27 Steps to Planning The Perfect Kid’s Birthday Party Plus: The Ultimate Kid’s Birthday Party Gift Guide!

Planning a kid's birthday party has never been so easy! View and download our detailed party planning checklist and prepare to host an unforgettable party.

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Chapter One

Before the Party

1. Decide on a birthday party theme (1-2 months before)

Whether you’re initially thinking about hosting your child’s birthday party at your own home or at a different venue, it’s important to start by figuring out the party’s theme.

Why?

Because the theme your child wants their party to follow is likely to define its location. If laser tag or go karts are the desired activity, it’s doubtful you’ll be able to pull that one off at home. The same thing goes for a pool party (unless you have a pool) or an arcade.

Based on how often the taste and interests of a small child tend to change, planning a birthday party theme 1-2 months early may seem like a risk.

We hear you.

But really, 1-2 months is a pretty safe timeline, and your kid’s excitement will build along the way as they see your plan unfold.

It's always smart to pick out a theme before finalizing a venue. The theme doesn't have to be elaborate and can range from simply "play" to a more elaborate superhero costume party.

Often, the choice of a venue is strongly influenced by the theme of the party. Knowing the theme early also allows you to form the most comprehensive vision of what is necessary to make the party successful, from the location to the amount of guests, and type of food and decorations.

Pro tip: Remember who the party is actually for

If your child is 1 or 2 years old, you may not want to go overboard on a fancy themed party. It’s pretty much a guarantee that they can’t tell the difference. At the age of 3 or 4, kids start to notice and care more.

Of course, it’s common for parents of baby’s to have birthday parties that also serve as an excuse for the adults to get together. Just be mindful of who the theme is catered to and how elaborate it should be based on the age of your child.

Having trouble? Here’s some basic theme ideas by age and gender

5 year old birthday party ideas

  • Supervised arcade games
  • Arts and crafts
  • Storytelling
  • Small scale games
  • Children’s movie-themed (Moana, Coco, Frozen)

6-7 year old birthday party ideas

  • Arcade
  • Arts and crafts
  • Sports
  • Open gym

8-9 year old birthday party ideas

  • Arcade
  • Soccer or tennis
  • Arts and crafts
  • Casino night

10+ year old birthday party ideas

  • Bowling
  • Batting cages
  • Flag football
  • Tennis
  • Photography
  • Advanced arts and crafts

Girls birthday party ideas

  • Axe throwing (supervised kids 11 and over only)
  • Princess-themed party
  • Masquerade ball
  • Horses or ponies
  • Baking
  • Art, jewelry making, or pottery
  • Dance party

Boys birthday party ideas

  • Axe throwing (supervised kids 11 and over only)
  • Sports round robin tournament
  • Cars and race cars
  • Ninjas
  • Planes and trains
  • Superheroes
  • Mini golf or a driving range

Got your theme?

Let’s move on.

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2. Pick a party location (4-6 weeks before)

Whether your daughter wants a princess-themed birthday party or your son wants to bash bumper cars for 2 hours before eating cake and opening presents, your location will play a role.

This often depends on personal preference. Hosting a birthday party at home can be an excellent solution for parents who want to have a hand in everything from decorating and cooking to turning the backyard into a magical fantasy-land for tea parties or nerf battles.

Obviously, hosting a party at home can be daunting, as there’s quite a bit of cleanup involved before and after the fact, and food has to be cooked in house or catered.

Some parents prefer to host at community centers, public pools or churches, which offer recreational spaces and keep the mess out of the house.

Depending on a party’s theme, a great solution to decrease the planning burden is an amusement park or family entertainment center, which often has dedicated party planners and a full menu in house.

Either way, be sure your child is comfortable with and excited about the location, and that it can accommodate the party’s theme.

3. Figure out how many guests your location and budget will accommodate (4-6 weeks before)

As we discussed above, you don’t necessarily have to invite the whole class to your child’s party. In fact, it’s likely that your son or daughter has close friendships and would rather spend more time with those friends.

Not only that, but smaller parties can promote a calmer (but still fun and exciting!) atmosphere and help you cut costs.

Before you even think about finalizing a guest list, figure out the capacity of your location.

