Photo Credit: Ardan Lumi
There was a time when parents (unless they were celebrities) gave their kids traditional birthday parties. The party usually had a cake that mom made, a few cheap games, (like Pin The Tail On The Donkey) The “Happy Birthday” song and a gift from each guest.
Somehow, people began to feel that this tradition was not enough glamour and fun for their kids and birthday parties evolved into a major event. When one parent in the neighborhood rents a bouncy house, rents a party room with pizza, games, rides, and entertainment, our child wants the same kind of party. We do not want to disappoint our child, but many we may think dropping hundreds of dollars on a child’s party is too extravagant. We may want our child to have their special day surrounded by people who love them.
Below, we will give you some suggestions to make your child’s party a success. We are not taking you back to the traditional party. Instead we want to show you how you can give your child a unique and fun day without dipping into their college fun. You will find suggestions for kids of all ages.
People spend huge amounts of money for professional entertainment, bounce houses, and rent out establishments with rides, food, and games that celebrity children could not compete with.
Photo credit: Josh Bean
Young children respond better to simple parties that keep the focus on them for a few hours. They are easily overwhelmed and can become cranky. Since the party is for them, you will want to limit the amount of time set aside for the party to 1-2 hours. Here are some suggestions for your toddler party.
Teddy Bear Parade
Include a note with your party invitations for each child to bring their favorite stuffed toy. Set up a “costume room” of dress up clothes, shoes, bags, and other items. You can get your accessories from home, friends. The Goodwill, garage sales, and the local dollar store. Here are some suggestions:
- Sparkly fabric or scarves
- Hats, caps, tierras, or wigs
- Various colors and sizes of ribbon and bows
- Beads and necklaces
- Make-up or washable face paints
- Flowers and floral leis
Check out the clearance section of your local hobby or fabric store.
Each child and their parent goes to the costume room to dress up and to dress up their Teddy Bear. When everyone is ready, form a line and begin the parade. To make your child feel special March the party around the block or through the park. The parade ends at the location decorated and selected for the guest of honor to sit and unwrap gifts.
School aged children
Your party guests will love a project that is fun and they can take home instead of cheap goody bags. DIY Calming Glitter Jars are fun and easy to make, and costs effective. You need a jar (plastic if the kids are very young) with a lid, glitter glue in various colors, (chunky glitter and fairy dust are also recommended) food coloring, water, and some kids that want to have fun. Click here for exact instructions.
No bake DIY playdough is another fun project and it does not make a huge mess in the kitchen. You will need flour, salt, water, food coloring, oil, and glitter. The simple instructions are found here.
Some great ideas for older kids and teens include:
- Scavenger hunt
- Making decorative picture frames (use thrift store frames and buy accessories in bulk)
- Dance contest
- Design the “weirdest tee shirts” contest
Decorations and treats
Often the cake and the set-up and supplies to serve the cake are expensive and time-consuming. Instead, set up a candy buffet table. Use a table and table covering, order beautiful candy from a bulk candy warehouse and decorate the backdrop area with lights, pictures, movie themes, or balloons. The table is colorful and decorates a large portion of the room. You will find this fun (kids love filling their own candy bags) and inexpensive and doesn’t leave you with half a cake that will have to be thrown away. Buy bulk sugar-free candy online at SweetServices.com.
Photo credit: Sweet Services
Use your imagination and encourage the kids to use theirs. This will be an unforgettable party!