Did I really use the terms, “easy” and “stress-free,” in conjunction with “Kid’s Birthday Party?” I know what you’re thinking: “what planet does she live on?” I’m certainly no authority on the subject of having children’s birthday parties, since I’m not a mom myself.
But, I have hosted at least 100 parties over the past 25 years, which equates to 4 parties a year, and I’ve certainly done that – if not more!!! A confession: I compiled this list of 15 Tips for an Easy and Stress-free Kid’s Birthday Party from watching an expert in this field – Tiffany.
As the Mom of the Princesses P, she has now hosted 8 kids birthday parties; 5 for Princess P and 3 for Princess Sweetie Pie. Plus, she has attended countless kids birthday parties as a guest with her two girls. The latest party was for Princess Sweetie Pie, who recently turned 3-years-old.
In Tiffany’s “toot sweet” life, organizing a birthday party takes a back seat to the daily challenges of being a mother to two small girls, a wife, a contributor to the family income (even though she’s a SAHM, she works many, many side jobs in multiple fields), and a pet-mom to 2 pugs, Sid and Samson and a cat (the adorable, sweet, loving Fred). So, occasionally, something’s gotta give.
In this instance, it was Princess Sweetie Pie’s birthday. With the date looming and feeling unprepared and overwhelmed, I watched on the sidelines as Tiffany literally pulled a “rabbit out of a hat” and gave her darling Princess Sweetie Pie the birthday of her dreams – no one in attendance was the wiser!
As one of the invited guest, along with about 40 other people and kids, I arrived on the designated day and watched the party unfold. Her home brimmed with the joyous laughter and merry screams of kids as they dashed about. The adults settled into a relaxed, laid-back stance as the realization that they were not alone in this madhouse took hold. Everyone (including the birthday girl, who was shelled-shocked like most 3-year-olds with the overwhelming attention given to her by so many people) had a great time, on a perfect day surrounded by family, friends and neighbors.
What more could you ask for in considering a party a resounding “success”?
Here’s what I learned from Tiffany that day:
Have your kids make the decorations.
Brainstorm with your kids a few weeks before and pick a theme. If you are a Pinterest user, make a Pinterest board to gather your thoughts. Here’s a picture of Tiffany’s Pinterest board for this party:
Princess Sweetie Pie decided on “buttons” as her theme. Buttons have special meaning to her and she has a stuffed unicorn she has named Buttons, with buttons down its back sown on by her mother, Tiffany (there’s a ‘back story’ – no pun intended – that Tiffany can share another day). She loves that unicorn, cuddling with it, sleeping with it and often taking it wherever she goes. With the theme selected, Tiffany had the girls create decorations by gluing buttons all over various forms, such as the number 3.
Send Evites to get a head count.
Even if Evites don’t always match your theme, they are so easy to create and once launched, easy to send reminders for follow-up. Plus, the system keeps a head count for you, so you always know how many will be coming.
Invite the parents, too.
Then, you have lots of adults to “mind the kids.” Plus, the adults have fun, too.
Borrow kid-sized tables and chairs.
Some of Tiffany’s friends have kid-sized tables and chairs. She borrowed them so that the kids would have a place to sit and eat all together. Here’s a picture:
Buy one single kind of flower and throw it in a pitcher.
Princess Sweetie Pie’s favorite colors are purple and lavender. Buttons, her unicorn, is lavender. Tiffany bought the lovely flowers at Trader Joe’s and put them in a simple white pitcher on the kitchen island, the hub of the finger food display. It’s simplicity made for a stunning centerpiece. Here’s a picture:
Here’s a close-up:
Buy easy, kid-friendly finger foods like carrots and strawberries.
Crunchy carrots and celery sticks with ranch dressing are always a hit with kids. Buy them pre-sliced or in a party tray from the grocery store. When strawberries are in season, there’s nothing like that sweet pop of freshness when you bite into one. The same goes for grapes and blueberries.
Have Pizza delivered.
Order cheese & pepperoni pizza and at least 95% of your guests will be happy. And, having it delivered lessens the stress.
Make a great dip that everyone will love.
Tiffany made her Bruschetta Lentil Dip and, as always, it was a huge hit! With just a couple of ingredients, this simple dip, served with pita-type chips, is so delicious. Everyone always asks for the recipe! You, our readers, have an advantage because Tiffany has already posted it for you; so just click on the link in the previous sentence or at the bottom of the post!
Have a talented relative make the cake or cupcakes.
This is where Tiffany and her siblings are very, very lucky. Tiffany’s step-mother, Patti, loves to make themed cakes and cupcakes for special occasions and this time created the cutest button cupcakes for her precious granddaughter, Princess Sweet Pie. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post to see how she did it. But, here’s a preview:
Have a piñata, but have extra treat bags available for the kids so no one is left out.
A piñata is boundless fun for kids and a great way not to have to give individually wrapped party favors. Just make a few treat bags for little ones that might get left behind in the excitement and give all the kids empty treat bags to fill up. They “clean up” and so do you!
Let the kids play.
Provide an area where the kids can just be kids. In Tiffany’s home, her one extra bedroom is a playroom for her girls and it’s big enough that about 8 kids at a time can join them. Also, Tiffany’s backyard is very “kid-friendly” and the kids ran around blowing off steam both inside and out.
Have someone help with presents.
Several people, kids and adults alike, helped Princess Sweetie Pie with her gifts. But the cutest “helper” was Samantha’s and Justin’s dog, Jade. She loved ripping open packages, falling just short of ripping apart gifts!
Have Dad put things together.
Some of the gifts that Princess Sweetie Pie received, required some help. Mostly, getting them out of the box because they were so securely strapped in. But, good ol’ Dad to the rescue!
Allow your child time to decompress.
During the height of the party, I found Princess Sweetie Pie all alone in her room. Standing on her sister’s bed looking out the window to the backyard, she surveyed the chaos happening without her. She was so cute! I really wanted inside her little brain at that moment to know what she was thinking. But, like all of us, I think she just needed a “breather” and some “downtime” and sought it out all on her own. Needless to say, this “decompression period” made for one happy girl, who enjoyed her party thoroughly and didn’t have a meltdown.
Have someone else take photographs of the special day.
I took all of photos with the fancy, dancy camera that my husband surprised me with at Christmas. I’m still learning the ropes, but I think I did a pretty good job, don’t you?
How about you? Do you have any easy and stress-free ideas for a kid’s birthday party? Please share – Princess P is having a birthday in a few months (she’s turning 6) and Tiffany would enjoy your ideas!
Want a checklist to print of these 15 Tips for an Easy and Stress-free Kid’s Birthday Party? I’ve made one for you! Here it is: 15 Tips for an Easy and Stress-free Kid’s Birthday Party Checklist. Need more help with party planning? Check out these to posts for additional FREE printable checklists: 42 Things to do When Planning Your Next Party and 42 Party Supplies for Your Next Party.
P.S. Yes, all these pictures are from the same party! And, yes, the Princesses seem to be in different outfits! That’s because they kept running into their bedroom and changing their clothes! And, once Princess Sweetie Pie starting opening her presents, she had to put on a new t-shirt she received as a gift!
(other posts mentioned in this post)
And, for some pictures of Buttons the Unicorn, check out these posts: