Birthdays are the most celebrated occasions in every child's life. A birthday is their day to shine, to show everyone how much they have grown, and to share all the excitement of being another year older. It can be a very stressful time for parents though, planning games, activities, etc. Here are some ideas to make it easier.
Get creative with your invitations!
For both girls' and boys' birthdays, do not just buy boring invitations off the high street that say 'your invited to so-and-so's fifth birthday party!' Consider making your own! Get white card stock/thick paper, sharpies, or crayons/markers and draw cute pictures on them matching your theme (if don't know what your theme is yet, see below). Then write your party details on.
Make a birthday crown
Instead of buying a little plastic birthday crown every year for the child to wear at their party and then never again, upcycle it by turning it into a 'craft' activity. Take the child along to a craft store with you and let them pick out some glittery supplies they'd like to use (paint/fabric/sequins etc.).
Watch them make their own homemade crown. They can wear it on their big day and display it in their bedroom afterward as a keepsake memento. Alternatively, give each guest a paper plate or cardboard piece to decorate with markers or paints, cut out the center, and staple together for an easy birthday crown.
Get everyone involved
Birthdays should be fun for everybody, not just the birthday boy or girl! Make it less of a hassle by getting every guest to partake in an activity instead of having one activity for each guest at your party. You can even do this across the party.
For example, you could ask each child to bring their favorite board game along with them and host 'twister night' where everyone competes against each other in twister but then keep playing whatever game they brought afterward too. Or you can decide on games beforehand that need minimal materials- like relay races or pinatas- and have everything laid out to make it easy for the kids to play whilst you are entertaining other guests, etc.
Make a personalized photo frame
Get cheap Ikea picture frames and fill the backs with colorful card stock/thick paper. Let your child draw pictures of their favorite things (toys, friends, etc.) on them to decorate. Then, take a picture of each guest with their presence under the '5' and stick both pictures in the frame so they will be displayed together when it's hung up.
Who doesn't love dressing up? And what better occasion than a birthday party to dress up more giddily than usual at your child's request? You can get white t-shirts from craft or discount stores for very little money. Paint the numbers five to one on each shirt using fabric paint or sharpies.
Decorations are the grand finale. You can't go wrong with balloons and streamers! There's no need to spend a lot of money on them, however- just get creative and make your own at home. Have an old box or cardboard box lying around? Cut out different sized circles of card stock/thick paper in bright colors, tie some string around each one, and voila!
Balloons. Hang them up in clusters for added effect if you have enough free wall space in the room you're hosting the party in. For another one, take black construction paper (the thicker kind) and cut it into long strips hanging down 2 inches apart from each other. Place scotch tape underneath these strips very sparingly so they don't stick to your wall after a while. You should have a string of hanging flaps that you can hang up over door frames- just cut out the shapes into another animal/feelings/emotions etc. and tape them underneath each strip for extra fun!
As far as pinatas go, people spend a great deal on these every year getting the 'best' one, when in reality all they need to do is make it themselves. Buy a white paper lantern from a discount store (surprisingly expensive) and paint it for color using poster paints. Then get some leftover cardboard from another craft project or box and cut circles about 2 inches wide in bright colors, write numbers on them in black sharpies, then put different candies inside each one. Fill the lantern with water and tie some ribbon around it- you have a pinata!
On your party table, use black plates/napkins/cups/tablecloths, etc. to give it that sophisticated touch that adults appreciate but children can't see. If your child is super crafty or if you are, there are endless possibilities on Pinterest for DIY project centerpieces- just search under '5th birthday party' for example.
Cool craft activities for boys
If you are throwing the party at home, set up one activity where kids can make their own superhero cape. All you need to do is get very cheap white sheets from a discount store and cut them into long strips (about 20cm wide). Staple them together lengthways to create a super long strip of 'fabric'.
Then decorate with sharpies or like me, iron-on patches/stickers that they choose whilst listening to music to keep them occupied during preparations, etc. Get black fabric paint for the lettering.
The letters don't have to be perfect because it's 'handmade'! Attach strings or ribbons at each end for ties or simply let them wear like capes and then everyone can play 'superheroes vs villains' at the end of the party.
Cool craft activities for girls
If you have a baby girl, turn babygrows/onesies into flower dresses. Transform dark colors by dying them with fabric dye in super bright rainbow shades! Or, if she is old enough to help out, get her to help you make fairy wings from egg boxes covered in fabric or pretty pink paper.
