Opposite Land’s Birthday Party Blast Planning Guide


Birthday Ideas That Make A Difference

Birth­day Ideas That Make A Difference

Birth­day cel­e­bra­tions are not about presents alone.  It is a price­less mem­ory of cel­e­brat­ing a life and the joy of “liv­ing” in gen­eral.  Giv­ing your child the gift of self­less­ness is price­less.  Birth­day par­ties that make a dif­fer­ence can be just as excit­ing and fun-filled as con­ven­tional children’s celebration.

It’s easy and quite sim­ple to take the pos­i­tive steps to “throw” a birth­day party that is unique, cre­ative, and mean­ing­ful for all.

You don’t have to have a mul­ti­tude of games or exces­sive field trips to ensure that this birth­day cel­e­bra­tion is suc­cess­ful and joy-filled. There are a mul­ti­tude of great ser­vice party activ­i­ties that all par­tic­i­pants can do in less than 20 min­utes. Be sure to talk to your child for his or her input about the project that they feel would be all best and most helpful.

 Ready To Begin?  

Check out some help­ful tips and tricks to get you on the sim­ple path for a cre­ative,   enrich­ing, and mean­ing­ful birth­day bash for your child.

 Take The First Step: Birth­day Party Planning

Birthday Party Gifts

Plan A Party With Your Child

Chil­dren love to par­tic­i­pate in ser­vice projects.

  • Talk to your child about the idea of a birth­day party that gives to oth­ers.
    Allow­ing your child to have input into the plan­ning and choos­ing of the char­ity gives them own­er­ship and a sense that they are doing some­thing impor­tant and meaningful.
  • Be sure to assure them that this spe­cial kind of party is just as awe­some as a tra­di­tional cel­e­bra­tion and one of kind.


Rainbow Clip Art

Involve Your Child

  • Ask your child what he or she feels the need to help.  Does your child love pets?  Is he or she an active in sports?  Are books and sto­ries impor­tant to them?
  • Cen­ter on choos­ing a char­ity or non­profit orga­ni­za­tion that would sup­port your child’s passions.
  • Be sure that inves­ti­gate the char­ity to assure that your gifts or dona­tions are going to an estab­lished orga­ni­za­tion.  There are sev­eral online ser­vices that can accom­plish this for you.

                                                  Check out:
                                                  Char­ity Nav­i­ga­tor @http://www.charitynavigator.org/                                                             GuideStar @ http://www.guidestar.org                                                                                     Local Bet­ter Busi­ness Bureau.


Modern Art Heart With Red And Blue

Gifts From The Heart

  • Be sure that you and your child are totally in agree­ment about the giv­ing and receiv­ing of gifts.  Stress that the gifts guests bring will be heart-felt.  These gifts will be help­ing peo­ple or places in their name.
  • You can relate to your child that they will get a present from imme­di­ate fam­ily mem­bers with trea­sures such as great books, toys, and memories.
  • If fam­ily mem­bers feel inclined to buy a present, there are a myr­iad of prac­ti­cal or edu­ca­tional enter­tain­ing items chil­dren love.  Those presents would not, how­ever, be opened at the com­mu­nity birth­day party. Be sure that your child knows that gifts their guests will bring will be spe­cially crafted or donated in their name.  Pur­chas­ing a present is more than just com­ing with a char­i­ta­ble dona­tion to drop in a box.
  • Your child’s guests may choose not to bring a phys­i­cal gift but donate time or talent.


  • Once your non­profit orga­ni­za­tion has been selected, it’s impor­tant that all of the birth­day guests know that this birth­day cel­e­bra­tion is a very spe­cial one.  Include some mate­r­ial about the non­profit orga­ni­za­tion that chil­dren will be supporting.
  • Be sure to let guest’s par­ents know that there will be NO GIFTS for this party.  The birth­day guest of honor would really like some­thing very unique.  Encour­age guests to bring or donate a phys­i­cal item.
  • Post sug­ges­tions in the invi­ta­tion for dona­tions to be made in the child’s name. It also can include request­ing that dona­tions such as toi­letries, books, or non­per­ish­able items be brought.
  • Be sure to include these activ­i­ties even though some guests may not be able to come but still can donate.
  • Don’t miss out and join the Sto­ry­tellers Fam­ily next month for the next steps of plan­ning a birth­day party theme and ser­vice projects that will rock!

