Kid’s birthday parties are fun for those of all ages. Kids over three get very excited over their birthdays, and always want to invite their friends and classmates to come and celebrate with them. While these moments are ones that parents everywhere cherish, a lot can go into organizing a party like this, so it’s best to be prepared. If your kid has a birthday coming up, here are a few tips to help you show them a great time.
Where’s the Party?
First, you’re going to need to figure out where you’re having a party. Is it going to be at your house? Or is there somewhere like an activity center or theme park that your kid wants to go to? Most parents don’t want to know, but kids (and some parents do compare party venues. That doesn’t mean you have to play this social game, but you should be aware that depending on the age of your child, he or she might be very aware of who had the coolest party this year.
Commonly, kids like to have parties at the same or at similar venues to their friends, so perhaps ask some of the other parents you know for recommendations and book the party there as soon as possible.
And remember, small kids don’t need big parties or splashy decorations. It’s fine if that kind of thing makes you happy, but don’t put pressure on yourself if you’re not into it.
Your kid’s birthday party doesn’t have to be expensive
Of course, you can go for a high-price venue or if the sky’s the limit, order up a pro magician or even the latest boy band. But if you don’t have tons of cash, there are still ways to make birthdays fun and memorable. You just might need to be a little more creative. Our best recommendation is to think of magical times you had when you were little and which ones of these are things kids just don’t do anymore. Two ideas we did with our kids:
- Kite-flying – A day at a park flying kites can be very low cost. Kids love to fly kites and it’s relatively easy to do. And kites are relatively inexpensive. A quick search on Amazon yields party packs of kites at around $2.
- Nerf gun battle – We rented a local community center big room for two hours and bought an extra 200 Nerf darts. We invited kids to bring their own Nerf guns and brought along some extras just in case. Then we set up the kids with some big cardboard boxes. After two hours of sweaty heart-stopping gun battles, we fed them cake from the local supermarket in the driveway. Our son’s friends said it was the best party ever (at least that year).
Once you know when and where the party is taking place you can send out invitations. Our advice:
- Plan early. You’ll be surprised by how long it will take for yoru child to choose u9p friends when attendance may be limited by venue or budget.
- Make sure you give the other parents plenty of notice to avoid your kid being disappointed at the turnout.
- You can buy invitations for your kid’s birthday party, but our recommendation is to use social media or Evite. Not only does it save on paper, but you just don’t want the added hassle of pestering parents who’ve lost their invite in a stack of bills. Evite makes it easy to keep track of respondents and automatically remind them of the event.
- Choose the time of your party and don’t forget about lunch. If you plan a party from 11-1, kids and parents are going to expect lunch. It’s also considered very insensitive to feed kids cake at 5PM right before they are supposed to go home and eat dinner.
- Be clear what you want in the invitation. If it’s “no gifts,” make that clear. A key thing to remember is to spell out whether it’s a drop-off event or whether parents need to stay to supervise. Of course, a lot of parents are excited to get a few hours to grab a coffee with friends during a party, but in some cases, like the kiting party mentioned above, you may need parents to supervise their child to avoid any dangers.
If you’re having your party at home you will need to come up with some entertainment for the kids to enjoy. In the summertime perhaps they could have a water fight in the backyard, or play a game of soccer? You could set up a treasure hunt that is suitable for both inside and outside, or hang up a pinata. There are plenty of fun and exciting things to do at home that will keep them entertained for hours.
Remember that in our overly-scheduled and planned world, kids don’t often get a chance to just be kids. Just having free time to run around with their friends can sometimes be the most fun way for them to spend an afternoon, especially if there is cake!
The most important thing is the birthday cake. Whether you made it yourself or bought it from the store, make sure it’s the centerpiece of the buffet. Again, know your audience.. There’s no reason to get a $100 cake for 7-year olds. They are far more excited by a store-bought cupcake that is half frosting.
While kids will want the usual tasty party foods like pizza slices, mini-burgers, cookies, and chips put out plenty of healthy snacks available to balance it out.
Don’t forget other parents
If you weren’t clear in the invitation or your venue is inconvenient, some parents may decide to just hang out awkwardly if invited or not. At the same time, if you invited parents to hang out, watch and socialize, don’t forget to lay out some grown-up food for them to enjoy. You could even hire a private event bartender to serve adult beverages, as well as non-alcoholic drinks for the kids.
No party is complete without some fun decorations to brighten up the room. Balloons are a staple for kid’s parties, as are paper streamers. If your kid has requested a theme for their parties, such as pirates, or their favorite movie, find some decorations to reflect that to help create the atmosphere. If you’re on a budget, search online retailers to find great deals that won’t hurt your wallet.
Make sure your kid has the best birthday this year and use these handy tips to help you plan their party.