HGTV.com
Click to Print

http://www.hgtv.com/holidays-and-entertaining/baseball-bonanza-birthday-party/index.html

Baseball Bonanza Birthday Party

Take the kids out to the ballpark for a fun birthday get-together.

If your child is a baseball lover, there’s no better way to celebrate his or her birthday than with a game of baseball, softball or T-ball with friends. Hosting the event at a local playing field is a great alternative to a party at home – especially for apartment dwellers and those looking for budget-friendly venues. Just be sure to check with your local municipality before scheduling your party and come to the field prepared on the day of the event.

Pitch a Party

Get guests excited about the game from the minute they receive the invitation by dressing the envelope with a red marker to resemble the stitching of a baseball. For the invitation itself, print your greeting onto white cardstock. Cut out circles around the text and add stitching with your marker. Be sure to be specific when describing the location of the field, and instruct everyone to “bring your own mitt.” To make game time easier you might decide to divide the kids into two teams beforehand and ask each team to wear a specific color.

Make the birthday boy or girl his or her very own baseball T-shirt with iron-on transfer paper. Use your computer to create a design, flip the image so that it is backwards, print it out on iron-on transfer paper and iron onto a T-shirt. If you're ambitious, you can make shirts for every one of your guests in lieu of favors.

Come Prepared

While you won’t have to decorate for an outdoor baseball party like you might for an indoor affair, you will want to be extremely prepared. First, make sure there are nearby bathrooms accessible for your guests (and their parents). Of course, you’ll need to provide a few bats, balls and mitts for your players. You should also bring along a couple blankets for players to sit on while not playing – an umbrella for shade wouldn’t be a bad idea either. Bug spray, sunscreen and hand sanitizer should also be in your party-day kit, along with basic first aid supplies and a cell phone, just in case.

Plan a Successful Game

First and foremost, you should invite kids who actually enjoy playing ball (like the kids on your child’s Little League team). If not all of the guests are ready for the minor leagues, bring along some pompoms for those on the sidelines to cheer with. Designate a referee for the game, so the kids know who’s in charge, and have the ref explain the rules of play beforehand. If your players are young, you may want to have an adult play the role of the pitcher. The event should be fun, not frantic, so take breaks between innings and keep things casual.

Even the least artistic parent can decorate cupcakes to look like baseballs: Simply place thin slices of red licorice in a semi-circle stitch pattern.

Bring Fuel for the Players

Paper goods and a windy day are a bad combination: Keep supplies from blowing away by using extra baseballs to hold down napkins and paper plates.

A game can leave kids hungry and thirsty, so be sure to be prepared with drinks and snacks. When packing for this park event, make sure to pack only non-breakable serving dishes. Bring double the amount of ice you think you need to keep drinks cool and refreshing. Opt for sport-friendly options like cut-up oranges, granola bars, water and sports drinks to keep players fueled before and during the game. Since it is a birthday party, cupcakes are in order. You can easily dress up vanilla-frosted cakes to look like baseballs: Slice red licorice, like Twizzlers, into slivers and arrange them into semi-circles to look like laces.

Miniature team pennants are a fun take-home treat for party guests, especially when paired with bubble gum and baseball cards.

Make Party Favors a Home Run

Keep favors simple and on-theme: Miniature team pennants, a few baseball cards and a packet of classic chewing gum make an easy and affordable goody bag. To package the treats, put the cards and sweets into a clear bag and affix the pennant to the top with a band of colored masking tape. Alternately, peanuts and Cracker Jack would also be pitch-perfect treats for this ballgame birthday.

Before everyone leaves, ask all of your child’s friends to sign a baseball at the party. It will be a memento that will be cherished today – and 20 years from now.

Laura Fenton is a Brooklyn-based writer and stylist whose work has appeared in many publications, including Country Living, Family Circle and Good Housekeeping. She is also a regular contributor to ShelterPop.com.

Advertisement will not be printed