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birthday party help!!!

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Ok, so here goes another thread, this time with a much less controversial topic.  

 

DD turns 3 on Jan 8 (yep, thats 13 days after Christmas and 3 days after DH's birthday).  Great planning, huh?? 

 

As a child, birthdays were always celebrated with the family, I had 9 cousins and lots of family in general, so birthdays were always a low key but fun family affair.  I would like to continue this type of atmosphere for my DD's birthday, but I'm struggling with party games appropriate for 3 year olds.  Would you even do games?  

 

Sadly, in my area, birthdays, like so much else, have become uber commercialized, with parties ranging anywhere from $300 to $1000.  While we could likely afford a party on the lower end of that scale, I just inherently disagree with making a child's birthday party a commercial product, so to speak.  I want it to be about family and friends, not who can write the biggest check for the fanciest party, YKWIM? 

 

so if you have toddler party experience, HELP!!!

post #2 of 16

Most people in my area who have toddler birthdays in the winter rent out space at the local indoor play center, get a pinata and a cake and call it a day. DD has a June birthday so we bust out the sprinkler, get a cake, and call it a day.

post #3 of 16

I really don't think that a child will recognize an expensive party vs. an inexpensive party. DH and I have agreed not to have a big party every year. Just the big numbers.... 1, 5, 10, 16.... and their Golden Birthday. We live in Wisconsin and Golden Birthdays are somewhat of a tradition. Anyway, every once in a while a low key family gathering turns into a good amount of family over to celebrate. Really it's just cake and ice cream but our kiddos think it's one great big party.

 

So try not to stress out over the details. Do what you can afford financially, physically, and emotionally.

post #4 of 16

We always end up spending more than I'd like, but it's usually just on food (we always try to do a cook-out, pizza party, etc). Other than food we typically either have the kids play outside, sometimes depending on time of year we do a sprinkler or make the party at the lake...when it's cold we typically rent a movie and make popcorn or something. I think 3 is too young to do much in the way of games.

16

My son, in the past, has never had anyone he wanted to invite so we always splurged for him and took him to the amusement park, even paying for the whole family with gas and food we were able to stay on the lower end of the price range you mentioned.

16

I think it mostly depends on how many people you're inviting and the age range. I know that January birthdays are hard because of the weather...when they're a little older you could go ice skating (I know 3 is too young, but just something I often thought to do for my BDay which is the 12th of Jan).

post #5 of 16

My DD just had her 3rd birthday at the beginning of November.  I don't think most just-turned 3 year olds would do much with organized games, but Ashley's pinata idea sounds good because who doesn't like to hit things?! LOL  Mostly at this age I think the kids benefit most from free play time.  We have a small place so we invited two of her little friends and their parents (our friends), had munchies, played, and then decorated cupcakes.  The kids had fun choosing their icing, trying to ice them, and then picking out their little candy toppings.

This past weekend we went to a more organized birthday party for DD's friend who was turning 4 and they found a grocery store chain that does cooking classes/kids parties.  There were 8 little 3-4.5 year olds making their own little pizzas, fruit kabobs and decorating cupcakes to take home.  The kids had a great time and it wasn't terribly expensive for the parents, who just got to sit back and relax since they didn't have to do anything!

post #6 of 16

we tend to have parties at the park near a playground. you don't need to plan games because they just play. for at home parties we pull out our giant dress up trunk, blow balloons up and toss them on the floor. Once I collected empty boxes and taped them up for the kids to build and knock down.

 

a lot of people do playplace, like bouncey party zones for the toddlers and they are always hits.

 

My kids just like to have time to play with their kids. Once we did a music party and had a friend who does music together come and lead the kids. we got a deal since she was a friend. my littlest will be 3 this year and we are combing her and her sisters birthdays (how's this for bad timing. our daughters birthdays Jan 1, Feb 8, march 5. New baby dues April 1. My birthday is Jan 27 and my hubs is May 20), having it at a park. there is a shelter that has 3 trees that are growing sideways, they say it's the easy, medium, and hard because , some are lower to the ground. Of course we live in florida. But the point is, they like simple, friends, celebration...and balloons.  : )

post #7 of 16

Thursday, we have a similar spacing going on. Tavian's due 4/1, my b-day is 4/27*, DH's is 5/21, and Evie's is 6/25. It's kind of nice, we have all the spring/early summer for celebrating.

 

That said, DH's sisters and all the first progeny of that generation have birthdays within 6 weeks of each other. My MIL had 3 kids with exactly 2 year spacing. I call the now 6 way birthday party the "clusterf*@k of birthdays." DD is 6/25, my nephew is 7/10 I believe, his mom is 7/12, other sister is 7/14 or so, my niece is 7/25ish and her mom is 8/1. Before DD it was 5 birthdays in 3 weeks!

 

*This is totally my hard date for having this baby by. With DD I was due on 6/8 and said I'd be wanting to induce by 6/21. Yeah...that didn't happen. I won't let myself go past my birthday though, and yes, people have been asking how late I'm willing to go.

post #8 of 16

haha, my mom's birthday is 4/27 and that is the day i was conceived.  if you add more extended family my FIL is 4/13, my twin's birthday is 1/27, my older sister is 1-12 and my brother is 2-18. my niece is 4-2. my brother and niece don't live near me anymore, or my 1/12 sister

post #9 of 16

DS will be 2 on Jan 18 and I am running into the same sort of thing. It is freezing in NY and apartments are small. I am going to try to make hand made decorations, cook some yummy food and have some friends over to play.  I think some of my family will be flying up so that will make it one packed party.  I never remember the "extras" from when I was little but I definitely remember having a good time with friends and family.  The making personal pizzas thing sounds cute for 3 yo and older kids though!

