Of all the holidays and festivities that are highlighted throughout the year, there’s nothing quite like the extra special feeling that comes from celebrating your own birthday. It’s a day that’s just for you! Such a significant time deserves proper recognition, especially for children. Perhaps you’d like to take your child on a fun outing, purchase some new gifts, or bring treats to their school and share with classmates. While there are many ways to commemorate this milestone, the most exciting choice is to throw a birthday party!
Since this occasion is unique to that special birthday boy or girl, it’s important to personalize details to fit your child’s preferences. What are your daughter’s favorite colors and cartoon characters? What are your son’s favorite foods and activities? Try to incorporate these interests throughout the party planning process.
Party Planning Basics:
- Establish a budget. Have a realistic idea of how much you would like to invest in this event.
- Select a location. Will your event be indoors, outdoors, at home, the beach, the museum, a local community center? Keep in mind the season and local weather conditions. See the guide to Birthday Parties at Local Parks for some great local parks that are perfect for birthday celebrations.
- Choose a theme. Allow your child to decide which theme they would like to be featured throughout the decorations at their party. Popular choices for girls include princess, Disney characters, tea parties, and Barbie. Popular themes for boys are pirates, jungles, sports teams, superheroes, LEGO®, and Star Wars. However, feel free to experiment with your own original idea!
- Create a guest list. Is this a small occasion for a few close friends or a grand-scale production for all your child’s classmates and family members? Plan accordingly and send out invitations early.
- Create a kid-friendly menu. Select simple finger foods such as pizza, hamburgers, or hot dogs. For dessert, a personalized sheet cake or an assortment of cupcakes are best for feeding a large group of guests.
- Select entertainment/activity. Popular choices are clowns, magicians, bounce houses, and face painting. Of course, this will depend on the age and preferences of the child. Popular birthday activities for ages 8 and up include bowling, swimming, ice skating, roller skating, batting cages, trampoline parks, movies, and arcades.
At-Home Birthday Parties
There are many creative ways to transform your living space into a fun and festive atmosphere. Hosting the event in the comfort of your own home can be both convenient and affordable. Create a memorable experience that your child will cherish for years to come.
Suggestions for Activities:
- Have a field day by creating your own obstacle courses in the backyard. Kids can run, jump, climb, hop, balance, etc. You can also include competitive games like potato sack races or tug-of-war. Inflatable bounce house rentals are another fun option.
- If you have a pool, take full advantage of it and have a pool party! Add a few toys and there are endless games that can entertain your guests. You can also use it to incorporate aquatic themes, such as pirates, mermaids, Hawaii, or the beach. Even without a pool, you can re-create the water park atmosphere with inflatable water slides. Make at-home pool parties a little less stressful and hire a lifeguard or two to help monitor the pool.
- Slumber parties are very popular and can be a great option for a smaller group of children. The kids can dress up in their pajamas and enjoy indoor activities like karaoke, a spa day, arts and crafts, a movie marathon, etc. You can also set up a tent in the backyard and have your own camping experience.
- A well-planned scavenger hunt is guaranteed to keep your guests busy and entertained. You can plant clues in various spots and create a treasure map.
Tips for an At-Home Birthday Party:
- Having a “girls only” or “boys only” themed party allows you to create gender-specific activities and equally engage all your guests.
- Bring in back up. The recommended ratio is one adult chaperon for every 5 kids. Ask a few parent friends to stay and help you out.
- If any children are being dropped off at your home, make sure that you are aware of any existing medical conditions or allergies.
- Remember to have fun! Party planning can become stressful if you allow it to overwhelm you. Just take it one step at a time and enjoy the day.
If you’d like to avoid some of the more tedious tasks involved with party planning, there are many businesses, stores, and restaurants that provide all-inclusive birthday packages. These convenient packages allow you to customize the party of your choice through a single vendor at one flat rate. You simply show up!
Many companies offer birthday packages that include various features such as party invitations, decorations, food, drinks, party favors, and even staff members for prep and clean-up throughout the event. You can usually upgrade your package by adding fun activities such as face painting, karaoke, or balloon art. Each company will feature its own unique services, but they all typically range anywhere between $50-$300, depending on the number of guests and your chosen activities.
Also, presentations from a local fire station can be a great way to incorporate a theme and provide a fun activity. Palm Beach County's Fire Rescue is available for free group tours of their facilities. You can either come down to the station, or the fire truck and firefighters can make a special trip to you! Some stations even have a special community area to host your event. Make sure you call at least a month in advance for booking. For details, call the Palm Beach County Fire Rescue Public Education Department at (561) 616-7074 or (561) 616-7033.
For Palm Beach Gardens Fire Rescue, contact the Special Projects Coordinator at (561) 799-4300 for information on free, basic tours.
Whatever you decide to do to celebrate your child's big day, be sure to relax and enjoy their special day.