>> Apr 19, 2013
If I can have a successful birthday party anyone can. I am not a well organized creative genius and I have pulled off some really neat birthday parties for my kids that made them extremely happy. When you are able to pull off a party with success, sending home your child’s friends with a smile on their faces, then your child is going to have a special memory for life. I have going for me what I am sure you have going for you, especially if you are reading this. I want to make my children happy because I love them so much. If this is your one and only motivation then you are going to be successful.
When my children started going to birthday parties I would glean whatever I could from those parties. I would take all the good ideas and write them down. I would also talk to my friends and co-workers about parties they had given. This was many years ago when my children were very small. I was not what you would call internet friendly at the time but I can just imagine all the wonderful ideas I could have gotten that way as well.
The real thing that helped get me started was a creative birthday cake cookbook that I found through a school fundraiser. It was just a paperback book with about twenty or so cake ideas that you could create at home using ingredients and ideas that were easy for people like me. We started a tradition from the time my oldest was a wee tot. I let them pick the cake they wanted out of this little precious book and I would create it. I would include them in the making and we would have such adventures! They were well aware that momma was no great cake decorator but we would have such fun creating these adorable cakes together!
Sometimes I was confronted with a challenge that almost stumped me… but even then we would proudly display the cake at the party. Many times we had to throw together a regular cake at the last minute because we were afraid to cut the decorative cake. I recall one time making a race car cake which was held together with toothpicks. The tires were cut out with a biscuit cutter and glued on with icing. They required that you roll the iced wheels in sprinkles and then ice them to the body of the car. Oh my goodness. At first I got a little overwhelmed but then the kids and I got silly and laughed at this cake for some time. Still, good memories.
The kids each had a favorite cake that was made multiple times over the years and every year we made a log in the front of the cake book what birthday it was, for whom, and what kind of cake. We still have it even though my kids are grown. Even then I made the monster cake for my son on his eighteenth birthday. He still loved it. That love comes from a lot of fun and memories and a family tradition that will most likely be passed on to future generations. These are things that are easy to do and make a huge impact on your babies.
I found out early on that you need to keep the party going, kids do not need a lot of down time especially when they are young. Games are important but do not need to be complex. I have one girl and one boy and depending on whether we had an all girl party or an all boy party or a mixed group the games fluctuated. Both the boys and the girls loved to have scavenger hunts when they were of reading age. We would start them out with a clue and they would all have to decipher where the next clue was hidden. They got so excited every time they found a new clue. We had them hidden all over the front and the back yard and let them know the boundaries ahead of time. We had an adult with them at all times to help them out if they needed it. We set the scavenger hunts up before the party and at the end they would find their bag of party favors. This was always a hit.
Piñatas were always a hit too but you do have to be careful with the blind folding and the hitting. Even the adult who is supervising needs to be on guard for the sporadic wild swing! But then you need some adults to help the timid children get enough candy because there are always going to be aggressive children and timid children in the group.
My son loved any game that utilized water balloons. We would play water balloon baseball with a plastic bat and an adult pitching the water balloon, especially on hot sunny days since the batter whose aim was good would most likely get wet. We also tossed the water balloons back and forth between partners and kept making the distance farther apart until the last ones with a water balloon still intact were the winners. Sometimes if you have a group of all boys this can turn into a water balloon fight and then we change games. All kids love relay races and that is a great way to keep them active and busy during a party. We always offered a prize for the winner in our games but of course at the end of the party everyone got a nice bag of favors.
When my daughter had an all girl’s party we would do arts and crafts projects. We would set up a table and have everything they could need to create anything they wanted. It is an inexpensive way to keep most girls happy. There are girls who do not like crafts but in all my years of having parties they are far and few apart. We would set up a table of all kinds of beads, fishing line, string, glitter, pipe cleaners, glue, craft sticks, paper, etc. and let them create to their hearts content. For the girls that were a little more on the tom boy side we had the Creepy Crawlers machines ready to make plastic bugs.
Another thing I loved doing at parties was when the birthday boy or girl would open their gifts we would have the child giving the gift sit with them as they opened the gifts and we would take a picture with the two of them and the gift that was given. This really helped when sending thank you cards and we would also include a picture in the thank you card as well. We found this was a great way to help us with the thank you cards, keep the memories of who attended your parties, and it was well received by the parents of the child who came to the party. They knew you were well aware of the gift, their child, and they had a picture of it to keep as well.
Birthday parties can be simple, they do not need to be ultra expensive or complicated. Children just love being around their friends, playing games and knowing that mom and dad love them enough to put it all together. They love being involved in the preparations such as the cake, the decorations, and the planning and it adds to the excitement. It does require that mom and dad actively participate and even grandparents. My mother loved to be involved in the birthday parties and in fact she was the main treasure hunt developer. She loved writing out the clues and would add scriptures to them to teach the kids about the Lord along the treasure hunting route. She loved children and has been a Sunday school teacher for about thirty years. This was a great opportunity for my mom to participate in the kids parties. They loved having their gram around as well.
Family is what is important and laughter and building memories. Your child may forget those expensive gifts over the years but they will not forget the effort you put into a “special” cake or a great party. It is not hard; it just takes love and a few good ideas.