Visit me at my web­site: http://www.storytellershop.com

Ama­zon: http://www.amazon.com/Opposite-Land-Amazing-Adventures-Birthday-ebook/dp/B00L5P2FU2

Cre­ate Space: Oppo­site Land Amaz­ing Adven­tures: Zoe’s Birth­day Blast Paperback

Face­book : Oppo­site Land Amaz­ing Adven­tures: Zoe’s Birth­day Blast Com­mu­nity Page

Pin­ter­est: Sto­ry­teller Shop Pinterest

Twit­ter:  https://twitter.com/AuthorShopStore


Birthday Parties That Make A Difference

Birthday Ideas That Make A Difference

Birth­day Ideas That Make A Difference

Birth­days have always been spe­cial events in our fam­ily. Being a vol­un­teer and serv­ing oth­ers has also been a part of my life since I was a small child. Between school and fam­ily ser­vice projects, vol­un­teerism became part of my inner core identity.

Encour­ag­ing young­sters at any early age (includ­ing tod­dlers and pre-school) to engage in ser­vice ori­ented activ­i­ties fos­ters deep qual­i­ties of gen­eros­ity, empa­thy, com­pas­sion, appre­ci­a­tion, and social account­abil­ity for the greater world com­mu­nity around them. These qual­i­ties will lead them into adult­hood as respon­si­ble car­ing indi­vid­u­als.
A won­der­ful intro­duc­tion to fos­ter appre­ci­a­tion of vol­un­teer activ­i­ties is to cre­ate a birth­day party that will make a dif­fer­ence in the life of your child and their guests.

Many times children’s’ birth­day cel­e­bra­tions become very com­pli­cated, time con­sum­ing, and overly exces­sive of activ­i­ties, themes, and gifts. The sim­ple idea of cake and
ice-cream seems to be fad­ing from pop­u­lar­ity. Lav­ish expenses include over-the-top good­ies bags, hoards of gifts, con­tracted enter­tain­ers, and catered food. These are becom­ing an accepted real­ity in a child’s world of birth­day gatherings.

Young­sters seem to need to keep up with or “top” their friends by lav­ish birth­day cel­e­bra­tions. Being big­ger and more “epic” seem to veer the true mean­ing of the day. Chil­dren may expe­ri­ence feel­ings of envy, peer pres­sure, or dis­ap­point­ment that their day did not have enough to impress or sat­isfy friends or their needs.
Par­ents and guardians can do a great ser­vice to guar­an­tee a joy­ous, fun-filled birth­day cel­e­bra­tion with­out all the exces­sive stress and pres­sure. Plan­ning a unique party by
“mak­ing a dif­fer­ence” to oth­ers will assist party-goers with the impor­tant mes­sage that true impor­tant gifts come from help­ing hearts and hands.

Your child, friends, fam­ily, and guests will expe­ri­ence a great feel­ing that doing some­thing for some­one else is not only great fun but the best gift one can give to any­one –
birth­day or not.

It is easy to plan a party that makes a dif­fer­ence with the birth­day girl or boy.

Check out my next blog at Sto­ry­teller Shop for party plans that rock the heart and soul.

For early read­ers and some great birth­day party ser­vice ideas, check out my lat­est book: Oppo­site Land Amaz­ing Adven­tures: Zoe’s Birth­day Blast  for more great suggestions.

Click here:
Oppo­site Land Amaz­ing Adven­tures: Zoe’s Birth­day Blast Ama­zon Paper Back
Oppo­site Land Amaz­ing Adven­tures: Zoe’s Birth­day Blast Ama­zon Kin­dle
Oppo­site Land Amaz­ing Adven­tures: Zoe’s Birth­day Blast Barnes & Nobles

The St. Valentine Day Quiz Game Book: Mystery And History Challenge For Sweethearts Of All Ages

A Cel­e­bra­tion Of St. Valentine’s Day: 
Tra­di­tions Of His­tory And Hon­or­ing The Universe 

st. valentine_Gustav Klim

St. Valentine’s Day is a day that is more than hearts and flow­ers for adults.  It should remind us that in the midst of all the tur­moil of life, we need to take moments
and appre­ci­ate the beauty of some­one or some­thing that touches us.

We take so lit­tle time to really say or do a kind act.   One takes for granted the
per­son just “knows” how we feel.

Whether at home or in the class­room, chil­dren sense how we take on hol­i­days
and hold their spe­cial rev­er­ence for them in our own lives.

That is why I decided to create:

 The Valen­tine Quiz Game Book:
The Mys­tery and Chal­lenge For Sweet­hearts  Of All Ages:


to empha­sis the his­tory and ori­gins rather the clut­ter of the super­fi­cial hol­i­day activ­i­ties  to enrich our family’s  life.

