5 Ways to Create Simple and Festive Kids Birthday Parties

5 Ways to Create Simple and Festive Kids Birthday Parties - 7 Children in party hatsaround a table decorated for a birthday party

With four children, I have done my share of kids birthday parties. Even with limiting parties to one preschool, one school-age and one teen, I am still doing 12 birthday parties for kids. Good thing we enjoy throwing parties at our house. We’ve come up with this simple birthday party checklist for making a kid’s party fun and stress-free.

5 Tips for Birthday Parties

Here are 5 suggestions to make birthday party planning a simple, positive experience for kids AND for parents.

Kids Birthday Parties - Purple Princess Party
Birthday Parties with just a few friends are awesome

1. Pare down the guest list.

Your child doesn’t have to invite every child in their class. Many kids would prefer to limit a party to their best friends. While there is no magic number of guests, but make the number manageable for you. If you can handle five kids, invite five children. If you think 10 would be fun, invite 10. But I would not invite more than 10. That’s when it starts to get tricky.

2. Keep the party relatively short.

An 1 1/2 hours or 2 hours is plenty. It’s a party. It’s designed to celebrate your child’s life, not to drag on all day. Preschoolers and toddlers, in particular, will do best at short gatherings that end before nap time. The parents of your guests will thank you for this, too. They also have thing to do on the weekend!

3. Plan self-directed activities.

Resist the urge to create a fussy schedule of activities or a strict timeline. For my son’s train party, we gave each of the kids engineer hats and train whistles. Then, we had an imaginary train for them to play with. In another room, we set up the train track and let our guests play with the trains. That was it. No games, no craft, no entertainer. We read a story, ate cake, and opened gifts. Then, everyone went back to playing on their own and with each other.

Minnesota Children's Museum
The first kid to ever go down The Scramble! And on his BIRTHDAY!

4. Pick a location that gives you the least amount of stress.

For some people, the best place to host a kid’s birthday party is their backyard. For others, a better party area is in their house. If hosting a home party causes you stress, make a reservation at party venue known for good party packages.  There is no shame in choosing a venue that provides party planners as part of the package. It’s nice to live in a place that has so many options outside of your house including The Eagle’s Nest, the Firefighters Hall & Museum, the Children’s Museum and so many more.

5. Decorate simply.

One of the best ways to get everyone in the spirit is by decorating.  For the birthdays when we don’t have parties, we still decorate — whether it’s using streamers and balloons or it’s a cool cake.  Parties usually include more decorations and some party favors, but that can be as simple as printing images off the computer, cutting them out, and hanging them from the ceiling using some curly ribbon or string. Keep the party favors equally simple. Maybe even have the party guests make their own as part of your self-directed fun.

Simple Birthday Party Theme Ideas:

Having a theme helps to keep your party decor uncomplicated. Here are some birthday party ideas for simple themes:

  • A Pirate Party in the summer could include a “treasure hunt” through the backyard.
  • Make it a movie party. Decor could be movie posters that guests could take home in lieu of goodie bags.
  • Craft Party: Put out a box of crafts supplies. Bonus fun if the birthday child and their guests create their own party theme and decor.
    • Craft Party in a BoxARTrageous Adventures sells an “It’s My Birthday Box” with 5 project ideas and supplies for each project.
  • Baking Party: Kids can be the chef’s helpers and help bake and decorate a birthday cake or cupcakes.
  • Tea Party: Invite friends to come dressed to the nine’s for your child’s birthday party and serve tiny sandwiches and sweet tea. Decor can be as simple as a pretty tablecloths, fancy napkins and some fun china. Kids could even learn napkin folding as an activity.
  • Circus Party. Kids could create their own acts for their self-directed play – clown, magician, acrobat, etc.

We hope you can use these five simple tips to make a great party that is both enjoyable and uncomplicated. You can make your kids’ birthday parties exciting without killing yourself.


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