When my son James asked to have all his friends over for a game night birthday party, I admit my first thought was how can I talk him out of this? I loved my young Milton Bradley’s enthusiasm but the truth was I wasn’t sure how to help him pull off board games for 20 teenagers in a way that’ll be fun for everyone.
That and this whole grand plan would likely require me to cook something and/or clean the house which are two things I generally like to avoid. Oh and did I mention the 20 teenagers part?
Regardless of my reservations, I could see James was excited about his game night idea and of course I would help him in any way I could.
Game Night Invitation
We came up with a couple of strategies to make the party a success and I’ll share those at the bottom of this post but first let’s talk about the invite.
Since I didn’t know where to start, I tackled the easiest item, the invitation. I briefly looked online but didn’t find any free game party invitations so I made one up. I also I created a game invite template to share!
Here’s the invitation and wording I created for James…
To make one for a game night of your own, I created two slightly different templates.
Left Invitation Image: (click link and then right click on the image to save)
Right Invitation Image:
For the text on my invite I used the font “Franklin Gothic Book”.
My invitations were 8.5 by 5.5 and I printed 2 to a page.
I use Photoshop but you could easily insert the image in a program like Microsoft word and overlay the text with text boxes. Another option would be the free version of PicMonkey. I don’t use it personally but I have friends who love it.
DIY Game Party Plan, Concerns and Solutions
Once the invitations were out of the way I began to think through how to help James get his party off to a good start.
I was concerned that a bunch of energetic boys would arrive at the door, go in twenty directions and eventually wind up in our upstairs recreation room playing Xbox just like any other day around here. That wouldn’t be a problem for me but I knew James had is heart set on something different.
Here are a few things we did that worked wonderfully….
Set up expectations…
When James passed out the invites he told all of his friends to bring games. We have enough games in this house for 5 parties but having the kids bring along their own games meant they showed up ready to play and share their favorites. This was James’ idea and it worked out fabulously.
I set the game tables around the food so that even when the kids got up to graze they were still in the mix of the games and we didn’t have little side parties breaking off from the group. I also laid out games on the tables and around the room as decoration and to make sure there was plenty of variety.
Along with the main food table I laid out lots of candy and snacks right on the game tables for the kids while they played.
Just in case we had some reluctant gamers, James and I made funny trophies to inspire some healthy competition. (I will share with you how I made the trophies next week)
I knew at some point the guests would get restless so I had the yard ready and an Xbox tucked around the corner just in case. It turned out that the kids had a blast playing games for several hours. It wasn’t until the party was over that the Xbox came out. If I were to do it again I’d still have a plan B because I don’t like leaving things up to chance.
The kids had so much fun and by the end of the night they were coming up with a plan to hold another game night just like it.
The night turned out better than I could have hoped! I hope this inspires you and gives you party ideas of your own.
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