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April 7, 2014 at 4:23 PM

Child’s play: Decorate for your kid’s next birthday party in a snap with these themed ideas

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By Kristin Kalning / Special to Sunday Market

Dilemma: You want to throw your kid a cute birthday party, but you lack the time — or the inclination — to handcraft a birthday banner out of cardstock and glitter glue.

Fear not, busy moms and dads. We have tips for throwing a Pinterest-worthy party for your little one, with no crafting involved.

“Frozen”

Linda Potter, co-owner of Everything Party in Redmond and Renton, confirms what we already suspected: “Frozen” is a red-hot kids’ party theme.

To create an icy tableau on your table, choose a pastel-blue Tablecloth ($3), top with Robin’s Egg Blue Scalloped Plastic Dessert Plates ($10 for 20) and sprinkle liberally with Diamond Cut Accents ($7 per bag, all at Everything Party). For each place setting, leave a Princess Tiara ($5 for six) and Pink Princess Wand ($3 for 12, both at Party City).

Complete your winter wonderland with blue and purple Fluffy Hanging Decorations ($8 for three at Everything Party) and White Glitter Lanterns ($15 for three at orientaltrading.com).

Lego

There is no licensed Lego party pattern, so Potter suggests creative ways to represent the iconic building bricks. Go with primary colors, such as a Sunshine Yellow Plastic Table Cover ($2 at Party City), Red Cups ($2.09 for 20 at Everything Party) and red, blue and yellow Polka-Dotted 7-Inch Plates ($2 for eight at Everything Party).

For something handcrafted (that you don’t have to make), order a Funburst Party and Gift Creations Lego Movie Centerpiece Set ($20.50 at etsy.com/shop/funburstpartyandgift), which can be personalized with your child’s name.

Hello Kitty

She might be 40 years old, but this cute cat is still a huge hit with the youngsters. Your little one will love the Printnfun Hello Kitty Cherry Red Personalized Birthday Kit ($26 at etsy.com/shop/printnfun), a digital image with 17 different personalized cut-and-glue decorations, including a welcome sign, a party hat, popcorn boxes, water-bottle labels and cupcake wrappers.

For favors, send ’em off with Hello Kitty Pez ($1.49) and Hello Kitty Tattoos ($2, both at Everything Party).

Minecraft

This hugely popular video game is also a popular birthday party theme. But, like Lego, there’s no licensed product line. So improvise with camouflage colors, such as black and lime-green Paper Streamers ($1.89 for 81 feet at Fred Meyer), Brown Square Dessert Plates ($3 for 18 at orientaltrading.com) and a Grass Print Flannel-Backed Vinyl Table Cover ($8 at Party City).

Add some simple-to-assemble Minecraft Papercrafts Kits, such as the Overworld Animal Mobs Pack and Overworld Utility Pack ($11 each). Let guests choose a Minecraft Plush Toy ($13, both at Everything Party) as their parting gift.

Thomas the Tank Engine

Beloved for decades, this very useful engine is still all the rage with the little ones. You can score all kinds of cute choo-choo accessories at Oriental Trading, including the Railroad Track Table Runner ($3.50) and Railroad Sign Picks ($4 for 25, both at orientaltrading.com) to add to the tops of cupcakes.

Your pint-size guests can play dress-up with Child’s Train Engineer Caps ($21 for 12), Red Bandanas ($11 for 12) and Painted Train-Shaped Whistles ($10 for 12, all at orientaltrading.com), which can do double duty as party favors.

Favors

While we’re talking favors, let’s be honest: The usual fare of pencil sharpeners, yo-yos and ring pops end up in the garbage quicker than you can sing “Happy Birthday.”

Instead, send guests home with gifts that they’ll actually use, like sticker books. Two favorites: Marvel Heroes Unite ($13 at Target), which comes with 1,000 reusable stickers, and the Monsters University Ultimate Sticker Book ($6.29 at Amazon.com), with more than 60 stickers.

Another favor idea for school-age kids is Mad Libs ($4 each at Everything Party). The fill-in-the-blank word games come in fun themes, including Rock and Roll, Totally Pink, Dance Mania and Star Wars.

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