Written by: Kari  - From MomSquad

How to Plan a Great Birthday Party

There’s something magical about my kids' birthday parties that I just love. Despite the fact that I tend to obsess over the silliest details, or stay up way too late crafting, I still find so much joy in making their day special! With two fall/winter birthdays, my kids almost always have to have an indoor party at home. I’ve learned my fair share of lessons on what I can actually pull off. I’m no Martha Stewart, but I can throw a fun, semi-Pinterest-worthy party. 

Expert Tips from Kari

1. Have a Theme

For me, it’s way easier to plan once we have a theme. Theming doesn’t have to be a floor to ceiling, immersive experience. Your theme can be simple. Does your kiddo love purple? Go to town with some purple balloons as the decor. Do they love dinosaurs? Amazon prime some plastic beach toys, dinosaur figures and grab a storage bin and boom...you’ve got yourself a Dino Dig activity. If they are old enough to contribute to the planning, give them a simple choice that you know you can execute. 

2. Find Your Party Must-Have

You do not have to spend a lot of time or money to make the party special. Make a list of your must-haves and narrow those down to just a few, perhaps a top 3. I personally always love to have a dedicated photo spot, some type of deliciously-themed treat, and a fun activity that can double as the party favor to take home. For plates, napkins, and cups, I just use whatever Costco has on sale! If your child decides on a character theme, you can make it easier and less expensive by just choosing one thing with the character on it and keeping the rest of the decor neutral.

3. Decor on Budget

Take some crate paper from your local dollar store in colors that go with your character/theme, twist it and hang some vertically in front of a wall. Grab a mylar balloon and put it right in front of the paper - now you’ve got a fun, themed photo spot for under $10-15. You can also have your little one open their gifts in front of the same wall - this is always a nice touch when you’re looking back at pictures of the party. When my daughter turned 7, we had a Gingerbread theme party. I took Holiday wrapping paper and used that for our wall decor!

4. Let the Kids Get Outside

If you have the space, or a nearby park, take the party outdoors! It’s always pretty cold when my kids have their birthdays, but I always try to take the party outside at some point, even if it’s for 10 minutes. One year my daughter was really into a popular green pixie, so for the activity of the party, we painted fairy houses. I taped very inexpensive tablecloths outside, and purchased washable paints and sponge brushes and small wooden bird houses that were $1 each at my local craft store. It was cold outside, but the activity was quick, the kids had a blast and by the end of the party, their houses were dry and that was their party favor. It didn’t cost much and all of the kids loved it. 

5. Keep it Short!

Your parties don’t have to be an all day event, either. I always do 3 hours, tops - never more. The kids play, everyone eats, throw in an activity followed by gifts (if you want your kids to open them after the party is over, that’s okay too!) and wrap things up with the Happy Birthday song and treat. Schedule the party around what works best for you! If you’re planning your baby’s first birthday party, do it after their longest nap of the day. 

Everyone always says your kids grow up so fast, and I never believed it until I had my first baby. We are already dreaming up a fun theme for her 9th birthday, even though her "Little Ladybug” 1st birthday party feels like it was yesterday. No matter what you decide for your child’s next birthday, whether it’s a big celebration or a small one, try to cherish every single moment - they really do grow up too fast. Happy party planning!

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