I am a super big fan of celebrating birthdays. Since Pinterest has millions of ideas, I won’t get into too many details here. In general, I'm thinking more about the logistics of hosting a birthday party. More specifically, a kid birthday party. One of the best things to keep in mind for any party really, is to keep it simple. Usually the kids don’t appreciate all of the little details you think are important. Here are some places you should consider putting your energy, to make sure you get the most bang for your buck, energy and time (so you can enjoy the party too).
1 >> Activity is key. Depending on how old your child is, figuring out the main activity will be key. For years, I tried having the party at our house. But as my daughter got older, I realized that having a party at a facility outside of our home, is not only more fun for the kids, but is much easier on me. Granted, this will cost more money. But depending on your stress level and how much time you have, it may actually be worth it. We’ve had a party at the local movie theater and at an indoor trampoline park. Both had such great accommodations. The parents picked up and dropped off their own kids at the site. I didn’t have to clean my house before or after the party. Because it is a reserved time slot, they move things along quickly and you can count on being out of there at a certain time. Consider your local bowling alley, craft store, swimming park, gym (especially if there is a pool) or rec center, as possible other options.
2 >> Keep a time limit. Regardless of where the party is, keep it to no more than three hours. Think about how many guests you invite. The more people, the more moving parts to manage. It might even be worth it to break the party up into two parties. Maybe you have a friend party one Friday night and then a casual family party the following Sunday. One friend had a policy: you can invite as many friends as your age. If you are six, you can invite six friends. I thought that was kind of interesting, but I wouldn’t want to host a party of 13 for my 13-year-old teenager!
3 >> Simplify the decorations. If you do want to have the party at home, a few decorations (perhaps centered around a theme), will go a long way. I would suggest balloons and some cool plates and cups. I usually use a birthday themed flag banner that I reuse every year. She looks forward to me bringing it out and it is generic enough to work with any theme. I save money in not having to go out and buy new every year. Another hit is helium balloons from the dollar store. Balloons that float, seem to have more appeal. I like to give the guests one each on their way out the door. Fun party memory for them, and I don’t have to figure out what to do with all of the balloons at the end of the party.
4 >> Food. The cake and ice cream are also a key factor. Even if you don’t have other food, usually cake and ice cream will be served. Find out about any food allergies of your invited guests. I like making cupcakes. This is a little less messy and you can make them in advance. Also, easier to transport if you are bringing them to a place outside of your home. Since I am gluten free, I always have to come up with an alternative for my birthday cake. My favorites are a Dairy Queen ice cream cake or chocolate coconut macaroons. (Store bought, of course).
5 >> Party favor / treat bag. It is not necessary, but always fun to give a thank you party favor to the guests and birthday star. I try to promote fun little things that are not all candy. Check Michaels, Target, Dollar Store or Party City for inexpensive, fun ideas. For our last party, we decorated water bottles as the craft. I had the girls put their names on them and they used them during the party for their drink. I added fresh fruit to their water. You can also add herbs like mint for something a little extra.
Good luck and have fun with it.