For the major­ity of us grow­ing up, Valentine’s Day was a day of send­ing hearts and receiv­ing cards and chocolates.

How­ever, under­stand­ing the back­ground and cul­tural sig­nif­i­cance of Valentine’s Day is really an inte­gral com­po­nent to offer our chil­dren a mean­ing­ful encounter to this holiday.

There­fore, as with any pos­i­tive learn­ing expe­ri­ence we can cre­atively con­nect young­sters in mean­ing­ful games to aid them in evoca­tive char­ac­ter development

Here are some sug­ges­tions that can develop a great fam­ily tra­di­tion in your house­hold to hon­or­ing St. Valen­tines’ Day with pur­pose and respect.

Play­ing Games Together That Deal With Words
Of Kind­ness And Appreciation

 Word Games

  •  Word Search Maker

This is a fun and a great fam­ily activ­ity.  You can go on-line and even
find tem­plates that can help you build a basic word search foun­da­tion.
Go to http://www.puzzle-maker.com should you wish to use this

  • Cross­word Puz­zle Maker

Although this is a bit more advanced, it’s great fam­ily fun and
the tem­plate maker is also avail­able at:

Be sure you include in your word games, the his­tory of Valen­tine Day’s
and keep a global per­spec­tive of how other nation­al­i­ties honor the day.
Remem­ber, this is not strictly a North Amer­i­can Euro­pean holiday

  • Paper Trace Race

-        You can have a paper trace to see how Valentine’s Day has changed
since its very beginnings.

-        Ask chil­dren to draw and explain the dif­fer­ent images and sym­bols that have grown
over the decades.

-        Which Valentine’s Day gifts are no longer used or what do we give in
place of flow­ers or candy to peo­ple we care about?

-       Another option is to teach stu­dents about how Valentine’s Day has devel­oped, and
how dif­fer­ent imagery of Valentine’s  Day has changed over the years.

  •  Cre­ate A Great Valen­tine Day Game Board

Young­sters love the idea of cre­at­ing and invent­ing their own toys and
games.  Imag­i­na­tion is the story of the soul and the great­est 21st
Cen­tury learn­ing tool along with collaboration.

-       Have them spend some time each evening in place of TV or a com­puter game
invent­ing a Valen­tine Candy Land, Chutes and Lad­ders, or Jeopardy.

-       Let them research the his­tory of the day and allow the most ques­tions to be
answered as the cen­ter­piece of winning.

-       Every­one should have some type of prize at the end to encour­age fur­ther explo­ration
of the next hol­i­day game they can invent.

  • Good Old Fash­ioned Valen­tine Bingo With A Twist

-        The whole idea is to play the game using his­tor­i­cal char­ac­ters and events that          
com­pose the sig­nif­i­cance of the day-  Cupid, Venus, roses, locks of hair, cards,
and Henry VIII can be part of the cast of char­ac­ters.  As the game is played, the
expla­na­tion of those sym­bols can be share with the family.

  • Love Let­ters

One of the many leg­ends that are we hold pre­cious is that St.
Valentine’s Day is not only for adults.   Chil­dren of the vil­lages and
towns would script lit­tle love notes to him while he was in prison often
telling him of their love and devo­tion to  his ser­vice.  They would thank
him for his brave works despite the dan­gers he was encoun­ter­ing.
Per­haps this won­der­ful tra­di­tion can be started in your fam­ily to write
thank­ing some­one one for their good­ness and kind­ness dur­ing times
when they were chal­lenged by stud­ies, stu­dents, bul­lies, or even
pres­sures of grow­ing up    

  • Tell A Won­der­ful Valen­tine Story About An Ances­tor
    In Your Fam­ily 
    Who Has Shown Love Uncon­di­tion­ally

-  Every­one has a St Valen­tine fig­ure in their fam­ily.  Pass that leg­end on to your young ones. Let them cre­ate a fam­ily scrap book of St. Valentine’s heros of thier own heritage.

  • Have A Global Valen­tine Cel­e­bra­tion For The Uni­verse.  Love The Earth. 

- We use a dis­pro­por­tion­ate amount of the world’s resources.  We need to remind our loved ones that the sim­ple life is the best life.  As we waste  the world’s nat­ural resources, we are hurt­ing every­one around us. Every­onebecomes richer when we share with one another what has been  given to us.  Giv­ing a lot of candy and sweets is lots of fun. 

But what can we give our uni­verse on Valentine’s Day?
What things make an impact on lov­ing the earth?