post #10 of 16

I have a similar problem as my almost 4yr DD bday is 12/28.  Last year she wanted a party so badly with all her friends (any kid who had invited her to a party).  All she would talk about was having a piñata w/her friends for her day.  People are here rent out play gyms in the winter months but it was just too expensive for us.  Having the party w/pinata at our house would have been too difficult as our house is so small- our kitchen table is in the living room.  So we asked the gparents to contribute to the party instead of buying a toy and told her that her present was the party and piñata.  I think we also bought her a book.  Anyway, she was happy with that but we paid for 10 kids and only 5 showed up because a virus hit three of the neighborhood families.  DD didn't care at all, she was just happy to have her day. When it was all over I think we paid about $150-200 for the rental, food, balloons, piñata/candy, cupcakes.  

 

This year we decided to scale down mostly because we can't afford $200 parties for three kids.  I just resigned from my job and we weren't planning on having a 3rd at this time.  With buying a new used car, a new furnace/ac unit, and being underwater in our little house, it just wasn't going to happen.  We told DD that she can have a party and invite the # of kids she will be (4) and that there will be no piñata.  She chose princess tea party as a theme (which makes me cringe) but it's her day.  She'll get two presents- a camera (hopefully to make her feel like a big girl when DS arrives) and a book.  

 

I don't know how she'll feel about it but for us it is what it is.  She's used to going to parties for kids at huge parks with trains, a carousel, or even pool parties, play gyms, or backyard parties with ponies.  It can get pretty crazy.  We've had to decide as a family to limit the # of parties and types we attend because it just makes DD want things she can't have and makes me feel bad that I can't give it to her.  But I also think it's a blessing in disguise.  I want my kids to appreciate the simple things in life.  When she gets older we hope to  have 1/2 b day parties at a park or neighborhood pool just to change things up.

 

I don't know if that helps that's just what we have done and are doing.  Good luck!

post #11 of 16

One thing I have found helpful for keeping the kids occupied and making everything run a little smoother with a low-key at-home party is to let the birthday child open the presents as they arrive. I know this is contrary to what most people do, but it actually creates a nice flow instead of the usual way of having to switch gears, everyone chomping at the bit and then the kid being totally overwhelmed before they are half way done opening the pile.

post #12 of 16

I don't know if you are on Pinterest, but you will find tons of amazing ideas there.  We are really low key here and do homemade cake, a couple bowls of chips, and veggies and dip. Homemade pin the tail on the (insert theme), balloon volleyball, the occasional pinata. We have a birthday a month from January through July, and one loner in October, so it really wouldn't be feasible to do the big parties!

post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lrcurry View Post

I have a similar problem as my almost 4yr DD bday is 12/28.  Last year she wanted a party so badly with all her friends (any kid who had invited her to a party).  All she would talk about was having a piñata w/her friends for her day.  People are here rent out play gyms in the winter months but it was just too expensive for us.  Having the party w/pinata at our house would have been too difficult as our house is so small- our kitchen table is in the living room.  So we asked the gparents to contribute to the party instead of buying a toy and told her that her present was the party and piñata.  I think we also bought her a book.  Anyway, she was happy with that but we paid for 10 kids and only 5 showed up because a virus hit three of the neighborhood families.  DD didn't care at all, she was just happy to have her day. When it was all over I think we paid about $150-200 for the rental, food, balloons, piñata/candy, cupcakes.  

 

This year we decided to scale down mostly because we can't afford $200 parties for three kids.  I just resigned from my job and we weren't planning on having a 3rd at this time.  With buying a new used car, a new furnace/ac unit, and being underwater in our little house, it just wasn't going to happen.  We told DD that she can have a party and invite the # of kids she will be (4) and that there will be no piñata.  She chose princess tea party as a theme (which makes me cringe) but it's her day.  She'll get two presents- a camera (hopefully to make her feel like a big girl when DS arrives) and a book.  

 

I don't know how she'll feel about it but for us it is what it is.  She's used to going to parties for kids at huge parks with trains, a carousel, or even pool parties, play gyms, or backyard parties with ponies.  It can get pretty crazy.  We've had to decide as a family to limit the # of parties and types we attend because it just makes DD want things she can't have and makes me feel bad that I can't give it to her.  But I also think it's a blessing in disguise.  I want my kids to appreciate the simple things in life.  When she gets older we hope to  have 1/2 b day parties at a park or neighborhood pool just to change things up.

 

I don't know if that helps that's just what we have done and are doing.  Good luck!


This is exactly how I feel!  I hadn't thought of monitoring which parties we take her to, though in hindsight it does make sense.  Right now I'm thinking 5-10 kids at the house, pin the tail on whatever, decorate your own cupcake, and call it a day...We have 2 birthdays in Jan (dd and dh) and they're only 3 days apart.  So that's what I'm working with so far.  My neighbors have young kids and I'm planning to borrow their kids tables to put in my living room for the cupcake decorating, and maybe I'll get some kind of craft for the kids... who knows.  i mean, they're 3, so it can't be all that complicated...

 

post #14 of 16

we did cupcake decorating once and they LOVED it!

post #15 of 16

I don't have any kids yet but heck, who doesn't like to decorate a cupcake!  sounds like fun!

post #16 of 16

I don't have my own kids, but I've worked with kids for ten years.  Food and craft activities are always the best.  And parks, too!  Ice cream sundaes or english muffin pizzas are some of my favorites.  And for toddlers, finger painting with foods or bubbles. 

 

Also, my birthday is April 27, too!  I'll be 30 right after this baby gets here.  

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