Balloons, clowns, magicians, cakes, cupcakes, comedians, bouncy houses, character visits, oh my! Planning a birthday party for your child, whether they are 1, 8, or 16, can be really overwhelming but I’ve got you covered! If I thought I could truly make a living at planning kids’ birthday parties, that’s what I’d be doing. I LOVE it! And thankfully, the Kenton County Public Library has plenty of resources to help me plan birthday parties for my children.
My children have a very nice birthday party every year. I enjoy throwing themed-parties at my home but we have had parties outside of the house as well. If you are looking to host a party at a location, you should check out Family Friendly Cincinnati’s post on birthday parties but if you are looking to host at home on a budget, read on and check out our cool video!
Welcome to the Oscars
My son had an Oscar party for his 6th birthday. Everyone received an invitation telling them to come as their favorite actor or musician. I found some inexpensive red fabric at a local fabric store to use as the red carpet. As each child entered, I took their photo on the red carpet. Music from my son’s favorite movies played in the background. Hannah Montana, Superheros, Indiana Jones and other celebrities, or a bunch of kids dressed as celebreties, enjoyed the afternoon playing Paparazzi Dance (instead of freeze dance). When the music stopped, the kids fell to the ground to dodge the paparazzi. The movie theater style cake was a huge hit! Instead of doing traditional goody bags, each child received a box of their favorite movie-style theater candy and a bag of popcorn to take home. I also found small trophies at my local Dollar Tree. My daughter helped make labels like “best dressed,” “funniest” and “most dramatic” to put on the “Oscars.” Each child received one at the party.
My cousin designed the invitation to look like a superhero comic strip for Joey’s 5th birthday. It’s okay if you’re not a professional designer, the kids will still love it. Everyone came as their favorite superhero. I used my son’s super hero action figures to decorate the party area.
My daughter has had a pool party at my parents’ house several years. To make it a little unique one year, we wrote the invitation information on beach balls and dropped one off at each girl’s house. They then brought the ball with them to play with in the pool at the party. We sprinkled brown sugar on blue icing over the cupcakes to make it look like the beach. We then put teddy grams inside of a gummy saver and placed them on the cupcakes so they looked like they were floating. The girls loved them!
A Barbie Tea Party
My 13-year-old daughter still talks about her 5th birthday party that Barbie attended. I found cute garden hats, artificial flowers and ribbon at the local dollar store. Barbie, a friend of mine dressed in an old prom dress and made up with fake eye lashes and glitter makeup, helped each girl decorate a tea party hat. They then had cute sandwiches cut out as flowers and tea pots (just used cookie cutters) with tea (Koolaid). All of the girls were so excited to meet Barbie.
Cake Decorating Party
My daughter loves to bake and decorate cakes. I picked up plenty of supplies at Fantasy and Frosting and baked two 9-inch round cakes for each girl before they arrived. We then ran the party similar to the Next Great Baker. The girls had 90 minutes to decorate their cakes. Once they were finished, we posted each one on Facebook and allowed my friends to vote for an hour. The cake with the most votes won and the baker received a special prize. All of the girls had a blast and I didn’t have to make or buy a cake for the party.
Hunger Games Party
My son chose a Hunger Games theme for his 11th birthday. My daughter and I posted pictures of each of the tributes throughout the house before the guests arrived. Each child received a suctioned cup bow and arrow when they arrived. The boys were giving the challenge to find each of the tributes. I also picked up a Hunger Games themed cake at a pretty good price and enjoyed listening to the boys discuss what they like about the movie and the book.
Perfecting the Ideas
I am very creative but I can’t take credit for all of these awesome ideas. I definitely use magazines, books and online sources to help work out the details. Magazines are a great resource. You can check magazines out from the Library or skim them for ideas while you are there. Real Simple and Family Fun tend to have great food, invitation and game ideas. Family Fun Birthday Cakes, put out by Family Fun Magazine, might be just the book you are looking for. You can also get a free online subscription to certain magazines from the Library. Just click on Zinio, set up your account and choose which magazines you want delivered to your inbox. I tend to find great ideas in Do It Yourself, Family Circle, Parenting Magazine and Martha Stewart Living.
A Smart Girl’s Guide to Parties: How to Be a Great Guest, Be a Happy Hostess, and Have Fun at Any Party by April Lundsten is a great book for your daughter who wants to be involved with the party planning. Naturally fun parties for kids : creating handmade, earth-friendly celebrations for all seasons and occasions by Anni Daulter with Heather Fontenot also has some good ideas. You can find several other books on our Birthday Party Pinterest Board.
Don’t forget to pick up music for the party at the Library or by downloading it for free from our website. You can also borrow movies that would be perfect for a slumber party.
Where do you get your party ideas? Tell us the details of the best party you have ever hosted or attended!
This post was written by Gina Holt, public relations coordinator for the Kenton County Public Library and mother of two. Most of the pictures are from parties Gina has hosted for her children.