Water Carnival Birthday Party: Themed Plans with Activities and Ideas

Are you looking for another way to celebrate your youngster’s birthday, without spending a lot of money? Now, imagine that you could host this inexpensive birthday theme party, invite as many guests as you would like, and make the whole event look like it cost a million bucks. Are you more interested, now? Well then, a Backyard Water Carnival may be the perfect children’s theme birthday party for you. This type of children’s party takes advantage of the things you already possess, but puts a new, innovative spin on your everyday items, to create a summer wonderland that’s perfect for preschool and elementary school aged children.


This party succeeds by utilizing your existing outdoor toys and play sets, creating some additional activities from inexpensive materials, and punching the whole thing up a few notches by incorporating lots of water! You’ll create activity stations based upon the equipment that you already have. Use the following ideas as guidelines to personalize your event.


  • Water Slide: Run hose to the top of your swing set’s slide, and turn it on to a constant stream. You may want to place an inflatable pool or shallow plastic pool at the bottom of the slide, to catch both the water runoff and any overzealous guests!
  • Bulls Eye: Create a fun game of accuracy using only a piece of plywood, a handful of nails and lots of water balloons. Paint a cartoonish figure onto the plywood and drive nails through the picture at key locations. Drive the nails from the backside of the wood, so that you’ve created spikes on the front of the graphic and stand the plywood upright against a fence or wall. Have a large supply of small-sized water balloons available, and mark off throwing lines at 5 foot increments from the plywood. The object of the game is to throw a water balloon at the target and burst the balloon on the spikes. As the balloon is thrown from further distances, the guest can earn higher scores.
  • Water Fight at OK Corral: Create a duel using water guns. Pair off the guests and set them up in a quick draw contest. The winner of the duel is the guest who successfully douses the other duelist first. To make it more competitive, only count “direct hits” that successfully land on the chest. You can have the duelists wear dry, red T-shirts, and the direct hits will show up clearly on the shirts. Before the party, practice this activity and adjust the number of steps your duelists should take, based on the accuracy and range of your water guns.

Thailand’s King Bhumipol: Just Another Royal Birthday?

There are many countries with royal families. England’s Royal Family fills world headlines on a regular basis, with royal scandals, royal visits, royal weddings, and all things royal.

Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej

Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej, is perhaps not as well known, but in Thailand he commands a reverence and loyalty seldom seen. In recent years as the King has entered his 80s and his health has become frailer, yet the devotion to him seems to have grown.

He is the world’s longest reigning monarch and at 83 years of age, the eldest too. For over a year now he has resided largely at Siriraj Hospital, only occasionally leaving to attend important ceremonies and celebrations, such as his own birthday in December. His message of unity and hard work still resonates with many, even in difficult times. Losing him is something many fear will lead to a weakening of the Monarchy and further bitter political battles.

Just a Monarchy?

Thai politics may appear chaotic at times and hard for the outsider to understand. Even though the Monarchy has no legal authority, the King’s influence over the years has been more than symbolic. Through the years the Monarchy has often held the role of referee, occasionally stepping in to settle disputes. It has also defined its role within the Thai Government, increasing its importance via development programs in rural areas.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej: The Projects

The fact that King Bhumibol Adulydej is still so important to Thailand speaks volumes to his involvement with the Thai people over the years. In his younger days he was hands on in his approach to his role as King. He visited villages in remote areas and helped to set up projects that would help them. His hobbies of photography and music also helped him to connect with people.

The thousands of projects of the King and Queen address a wide variety of issues, including the crop substitution to stop the production of opium. Often the projects begin as experiments, but when they prove successful they are referred to Thai Government Agencies for further development. In his younger days, many of the projects were the result of visits to villages by the King, followed by consultations with experts to bring appropriate and sustainable ideas to the situation.

The military and police are also players, since for many decades that has been where political leadership came from. It has only been in more recent decades that non-military people have been elected Prime Minister in Thailand’s parliamentary government.

Thaksin Sinhrawat

Thaksin Sinhrawat was one of the latest in a line of Thai businessmen to enter the political playing field. His rural poverty programs offered cheap medical care and debt relief. This helped win him two elections with the popularity created by his programs. However, there was a backlash from traditionalists loyal to the king.

You could say the pragmatic business approach reached too far and perhaps marginalized the importance of the Monarchy and traditional government programs. Thaksin was forced from office after being convicted of conflict of interest by the Thai Supreme Court. A coup removed Thaksin from office when he was out of the country, he now lives in exile, but still talks of returning one day, though he currently faces a two-year jail term if he does return.