Can your back yard accommodate 27 wild kids? Would a group that big have to wait in line too long at a go kart track? Conversely, are 5 or 6 guests enough to play capture the flag or pickup soccer?

Once you’ve nailed down a number you think makes sense, cross-check it with your budget.

What’s the overall total cost per guest of food, decorations, gift bags, activities and cake?

You can also use this baseline for deciding your number of invitees:

For babies ages 1 or 2

The number of guests doesn’t really matter to the child, as they are too young to fully grasp what is going on. Many of these parties will be attended by the parents of each guest and will be more family oriented.

For kids ages 3-5

A guest list of 4-8 will often suffice. Toddlers and preschool aged children don’t need to be surrounded by large groups to have fun. On the contrary, It’s likely they will get distracted if you invite more than 10 kids to the party. Try to keep it small.

For kids ages 6-10

Kids between 6 and 10 like to run around and start forming an affinity for large group and team activities. 8-12 guests is ideal and still manageable.

For kids older than 10

Let your kid have more of a say as long as his or her choices don’t exceed your budget or the location’s capacity. Older kids know what they enjoy and what they don’t. Most kids will probably ask for a bigger party.

Combining all of these considerations will help you land on the perfect number of guests.

4. Check with the parent(s) of your child’s best friend(s) for their availability (4-6 weeks before)

This may not be the case if your kid is under 4, but around that age and older, children start to develop stronger friendships and can begin to differentiate their closest friends from their acquaintances.

Make sure that your son or daughter’s best friend(s) will be in town and available for the time and date of your party.

This little detail always gets forgotten, and your birthday girl or boy may feel a bit sad if their best buddy can’t be there.

5. Set the date (4-6 weeks before)

Now that you’ve checked the availability of key attendees, picked a venue and decided on a theme, it’s time to formally pick the date.

This one is pretty simple--weekends close to your kid’s birthday tend to work best.

All set?

Let’s keep going.

6. Refine your guest list (4-5 weeks before)

This may be the single most stressful aspect of birthday party planning.

Creating a birthday party guest list needs to take into account both financial considerations and etiquette.

Should you invite the whole class or just a select group of your child’s friends?

So far, you’ve estimated the ideal number of guests and the key friends that your son or daughter would love to have at the party.

That’s a great start.

The next step is to figure out who you actually want to have in attendance.

Inviting the whole class is often unnecessary.

As a rule of thumb, try to invite children who have previously invited your child to a birthday party. This isn't always possible, but it's a good goal nevertheless.

Ask your child who they have the most fun with, and look for red flags about kids who may make your child uncomfortable.

With a little help from your son or daughter, creating a final guest list should be a piece of cake.

7. Coordinate with vendors and entertainment, or work with a party planner (4-5 weeks before)

Depending on the party’s theme, there may be a need to bring in outside entertainment, or to decide on entertainment within an existing venue.

Make sure you get started on this early, as some bands, musicians and clowns can be booked for weeks at a time.
If you are not hosting at home, it’s best to have a venue that features party planners. These birthday party planners can reduce some of the burden of planning and get activities set up and planned more quickly and efficiently.

8. Create invitations (1 month before)

It’s becoming more and more common for parents to send out evites for their children’s birthday parties. That’s great, but the old fashioned alternative can also serve as an educational opportunity.

If they’re old enough, have your birthday boy or girl participate in the invitation design and writing process. It will be fun and educational, all while building excitement about the upcoming event.

Here’s the information every birthday party invitation should include:

  • Your child’s name and the age they are turning
  • The party’s theme (if there is one)
  • Location and address
  • Date and time
  • Email address or phone number for RSVPs and RSVP date
  • Special instructions (costumes, drop-off location, etc.)

Pro tip: Will you be feeding my kid?

If the birthday party isn’t set for an obvious meal time, such as 11:00-1:00, it’s helpful to specify whether you will be providing a full meal for the children attending the party. This allows parents to plan their child’s meals accordingly.

9. Send invitations (3-4 weeks before)

This one is pretty self-explanatory.

Just make sure your invites are mailed at least 3-4 weeks in advance of your party’s date. Extracurricular activities can take over the schedule of many children and their parents, so it’s important to get invites out before something else can creep onto the calendar of your desired guests.

If your child is older than 5; consider using the process of preparing a letter for the mail as a fun educational activity.

