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5 Fresh Ways to Throw Your Child's Next Birthday Bash

Does your party idea bank need to be replenished? Here are five unique children's birthday party ideas to get you in a festive mood!

By
Cheryl Butler,
Episode #547
birthday party

Planning a kid’s birthday party can be so much fun, but at the same time it can be a bit daunting. Especially if you’re running out of inspired ideas or trying not to kill your budget.

Does your party idea bank need to be replenished? Here are five creative twists that will add some fun and pizazz to your family birthday celebrations this year.

1. Bake it special

In our home, baking homemade goodies has always been the norm. There's nothing like spending an afternoon together in the kitchen. With a mixing bowl, yummy ingredients, and messy hands, we would concoct, decorate, and then devour our lovingly made treats.

Not every recipe we tried was a success, but we were able to spend so much fun time together trying to whip up a new masterpiece.

Several years ago, my youngest daughter was hooked on the Food Network show, Cake Wars. We would watch every new show and make notes about the many new delectable creations we wanted to recreate. Not every recipe we tried was a success, but we were able to spend so much fun time together trying to whip up a new masterpiece.

Because of that show, my daughter wanted to have a birthday party where she and her friends got to get super creative and decorate their own cakes. We called it Annie’s Birthday Bake-off. Five years later, it's still one of her favorite birthday party memories.

HERE'S HOW

Purchase chef’s hats to make it feel like the real thing. You can pre-decorate with each guest’s name in advance in fun, funky lettering.

Create a personalized workstation for each child with a foam placemat they can decorate. We found our placemats at Dollar Tree. I also found fun and whimsical stickers, paper cut-outs and die cuts, and even sparkling confetti that each child loved adding to their decorating hubs.

Depending on the age group of your party-goers, you can choose to take your bake-off in two different directions.

Older Kids (ages 8 – 15) 

Let them bake their own cakes and decorate. Use packaged cake mix to keep it simple. This approach works best if you have a small number of guests (4 – 5 kids) because you will need to have enough baking pans and supplies on hand. Keep in mind that when the cakes are cooling, you’ll need to have another activity to keep them entertained before the decorating fun can begin.

Younger kids (ages 4 – 7)

Use baked and pre-frosted cakes. You can either purchase them or bake them yourself.

Now the real fun begins. Each child gets to decorate their own party cake.

Duncan Heinz frosting creations are easy to work with. You can also use Ziploc baggies filled with different colored frostings. Cut a small hole in the corner of the bag so the kids can easily squeeze out the frosting.

Coffee filters or cupcake liners make wonderful containers to hold decorations like pastel confetti, colored jimmies, M & M’s and other candy decorations, dried fruit, gummy bears, and whatever else your baker’s heart fancies.

The party favor, you ask? Each guest leaves with their own uniquely decorated masterpiece to bring home to their own family to enjoy. Party on!

2. Pig out at the carnival

Calling all pizza lovers! This party is for you. And your guests, of course. Most of us love a good slice (or two or three) of a hot, cheesy pizza. Most of my eight kids are crazy for pizza. While I'm a veggie lover’s fan, the majority of my kids go for tried and true pepperoni and cheese.

When my kids were in elementary school, each year the PTO held a huge carnival called the “Pizza Pig Out.” Not only would kids devour a few slices of their favorite pizza, but they would also enjoy a family fun carnival. Although I no longer have a child in elementary school, they still revel in the memories of this amazing night. So much so that several years ago one of my sons insisted on having a Pizza Pig Out birthday bash to mirror this fantastically fun evening.

HERE'S HOW

Pick your favorite pizza place and order up enough of your kid’s favorites for the meal.

Or, if you want to let the kids have some hands-on time in the kitchen, you can let them make their own pizza. This can be as simple as having pre-made pizza crusts ready to go so all the party guests need to do is add cheese and toppings. But, if you feel adventurous, let them roll out their own dough and take it from there.

You can go all-out and create an elaborate backyard carnival. Or you can modify the plan to keep it a bit more simple.

Now, for the carnival fun. First, you can go all-out and create an elaborate backyard carnival. Or you can modify the plan to keep it a bit more simple. My son invited ten friends to his party, and we held the carnival in our garage, so it was manageable. 

I’ll fess up. Because I was very involved with my school’s PTO, I asked if I could borrow some of our school’s Pizza Pig Out paraphernalia. The answer was yes, so I scored many of the fun props for our party for free. But if you're not as lucky, you'll find dozens of carnival-themed products at Oriental Trader that won’t break the bank.

Also, I grabbed some great ideas from one of my favorite home and entertaining gurus. I used Martha Stewart's advice for How to Throw a Kids' Carnival Party.