The Future

Age and time have changed the Monarchy in Thailand. Politics and the world have changed greatly since King Bhumibol Adulyadej began over 60 years ago. A Monarchy that had relinquished power to a modern form of government in the 1930s, never relinquished its own importance and managed to find an effective and positive role. To do so in the future will require one of the Kings offspring to step up. In future articles we will examine the possibilities of the future for Thailand’s Monarchy.

Sweet 16 Birthday Party Venues and Party Planning Ideas

Before planning a party for a Sweet 16 birthday, be sure to talk with the birthday girl. Some teenage girls love the idea of getting dressed up and having a big party, while others would rather go to a movie with friends or spend the day driving around town.

If she likes the idea of large and extravagant girl birthday parties, she can help with party planning ideas and deciding between birthday party venues. But leave some surprises for the big day: she’ll likely have more fun that way.

“Night Out On the Town” Sweet 16 Birthday

A “night out on the town” is an ideal Sweet 16 birthday for many girls. This Sweet 16 party can combine a teenage girl’s love of shopping, concerts, luxury, dressing up, and fine restaurants, depending on the events chosen for the party.

For girl birthday parties in a big city, consider preparing a lavish ride for the birthday girl. A limo is best; if it is too expensive, the family car can be decorated for her special day. Consider using washable car paint on the windows with phrases like “Happy Birthday !” or include other Sweet Sixteen decorations. The new sixteen-year-old and her friends can enjoy “champagne” cocktails of apple cider and pomegranate juice.

Once at the city, the girls and their chaperone can go out to dinner at a nice or famous restaurant. While dining at a nice steakhouse or Italian restaurant will be fun for the girls, they may also enjoy doing something more unusual. Dim Sum in Chinatown and small plates at a modern restaurant are fun and out-of-the-ordinary party planning ideas that the girls will likely enjoy.

After dinner, everyone can go out for a concert, play, or musical. All of the guests can dress up for the special occasion to feel like special guests at the show. Of course, check with the birthday girl first to see what type of show she would like to see.

Theme Park Birthday Party Venues

If the special girl is a bit more of a thrill seeker, consider planning a party to be held at an amusement park. Six Flags parks or similar parks are fun for teenagers, and even guests who do not like roller coasters can find something fun to do.

While admission is fairly pricey, oftentimes theme parks offer deals on certain days, or put coupons in booklets or on soda cans. Also, a theme park is probably cheaper than a “night out on the town.” If the party budget is a real concern, consider eating lunch or dinner beforehand or have guests bring their own money for food and trinkets.

Big Family and Friends Sweet 16 Party

If the new sixteen-year-old is more of a homebody, family-oriented type of girl, consider planning a party that includes her whole family. This is also a more budget-friendly type of Sweet 16 party. For a larger family, hold the party at a local park or at home. For smaller family celebrations, a restaurant serves as a nice change of scenery from ordinary family parties.

For the special day, try to get specific Sweet Sixteen decorations. While colorful balloons and streamers will add a nice touch, the celebration will feel even more special with decorations that have sayings like “Happy 16th Birthday” or “Happy Sweet Sixteen.” Sweet Sixteen decorations can help the party feel more like a once-in-a-lifetime event than just any other birthday.

In addition to family members, be sure to invite her friends and anyone else she is fond of. Having everyone there to celebrate her sixteenth birthday can make the occasion very special. If the guest list gets too long, consider having an appetizers-only event or removing guests she is not as familiar with.

For Sweet Sixteen gifts, get her something that she will really love. Nice jewelry, cash to help buy a car, and a mall gift card all make excellent gifts for a sixteen-year-old girl. Sweet Sixteen gifts can be more sentimental, but to be sure that she will use the gift, consider her interests first.

The birthday girl is sure to have a wonderful day if any of these birthday party venues or party planning ideas are used. While a party may not be as exciting as getting a new car, it is something she will remember fondly for just as long.

Sweet 16 Birthday Party Themes

Picking the right theme for a party can mean the difference between a good and great event. For a sweet sixteen party, choosing a creative theme can make this day even more special for a teenage girl.

Alice In Wonderland Theme

This party theme offers a chance to be creative and imaginative, and is tailor made for those who love Disney films. Sweet-16-Party-Ideas.com suggests choosing one of story’s scenes- the red or white queen’s castle, the chessboard or the tea party scene- and recreating it for the party.

For example, if you decided on the designing the party to like the tea party scene, decorations could include mismatched tea pots and cups on a long table. Designing the dance floor to look like a giant chessboard and placing boxes of chess on tables for guests is another option if you decide on a chessboard theme.

An Alice In Wonderland theme also offers many wardrobe options. While having the birthday girl dress up as Alice is an obvious choice, having everyone dress up as the Mad Hatter, or any other character, can be a fun alternative.

Party activities can include playing a game of life-sized chess, croquet, or hiding a stuffed cheshire cat and giving a prize to whoever finds it. Invitations can come with a playing card or teabag attached, and read with an inscription such as “don’t be late for an important date,” according to Sweet-16-Party-Ideas.com.

Anything but Clothes Theme

This party theme is self-explanatory. Guests can wear anything as an outfit to this party- garbage bags, body paint, flags, curtains- as long as it’s not traditional clothing.

Sweet-16-Party-Ideas.com suggests several popular outfits for this party theme. One is a flower dress. This outfit can be made by gluing artificial flowers to a bed sheet to create a toga-style dress. A pillow sheet can be used to create a sash.

An alien costume can be made using aluminum foil and wrapping it around your body until you have created a suit out of it. Add foil antennas on top of your head to complete the look. A balloon dress can be made by gluing deflated balloons to a sheet. Blow up some more balloons and glue them to dress’s outer layer to complete the ensemble. Other outfits options include newspapers, candy wrappers and baby clothes.

Black Light Party

This sweet sixteen party theme takes place in dark rooms lit only by a black light. Since this event will be in the dark, everyone should wear glow sticks. Sweet-16-Party-Ideas.com recommends putting glow sticks in white balloons to increase the amount of light.

Florescent makeup and accessories are great for this type of sweet sixteen party. Body paint, florescent nails and colorful contacts are also good attire for a black light party. Party guests can also wear white shirts or tank tops that other guests can draw on with highlighters or glow in the dark paint.

Shapes and designs can be cut out and placed on the walls for decorations, as well as glow in the dark posters. Tables can be covered with fabric so guests can draw on them with highlights or paint. In addition the walls should be covered with garbage bags if they are not dark enough.

Besides dancing, playing a game of Twister can also be a fun activity at a black light party.

Whatever theme you choose, creating a party that is unique to your birthday girl’s personality and taste is what will make her sweet sixteen a day she’ll never forget.

Sweet & Easy Preschool Kids Birthday Party Ideas: Cheap Activities, Food & Games – 2nd, 3rd, 4th, & 5th B-day Parties

Young children are easy to please with fun birthday party ideas. Many of these can be adapted for age with parent helpers. Whether just a few guests invited to a home party or a large group is gathered, most of the following ideas can be managed with little effort or cost.

Cute and Cheap Birthday Themes for Young Children

Many children have a favorite TV show, hobby, or animal that can be made into a birthday theme. Parents may be able to use the child’s toys and items for decorations.

Some other easy themes for little kids include rainbows, trucks, animals (turtles, cats, dogs), ocean (“under the sea”), craft or game day, tea party, outer space, or nursery rhymes.

Easy Toddler or Preschool Party Invitations

  • Handprint invitations are easy to make with paper and a little non-toxic paint. The birthday child’s handprint is place on the front of the card with a saying such as “Come see how much I’ve grown!”
  • Stencils or stickers can decorate homemade invitations to match the party theme.
  • The Internet is full of free printable invitations for coloring that the birthday child can decorate to use as invites.
  • If scrapbooking supplies are available, scraps can be used to make cute “craft day” party or otherwise themed invitations.
  • E-mail invitations are fast and easy.

Party Activity Ideas for Little Kids

  • Coloring or decorating a birthday banner could be fun as guests arrive.
  • Story time – Most kids are thrilled when an adult or teen reads a party-themed book to them.
  • String a necklace – children are provided heavy white quilting thread on which they can string Fruit Loops, Cheerios, or some other snack with a hole.
  • DVD – For a little quiet rest time, children can watch a short show that goes with the party theme while cake or lunch is prepared.
  • Little ones enjoy simple games like Ring-Around-the-Rosy, Duck Duck Goose, Musical Chairs, Hot Potato, and Simon Says.

Yummy Snacks, Food and Fun Birthday Cakes for Children

There are many toddler snacks to go along with party themes. For instance, Goldfish crackers for an ocean or fishy party, gummy worms for a bug or garden party, animal cookies or crackers for a zoo or other animal theme, or any colorful snack or candy for a rainbow party. Many cartoon-character themed snacks are also available at grocery stores.

Healthy snacks could include apple slices with dip, crackers, mini muffins, small cheese slices, and other finger foods made for children. To save money, making peanut butter and jelly, tuna, or other “finger sandwiches” is relatively cheap. Kids generally like healthy homemade salad or kabobs featuring banana chunks and favorite fruits.

Celebrating Your Teen’s Birthday: Creative, Easy Gifts For Teenagers

You remember the moment they were born — so tiny, fragile, and vulnerable. And now, somehow, in a flash, the years have whizzed by in a blur of sports games, birthday parties, school photos, and the mystery of time. What are some ways you can celebrate the birthday of your sometimes-hard-to-buy-for teenager that will make her smile?

Pamper Your Teen

Just like moms do, teens love to be pampered at the spa. A cleansing facial is great for that hormonal complexion. Who doesn’t love a Swedish massage, and a manicure and pedicure would round out the prefect day of relaxation for any teen. And hey, while you’re there… you might as well pamper yourself, too!

Driving School

Is your teen ready to learn how to drive? Why not present your teen with a ‘gift certificate’ you make for driving school classes that are required in order to get her license. This is a great alternative if you can’t afford to get your teen what she really wants… a car! (This, obviously, would also make a nice gift!) Here are some safe driving tips to help get your teen on the right track.

Shopping With Your Teen

Every teen loves to shop. Some teens probably couldn’t think of a better gift than a trip to the mall. You can purchase ‘mall gift certificates’ that allow teens to shop in any store of their choice — this is a great idea when you can’t be sure what their favorite mall shop is this week! You could let your teen bring a friend, or hang out with her while she spends her birthday loot!

The Old-Fashioned Gift of Cash

Not sure what to tell aunts and uncles to get your teen? No one has ever NOT been excited to open a birthday card and have cash fall out. Teens, like everyone else, love the gift of being able to decide what their own gift will be! Encourage relatives to simply give or send money in a card. This will surely bring a smile! If your teen has a checking account, a check is a better idea if the card will be going through the mail.

Other Teen Gift Ideas

Most teens have ipods, so an itunes gift card would be a perfect gift, as would cell phone minutes, a special piece of jewelry that includes their birthstone, a magazine subscription, or a salon gift certificate to get their hair done.

Whatever way you decide to celebrate your teen’s birthday — try to spend some time with her. As you’ve learned, the years fly by, and now there aren’t too many left until she’ll be gone!

City of St. Augustine’s 452rd Birthday Party: Oldest City in United States, Florida City Marks 452rd Year in 2017

The United States’ oldest continuously inhabited European-established city will celebrate the 452rd anniversary of Pedro Menéndez y Avila’s landing with a three-day citywide event on August 28-30, 2017. Admission is free.

According to St. Augustine publicist Barbara Golden, “The City of St. Augustine’s Birthday is one of the most exciting times of the year in Northeast Florida. The celebration grows each year and this year includes three full days of special events celebrating the city’s rich Spanish heritage.”

This year’s focus is the culture and heritage of the Native Americans who were already living on the land when Pedro Menéndez y Avila’s ship made its 1565 landing.

Highlights of the celebration are an Indian Pow Wow, a reenactment of Pedro Menéndez’s landing followed by a celebration of Mass at the historic spot, an interactive exhibit of the city’s historic timeline, and a birthday party with cake and party games.

Thursday, August 28: Celebrating Those Who Were Already Here

Opening night events, set for 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., remember the residents of Seloy, the large Timucuan village that predated St. Augustine’s Spanish sellers. The Seminoles and members of other tribes who have played their parts in Florida history will also be honored. The evening will include an Indian Pow Wow celebrating the Native American traditions that are a part of the city’s history.

Friday, August 29: Entertainment in 16th Century Style

The gardens of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum, 19 San Marco Avenue, will become the stage for entertainment sixteenth-century style, including jugglers, madrigal singers, and actors who will present authentic skits and comedies. Admission to the museum grounds is free.

Saturday, August 30: Landing Reenactment and Commemorative Mass Celebration

A full day of festivities begins at 9:30 a.m. with an authentically costumed reenactment of the landing by the city’s founder, don Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, at the Mission of Nombre de Dios, 27 Ocean Avenue. Following the reenactment, an outdoor Mass will be celebrated on a wooden altar at the water’s edge, the exact landing point of the Spanish colonists in 1565.