10. Figure out the party length and timeline (3 weeks before)

This is where many people tend to go wrong by planning long, drawn out parties.

Parties don’t have to be an all day affair to be fun and exciting. In fact, most kids—especially younger ones—tire quickly, so it doesn’t make much sense to have overtired kids running around for 5 hours. In fact, it sounds like a nightmare for parents.

Instead, keep your parties short and action-packed.

Here are some guidelines for party length based on the age of your child:

For babies ages 1 or 2

Let’s be honest, these parties are more for parents than they are for the kids. Babies will not have much of an idea what’s going on during their birthday party, but for kids that are just entering the toddler stage, themes, foods and time for gifts becomes more important.

Either way, it's important not to overstimulate a baby, as it's likely they won't be excited after 3 hours of activity.

Keep these parties short. 1 hour is perfect, 1 and a half the maximum—otherwise, you’ll have a grouchy baby on your hands.

For kids ages 3-5

To an adult, one and a half hours goes by like a lightning bolt. To kids, it can feel like days. For toddlers and preschool aged kids, one and a half to two hours is the perfect length for a nice, exciting party.

Avoid overtired kids by keeping it short.

For kids ages 6-8

Kids aged 6-8 are often little balls of energy. This is the age where a parent picking up their kid from a party starts hearing “Already!? But I just got here!”

Even so, There’s no need for a party at this age to exceed three and a half hours. That’s plenty of time for multiple activities, food, cake and presents, without overdoing it.

For kids 9 and older

After the age of 9 or 10, kids start to gain a more nuanced perception of time. They can handle larger blocks of time away from their parents without acting out, and their drive for adventure overrides their tendency to get overtired.

The length of a birthday party at this age really depends on the location and activities planned. Sticking between two and four hours will provide plenty of time for older kids to have a blast.

Deciding the party’s length is only part of the equation. The party’s actual timeline is what keeps everything together and organized.

This timeline doesn't necessarily have to be communicated to parents and guests, but it's vital for you to know the details inside an out. Adhering to a predetermined timeline will leave enough for every activity, ensuring the party goes smoothly.

Here is a sample two and a half hour birthday party itinerary:

11:00: Parents drop off kids, leave all gifts on side table (be sure gifts are stored in a secure area)

11:00-11:30: Open play

11:30-12:15: Pizza, Birthday Cake and Gift Opening

12:15-1:30: Organized Group Activities — Laser Tag, Bowling, Bumper Cars, etc.

1:30-1:45: Pick-up

11. Plan Out The Party’s Games and Activities

The birthday party activities will depend mostly on your venue and your party’s theme. For example, hosting a party at an arcade or a family entertainment center takes the responsibility of activity planning and setup off of your shoulders.

If you’re hosting your party in an environment without party planners, like your home or a park, you may have to come up with some games and activities to keep the kids occupied and having fun.

Struggling to think of something fun for your kid's party?

No problem!

Here are some fun and easy kids birthday party ideas for activities you can set up on your own:

Active kids birthday party ideas
Relay races:

Relay races are simple to set up and easy to explain. They are also extremely inclusive activities that help children learn team-building skills.

Capture the flag:

Every kid loves capture the flag. It also happens to be one of the easiest games to set up. If you’re hosting the party in your back yard or a park, create the boundaries of the playing field and make them clear to all of the kids, set up the flags, create teams, and let the games begin!

kids obstacle course
Obstacle or activity course:

It’s pretty easy to build an obstacle course out of objects you may have laying around your house or in the garage. An obstacle doesn’t necessarily have to be difficult to physically get through. Your obstacles can be riddles, athletic challenges or, more traditionally,  hoops to crawl or jump through. With a little creativity, your options are endless. You can also combine an obstacle course with a relay race to make things extra fun.

Sprinkler party:

This activity doesn’t even have to be organized. Kids love running through sprinklers on a hot Summer day. Just make sure they take turns!

croquet set
Croquet:

For slightly older kids, croquet is an easy game to set up, learn, and play. It also accommodates multiple players so everyone will feel included.

Bocce:

Bocce is a fun game that will feel like outdoor bowling to the kids at the party. It can be played one on one or with teams, including a larger group of guests. You can get bocce sets at most big box stores and online.

