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Birthday Party Blues

by Lori Sciame | February 22nd, 2012 | Elementary

Over-the-top birthday parties. Has your child attended one? When my daughter was five, her friend’s mother hosted a marathon party. The day began with hairstyles and manicures at a local hair salon. Next, the girls had lunch at a local restaurant, and the event finished with a movie and snacks at the theater. On top of that, each girl received photo of herself in the fancy updo, and a bag of goodies.

This extravagant party occurred early in the school year, so all birthday celebrations that followed seemed to be a letdown for the 10 children that attended the first one. Really, who could compete with a six hour party – one that set the bar so high?

When it came time for my daughter to host her own celebration, I knew I had to be creative in order to not let her down. I wanted her 6th birthday to be memorable, but I also wanted it to be simple.

Luckily, since she loved anything to do with Barbie dolls, I had the perfect idea for the party. Each attendee brought her own favorite Barbie doll, and we proceeded to have them play in a Barbie “city” I had constructed from the Barbie houses we owned, as well as from a myriad of borrowed houses, cars, and other accessories. In between the houses, I made roads using masking tape to make the city seem more real, and I even added homemade stop signs. After the girls played for a while, we enjoyed a Barbie themed cake. After the present opening, we spent time coloring in Barbie coloring books the girls later took home, and I read a Barbie storybook to the children to settle them down before the end of the celebration.

Would you believe that years later the girls who came to my daughter’s party still remember the fun they had doing something that they truly enjoyed? Sure, they still talk about the over-the-top party, but they have fond memories of the simple party too.

I bet you can already guess my point. Birthday parties for elementary children need not be expensive (and overwhelming). With a little imagination, a parent can provide a memorable party atmosphere for his or her child without a tremendous amount of expense. All it takes — creativity.

My advice — take advantage of what your child loves to do, and expand upon it for a birthday celebration. Does your daughter love to play baseball? Take a group of her friends to the local indoor batting cage for some birthday fun, or attend a local minor league baseball game. If your son loves to paint, supply each party-goer with a “canvas” and let them create a masterpiece after giving them a little lesson on the color wheel, or let them decorate cupcakes with a variety of colored frostings.

Birthday parties do not have to be exhausting and expensive. If you are in tune with what your child enjoys, you can tailor a party that offers fun at a reasonable price.

  1. Michele says:

    This is quite true. Having hosted quite a few birthday parties for my children, I have experienced the same results. All of their parties were held at home with simple games or crafts, a homemade cake, and a simple item to take home. My kids loved their parties, as did their friends. I think the parties many parents through are excessive and overwhelming for the kids.

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