This party went a little longer than most of our celebrations—four- hours, to be exact. But many of the guests' parents stayed to help, so the adults joined in, and it was twice the fun. 

3. Glow in the dark party

Get your glow on, and create a total wow factor for your kid’s party by staging a celebration that takes place from dusk until about 9 PM.

The standouts my teen kids have hosted are definitely those that take place after the sun sets.

As the mom of eight, I’ve experienced dozens of kid’s birthday bashes. But the standouts my teen kids have hosted are definitely those that take place after the sun sets.

Teens and evening shindigs are a great combo. My kids have hosted many nighttime gigs, including cozy fire-pit roasts, camping cookouts, and backyard sleepovers. The most fun my tween and teen kids ever had, however, was the neon glow party we had last year.

HERE'S HOW

A glow-in-the-dark ambiance is easier than ever to achieve. The local Dollar Tree is full of amazing props and accessories that you can add to your glow-in-the-dark mix. The internet is also a wonderful way to find cool deals, especially if you’re shopping in bulk. Enlist your teen to help create the perfect glowing atmosphere.

My daughter organized and coordinated her entire twelfth Glow for It party last year. She got some amazing and creative ideas from an online article she found, Ultimate Guide for How to Throw a Glow Party.

We had wearable glow t-shirts and baubles, neon drinks and eats, as well as cool “get your glow on” music, dancing, games, and prizes. The only rule that evening was that the lights were not allowed to come on. (Until it was time to clean up!)

The kids made videos of the party, shared it on Instagram, and each guest left with a personalized neon swag bag filled with glow-in-the-dark accessories.

4. Mystery birthday destination

Kids love a good surprise. When my kids were younger, their Dad and I set aside a couple of days each month to take them on mystery rides. Mystery rides might be as simple as a trip to a nearby park followed by a fun-family dinner outing. Or they could be something more elaborate, such as a winter weekend away at a hotel with a pool for some fun swim time on a cold January day. Whatever you opt for, you can make the experience really enticing by creating intriguing clues. Trying to unravel the mystery will leave your family super entertained and create lots of fun memories.

We had just as much fun planning as the kids did trying to guess where we were going.

Because our mystery rides were such a big hit, we turned them into a party destination for several of our kid’s birthdays. We had just as much fun planning as the kids did trying to guess where we were going.

HERE'S HOW

Brainstorm places your child would go crazy for. (Trampoline park, the zoo, paint-your-own pottery studio, a hayride and apple picking, a shopping outlet that has a cool accessory shop, a bakery that makes the world’s best cupcakes, or an aquarium, to name a few.) Now, select your super-fun destination and create an interesting list of clues that your child and her guests can try to solve as they chase down a fabulous party experience ... complete with cake and ice cream!

The big hit for our family was the year we took my daughter and her friends on the Polar Express train ride. Although her birthday is in late October, this event takes place in a nearby town starting in early November, so the timing worked out beautifully. It helped us kick off the holiday season on a magical note.

5. Birthday child takes charge

This last idea is my favorite! Planning birthday parties for eight kids for all these years has certainly been a lot of fun, but any parent knows that party planning is also a lot of work. There comes a point where your creativity gets a bit tapped out, the energy to organize a birthday bash wanes, and your bank account would like a respite from the expense.

Let her take the lead, and when she reviews her plans with you, you can interject your opinion only if something seems unreasonable.

A few years back, one of my daughters announced she didn’t want a formal party for her July birthday. Instead, she asked if she could take charge and organize her own celebration. Are you kidding, you bet!

HERE'S HOW

Let your child sit down and list exactly how she’d like to celebrate her party. Let her take the lead, and when she reviews her plans with you, you can interject your opinion only if something seems unreasonable.

My daughter’s favorite color is purple, so she wanted a party with all things purple. (She even made her own party decorations because she loves to paint and do crafts.) She’s a movie buff, so she decided on a movie that she and her friends could watch while eating her favorite party snacks. Talk about keeping it simple! Instead of having cake and ice cream at home, we went to our local ice cream shop and enjoyed sundaes.

She invited three friends, and they giggled and laughed for the entire three hours they were together. It was short and sweet, and certainly not over-the-top as far as a theme goes. But it was her favorite birthday party ever because she spent it with her besties doing things that made her happy. A win-win for all!

GET MORE MIGHTY MOMMY

What are your favorite birthday party ideas? Share your thoughts on the Mighty Mommy Facebook page or Twitter. You can also email me at [email protected]. Visit my family-friendly boards at Pinterest.com/MightyMommyK for more tips and hints. Listen and subscribe on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.

 

 

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