- Published on Wednesday, 16 May 2012 09:15
Submitted by Stephanie St. Martin
I remember reading this article when it was published on the Care.com website: Creative Ideas for Kids’ Birthdays Parties. Super cute. But with all the hoopla, it seems birthday parties are becoming more and more demanding. Costs going up? Check. Kids wanting everything under the sun? Check. And if your child is attending all of these spectacular celebrations, how can the party you have for him measure up?
I asked my seasoned-parent friends for any tips they had on how to handle the crazy requests from the kids when it came to birthday parties.
Here are their tips on how you can still have a fantastic birthday without spending a fortune.
• Play Freeze Dance. My mother was a birthday party genius. Three girls, totaling more than 20 years of dancing costumes. What did she do with all those old dance costumes in the attic? They were recycled for dress-up during birthday parties. We’d break up into small groups and we’d have to come up with our own performances. My guests and I would easily toss the costumes over our clothes, pick out of favorite song, and perform our new routines on a stage area she set up. Countless pictures were snapped and videos were taken. (And yes, some of those have made their way into high school yearbooks). The challenge of doing this in 3 minutes always made the birthday party entertaining and filled with memories and bloopers!
• Have the cake be the main attraction. Jesse T.’s son, Lex, wanted a Cars theme. But trying to find all those matching decorations can cause extra stress. “Plus it costs extra to buy those Cars plates and cups.” Instead, Jesse bought red and black colored plates and streamers and had the theme reflect on the cake. “Lex was ecstatic that the cake had Cars on it—he could care less what color the plates were,” said Jesse.
• Hire an extra set of hands. When kids are older, a party with friends is a necessity. Ragini P.’s son, Devesh, wanted something special as he kicked off age 10. The result: Laser tag and a sleepover. “We set-up a huge tent which could accommodate 15 adults in living room,” said Ragini, who hosted 10 ‘tweens. And to help her wrangle the guests, she hired a nanny to help out. “I used a Care-on-Call service and hired someone from 8:00 p.m. until midnight,” said Ragini. “With boys, they can easily begin to “rough house,” so the nanny watched the kids and we [the adults] got a break. Having the extra set of hands was a huge help as the boys played games and watched movies.”
• Just go with your child’s theme. Michael D.’s daughter, Kathleen, had one of the most unique requests. “We had been spending a lot time at the beach,” he said. So even though princess decorations may be easier to find, her request was a “crab” party. His advice: Just go with it. Michael and his family were able to adapt common party themes to fit their “crab” needs. Ever heard of pin the claw on the crab? “It’s a lot of fun,” laughed Michael. Kids can crab walk around the house. And be sure to hand out pails and shovels with treats for goodie bags.
• Plan fun activities. If not hosting your event at a party-space, all you need is one main event. Karaoke. A bounce house. An outdoor obstacle course. Kids can create their own fun, but the one big activity will make it look like you planned all year.
So if you’re stressing about planning a memorable party this year, don’t worry about making everything perfect. Instead, focus on the fun – and the cake. And the rest will fall into place.
ABOUT the Author:
Stephanie St. Martin works at Care.com, an online community that helps you find local child care, special needs care, tutoring, senior care, pet care, housekeeping and other services. Search our listings of babysitters, nannies, pet sitters, tutors and other caregivers.