Birthday parties are a big deal when you’re a kid. Instead of going bowling or ice skating for the hundredth time, give the children in your community a chance to do something new to celebrate their birthdays. Consider hosting children’s birthday parties for a small fee/donation at your shelter.
Birthday parties increase visitors to the shelter, offer an opportunity to teach kids about animal care, and even raises a little bit of money. Hosting parties also positions the shelter as a safe, fun space for community members rather than a depressing place to avoid.
- Plan out the details of the party. Refer to our list of suggestions below for a fun, action-packed party
- Advertise that the shelter hosts children’s birthday parties with sharegraphics
- Create a flyer/sign to post in the shelter letting people know about this new service
Feel free to develop a party outline that works best for your shelter. Shelters come in all different shapes and sizes and you know your strengths best. Plan for the party to take two hours but leave time for the birthday child to eat cake and open presents. Below are some party ideas for children ages 7 and up to use as a jumping off point:
- Shelter tour
- Visit with an animal of the birthday child’s choice*
- Educational session about some of the shelter’s more unusual animals like lizards along with a chance to pet/touch the animal (if they’re willing!)
- Pin the tail on the Golden Retriever.
- Animal-Themed Crafts
- Each child decorates an animal’s cage with pictures or signs encouraging people to adopt
- Dog bandannas
- Cat toys (check out this list of simple toys that are easy to make!)
- Make dog biscuits: freeze dough beforehand and have the kids use bone cookie cutters to shape the biscuits.
* Not all animals are party animals. Either give the child a pre-reviewed list of animals to choose from or have them give their top three requests to make sure that it’s a fun experience for both the animal and the partygoers.
- Offer goody bags with candy, shelter swag, and animal-themed favors
- Let the birthday child name a recently arrived animal
- Ask if the child would prefer donations (or supplies) be given to the shelter in lieu of gifts
For more ideas, check out the party packages at these shelters: