Children's birthday parties are becoming more and more elaborate. Celebrities take the cake (pun intended) when it comes to expensive over-the-top birthday parties.
Throwing a birthday party can be time consuming and expensive, but they don’t have to be. Birthday parties for kids should be fun, simple and stress-free. Remember, most kids just want to have fun, run around, and eat cake!
1. Keep the guest list small
One of the easiest ways to keep a party simple as well as save money is to keep the guest list small. I’m sure your child would love to invite the entire class or even grade, but you don’t have to oblige. Give your child the choice of inviting a few close friends. A short guest list will make the party more manageable for you, and you’ll be able to remain relaxed.
2. Send e-vites
Instead of printing or buying paper invitations, send a digital invite to your party guests. You’re your child’s birthday, not a wedding! Keep it simple by sending an e-vite. When you send out the cards, be sure to ask for RSVPs. If you find it favorable, and if all your invited guests are on a social networking site, create an event page and ask them all to respond there. Or else, they can simply reply to your email or call you up to say whether they are coming or not.
3. Choose a location that works for you
For some parents, choosing a venue that offers birthday parties outside of the home is a simple solution, even though they can be costly. Locations that host birthday parties take care of most of the planning for you. Many venues take care of the clean-up, provide pizza and drinks, and supervise the children in an activity. Think of glow-in-the-dark golf, laser tag, or a trampoline place.
But for other parents, having a party at home is easier and less stressful. It’s also a less expensive option. If it’s a summer birthday, take the party outdoors. Host a movie night with a rented movie projector, or set up a campfire with tents in the backyard. Or set up a messy art party; set up stations with paint and canvases or large poster-size cardboard paper and let the kids be creative. Or buy some washable paint and have the kids paint the fence! If the birthday child loves sports, take the children to a nearby soccer field and have a mini-soccer match.
4. Choose the right time
Depending on the age of your child, choose a time of the day when kids are happy and have energy, and limit the time of the birthday party to two hours. For younger kids, take nap-time into consideration. For school-age kids, perhaps the afternoon between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. might work best.
5. Minimal decorations
Party supplies can be super inexpensive if you stick to basics like balloons and streamers. But you don’t have to cover every surface in the house with streamers; decorate only the area by the kids’ table. Add a few balloons to the birthday child’s chair. Don’t bother buying expensive and fragile decorations that will easily break; buy banners that can be re-used. You can also check Pinterest for inspiration to create some fun DIY decorations using dollar-store items.
6. Keep the menu simple
Finger foods are the easiest to pull off and they’re usually kids’ favorites anyways. Think chips and dip, veggie tray, and fruit, or get creative by finding some ideas on Pinterest. Or, keep it even simpler and order a party-size pizza. Discreetly mention in the invite that you’ll be serving light snacks. As for cake, kids will enjoy a simple chocolate or vanilla cake from the grocery store. You can even bake a boxed cake at home… as long as there are sprinkles! Enlist the help of your birthday child or siblings to decorate it.
7. Skip the loot bags
Most loot bag goodies end up in the garbage. Either skip the loot bags altogether, or come up with a better alternative to dollar store items. You can have the kids create a craft during the party as a fun activity which the kids get to take home. Whether it’s painting a canvas or flower pot, beading necklaces, or making ninja swords from cardboard boxes, doing a craft that kids can take home is a two-in-one! Or give out edible and usable party favors like mini cookies, candy, or gift certificates.
Take the stress out of your child’s next birthday party by keeping it sweet and simple. Your kids won’t remember the little details; they’ll only remember the fun they had with their friends.