Monday, 9 January 2012

Five Simple Birthday Party Ideas

by Megan @ The Byron Life

We have just celebrated my middle daughter’s fifth birthday, which was a success of home-made crafty goodness, so I thought today I might share some simple children’s party ideas I’ve used over the years. Each is based on my preference for keeping it simple, handmade and frugal. Many of them are girly – as I have three girls – but could be adapted to suit boys, too.  I’d love to hear readers’ ideas for simple parties – my youngest are aged 2 and 5, so I’ve still quite a few parties to deliver over the next decade or so.

1.       1DIY Invites:

Making your own invitations by hand can be a fun exercise in craft and learning to write for children. Or, you can also easily create your own digitally and print them out at home, which is what we did for  Melli’s third birthday, using a favourite photo of her dressed up in her ballet costume.  Making your own invites personalises them and is only limited by your imagination.

2.       2. Get Crafty:

Having a craft activity at a party can keep little ones happily occupied for quite a while (depending on their age) and needn’t be elaborate or expensive. For Melli’s fifth party yesterday we had the girls decorate a simple line drawing to create their very own party girl picture. Materials: paper, pens, glue, fabric scraps and some glitter. Simple and fun and the little girls loved it.

3.       3. Home-made Decorations:

Why not be frugal and creative and make your own decorations using recycled materials? This bunting was created from a collection of thrifted vintage children’s handkerchiefs and sewn onto some bias-binding. It suited our crafty party theme and will be re-used in the girl’s room and their sand pit play area.

I also made up these simple “loot” bags for the kids a couple of years back using plain paper bags and a page from a thrifted children’s book as decoration.  Inside I place a few sweet treats and some art-making materials. These were a huge hit.

4.       4. Party in Nature:

My three girls are spring and summer babies, so the weather is usually perfect for beach and park parties. I much prefer these free outdoor spaces over expensive theme parks. The kids have fun just being in nature, making up their own games, running, swimming, climbing trees, playing on park equipment...  The backyard at home can be just as good. At our parties the structured activities have been limited, and I’ve let nature (and the child’s imagination) provide the fun.  Running around a local park is also a great way to burn off party-food energy!

5.       5. Inspire Their Imaginations: 

Creating a "special" atmosphere for a party can be as simple as having a dress-up theme or providing some imaginative play incentives such as face painting.  I don’t know many kids who don’t like to dress up or have their face painted, do you? The addition of a costume, or an element of a costume such as face paint, wings or mask, will trigger all kinds of imaginative games.


A few days ago I overheard my soon-to-be five year old daughter explaining to her two-year-old sister exactly what a birthday party was.  In her opinion a party was where you got together with your special friends and had special food and got to play whatever games you liked... I don’t know if my two-year-old fully grasped what her big sister was saying, or just picked up on the excited energy, but she squealed in delight anyway.  

Friends, food, play. 

That’s what a party is really all about – whether you are a five or 50.



Joyful said...

Looks like you've got a lot of great party ideas!

Jen R said...

Perfect...simple and frugal is great...there is way too much of the extravagent party pressure out there already...get the kids to appreciate the simple now and set them up for life

Hazel said...

Sounds like a great party!

My children are a bit older than yours and over the years I've tried to balance the frugal/simple/green/no bags of plastic tat with not making them too different to everybody else.

I hate the party bags full of junk that will get lost or broken after a couple of hours and have done similar bags to yours.
One year I was organised and knitted all of DD2's friend wrist warmers in cream acrylic from my inherited stash with a bit of fun wool at the wrist edge (basically a rectangle you sew up leaving a gap for the thumb, so v quick to knit) and they were a big hit.

DD1 had a cooking party when she was about 9 (they made cookies and decorated the cake I had covered in butter icing) and their take-home gift was a cookie in a jar mix I made. (Ordinary used large jars- no Mason or Kilner jars!) Every mother commented positively about them; it's my plan for DD2's next party!

My children are all winter babies, with 2 very close to Christmas, so we often have an official 'Half-birthday' to spread things out and so they can have requested parties such as 'At the Strawberry Farm', which will be in June here.

Justin leon said...

Melody looking very beautiful.
Many congratulation to her and also to you.
Clowns in Broward

owlfan said...

I have boys, so the crafty ideas don't go over quite as well, but have similar feelings about parties. One idea which went over really well when my boys were elementary aged, was making marshmallow blow guns. We let each boy make one out of PVC pipe and decorate with colored electrical tape. Then they played games with them - try to shoot your marshmallows into different point boxes. Then the toy and a fresh Baggie of mini marshmallows was their goodie bag. We found instructions to make them online, then simplified a bit. We did build and paint footstools one year. Perhaps the biggest hit was when my oldest's birthday was right before Easter one year - I hard boiled a dozen eggs for each kid and they dyed eggs and then hunted for plastic eggs in the yard. I hid them once, then they rebid multiple times. I could not believe that out of 6 guests, only one had ever dyed eggs before!

Stitchin' time said...

What a great party!Simple dress ups is always fun. I've had crafty afternoons with my older 2 children (now adults) and their little friends and we made paper windmills then they ran around the yard to make them turn as it was a still day. Made for great afternoons in school holidays.

Andrea said...

My daughter turned 11 last month. She had 4 girls over and we had a cooking party. With my guidance they cooked maccaroni and cheese (the homemade kind), broccoli, carrot sticks, and chocolate chip cookies from scratch. Fun for them, easy for me. While some shredded and stirred others did some holiday themed crafts. Everyone had a good time. It's probably best to do this with only a few children.

Anonymous said...

Used large cardboard boxes are a great hit for boys. Pick them up at white good stores and put them in the yard. Give them paint and material to decorate boxes or just let them organise and build what they want.