Saturday, August 30: First Thanksgiving Cooking Contest and Historical Encampment, Fountain of Youth Archeological Park

From noon until 2:00 p.m., a cooking contest, classes, and demonstrations using sixteenth century foods and recipes will re-create the First Thanksgiving. The early Spanish settlers of St. Augustine shared this harvest feast with their Timucuan neighbors decades before the better-known banquet in New England. Authentic sixteenth century lunches will be available for purchase.

Saturday, August 30: Fiesta at the Colonial Spanish Quarter Museum

From noon until 3:00 p.m., the fiesta will feature live bluegrass music and children’s activities in the Colonial Spanish Quarter Museum, located on St. George Street. During the fiesta, St. Augustine’s Royal Family will cut the official birthday cake.

For More Information

Visit the official St. Augustine’s Birthday website for more detailed information about the event. For more information about travel to St. Augustine and room availability during the celebration, call the St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches Visitors and Convention Bureau at 800.653.2489 or view their travel-planning website.

Communal Family Birthday Celebrations: Creating a Low-stress Tradition to Celebrate Adult Sibling Birthdays

Celebrating family birthdays with a special dinner and gifts is a common tradition in North America. But, as children grow up and start their own families, finding useful and appropriate gifts for their adult siblings and parents becomes more and more difficult, as does finding the time for special celebrations for each person’s birthday, especially for larger families. At what point can you stop giving gifts to adult siblings or, as an adult child, to your parents without creating any hard feelings?

Transitioning Away From Giving Birthday Gifts and Celebrations

Often, siblings and children who move away stop sending gifts when the cost of shipping becomes too much. But, for families who continue to live close together and see each other often, the transition away from gift giving can be awkward. For most people, failing to offer a gift to a sibling and then receiving one from them on your birthday is not a nice feeling, nor is spending hours searching for a gift that will be appreciated but is still within your budget.

Before making a decision, discuss the issue as a family. If everyone is content to simply receive a birthday wish and perhaps a card on their special day, then make that the rule and stick to it. However, if everyone would still like to do something to acknowledge birthdays, consider developing a communal birthday celebration.

What is a Communal Birthday?

A communal birthday is a celebration of all members’ birthdays on a single day. To set up a communal birthday, select a day to have the celebration. Unlike an actual birthday, the communal birthday doesn’t have to be the same day each year. You can adjust the date every year so the celebration is most convenient, for example, you could plan to celebrate the first weekend in June each year.

A summer communal birthday works well because it is halfway to Christmas and opens up celebration possibilities to outdoor events like picnics and barbeques. Choose an event that is easy for everyone, such as a potluck dinner where everyone contributes food and helps to clean up afterwards. You could also assign a different person to bring the cake each year.

Note: Children are not likely to appreciate communal birthdays and should still have their individual celebration, but your family can decide at what age the children will be initiated into the communal birthday event and stop receiving individual celebrations and gifts.

Dealing With Gift Giving

Once you have decided on a date for your communal birthday and planned the event, you will need to decide how you will handle gifts. You may decide, as a family, to have the celebration without gifts, but if you feel the need to offer some token of a gift, consider the following options:

  • Have a gift exchange where names are randomly and anonymously assigned to each person who is participating in the communal birthday. Set a price limit. At the event, everyone brings a gift that is within the price limit for the person they were assigned. If the presents are delivered unsigned, part of the gift opening can include guessing who brought the gift.
  • Have a gift exchange where everyone brings a generic gift that can be given to any participant. Set a price limit. At the gift opening, draw names to determine the order that people open a gift. The first person selects a gift to open. The second person can choose to “steal” the gift from the first person, who then picks another gift, or to select one from the gift pile. This continues until the final gift is opened. Then, the first person to open a gift has the last option to “steal” a gift from someone else.
  • Have all participants contribute the amount of money they would have spent on a gift to a fund. Then have each person pick a charity they want to support. Donate an equal portion of the gift money to the selected charities in the person’s name.
  • Agree on a charity as a family and donate the entire gift amount as a lump sum on behalf of the entire family.

Birthdays as a Way to Connect or Reconnect with Family

Birthdays are a special time for individuals, but in a family, they can also be a way to reconnect and celebrate each other with quality family time, especially as adults. Removing the pressure of having to find the perfect, affordable gift for each family member, can help people relax and simply enjoy each other’s company. Of course, on each family member’s actual birth date, you should still acknowledge him or her with a phone call, card, or email greeting.

