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Birthday Party Planning woes

August 1st, 2007 at 09:40 am

My son, Caleb, turns 3 on Labor Day Weekend and we have decided to throw him a little party with his friends. After the last two years with all of the family there turned into nightmares, we will be limiting it to his little friends ONLY. Here is the rub....I have NO IDEA what to do. There is a local Children's museum that sounds fun, but it is a pretty big expense ($170) and if not many kids show up, I am still out that full amount. Of course, last year I spent at least twice that to throw the huge family party (food, goody bags, beverages, ice, etc) so this might actually be a cost savings in the end.

I know we could do cake and ice cream in the backyard, but I am afraid that his grandparents would want to show up and I WILL NOT go through that again (long story). Some how it is August already and I have to get the invites out in the next few days. Argh! I am going to have to figure this out quick!

Anyone have any other ideas? I have never done this before and am feeling a little lost...

9 Responses to “Birthday Party Planning woes”

  1. fairy74 Says:

    I'd go with the backyard, much cheaper. Can you just not tell the grandparents, or have them over for a dinner at a different time. Three year olds do not have long attention spans, so keep it simple and give them lots of room to run around.

  2. nance Says:







    My daughter has two parties. One is for children only, and the other is for seven family members, God parents, etc. It works out well. At the family party, she picks up a couple of pizzas and has salad, and cake and ice cream. It works out well.

  3. monkeymama Says:

    I agree with the backyard thing. I just had a party for my 2 & 4-year-old and haven't found the need yet to provide any activities for their birthdays - the kids are happy to play with their toys and the adults were happy to socialize. Why not outside? If the fam must know, or finds out, say you just wanted a kids party for the kids?

    This year we provided food/lunch but in past years I just made sure to have it in the afternoon so lunch or dinner wasn't expected. IT shouldn't cost much to whip up a few appetizers and buy a few sodas.

    For outside a lot of the parties have kiddie play pools and bubble stuff (buckets of soap solution and those big bubble makers).

    Beyond that, does he really *need* a party? While my friends spend hundreds of dollars every year on fancy places and bouncy houses and such we generally just invite a few friends over for something low key and everyone enjoys. Not like the kids care where it is. But beyond that if it was stressing me out that much I guess I just wouldn't see the point. At 3 they don't know any better if the party is a huge bash or just a quiet day with mom and dad.

  4. PRICEPLUS Says:

    I think fairy74 has the right idea. Keep it simple. You can have fun games for the kids at not a lot of cost. Pizza can be cut into really small slices for the kids and you can have ice cream and cake. Store brand soda for the party is fine also.WinkSmile

  5. LuckyRobin Says:

    A simple game or two is all you really need at this age, besides cake and ice cream. Pin the tail on the donkey, or the eye patch on the pirate, or the monkey on Jane (Tarzan themed), etc., goes over well with 3 year olds. Not musical chairs, that causes crying at that age. Freeze games are fun. Play music, when it stops they have to freeze, then start it up again, repeat until they get bored.

    Also, kids don't need a party every year. Cake at dinner with a few presents is fine, too.

  6. mbkonef Says:

    I am also a big fan of at home/backyard parties. Keep it simple for that age but have things planned to keep them busy. If you are really worried about relatives showing up, how about reserving a pavillion at a local park. We have several friends who have done this very successfully. It is not too expensive, the kids have playground etc. and none of the mess is at your house.

  7. boomeyers Says:

    If you want to get away from the house, how about a McDonalds with a playplace? Or better yet, I love the idea of renting a pavilion at the park, (some do it free for residents) and let the kids play on the playground, bring cupcakes and some treat bags. You could do a water balloon toss and a pin the tail on something. Skip the food! Just have it on a Sat or Sun from 2-4 or something.

  8. annab Says:

    I second the bubble stuff -- it's so fun! You can make giant bubbles too: http://www.exploratorium.edu/snacks/bubble_tray.html

    Make this in a dispan, but don't use the coat hanger -- make a loop with 2 cut straws strung together on string. Have the kid hold the loop by the straws and strech their arms apart as far as they can go. Then just let the kids run around: the bubbles can get as big as they do! It's sooooo fun! Also, you can let the kids fingerpaint or all the messy stuff that they probably aren't allowed to do otherwise. And pizza and icecream! I want to go to this party.

  9. HelpMeFriend Says:

    I never had fancy parties anywhere but at home when I was little. I can remember all the trouble my mom went through for our backyard parties, like when it might rain, taking all the food in, covering the tables, and we even made the pinata together. What fun. What will my kids remember, Chuck E. Cheese singing to them, NO! We might do a skating party for my oldest son this month. That is my problem. Both of my children's birthdays are in the winter. No backyard parties, only inside.

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