We’ve landed squarely in School Friends Birthday Party territory.
The kids are going out to birthday parties, they’re wanting to have their friends over for birthday parties, and it’s all kind of busy and often intimidating! There are stories of little girls hosting Princess Parties at Dundurn Castle, and little boys hosting action-packed jumping parties at The Flying Squirrel (this new indoor trampoline park in town). Last month, we attended a super fun party at Fantasy Fair, an indoor amusement park at Woodbine Mall.
I know that we all place value on different things – some people get incredibly stressed out by having mobs of children running through their house, whereas others, like me, have panic attack when we see the kid of bill that accompanies a birthday party hosted outside the home.
So. Having said that. IF you’re the sort that can handle children coming into your home, it really is easy to host a relatively stress-free low-cost birthday party for smaller kiddos.
Keep a few things in mind:
1. You don’t have to invite all the kids in the class. Obviously, make sure that your child isn’t inviting every girl but one in the class, but ask them to give you a list of 4-6 friends that they would most like to have at the party.
2. The party doesn’t have to be all afternoon – you’re not the daycare provider. I would suggest that 2 hours is the minimum that you want to do in order to fit cake, play time, and present opening in, but you don’t need to do longer than two hours. It really goes by so quickly!
3. Don’t pay someone $100 for a cake! It doesn’t have to be fancy. When given a choice between an amazing Apple Fritter or a plain sprinkle doughnut, 9/10 kids will choose the sprinkle doughnut. Put some icing on, throw on some of their favourite small toys or fancy sprinkles and you’ve got a party! If you don’t want to deal with dishes, try out ice cream cone cupcakes!
4. Don’t stress about games. All the guests really want to do is play with the birthday kid’s toys. Let them do that.
5. Don’t grab 8 bags of junk from the dollar store for a favour – buy a $1-2 item for each child as a party favour and parents will thank you for not sending more crap into their house.
My kids are SO OBSESSED with PAW Patrol right now – I don’t know what it is about these feisty pups and their preteen (?) handler that has so deftly captured their hearts and minds, but it made for an easy birthday party theme. What ALSO made it an easy theme is the fact that EVERYONE is obsessed with PAW Patrol right now, so you can buy PP paper plates, table cloths, and balloons at every dollar store in town. Score. Those were the base of the party.
I put together some PAW Patrol invitations on Canva.com, but I wouldn’t have taken the time to make my own if I had’ve seen these printable PAW Patrol birthday party invitations on Nickelodeon Parents!!
For the cake, I just baked a (*gasp* boxed) sprinkle cake in a parchment-paper-lined 9×11 pan and then stuck it in the freezer for 24 hours after it cooled (mostly because I didn’t have time to bake the cake closer to the party). When I took it out of the freezer, I turned it out onto a cake board, and iced it with very green icing.
Nickelodeon Parents has some pretty awesome free PAW Patrol printables - so I printed out this Lookout Tower and the characters onto cardstock and spent some time in the evening cutting them out while I watched TV. I glued Popsicle sticks to the backs of the characters and stuck them in the cake, and just placed the tower on top.
The kids at the party thought that I was THE BEST CAKE DECORATOR EVER, and I didn’t even have to use fondant. Nice. Also, I printed and cut out some of these PAW Patrol snack containers for cheesies – because what’s a child’s birthday party without cheesies?!
For party favours, I went to the Dollar Tree and bought each child a reusable plastic PAW Patrol cup and a small PP puzzle in a tin. I wrapped it with clear cellophane and tied it with a ribbon. They weren’t expensive party favours, but they also weren’t a million pieces of junk that the other parents would have to throw out in six days.
As far as games and activities, I didn’t plan any. I did go to Nickelodeon Parents and print enough PAW Patrol character masks for each of the kids at the party, and used the activity of cutting those out as an excuse to sit on the couch and watch TV while the kids were at school. The kids LOVED them.
The rest of the time, the kids ran around upstairs and played with all the toys that our kids have already tired of. It was great. They had a BLAST!