-       Sug­gest chil­dren check their toys. Have them make a list.

-        Toys that are made of wood,metal, plas­tic, or paper objects have an impact
on the world we live in today. Share that with them.  Their con­tri­bu­tions do count to the world.

Global St. Valentine's Day Activity

Honor The Day With St. Valentine’s Day Share

  • Activ­ity To Love The Earth On Valen­tine Day

Even though we know, we indi­vid­u­ally do not make a huge dent in the world’s ero­sion, together we can visu­ally allow our chil­dren to see the impact we do have.


Have a col­ored piece of paper for each kind of toy your child wants to share on his world Valen­tine Board.

Blue =  Plas­tic                                         Orange =  Sports Toys

Red=    Wood                                          Black     =  Video Games

Green = Metal                                         Yel­low  =   Others

1.  Cre­ate col­ors to rep­re­sent the kind of toys your child has.

2.  Have each child write the name of his toy.  It will rep­re­sent what they
have in the world.

3.  Have the chil­dren place their papers on the table which rep­re­sents the
uni­verse we live in to see how high the pile goes.

4.  Ask how the pile looks and what dam­age all this can do together

5.  Ask what gift we can give the earth as a Valen­tine?   Less toys to play
with and share with oth­ers is what you will be want­ing to hear.

6.  Would this be hard or easy for us to do this at our home?

7.  Could you begin to dis­trib­ute and share toys with each other?

8.  Is giv­ing away a toy the same as shar­ing?  Can you do that with love and
brav­ery with chil­dren out­side our home?

8.  Could you do this as with friends with a toy shar­ing sta­tion?  Can you
cre­ate a toy library and ded­i­cate it to St. Valentine?

9.  Where can a toy library ded­i­cated to him be placed?  How can you
start the project?

10.  The les­son learned for our chil­dren on this St.Valentine’s Day is
that we should hold devo­tion in our hearts rather than in our
pos­ses­sions, and then only then can we see how much we have when we
give it away to one another.

Happy Saint Valentine’s Day

 Words Of Love And Wisdom


St. Valentine Red Rose Difference

Sin­gle Rose Can Make A Difference



Are New Years Resolutions Healthy For Kids?

Lined Paper With Pen Writing Resolutions

Happy New Year And A Year Of New Hori­zons For All Of Us.

The begin­ning of a New Year in my house­hold has a cer­tain wave of activ­ity that was once known as “spring clean­ing.”  How­ever, it is not spring­time that is the new marker in the Larsen house­hold.  Start­ing out a brand new year serves as the bench­mark for goal set­ting and self-improvement.

Ven­tur­ing fresh as one begins a new year is a def­i­nite healthy way that par­ents can guide young­sters into mak­ing great changes in their life under the guise of “res­o­lu­tions.“
Although the word is an auto­matic for “the promises we broke yes­ter­day,” it could be a great spring­board for con­ver­sa­tion about mak­ing bet­ter life choices.

There are cer­tain things chil­dren can never learn in a class­room set­ting but only in the heart of the home. Some of those “home healthy life lessons are”

  • a healthy sense of self-respect
  • valu­ing their belongings
  • rever­ing other peo­ple, and their differences
  • devel­op­ing skills to make wise choices

Work­ing on one or two of these goals and reward­ing young­sters for the small­est of accom­plish­ments can encour­age a pos­i­tive attitude.

Where Can You Begin?

1. Make a list of goals that can be achiev­able in steps or incre­ments.
Baby steps even­tu­ally mature into great strides.

2. Play the goal game.  Have your child pull the goal out of a hat and
work on it for a period to time.  Doing well on one goal gives such a
sense of accom­plish­ment.  Pull another tar­get out as the first goal
is being accomplished.

3. Reward goals and accom­plish­ments. Rewards can be pow­er­ful moti­va­tors.
Be care­ful though how incen­tives are used. Remem­ber you are gift­ing the behavior-not
tar­get­ing in on “the prize.”

