Birthday party ideas for older kids can be difficult to come up with, so when my younger son requested a casino night for his 11th birthday party, we were really excited! We love playing cards and thought a game night was a great idea, but at the same time had some reservations about introducing kids to the concept of gambling or glamorizing it. My husband, a psychologist and addiction specialist, decided he wanted to write up custom "cautionary tales" for each kid to put in their favor bag where the character had to overcome a difficult struggle with gambling after being lured by the rush of an early win. The kids played with chips but there was no prizes or money to be won. (Do we know how to party or what?)
For easy decorations, we purchased an oversized deck of cards and lined them up on the mantle, windowsills, wherever we could. If you’re like me, you have lots of decks of cards and not all of them complete. I used one of these to make a card garland by hot gluing them to some baker's twine. I was low on time but had wanted to get a bunch of red and black balloons. Balloons always serve as a lot of décor for a very little effort.
Lastly, I cut out an oversized paper heart, spade, club and diamond and hot glued them to string for another garland to hang between rooms.
Luckily for me, my sister-in-law had thrown a similar party for her son and loaned me felts for blackjack, craps, roulette and a roulette wheel. We had a few stations going at once and my husband taught the kids how to play poker. Each kid got a cup of chips to use and we set up 20 minute shifts at each table. We taped together the rest of the cards edge-to-edge to make a photo backdrop and hung it on the wall with some 3M command adhesive strips (which is removable and won’t damage walls)
Each kid got to take home a deck of cards, a lollipop, some black and red candy, and the custom-written cautionary tale that I mentioned above.
We've hosted a few non-birthday game nights for our kids as well. Some of the games our boys like are Magic: The Gathering, Settlers of Catan, Codenames, Wizard, and Apples to Apples.
Have you ever had a kid's game night? If so, what games were a hit?
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