Crafty kids birthday party ideas
baking birthday
Baking birthday party:

Baking is great for birthday parties because kids have fun creating the baked goods, and then they get to eat them! Pick out a recipe before the party and make sure you have all of the ingredients on hand. Once the party starts, make sure everyone gets roles that they enjoy in the baking process. For a fun touch, buy some colored icing and toppings like sprinkles and chocolate chips so that your guests can decorate their creations.

Building with clay:

No matter the theme, kids love working with clay, and it stimulates their creativity (giving you a break from running around). Have them create clay figures representative of the party’s theme. The best part? Polymer clay like Sculpey can be fired right in your home oven, so kids can see their final creation and take it home with them!

Animal masks:

For an animal themed party, you can purchase craft supplies for party guests to create their own masks. Cut out mask templates with card-stock paper ahead of time and glue on a popsicle stick so that the mask can be held up. The rest is up to the kids to customize, design and embellish.

beading birthday
Beading birthday party:

Kids love creating jewelry. At your local arts and crafts store, you should be able to find a wide variety of string and beads that party guests can use to create their own necklaces and bracelets. For a fun touch, try finding beads with letters on them so that jewelry can be customized with names.

Floral arrangements:

Creating floral arrangements is a fun way to stimulate creativity and have fun. Not to mention, kids can take their arrangements home! Try to purchase wholesale flowers of multiple varieties for the party, avoid flowers with thorns, and cut stems ahead of time to avoid safety hazards.

Don’t want to host your kid’s birthday party at home? Then the options are even more extensive.

Here are a few:

Laser tag birthday
Laser Tag:

Laser tag is exhilarating and strategic. Most importantly, it’s extremely fun, and kids never tire of playing. Any birthday party involving laser tag is a guaranteed good time.

Batting cages:

Does your child love baseball or softball? Batting cages are an active and competitive activity for kids of all ages.

Arcade:

The hunt for tickets is just as fun for children as playing the games themselves. Arcades are great because of the variety of games and the possibility to win awesome prizes!

Bowling:

Bowling is an absolute blast and never gets old. Watch your child hone their skills while bowling.

wipeout trampoline
Trampolines:

Jumping on trampolines is an absolute blast and most kids would do it all day long if they could. Try wipeout trampolines for an even more fun and inclusive spin on the activity.

Pool party:

If your child is old enough and knows how to swim, why not have a fun tropical themed pool party? There are plenty of fun pool games that kids can play in a supervised environment.

Ropes course:

Kids love being challenged, and a ropes course is a perfect combination of fun and challenging. Not to mention, it’s a great opportunity to learn about teamwork.

12. Buy supplies and party favors, and start crafting! (2-3 weeks before)

Depending on where you host the party, it may be necessary to purchase decorations and supplies. Confetti, candles, balloons and streamers are a mainstay, but the theme you choose for the party will have the biggest role in determining your needs.

Be sure to get started early, and make a list.

Decorating takes quite some time, and it’s extremely common to forget items or to decide you need more along the way.

This is also about the time you should start thinking about party favors, if the location of your party doesn’t provide them already.

Pro Tip: Try gift cards instead of gift bags

As much as kids love candy and little toys, they probably don’t need any more. You also don’t need to be spending crazy amounts of time putting together intricate gift bags and thinking of ideas for what to include.

Why not try a small gift card instead? That way, your child’s friend has a built-in opportunity for a fun family activity. Movie theater or frozen yogurt gift cards are great options.

Depending on your party theme and venue, you may need to unleash your inner arts and crafts expert.

If you’re hosting at home and feeling crafty, the sky’s the limit for what you can create. Just make sure you get started early, because it can take quite a bit of time.

A styrofoam castle for a medieval themed party or paintings of whales for the background of a sea-life themed party?

The options are endless.

13. Plan out your menu (2 weeks before)

happy boy with cupcake tree

It's possible that the party theme will influence the menu, but your child's preferences and any food allergies among attendees will ultimately matter the most.

If your birthday boy or girl is a bit older, be sure to give them a choice on what they would enjoy to eat for the party. What they say may surprise you.

Pro Tip: Don’t go overboard on the food

If you ask most kids between the age of 4-10 what their favorite food is, it’s likely that many of your responses will be something sweet. The need for a fancy elaborate meal may be more of a reflection of what you like versus what your child prefers.

