GFM JUL 2016
A first birthday party is a very special occasion for family and friends. Although your child will not remember her first birthday party, she will certainly enjoy looking at the pictures when she is older and knowing how special her first birthday was to her family.
1st Birthday themes can focus on the #1 or characters that are popular with young children, such as Sesame Street, Teletubbies, Barney, and Winnie the Pooh. A favorite toy (teddy bear, doll, or truck) might also suggest a fun party theme.
The best locations for first birthday parties are places your child is familiar and comfortable with, such as your home, a friend’s or relative’s home, or a playground your child frequently visits.
Keep the party short (1-2 hours), and plan for a time of day when your child is usually at his best. Morning parties work well for many young children.
Make a fun and simple invitation by cutting large number 1’s from bright colored paper. Write your child’s name on the front of the number with a glitter pen, and write the party details (time, location, date, etc.) on the back with colorful marker. Another fun invitation idea is to glue reprints of a recent photo of your child to a slightly larger piece of paper and write, “Look who’s turning 1!” above or below the photo with party details on the back.
Fun decorations for a first birthday party include large number ones cut from brightly colored paper and hung around the party location, favorite photos of the birthday child (from newborn pictures to current), stuffed animals, Happy 1st Birthday banner or poster for guests to sign and add their best wishes, and helium balloons and streamers to match the party theme.
Fun games & activities for a first birthday include: * story time (read or tell a favorite story), * home video of 1st year (limit to 10 minutes!), * ball rolls (have children sit in circle with legs apart and roll large ball to each other), * wagon rides (decorate a wagon, and pull children for rides), * free play (provide blocks, stacking toys, pull toys, and other young favorites), * box yard (decorate several large cardboard boxes, and allow children to climb in and through boxes), and * a pull string piñata (even very young children can play).
Creative arts & crafts for a first birthday include finger painting, paint-with-water books (ink is printed on page), and making handprints in plaster or clay.
Fun foods for a first birthday include animal crackers or other small cookies, peanut butter & jelly or cream cheese sandwiches, applesauce, and cupcakes (less messy than cake). Provide additional foods for the adult guests, such as cheese and crackers, cut fruit, a raw vegetable platter with dip, and pretzels.
Fun party favors for a first birthday include beach balls, blowing bubbles, picture books, and soft finger puppets.
More great birthday party ideas can be found at kidspartyfun.com.
Ten Tips for Great Children’s Parties on a Shoestring Budget
Use the 10 inexpensive party tips below to give your child a great party without breaking your budget:
#1) Pick a simple and inexpensive party theme. Some party themes are just naturally more expensive because they require lots of decorations, special food, or activity and entertainment fees to convey the theme. Other party themes are relatively easy and inexpensive to pull-off. Visit kidspartyfun.com for over 100 party theme ideas.
#2) Keep the party short. Two hours is fine. Less time means less entertainment, activities, and food are needed.
#3) Keep the party small. Don’t feel like you have to invite your child’s entire class and her soccer team, too. Limit the guest list to 6 or fewer of your child’s closest friends to keep costs reasonable.
#4) Schedule the party for a time of day when you aren’t expected to provide a meal. Simply serve drinks, munchie snacks (pretzels, chips, or crackers), and cake and ice-cream. If you really want to provide a meal, look for a coupon special from a local pizza parlor, or serve up some kid-friendly mac & cheese.
#5) Check out one-stop party places where food, decorations, activities, and party favors are all provided for one fee. These include kid gyms and play centers, children’s museums, bowling alleys, skating rinks, and restaurants. Surprisingly, package deals can be less expensive than pulling together all the pieces yourself.
#6) If the weather is likely to cooperate, consider having the party at a park with a playground and an open field. Bring sports equipment, kites, Frisbees, and other outdoor games. The location and activities (playing) are free. You add basic refreshments, party ware, and decorations for an inexpensive, but fun, celebration.
#7) Shop for party supplies at chain discount stores. The selection may be more limited than at party stores, but the prices can be much less. Most discount stores carry paper cups, plates, napkins, utensils, balloons, streamers, party favors, and candy. Be creative—you may not be able to find plates printed with Elmo at your local discount store, but red plates will be fine.
#8) Keep your eyes open for low-cost books and toys that would make nice party favors. Look for packaged sets that can be opened and divided-up, such as a bucket of Legos (put a big handful in an individual favor bag), a set of toy cars, or a booklet of stickers that you can cut individual pages from.
#9) Consider all-inclusive party kits. Several on-line party stores sell party kits for many themes that include party ware, decorations, and favor bags at much lower cost than purchasing these items individually. Similarly, pre-assembled craft and activity kits are often less expensive than buying items separately.
#10) Get help! Ask friends and family to help with specific tasks. Maybe your sister can bake a great cake, an artistic friend might be able to do face painting or coordinate some inexpensive craft projects, and older siblings can blow up and hang balloons (less expensive than helium).
When in doubt, spend your dollars where they’ll have the most impact with the children. Fortunately, most children are more interested in having fun with their friends than participating in expensive activities, receiving elaborate party favors, or eating fancy food!