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In mid-September I helped my friends Aimee and Mike celebrate their boys’ birthday (7 and 4!) with a soccer themed party. It was a blast to think like a kid for decor – oversized soccer balls made from lanterns – and have fun activities planned after a very kid-friendly lunch of hot dogs, pasta salad, carrot sticks and strawberries. And since we’re in Seattle, the Sounders’ lime green was used for the cutlery, napkins and plates. The picnic table was covered in butcher paper and had a large pitch (soccer field) drawn on it to help add to the theme.

I had set up an mini-obstacle course for the guests to kick a soccer ball through, ending with kicking it in the net. The signs for the course had a pitch drawn on each one. The second activity was a shoot out; the kids were able to kick from a chalked line with a “big kid” neighbor acting as the goalie. Between activities and to help keep the kids occupied waiting for their friends to finish, we had a small table with stickers and makers so the guests could decorate their goodie bags, which were filled with prizes (and of course, everyone won prizes).

Before singing “Happy Birthday” we had two pinatas for the guests to smash open – and to keep it simple, the boys’ ages were used. Word of warning: pinatas take about three adults to supervise/help. One to pull the rope, one to help keep the kids in line and get the stick/bat, and one to act as the extra set of eyes should a young guest start to wander toward the action. Extra adults always welcomed to help!

The boys’ Grandma made cupcakes to match the theme, which included their names written in chocolate on each one. They were the perfect finishing touch for the party!

{images: kathleen perrault & asia rau vinton}