Ideas for a Simple Birthday Party

How to plan a simple party and be successful!

girlsonswing

Recently, I read about parents who spend thousands of dollars on their children’s birthday parties. Llamas, helicopter rides, visits from sports celebrities, or other extreme celebrations are things that neither I nor my bank account can provide.

A birthday is a celebration of a child’s life, but it is not license to do it up as big as possible, no matter the cost to pocketbook, calendar, and family sanity.

It's easy to simplify kids party celebrations and bring joy back to parents, kids, and guests. Here are some tips on how to do that!



Choose a theme but don’t go overboard. If your kid is crazy about Dora, Bob or the Movie Character of the Week, feel free to buy a few napkins or a cute disposable tablecloth. But, you don’t have to purchase everything that Hallmark makes. Supplement with solid color plates and cups which are infinitely less expensive and a little more restful to the senses. A few streamers and balloons will make things festive. Let’s face it; the kids probably won’t notice anyway.

You don’t have to feed the masses. In the old days a birthday party included cake, punch and ice cream. Set a trend by serving classic refreshments. Choose a time when a meal won’t be expected, like midmorning or after lunch. Note in the invitations that “cake and ice cream will be served,” so that no child comes expecting a full meal.

Serve a cute cake. A decorated sheet cake from the grocery store bakery is pretty inexpensive these days. Peruse their catalog; they often feature character cakes that any kid will love.  It’s also super easy to make one of your own. A few bucks will buy you a mix and canned frosting. Choose a few small toys that match your theme to use as cake toppers. Wash and dry them well. I love to raid my kids’ stash of Playmobil. Once the cake is baked and cooled, craft a scene for the toys with frosting and assorted candies. Candy rocks and pull-apart licorice are great accents! Use your imagination and be sure to let the birthday kid help. Set the toys in place and you’ll have a cute and simple cake ready to go.

Watch the clock. Two to three hours is a great amount of time for a party. Having guests depart while they’re still enjoying themselves is a much better alternative to meltdown endings.
Let the kids play. Some of our best parties have been when the kids just had plenty of room to run around outside. If your yard can’t swing it, consider a party at the park. Talk to your child beforehand about what things he thinks his guests would enjoy and have some organized games as backup. Feel free to let kids be kids. Provide supervision. Let them enjoy one another’s company.

Your child and his friends will enjoy some simple fun and the day will be filled with laughter, love and lots of good company. Let the festivities begin!

The San Diego Party Guide

The San Diego Party Guide

When it's time to plan a fun celebration — a child's birthday party, special promotion, end-of-school party, family fun night, school fundraiser (and more) — it's time to consult&nb . . .

Read more

Awesome Party Ideas for Kids

Awesome Party Ideas for Kids

Your child’s next birthday is fast approaching and you’re wondering where to hold the party. Perhaps the thought of having it at home makes you break out in a cold sweat. Maybe it is simply not . . .

Read more

How to Host a Dinosaur Party

How to Host a Dinosaur Party

Have a child who is fascinated with dinosaurs? Here are tips to host a dinosaur-themed party that will be remembered for the next million years. Find fun ideas for activities, games and dinosaur-the . . .

Read more

How to Make a Graduation or Birthday Money Cake

How to Make a Graduation or Birthday Money Cake

Money is a timeless and versatile gift, but let’s face it — presentation is everything! If you’re planning to give a monetary gift for a birthday or graduation, consider elevating it by making . . .

Read more

Slumber Party Dos and Don'ts

Slumber Party Dos and Don'ts

Does the thought of 10 kids sleeping over at your house all on the same night freak you out? Do you picture getting zero sleep because you have to deal with said kids all night long? Do you picture . . .

Read more

How to Plan a Birthday Party While Going Green!

How to Plan a Birthday Party While Going Green!

Birthday Party Ideas.  How to Plan a Birthday Party While Going Green! After attending a recent birthday party for my 6-year-old son’s friend, I came home wondering what kids learn about gar . . .

