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Ideas for fun bashes
Chance Olsen's fourth birthday party featured a bug theme and caterpillar cake.

Stuck for ideas on kids' birthday bashes?

Here are some themes pulled off the Web or offered by Billings mothers:

- Backward party. People walk, talk and dress backward. Greet guests with "goodbye." Send them off with a "hello." Spell their names backward on name tags.

Spread a tablecloth under the dining room table and eat the cake first. Hand each guest the words to the "Happy Birthday" song printed out backward, so they can join a rousing round of "You to birthday happy!" Have a scavenger hunt with the words on the list spelled backward.

- Airplane party. Use paper airplane decorations. Test who can fly Styrofoam gliders the greatest distances. Fix a plane cake and give out tiny planes in treat bags.

Cut down a refrigerator box to simulate the plane's cockpit and wings, then use shiny jar lids or junkyard parts to simulate controls.

- Sixties party. Give each child a white T-shirt to tie-dye outside. On the invitation, warn youngsters to wear old clothes.

Put the dye in squirt bottles and have hangers and a clothesline ready to dry the shirts. Teach them '60s dances such as the swim, the hitch hike or the most famous one of all, the twist.

Look on the Internet if you need a refresher course. The classic description of the twist is to imagine stubbing out a cigarette with your feet while drying your back with a towel.

- Spring flowers. Have kids paint designs on terra cotta pots and plant flowers in them.

- Crayon party. Decorate in primary colors with balloons, streamers and plates. Bake a crayon-shaped cake.

Play drop the crayon into an empty plastic soda bottle. Have coloring activities using large sheets of paper, such as butcher paper or newspaper end rolls.

- Batman party. Convert a part of your basement into a bat cave, covering the walls with black sheets. Make cutout bats to hang from the ceiling and cobwebs. Cut out short black capes for guests to wear.

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