With two boys, my oldest being 4, I have now figured out the recipe for a fabulously fun birthday bash. It seems there are a few ingredients that are key for the wee ones.
First, there’s the theme. For the toddler years, my husband and I picked the themes based on the boys’ interests (trains, brown bear, race cars). Now, in the preschool years, Bobby is able to pick his theme. This year it was superheros. So, everything from the food to the activities tied back into the theme. Thank you to Tattered and Ink for permission to use her fabulous superhero themed labels!
Second, age appropriate activities. For my son’s, third birthday which was pirate themed the kids went on a treasure hunt and dug up ole pirate Davy Jones in the sandbox. For the fourth birthday, I (well truth be told, my husband) turned the backyard into a superhero training area. With balance beams, buildings (i.e. wrapped boxes decorated like buildings) to climb on around the yard, and target practice (water guns and balloons with villains taped on them), there were things for the active kiddos to do.
Third, have fun with decorations! A birthday party is an excuse to get creative and to engage the kids. There are tons of ideas online for things to do and easy ways to decorate. The best part is adapting these ideas to your own tastes. For example, for the superhero theme, tons of blogs show the idea of making a skyline. With numerous ways to do it, I decided to do it with supplies I had on hand. Plain brown packaging paper saved the day. The food table had the backdrop of a sky that my boys and I had painted (on the brown paper), signs of words (pop, bang, wham) that were also painted by the boys and Superman suspended by fishing line soared through the sky. And, then the buildings were wrapped boxes that would have just gone to be recycled.
A themed centerpiece works as well. For the pirate party, there was an ocean of jello upon which pirate ships made of rice krispy treats boasting paper sails set sail. The superhero party had sheets of kryptonite made from rock candy surrounded by villains. (Thank you to Sugarhero for the base recipe).
Fourth, a simple menu. To make things easier on game day, a simple menu cuts down on prep. For a light lunch, sandwiches, fruit, a couple of salads and a kid friendly snack work well. In addition, kid sized snack holders are a hit! Whether it’s a bowl of crackers with tiny dixie cup cups for scooping or paper cones filled with treats, kids love have fun carrying around their own booty.
Fifth, a fantabulous dessert. Being a self proclaimed sugar addict, this is one thing that I love to make. Figuring out how to make a cakes look like a race track, baby bear or batman symbol has been quite the experience. Luckily there are tons of ideas on-line. and, it makes me wonder how our mothers’ did this without the internet. For the batman cake, I ventured into the realm of fondant. Yes, I was a bit apprehensive at first wondering how it would turn out. But at the same time I was completely stoked to have the chance to make something that looked absolutely professional. And, it worked! Here’s the recipe I used.
Lastly, flexibility is key. Accept the fact that not everything will go as planned. I could give you story after story of things that didn’t go as planned like a balloon drop that didn’t drop. At the end of the day, these things don’t matter as all that matters is your birthday star has a wonderful day surrounded by those who adore him or her.