Read more

How to Throw a Great Birthday Party on a Budget

How to Throw a Great Birthday Party on a Budget

How to Throw a Great Birthday Party on a Budget You can’t get around birthdays—they come each year for all of us! And most children want to celebrate with a party every year. Parents want to cr . . .

Read more

Throw an Arts & Crafts Birthday Party for Your Budding Artist

Throw an Arts & Crafts Birthday Party for Your Budding Artist

Do you have a budding artist in your life? Here’s a great idea for a kids’ arts & crafts birthday party. This theme will get your child’s creative juices flowing, and their friends will al . . .

Read more

Party Planner 2019

Party Planner 2019

Hosting a birthday party or festive celebration in San Diego? Our annual Party Planner has everything you need to plan your next event from large venues to mobile entertainment that comes to you! &n . . .

Read more

Score! Throw a Fun Soccer-Themed Party

Score! Throw a Fun Soccer-Themed Party

Photo credit: Jill Nystul Celebrate this year’s FIFA World Cup with family, friends and neighbors. The World Cup, held every four years, is the holy grail of soccer. This year the games are in Russ . . .

Read more

Host a Lorax-Themed Party!

Host a Lorax-Themed Party!

Host a Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax-themed party for a child's birthday or to honor the Lorax's timeless enthusiasm for the earth (or, in this case, truffula trees and brown barbaloots). Inspired . . .

Read more

Unique Party Favors

Unique Party Favors

Creating a thank-you gift (party favor) with your kids teaches them appreciation and gratitude for guests that attend their party. Tired of the same old trinkets stuffed in a goodie bag? Get inspira . . .

Read more

How to Host an Allergy-Safe Party

How to Host an Allergy-Safe Party

Birthday party time! You’ve planned the games, chosen a cake and shopped for party favors. Then it comes—an RSVP from a classmate with an allergy. According to FARE (Food Allergy Research & . . .

Read more

Party in a Lunch Bag

Party in a Lunch Bag

Here’s a quick and easy way to make your child’s birthday special: Send her to school (or camp) with a festive birthday lunch to help her celebrate! There’s no reason to spend a lot of money o . . .

Read more

How to Host a Baseball Themed Party

How to Host a Baseball Themed Party

Host a baseball-themed birthday party for your little slugger—or celebrate opening day of baseball season or the start of summer with friends and neighbors. Here are six baseball-inspired ideas fr . . .

Read more

8 Tips for Saving on Birthday Gifts

8 Tips for Saving on Birthday Gifts

I don’t know about you, but it seems like I’m always toting my kids to a birthday party. Buying all those gifts can be a real budget buster, and nobody wants to go into credit card debt trying t . . .

Read more

How to Teach Your Kids to Write Thank You Notes

How to Teach Your Kids to Write Thank You Notes

How to Teach Your Kids to Write Thank You Notes In this day of instant messaging, texting and emails, the effort of sending a handwritten thank you note to someone communicates an important message . . .

Read more

How to Host an Olympics-Themed Party

How to Host an Olympics-Themed Party

Don't miss the Olympic Games—the premier multi-sporting event in the world! The 2018 Winter Olympics start February 9 in PyeongChang with athletes competing from more than 90 countries. Get into t . . .

Read more

What to Do when Birthdays Are on Holidays

What to Do when Birthdays Are on Holidays

Tips to create a special celebration for a child whose birthday is on a holiday. For kids who have birthdays on Halloween, Easter, Christmas or Thanksgiving, there is often nothing more import . . .

Read more

Plan a Butterfly Birthday Party

Plan a Butterfly Birthday Party

Plan a Flutterby Butterfly Party

 Here is a fun party craft that the kids can make. The materials need to make these Coffee Filter Butterflies 

are: Wooden Clothes Pins Round Coffee F . . .

Read more

San Diego Family Magazine Logo

Be Family Informed – Sign up for our Newsletters below!