Then have a little photoshoot where the kids pose as fairies outside in your garden or on a walk! You can also use large sheets of colored card stock/thick paper and ask every guest to draw a sun-shaped picture on one piece and cut it out. Use these pieces as templates for the kids to decorate their wings with felt-tip pens/markers.
Other interesting ideas for a birthday celebration
- Take your child along to a local Metropark or forest and throw a 'treasure hunt' party there! Bring boxes for each guest filled with goodies that are specific to the surrounding setting e.g. pinecones, sticks, etc. to represent the forest, bits of pretty colored fabric/ribbons, sequins to use as jewels, etc for treasure chest novelties... Get little trinkets to go inside under each layer of boxes too so they have something extra special at the bottom of theirs which you can give them independently when they arrive or during cake time!
- Everyone loves balloons! They're fun decorations and very cheap party favors because kids will be thrilled to take one with them at the end. You can buy several packs of different colored balloons and fill a large bowl/bucket with water (and some dye if you want). Pop all the balloons and let kids decorate their own using sharpies. Let them try blowing up too, but make sure you keep an eye on this or supervise very carefully because they can put their fingers over the part where they tie it which could be dangerous.
- You could also make your own cake with your child's help! Ask him how he wants his 5th birthday cake to look like and draw out what he describes onto greaseproof paper in icing. Bake in the oven then covers in ready-made fondant icing that you can roll out ready to put onto the cake.
- Painting party in the garden is another good idea... Get some cheap paper and let children paint in watercolor onto it. Then when they're dry, stick them on the fence/gate to make a colorful 'noticing board'.
- Have a rainbow party! Serve lots of food that's brightly colored such as jelly in pretty colors too, lemonade, etc.
- If money is tight you can just have games, cake, and ice cream for all your guests which are always fun too.
Think about the cake
Children always love a themed cake and the mother/father of the birthday child is usually responsible for this. It can be difficult when you have no idea what to do but just remember that it doesn't have to be perfect!
Get help from family members or friends who are craftier than you if you need suggestions, especially with cakes because they often take a lot of work. If not, just buy one from the shop and decorate it with candles in colors that match your theme/decorations. Keep candles small so kids don't burn themselves if they want to help blow them out!
Sugarcraft kits are brilliant for kids who can't get enough of playing with messy play. Try glittery cupcakes, chocolate-shaped sweets, and gooey marshmallow treats.
Think about the gift
If your child is turning 5 years old, it means they are ready to begin school! This is a big milestone for parents and children alike, so make sure you buy the child an age-appropriate gift that reflects this. Here are just some ideas:
- Stationery. Children love to carry pens around with them everywhere and what better way than with their own name on it?! Personalized notebooks/jotters can be bought in most shops but if you want something more special, you could always find someone over the internet to print one out for your child. And don't forget pencils! You can also get stickers made up or draw pictures on wrapping paper for these.
- Another idea would be to take your little learner out for music lessons... The best instrument to start with is the recorder, which teaches them to read music.
- Books are a great gift for young children because they can learn to read and enjoy having a book of their own. Just make sure you get an age-appropriate one!
Should you invite other parents as well?
Of course, you should! It does cost more money but it means that there are far fewer children at the party which makes it cheaper pa. Plus, the parents will appreciate having some time to themselves or knowing that their child is safe with others.
Keep birthday parties simple and preferably in the garden if you have one so you can use up all your energy on decorating rather than cooking lots of food! Just remember not to serve very messy foods because it makes cleaning up much harder afterward.
What if somebody didn`t come?
Your child may be greatly upset if they don't come to the party but you shouldn`t make a fuss because it's not their fault. If they didn't give you enough notice then this is even worse because you could have saved on some costs by inviting fewer people! Obviously, this is different if your child doesn't know them very well or if he has done something wrong to offend them.
But most importantly of all, don`t let it ruin your child's special day! They are far too young to understand what is going on so just try and entertain them as best as possible with the help of family/friends.
Birthdays are always fun and exciting for children, but you can make it extra special by planning ahead. If you aren`t very creative or like having everything under control, just get help from other people such as grandparents or friends!
Some of the things I mentioned may seem expensive but if you save up in advance then they're not too bad. Plus, the preparation is half the fun and your child will appreciate all your hard work when they see their beautifully decorated party!