There’s nothing as disappointing as a birthday party that flops. After weeks of planning, hours of preparations and building anticipation, the big day should be a wonderful event for everybody. However, some parties need a little more help getting off the ground than others. This can be especially true about children’s birthday parties. However, if you want to avoid a videogame fest in your basement for your child’s birthday, here are a few ways to keep your kids active while they party.

Dance

A dance party can be a lot of fun for all ages. Younger children can enjoy singing silly songs and doing silly dances together. Put together a playlist of children’s songs from familiar television shows and movies for younger children. An age-appropriate playlist of current pop songs can be played while you host a dance contest. If you have shy wallflowers turn it into a themed contest, where participants have to act out the lyrics of the song. Once you get everybody up and moving, let the music do the rest. Keep in mind that wherever you do this will quickly heat up due to the movement and release of body heat, so you’ll want to make sure that your dance party happens somewhere that is well-ventilated and keep some electric fans handy on the sides.

Race

If you have your party at a park or a large backyard you can take advantage of good weather by roping the kids into races. They can be crab races, where participants try to cross the finish line while walking on all fours; or three-legged races. Egg races, shuttle races, or the classic fifty-yard dash. Encourage the kids to lace up and run hard. Stagger the races so that kids of similar age and ability race together. Let fence-sitters or kids who can’t physically participate act as cheerleaders for the teams. Don’t forget to provide plenty of water, as you don’t want the kids to get dehydrated on the run, as well as scheduled time for a proper cooldown to avoid cramps.

Craft

For indoor parties, crafts are a great way to encourage the kids to participate in a fun activity that won’t destroy your home. Painting, making small crafts, drawing, or creating a model are all fun activities that will engage kids regardless of age. Arrange the crafts to match the theme of the party. Play music that fits the theme and gets little toes tapping. For small crafts involving things like play dough and clay, you can easily host this on a large kitchen table. However, larger crafts should be done outside to avoid an extremely messy cleanup, especially should there be lots of paint involved.

Play

Are your party-goers sports fans? Have your guests dress in their favorite team’s colors or jersey. Have a basketball shootout, play flag football, or simply turn drills into fun games with prizes. Don’t fell limited to traditional sports. Facilities with trampoline courts, rock climbing walls, and even laser tag are ideal for hosting parties for active kids. Birthday parties can be full of exercise and fun if you have the right setting. Even just picking a theme can open up possibilities for all sorts of activities that the kids can enjoy.

It’s tempting to believe that as long as there is cake, kids will pretty much make their own fun. This can be true for some, but it can also be the source of fights, tears, and bullying. With a little planning, it is possible to design a day that keeps the kids active, together and includes every child in fun activities.