Like Valentine’s Day, today I am going to take another short break from weddings to talk about kid’s parties – a topic which may interest you a couple years after getting married.
Growing up, my birthday parties were never extravagant; however, each party was usually held somewhere outside of my house. Choosing where I wanted to hold my party each year was the best part, that and picking out my invitations.
However, the years of the simple kid’s party – held at home or at an outside location – seem to have partially gone by the wayside. Now it seems that extravagant parties are all the rage. On a recent Good Morning America segment, Gracie and her mom were highlighted because Gracie’s mom spent $32,000 on her daughter’s birthday party. According to The Knot, the average wedding in the U.S is $27,800. If Gracie’s parents spent that much for her to turn seven, how much will they spend on her wedding?
Instead of being extravagant, why not simplify the party? My parties were never extravagant, but I loved them. More importantly, I remember them. Below are some of my favorite kid’s party ideas.
- Hollywood Walk of Fame: Have your child choose his or her favorite movie or play, or allow your child to make up a story. With that idea in mind, ask guests to bring some of their favorite dress up clothes. At the party, allow each child to choose a role in the movie or play and reenact it. You can tape their show on a video camera, download it onto your computer, and burn CDs of the performance to give out as favors. Not only will kids enjoy watching the video now, they will love watching it again years down the road.
- Chef For A Day: First, allow guests to decorate their own apron to wear while cooking. Then create your own pizza from scratch (most grocery stores carry premade dough, cheese, and sauce separately and provide directions). While you are cooking up their creations, allow guests to mix and decorate their own cupcakes or cookies for dessert. Kids love to help in the kitchen, and most kids love to be creative with food too.
- Pottery Party: Paint-your-own pottery is a great way to spend a birthday party. Most towns have at least one privately owned pottery place, and stores such as Color Me Mine have locations throughout the country. Guests are usually able to choose a piece to paint from among a selection of birthday party pieces. Then they can pick their paint colors and have fun being creative. Most places also allow you to have cake while you are there too.
- Pool Party: A summer staple and one of the easiest parties to throw! Play pool games and make tie-dye t-shirts. Then have a barbecue for lunch or dinner followed by cake. If you have access to a projector and a clear, blank side on your house, it’s also fun to show a movie once the sun goes down.
- Spa Day: Go to a salon and allow guests to have their hair done – french braids or cool twists are easy and inexpensive. Then allow guests to have manicures done too. Although going to a salon can be easier, you can also throw these parties at home with the help of willing family, friends, and babysitters. (I had several of these parties when I was younger, and my friends still talk about them years later!)
A couple other popular ideas are bowling, ice or roller-skating, or a sleepover (or under – it has all the elements of a sleepover, but most end by 10 p.m.). For more ideas, check out Disney’s Family Fun magazine’s website.
Whether you decide to plan your child’s birthday party around one of these ideas or another one, my best advice is to keep it simple. Why spend $32,000 on a birthday party? My parties were simple and relatively inexpensive. Most importantly, I had a blast with my friends, and I remember so many of my special days. Plan, relax, and have fun!