Every child is unique. The development process varies significantly for every kid and while your 8-year-old development might follow the standard process, it might not be the case at all for another child. Nevertheless, if you are throwing a birthday party with a bunch of 8-year-olds there are several commonalities that you can play off of.
Birthday party planning process is quite similar each year: come up with an idea, find a venue, decide on the theme, invite the guests and prepare decorations and the list of activities. This is a time-proven process that every parent is usually following and that allows to reduce the stress and organize a great birthday party. But it is incredibly unwise to not take into account the position of your kid. And depending on the age this position might be different. Here are six things to keep in mind when throwing a party for the 8-year-old:
1. 8-year olds love “grown-up” activities
They saw you going to a spa or putting makeup on in your room and they can’t wait to grow up and do exactly the same thing. 8-year-olds are curious and they idealize adult life. Everything their parents do seems fascinating and amusing to them. That’s why when it comes to birthday party planning for the 8-year-old you’d better consider activities and themes that are “grown-up”. A birthday brunch with a sleepover party afterward, an open air cinema party, the spa party or the arts and crafts party – these are the themes that allow 8-year-olds pretend they are adults for one day.
2. Independence is the key
8-year-olds enjoy solving the problems independently. At this age, before they ask someone for help, they will first try to find a solution themselves. When planning a birthday party it is important to maintain some flexibility in the schedule so that the kids can spend some time alone and recuperate. The bottom line? Don’t try to stuff every hour with activities or games and allow for some free play time. If you see that one of the kids is not keen on participating, instead of forcing him to join the game, guide him to a dedicated area where he can browse through the books or listen to some music. Some great birthday party venues have a separate room for a sit-down party and an indoor playground for active games – see if you can book one for your 8-year-old.
3. They are discovering the world of books and stories
At this age, children can read fluently and put what they’ve read into one storyline. 8-year-olds love to use the language as a way to understand and communicate with their peers. Take advantage of this peculiar characteristic of your kid, and incorporate some reading time into the party. You can have one of the kids read a story or hand over a book to each kid and then have them tell the story to the people at the party.
4. Their physical skills may vary significantly
8-year-olds are approaching the stage of the peak of motor skills development. They become successful in all kinds of sports including basketball, soccer or swimming. They are also defining their future attitude toward sports. At this age, the kids understand whether they are athletic or nonathletic and they will manifest their choice by either embracing the activities or forgoing any kind of sport. Make sure to spot those nonathletic kids and don’t try to make everyone follow the same party schedule. Girls will probably be happier playing with dolls rather than playing Hide and Seek.
5. Their memory skills are on the peak
A kid’s development at the 8th year is marked by an unprecedented peak in their memory skills. They can correctly remember number and letters combinations, dance moves and replay whole scenes from the movies. Here is a small list of memory games that you might consider adding to your birthday party activities list:
- Three cups – have three small paper cups ready. Line them up in one raw. Place a pebble or other small object under one of the cups. Switch the cups back and forth and have children guess which cup contains the pebble.
- Word chain – agree on one topic everyone is interested in. The first person will have to come up with a second word and say the first and the second one together, the second person says three words, the third person says four words. Continue the game until no one remembers what the first word was.
- Memory board games – check out “I never forget the face” matching memory game and see if you can match the 24 smiling faces of kids from different countries.
6. They are more demanding but also accepting
Ultimately, 8-year-olds are like little adults. They understand major life concepts, they can easily operate simple vocabulary and sentences, they are eager for self-control and independence. You need to meet them halfway and provide wise direction of the party but at the same time give them enough freedom. While kids of that age are certainly more demanding, they are no longer as competitive, which makes your job a little bit easier. They don’t get upset over someone who won the prize and they don’t really care if they lost. So this is a perfect time to get some competitive games into the picture, and those games tend to be the most fun ones.
7. They are still learning
Despite so many advancements in sports and mental endeavors, 8-year-olds are still trying to grasp social situations. In other words, they are still exploring the world and relationships around them. At this age they often become very aggressive towards their peers, especially boys, – they are not bullying, but they are trying to assert confidence and power over someone else using inappropriate means. As a result, they exercise social exclusion and meanness towards other people. Stay aware of the overall social atmosphere at the party and interfere when you think the situation got out of hands. On order to teach kids some compassion, you can introduce them to specifically designed educational online games and activities.
Ultimately, 8-year-olds are like little adults. They understand major life concepts, they can easily operate simple vocabulary and sentences, they are eager for self-control and independence. You need to meet them halfway and provide wise direction of the party but at the same time give them enough freedom. It is a hard balance to keep, but it is not impossible. Make a list of activities ideas but be on a lookout for signs that the kids want to play free and don’t prevent them from following their own schedule. For amazing activities and ideas see our post – Seven No Brainer Birthday Party Entertainment Ideas For Kids.