Tips for Tots: Creative & Simple Birthday Parties

By Anne A. McGrady

Birthday parties can be as creative as you wish as you simplify plans, cut costs and keep in mind you are making brand new memories.
Tips to make the day special!
• Plan on the number of guests and how much you can afford to spend.
• Decorate and make your own invitations. Hand deliver if possible or use free online service (evite.com).
• Recruit or hire a friend, teenager to help with the preparations, serving and picture taking.
• Let your child know that it is polite to express appreciation for the presents even if the gifts are not exactly what the child likes.
• Ask your child about a party theme centered around your child’s interests.
• Time it right according to child’s age: 2 to 3 years old – midmorning party 60-90 minutes; 4 to 5 year olds – midmorning, 4-5 o’clock or after dinner, 3-4 hours of partying. Keep in mind naps, dinner/lunch times when choosing the time.
• The guest list: 2-3 year olds – keep guest list short as parents are invited, too. The children will feel more comfortable and you will have extra hands to help. 4-5 year olds – their group needs lots of high energy activity. 8-10 guests is great. You will be busy. 6 year olds are fairly independent, can assist, you could invite a few more children.
• Consider free or inexpensive “party” places – a park has swings, play equipment and tables.
• Movie theaters and pizza places offer deals and package fun prices for all inclusive parties.
• Menu centers around the birthday child – usually cake, ice cream, drinks, chips and candy and even make finger foods children love: chicken nuggets, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, fresh fruit, dip and chips, subs-turkey or ham/cheese.
• Think twice about bringing a sibling a little something when it is not his/her birthday. It is important to begin teaching children early in life to work through their jealousy and to feel happy for others.
• Party day is here, select a smiling birthday child or greeter at the door to welcome all that attend.
• Treat gift bags – one or two small items, no candy and you may wish to omit and spend the extra on the party.

“Happy Birthday to You!,” Dr. Seuss
“The Great Birthday Bird”
“Happy Birthday Baby!” (Dr. Seuss Nursery Collection)
“Where is Baby’s Birthday Cake?” Karen Katz
“Leapfrog Counting Candles Birthday Cake”
“Little Book of Birthdays”
“Happy Birthday Book-How do children around the world celebrate birthdays?” board book
“Children’s Party Book,” Anne Thomas