Tips and Tricks To Keep Your Child on Track:

  • The best rewards do not come out of a box. Your love, praise, and admi­ra­tion are the most valu­able incen­tives a child should learn to cherish.
  • Isn’t that what char­ac­ter devel­op­ment is all about? Make it a habit to give com­pli­ments, approval, and that huge hug each time your child even attempts to make a stride in reach­ing his or her goal.
  • For pre-school, it’s always fun to cre­ate a spe­cial poem, move­ment, or say­ing that empha­sizes their achieve­ment. Remem­ber though, you are con­cen­trat­ing on the behav­ior and not the reward. You don’t have to go “over­board.” This may stress your lit­tle one to try to be per­fect each and every time.
  • Good things come in small pack­ages. There are dozens of “dol­lar stores.” that carry inex­pen­sive lit­tle sur­prises for goals well met. It’s a good idea to shop as a fam­ily so those nice tiny lit­tle lagniappes are well known to the recip­i­ent. The “goodie bag” should be well in view as a gen­tle reminder that when you hit a goal – you get a prize.
  • Lit­tle gifts keep the eye on the behav­ior and not the reward. Remem­ber your expec­ta­tions are behav­ior that is accept­able. This is what a per­son of char­ac­ter and integrity should be doing in the first place.
  • I don’t encour­age food. Mixed mes­sages can come from reward­ing your child with sweets and treats.
  • Please don’t wait a week before you bestow your reward. The more space between the reward and the behav­ior, the more the dis­con­nect. The younger your lit­tle one is, the time to reward should be more imminent.

Have Fun Together

  • Have your young­ster cre­ate his or her own reward chart.
  • If your young­ster is older than pre-k, it is a fun activ­ity to gather up stars, stick­ers, or mark­ers to receive an acco­lade. Both of you should agree upon a cer­tain set of accom­plish­ments to receive a sticker (or golden mark) on the chart. Once those are suc­cess­fully accom­plished, play a game together, go to the movies, and the best reward of all – take a trip to the book­store or down­load a great eBook.

The fol­low­ing are rec­om­men­da­tions  are from the Amer­i­can Acad­emy of Pedi­atrics (AAP). They can serve as some guide­lines to get your on track.


• I will clean up my toys and put them where they belong.

• I will brush my teeth twice a day, and wash my hands after going to the bath­room and before eating.

• I won’t tease dogs or other pets – even friendly ones. I will avoid being bit­ten by keep­ing my fin­gers and face away from their mouths.

Kids: 5– to 12-years-old

• I will drink reduced-fat milk and water every day, and drink soda and fruit drinks only on spe­cial occasions.

• I will apply sun­screen before I go out­doors on bright sunny days. I will try to stay in the shade when­ever pos­si­ble and wear a hat and sun­glasses, espe­cially when I’m play­ing sports.

• I will try to find a sport (like bas­ket­ball or soc­cer) or an activ­ity (like play­ing tag, jump­ing rope, danc­ing or rid­ing my bike) that I like and do it at least three times a week!

• I will always wear a hel­met when bicycling.

• I will wear my seat belt every time I get in a car. I’ll sit in the back seat and use a booster seat until I am tall enough to use a lap/shoulder seat belt.

• I’ll be nice to other kids. I’ll be friendly to kids who need friends – like some­one who is shy, or is new to my school.

• I’ll never give out per­sonal infor­ma­tion such as my name, home address, school name or tele­phone num­ber on the Inter­net. Also, I’ll never send a pic­ture of myself to some­one I chat with on the com­puter with­out my parent’s permission.

Kids: 13-years-old and up

• I will try to eat two serv­ings of fruit and two serv­ings of veg­eta­bles every day, and I will drink sodas only on spe­cial occasions.

• I will take care of my body through phys­i­cal activ­ity and nutrition.

• I will choose non-violent tele­vi­sion shows and video games, and I will spend only one to two hours each day – at the most – on these activities.

• I will help out in my com­mu­nity – through vol­un­teer­ing, work­ing with com­mu­nity groups or by join­ing a group that helps peo­ple in need.

• When I feel angry or stressed out, I will take a break and find con­struc­tive ways to deal with the stress, such as exer­cis­ing, read­ing, writ­ing in a jour­nal or dis­cussing my prob­lem with a par­ent or friend.

• When faced with a dif­fi­cult deci­sion, I will talk about my choices with an adult whom I can trust.

• When I notice my friends are strug­gling or engag­ing in risky behav­iors, I will talk with a trusted adult and attempt to find a way that I can help them.

• I will be care­ful about whom I choose to date, and always treat the other per­son with respect and with­out coer­cion or vio­lence. I will expect the same good behav­ior in return.

• I will resist peer pres­sure to try tobacco, drugs or alcohol.

• I agree not to use a cell­phone or text mes­sage while dri­ving and to always use a seat belt.

Hope these hints and sug­ges­tions will help you as you con­sider your own per­sonal res­o­lu­tions this year as well,

Let me know what your thoughts are.  I would love to hear from you.

Words Of Love And Wisdom