Want to show your bike-crazy birthday boy or girl a "wheelie" good time? Invite a bunch of pals to bring their cycles, then turn your driveway (or perhaps a nearby school blacktop) into party central.
Set up a station where kids can soup up their rides with homemade number plates, noisemakers, and handle-bar decorations. Next, turn them loose on an obstacle course that tests their skills — and lets them be silly too.
Give each kid a bright ribbon marked with awards such as "Thirstiest Rider" or "Most Cheerful."
For each ribbon, cut a 10-inch length and a 12-inch length of flagging tape. Line up the lengths so the tops overlap, as shown.
Affix a gold notarial-seal sticker (available at office supply stores) at the overlap, then align and affix a second seal-sticker to the back of the first to cover the ribbons. Write the name of the award on the seal with a permanent marker and use a safety pin to attach it to each child's goody bag or shirt.
Any level stretch of driveway or blacktop can become an extreme sports venue with a few easy touches. Customize your course with what you've got in the garage — and be imaginative! We used cones, sidewalk chalk, a sprinkler, and (going off-road) a ride-through arch made from pool noodles, duct tape, and dowels stuck into the ground at the edge of the driveway. We also had the kids dismount their bikes to crawl through a cardboard-box tunnel and a tent, whack a tee ball, and shoot a basket.
The most important part of the race: the wave of the checkered flag at the end (print our paper version or pick one up at a party store), followed by a rousing cheer from the crowd.