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.