Miniature Party

by Barbara Rowley
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If there's one thing your average six- to nine-year-old would like better than a really, really big birthday bash, it would have to be a really, really small one. For this party, go ahead and scale everything down. The kids will marvel at the incredible shrunken details, from the tiny entryway to the world's smallest cake.

Teeny Tiny Invitations

An invitation that arrives in a 2-inch envelope is hard to turn down--especially if you have to read it with a magnifying glass. To make one, print the party information by hand or on a computer using letters that are approximately 1/4 inch tall. Then take the invitation to a copy shop and reduce it to as small a size as you can while still keeping it legible. Stuff the mini invite into a small store-bought gift envelope (available at stationery stores). Place it into a larger envelope along with a small, flat magnifying glass, if desired, and mail.

Downsized Decorations

Cut this birthday party down to size by setting up a miniature party room. For a shrunken entranceway, begin by covering the door frame with a large piece of cardboard (buy a flat sheet from a mail supply or moving store or use a panel from a refrigerator box). Cut a door that's just big enough for the guests to crawl through. Use tempera paint to decorate the cardboard to look like the front of a small house, adding construction paper or colored tape trim. Inside the room, set up any kid-size furniture you own or can borrow, tiny toys, and small cardboard boxes draped with bandanna tablecloths. Decorate the room with mini balloons and a tiny birthday banner.

Micro Menu

When planning your menu, think small. Anything mini will do, such as tea sandwiches,or mini pizzas, drumsticks, or hamburgers, either store-bought or homemade. Serve the meal on plastic doll- or tea-set plates and pour punch into bathroom-size paper cups. For dessert, serve each party guest a Teeny Tiny Cake.

Miniature Fun & Games

Kids this age love a good challenge, especially if it tests their newly found dexterity. In addition to the following miniature contests, you might play marbles or penny soccer, or host a gumball-on-a-spoon relay race.

MINI TREASURE HUNT: Send kids on a hunt for a tiny treasure chest--a shoe box filled with small surprises, such as dollhouse miniatures, gumball machine toys, polished rocks, worry dolls, beads, and scaled-down candies or stickers. (Nothing in the chest should be bigger than your thumb.) Write the clues in tiny letters and hide them in small places, such as a dollhouse, jewelry box, or mini muffin pan. Partygoers should use a magnifying glass to read the clues. Once the treasure is found, divvy things up so each child has an equal number to take home.

MINI BILLIARDS: Craft a mini pool table out of a shoe box and a slightly larger lid. Turn the box upside down and tape small paper cups on the outside of the box at each of the four corners. Cut a 1 1/2-inch slit over each corner of the lid, set it on top of the box, and bend the flaps into the cups. Glue on green felt. Now rack gumballs with a pipe cleaner triangle and break with wooden pencil cues.

TEENY TINY CONTESTS: In their final challenge, invite partygoers to a round of miniature feats. Have them try to blow the world's smallest bubble with bubble gum or soap, take the tiniest bite out of a cookie, or write a sentence in their smallest yet legible print.

Thank-You Notes

Just have your child send something small, of course. If you think ahead and buy twice as many small invitation envelopes, you can use these for your child's thank-you notes. But this time, instead of an invitation tucked inside, guests will find a tiny picture painted by the guest of honor with a small note written on the back.

Party Favors

In addition to the prizes found in the Mini Treasure Hunt, let guests craft take-home miniatures out of emptied match, raisin, or jewelry boxes. They might make dump trucks with button wheels, tiny beds with cotton ball pillows, or wagons with pipe cleaner handles. Package the party favors in small paper bags that have been decorated with tiny stickers.

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