Craft Goodie Bags for Kids’ Birthday Parties: Take Home Art Projects for Partygoers

Send young party-goers home with a bag of inexpensive art and craft supplies. Establish a budget for each goodie bag and include the cost of the gift bag and filler when figuring costs. When purchasing items such as a bag of rhinestones or chenille stems, figure into how many goodie bags the packages will divide.

The key is to think of a theme for the goodie bag. Below are a few ideas for kits to put together that result in a usable project. Fill out the bag with crumpled or shredded tissue paper.

Painting , Drawing or Diary Goodie Bag

Look for mini colored pencils or markers and pair with a small pad of unlined paper. Add in some inexpensive stickers.

Cut up a pad of watercolor paper so each sheet becomes four smaller sheets of paper. Wrap a ribbon around six to twelve small sheets of paper. Include a watercolor palette (these come with a paintbrush).

Doorknob Hanger or Creative Crafts Bag

Fill each bag with a craft foam doorknob hanger and add in a snack-size plastic bag filled with craft foam shapes, small tubes of glitter glue, rhinestones, and other inexpensive decorations. Add in a miniature tube of glue so kids can assemble a personalized doorknob decoration when they get home.

Fill a transparent goodie bag with a few chenille stems, pompoms, feathers, colorful craft sticks, wiggly eyes, a small tube of glue, and other fun, open-ended craft supplies. The clear bag will show off the bright colors of the items and get kids thinking immediately about what they’ll create when handed the bag.

Treasure Box, Picture Frame Bag

Place rhinestones, a mini paint pot or two, foam shapes, star stickers, etc. inside a tiny wood box or paper mache box.

Include some small acrylic picture frames and add in a miniature tube or two of glitter glue, some rhinestones, and a half strip of glittery stickers. Consider pairing an acrylic frames that stand on a tabletop with a keychain frame or a miniature magnetic frame.

Mask Decorating or Jewelry Making Goodie Bag

Set a plastic half mask in a bag along with feathers, rhinestones, craft foam shapes, sequins, beads, and a mini container of glue.

Create a mix of plastic pony beads, shape beads, word or letter beads and set in a plastic bag. Include a skein of embroidery floss or enough cording to make three or four bracelets.

Instead of filling a bag with plastic toys that will be tossed, these arts and crafts goodie bags give birthday party-goers a fun and useful project that they can assemble at home.

Birthday’s on a Budget: Save With Birthday Parties That Don’t Break the Bank

Have you ever given or been invited to a party where the child was too young to even understand what was going on? Do you know of a parent that was so busy organizing the party that s/he missed the birthday boy or girl make a wish and blow out the candles?

In this current culture of bigger, better, faster, more, many of us are beginning to think about where we can reign in the madness. Overblown birthday parties may just be the place to start.

If you’re fed up with the birthday party Olympics, join the club. Many parents, feeling increasing pressure to one up their peers, are losing out on the joy of the birthday celebration, and some are even piling up a good bit of debt. This year, why not have a party that is fun and affordable?

Here’s what to do instead

  1. Plan a sane party that allows you to spend time with your child rather than run back and forth from the kitchen or among clowns and other costumed characters.

2. Make your child’s special day kids (or maybe family) only.

3. Make and stick to a birthday party budget.

4. Include a party activity everyone can join in. Kids don’t have to have ponies for a great party…


  • Outdoor or indoor games
  • Indoor crafts
  • Karaoke
  • Dress up (don’t have clothes on hand? head to a thrift store)


5. Serve kid-friendly finger food (no caterers or unwieldy recipes, please)

6. Dress your child comfortably and avoid clothing you are worried will be soiled or ruined.

7. Don’t serve anything red.

8. Capitalize on your child’s imaginative spirit (have you heard the one about the parent’s pricey present and the daughter’s delight with the box it came in? Enough said).

9. Be confident enough not to keep up with the Joneses. Or if you’re not there yet, call them and negotiate a birthday party cease-fire (i.e. no pastry chef inspired cakes, take home crafts instead of bulging party bags…you get the idea).

10. Keep the crowd small and avoid rental fees for the party tent.

11. If you are worried about classmates that may feel hurt about not receiving an invitation, make and take a special lunch or host a pizza party for your child at school. Many parlors offer early week or carry-out discounts.

12. Be creative and keep the focus on your kid. After all, the best gift is time with a loving parent.