With great weather and more laid-back schedules, summer is a great time for parents to get creative with kids’ birthday parties. Our inner Martha Stewart can shine and we can create a party that our children will tell their children about. Throwing a great party doesn’t have to mean spending tons of money; use your resources and get creative like our Fayette moms. We checked in with our Ask FW team and our Facebook fans for some really cool and inexpensive ideas.
1. What are some of the creative ways you have celebrated children’s birthdays?
One year Heidi Becker celebrated the birthday of her child who was born on the first day of spring with a Spring Fling Birthday Party at an outdoor pavilion in her neighborhood. The children played at the park before lunch. She made colorfully wrapped PBJs in the shape of big flowers and butterflies (cut with a cookie cutter) and served these along with fruit, chips and a boxed drink in clay flower pots. After lunch, she spread newspaper over the picnic tables and gave each child a paint brush, paints and jewels, buttons and other craft items to decorate their pots. Next the children visited the potting station stocked with dirt and packages of seeds. They had fun making their own potting garden, then enjoyed watching it bloom in the weeks following.
Other ideas: How about a pirate theme where the kids can look for buried treasure? If you have a pool, throw coins into the water and let them dive for them. If your child is into dinosaurs like Gena Weaver’s, set up a “dino dig” in your backyard by filling small plastic pools with sand and hiding plastic dinosaurs. The kids can dig and take their “fossils” home as gifts.
We also love Tami Wick’s idea of throwing a “glow” party for her daughter’s 15th birthday. Using inexpensive glow-in-the-dark items bought from Oriental Trading, she had the party in the evening and the kids played glow-in-the-dark Frisbee and danced with the lights out.
2. What local businesses that offer party options would you recommend?
Having a party at a location outside of your home offers many conveniences, least of which is not having to clean your house before or after the party! Businesses that offer parties will often do all of the work for you, from providing invitations and paper products to having a cake (depending on the location). This option also gives mom and dad a chance to enjoy the party and not play host the entire time. For local events, Jump2It, Jumping Jelly Beans, and Monkey Joe’s offer party options and let the kids get some exercise while they are having fun. Peachtree Dive Center holds parties for kids who are swimmers and want to do a little bit of indoor snorkeling. Many beauty salons, such as Misti’s Hair Design in Sharpsburg, will do princess parties for girls that include hair, make up and nails. Dixieland Fun Park is a great place to take kids and always gets them excited. Christie’s Sweet Treats and Balloons can provide you with cakes and balloons, which we all know are necessary for a successful party.
If you’re adventurous and want to head out of Fayette County, try the Center for Puppetry Arts, Zoo Atlanta, Imagine It! Children’s Museum or the Georgia Aquarium, all of which organize parties for kids.
3. Which party have you as an adult, whether host or guest, enjoyed most?
Any party where kids are laughing and adults are not hiding under the tables can be considered a success. Gena Weaver recommended magician Ken Scott as a great entertainer for the kids. Sydney Brown attended a boys party where all of the boys were told to wear army green or camouflage. When the boys arrived, they were divided into two teams and placed on either side of a ravine. They were then given water balloons and had a water battle. She says they still remember it 10 years later. My 8-year-old still talks about the party we had when she was 4. We set up our backyard with water activities like sprinklers, water balloons, slip-n-slides, and kiddy pools. The kids all wore their bathing suits and just ran from one water activity to another for two hours. Their party favors were plastic water bottles shaped liked bugs that we wrote their names on and they used during the party. Simple and loads of fun.
Eleanor LaPlante’s daughter has attended several parties where the kids bring items to donate to charity, like the Humane Society, instead of presents. She says that as long as the kids were having fun and had cake and ice cream they were happy. Jill Prouty loved her son’s birthday party at Peachtree Dive Center. The center provided everything, including a life guard and snorkel instructor and she said that the kids (all 6-year-olds) had an absolute blast. Lynda Owens threw a middle-eastern party for one of her children that was her favorite. Invitations were on scrolls and the kids ate food like hummus and tabouli. Inexpensive brightly colored fabric was draped as decoration and she hired someone to teach the girls belly-dancing.
4. If you’ve had some less pleasant experiences, what can you advise others to avoid?
As much as we try to plan every detail, inevitably something goes wrong and we learn what not to do next time. Make sure that you keep in mind the age group of the partygoers. Pre-schoolers are not going to have the attention span of pre-teens, so plan activities accordingly. Also, plan a definite start time and end time to the party and keep to a schedule. Kellye Slaggert attended a boys’ party at an indoor soccer complex that quickly went from the boys learning soccer skills to an indoor free-for-all. Do your homework. If you want to hold a party at a location, visit the place beforehand and talk to someone about the services they offer, what they will provide, and what you are responsible to bring.
Be realistic with your expectations, and remember that no matter what happens, your kids will love that you took the time to plan something special for their birthday.