons. You can choose any colors for this party, unless you are having a particular dog theme, such as “Dalmatian.” Then everything could be black and white with spots.
Cut giant dog bones from heavy card stock and put them all over the party room. On one big one, write “Happy Birthday.”
Make dog signs stating, “Wipe your paws!” or “No Cats Allowed!” to add to the puppy theme.
Spread doggie confetti and milk bones on the party table for a festive look. You could place dog stuffed animals on the table and attach Mylar puppy balloons to them for a fun centerpiece.
You can have any color of tablecloth for your party. One fun idea is to have a white paper tablecloth that the kids can decorate. Put out crayons and stickers, and let them color through the meal. You can also purchase doggie tableware, or just use primary colors to match the balloons you bought.
Have the kids make doggie hats. Attach felt ears to painter caps and let the kids decorate them.
Have the kids decorate doggie collars. Provide little collars made out of felt or paper and doggie stickers, glitter, markers, and crayons for the kids to decorate with. The kids can wear their collars for the duration of the party. You could also provide beads and string and have them string a collar for themselves.
Have the kids color and/or draw pictures of their favorite dogs.
Make dog masks using a paper plate. Have the guests decorate the plate, and then attach elastic string and cut out the eyes so that they can wear them.
Upon arrival, have kids go to the doggie groomer. Here, you can have face painting, and give the children a black nose, whiskers, and perhaps a little doggie on their cheek. You could also have them make their puppy ears and dog collars here. (See crafts above)
Make dog bone sugar cookies and have the kids decorate them with frosting and candies. They can eat the cookies right up.
Play Puppy Puppy Dog as you would Duck Duck Goose.
Do a bean bag toss, and have the kids throw the bean bags either into one of the doghouses you have made or a puppy mouth that you have created out of cardboard.
Have a doggie water bowl relay race.
If you are outside or in a large space, play Tug of War.
Have a piñata. This dog bone pinata is perfect!
Play Pin the Tail on the Puppy.
Play Red Rover.
Write numbers on dog biscuits, and hide them all over the party area. When the children find the bones, give them a prize that corresponds with the number on the bone.
If your party is based on a famous dog character, such as Clifford or Scooby, hire an entertainer to act as that character. You could also read the character’s story to the children.
Play Hide and Go Seek, and have the children count while in the doghouse that you made.
Play Musical Doghouse. Have the children crawl through the doghouse (make sure you have two openings) while you play music. When the music stops, whoever is in the doghouse is out of the game. Continue until you have a winner.
Play with a friendly-family dog!
Play Dog Trainer Says, just like Simon Says.
Serve hot dogs, puppy chow mix (chocolate chips, Chex cereal, peanut butter, powdered sugar, and butter), pretzel sticks, carrot sticks, and cookies and sandwiches cut into the shape of dog bones.
Serve the food in little dog bowls. You can paint the kids names on the bowls and decorate them with mini bones as well.
I love this puppy cake recipe from FamilyFun.com.
Give the kids their doggie bowls and doggie collars and hats. In addition, you could give out a puppy coloring book and crayons, puppy stickers, and maybe some “Scooby snacks!”
Your goody bag can actually be a lunch bag that you decorate to look like a dog: fray the top portion to look like hair, and draw a doggie face on the front of the bag.