Planning a child’s birthday party doesn’t have to be stressful. It can actually be fun if you follow my “10 Steps to a successful Birthday Party” tips! These tips will help make it a memorable, stress-free(ish) party.
#1. Plan ahead! The expense is far less when you plan ahead and buy things a little at a time. My kids change their minds on what their favorite game or character is so often it’s hard to do things too far in advance, but I try to stick with things I know they’ll love no matter what.
#2. Make your own goody bags. It feels good to put your own special touch on stuff, and the main attraction, the goody bags, are no exception! This is the part of the party everyone gets to take home with them. You don’t have to be Martha Stewart and get that creative, I like to, but it isn’t necessary. Just try to remember that it’s a chance to practice and it doesn’t have to be perfect. Any failed attempts can be used as lunch bags! Magnets can be added to almost anything and are a fun addition to the party or the goody bags depending on your venue.We made our own Minecraft magnets to add to the fridge as well as a little baggie of home made magnets in each goody bag for kids to use on their own fridge.
#3. Think outside the box. You don’t have to have everything a traditional birthday party would have. You can add things that are tailored to your child. We had a Karaoke machine at my sons 2nd birthday party outdoors because he loved to sing a specific song. I figured while playing the children’s music, kids can feel free to grab the microphone whenever they wanted and go to town! It was a blast and took no effort on my part.
#4. You can do it! Why pay for a Character to come to your child’s birthday party when you can be the Character? Ebay has a ton of great looking costumes for a great price, We got a Mickey mouse costume and asked my brother to dress up in it toward the end of the party after cake so the children could take pictures. We let each child’s parent get a picture with Mickey Mouse alone, and then we did a group picture of all the children together. I did buy the backdrop from a store because it was bright and had “Happy Birthday” from all the Mickey Mouse clubhouse characters, but it’s not needed if you want to save money. The BEST part about this, is that after gently using the mascot costume, I resold it for just about the price I paid for it, so that was just about FREE!The kids enjoyed it as did the parents.
#5. Make a mix CD. As stated above, get creative with your goody bags! There are tons of free parody songs on you tube these says that kids can sing over and over again, As part of my sons “Minecraft” themed party, I found 15 Minecraft themed parodies he listens to and used this nifty MP3 converter site (http://www.youtube-mp3.org/) to DL the songs and burn them to a CD. I also went the extra step and made 3 versions. One of Minecraft Parodies, and 2 others mixed with other songs that smaller children would enjoy. I knew there would be siblings and didn’t want them getting 3 of the same CD’s. I made the covers of the CD’s to go along with theme. These were a big hit and all of the children still talk about these to this day!
#6. Don’t forget you can resell almost anything these days on Ebay or Facebook. For my sons Mickey Mouse party, I also made my own “Happy Birthday” banner and decor (along with the cake, but that got devoured!). I was able to post the banner and sign up on Ebay and it sold almost immediately, so that technically was also “free” and fun to make!
#7. Props. They always come in handy. If there is one thing people love to do with their children, it’s take pictures. Every opportunity, they will snap a shot. Give them some props that they can include in their photos and remember the party they enjoyed! For my sons Mario themed birthday party, we did Mustache props. Each child got a fun Mustache they can hold up and on the stick is printed “Jayden’s 7th Birthday”. These were part of the “Goody bags” items to take home. For my other sons 2nd birthday, I carved a #2 out of cardboard, and painted it like Mickey Mouse’s outfit and took pictures of him holding it so we can always cherish that time. It is much easier then it sounds. Again, practice – no one is critiquing the stuff you make!
#8. Always over-invite. If there is one thing I found to be true, it’s that only 75% of the invitees will actually show up. You want to be sure that if you’re having the party at a venue, and pre-paying for a certain amount of heads, that you get what you paid for. Most places will charge you the full price regardless. You want to have enough children there to make the party nice and loud! Loud noises – fun and tired kids! Just be sure to have enough supplies for everyone on stand by.
#9. Include the adults! Little kid birthday parties are always filled with much excitement, but usually just for the children. Include the adults with photo ops, and snacks to much on to make it fun for all.
#10. Do presents later on. I find it’s much better to do the presents later on in the comfort of your own home. This way, people aren’t comparing gifts, and smaller children aren’t crying to rip open presents. It also allows the birthday child to enjoy their new stuff without having to share. Yes, this is the one time they shouldn’t be told to share!
I find that birthday parties are more fun and less stressful when you do all the “prep” work and can finally see the finished products in action! These are all items I personally hand made. I did not have any special tools and I hand cut everything, so it is possible (and fun!). I hope you like these ideas and have as much fun as we did!