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Planning a Digital Native Birthday Party

By Jenny Franklin

Parenting has never been a particularly simple task, but the added dimension of the digital world has made things more complicated than ever for some parents. Not because these technological advancements are negatively impacting our children, but rather because our children are born natives to a world that so many of us barely understand.

Whether or not you’re ready to make peace with your child’s electronic existence year-round, their birthday can be a great opportunity to understand and bond with them over this difference. Learn about the way that your children interact with technology, and demonstrate that you aren’t afraid to embrace change by planning a Digital Native birthday party.

  • Evites, or electronic invites, can be customized with your own images and designed with whatever pattern or theme you choose. They are usually free, can be completely personalized, and it’s very unlikely that anyone you intend to invite to this party won’t have an email address. They can also be used for thank you cards later on.
  • Decorate with your child’s favorite video game character with pixelated art, which you can find with a fairly basic image search online. Sites like Pinterest and Flickr are filled with inspiration, and unless you plan to use it to make a profit, it’s all available free. Head to a print center for large format and color printing of whatever decorations you decide on, or hire a professional to get the results you’re looking for.

  • A common misconception many parents have about video games is that they are always a solitary, sedentary activity. Whether or not your child usually plays multiplayer games, they’re a great, fun option to keep kids busy at a birthday party. The Wii and Xbox Kinect are specifically designed to incorporate physical activity into gaming, which many parents particularly appreciate.

  • Sports and party games are generally able to support up to four people at a time, and they can be lots of fun. You probably won’t even have to worry about monitoring turns. These kids are a part of a culture that has rules and etiquette all its own, and they’ll likely be able to manage on their own.

  • Depending on the type of game that your child enjoys, bringing it into the real world can be a whole lot of fun. I have a nephew who insists on playing what he calls “Oblivion Outside” every time I visit. Oblivion is a sword and bow, dragon and magic sort of game, and we run around with swords (sticks and toys), pick ingredients for potions (mostly weeds), and explore the uncharted territories (his neighborhood). It’s fun, active, and imaginative, and it was completely his own idea.

  • If your child prefers racing games, break out the RC cars! They’re a classic toy and activity that never gets old. If they play first person shooters, put together a game of laser tag or a Nerf gun war. Get the kids involved and let them be creative. You may be surprised by the amount of clever, fun ideas they come up with.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your digital native doesn’t appreciate the outside world. They simply draw on different experiences to find the fun in it. My sister and I played games inspired by television shows, and my dad and his brother played games inspired by comic books. The medium may have changed, but the reality is that kids are kids, and play is play. Don’t resist the change, join in the fun!

Author Info:
Jenny Franklin is a mom, a party planner, and a freelance writer who loves to share her experiences to help bring other families together. She currently writes for girls’ birthday party supplier Party Pail.

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