That’s not to say that birthday party food should be unhealthy. It’s merely a reminder that kids like it simple.

14. Collect straggler RSVPs (1 week in advance)

At a certain point, you have to know who will--and won't--be attending so that you can prepare activities and forecast food needs.

Most parents are good about sending RSVPs prior to the due date, but inevitably a few will wait until the last minute.

You may need to give these people a call or shoot them an email to be sure there are no surprise guests on party day.

15. Shop for the food you will need (3-5 days in advance)

If the party is gearing up to be big, wholesale stores like Costco and Sam’s Club are your best friend.

Make sure you make a list of quantities and have storage space allocated before you go shopping.

Try to wait as long as possible to purchase perishable items. It’s a good idea to put together two grocery lists: one that can be purchased ahead of time and one of perishables, so that you can spread out your shopping and make sure everything stays fresh.

16. Prepare and clean your home (3-5 days in advance)

If you’re hosting at home, be sure to perform a deep clean of your house in advance of the party. This will not only make your home look great when parents drop off their kids, but will also help you stay organized throughout the setup process.

17. Do a safety sweep (3-5 days in advance)

This is crucial and it’s often overlooked by many parents who host parties in their own homes.

Your kid may know what’s off limits in your house and be well-trained to stay away from certain objects or areas of the house. Your party guests do not.

Make sure that anything potentially dangerous is removed or hidden away to ensure that kids stay safe during the party in your home.

18. Choose the music if it’s not going to be live (2-3 days in advance)

Ask your kid what kind of music he or she likes and put together a playlist of appropriate songs that will work (or delegate this task to another family member or friend).

Make sure you have a compatible speaker system for indoor parties or a portable wireless speaker for outdoor parties.

You can also delegate music duties during the party to another family member or parent.

19. Hire or assign a photographer (2-3 days in advance)

Most parents hosting kid birthday parties get a couple photos here and there, but not enough to capture the entire event—and hiring a photographer is expensive!

Delegate photography duties to a family member or parent willing to take pictures throughout the event.

Later in life, your child will be happy they have pictures of their best friends to reminisce about and poke fun at.

Pro Tip: Include photos in thank you cards sent to attendees

Most parents can’t get enough pictures of their kids. Why not develop some of the pictures you took during the party and pop them in an envelope along with every thank you card? It’s a great personalized touch that parents will love.

20. Time to decorate! (2-3 days in advance)

birthday party baloons

Give yourself plenty of time to decorate.

If you’re hosting at home, start a couple days ahead of time. The setup may take longer than you think. Enlist the help of family members for difficult tasks.

If you choose to host at a venue that allows parents to bring decorations, you may not be allowed to decorate until hours before the party.

In these cases, make sure you have everything ready to go, scope out the event space, and have a plan for execution before you get there.

21. Get cooking! (1-2 days in advance)

If you choose to cook rather than catering or hosting at an event space with a menu, all the power to you.

It’s going to take time, so be sure you get started on less perishable items at least a day in advance.

Create a list of foods to prepare and make sure you’ve allocated plenty of time to get all of it done.

Chapter Two

During the Party

22. Last minute cooking and cleaning

If you’re hosting at home, you may have some items that need to be fresh out of the oven to ensure food safety. Taking care of food prep early in the day is wise, as you only have to remember to put the meal in the oven (and take it out!) as the party nears.

Make sure to block out some time on the day of the party for another cleaning and safety check of your house. Kids can turn a house upside down in a matter of hours, so it’s important to double check.

23. Pick up any last minute foods or decorations

If you catered food or ordered a cake, chances are you will have to pick it up the day of the party.

Make sure you block out time to do this or assign a pick-up role to a friend or family member, as the day of a party can be jammed with last minute tasks.

24. Speak to your child about what is expected of a host

This is a realistic conversation for every child older than 4.

Birthday parties are amazing educational opportunities for the children hosting, as they can learn how to be the center of attention in a respectful, kind way.

Make sure your child knows how special it is to have a birthday party and have the opportunity to receive gifts from friends and family.

You can also have a conversation with your child about what it means to be a host. Sure, their main priority should be to have fun, but whether the party is at home or at another venue, welcoming guests and saying thank you are important actions to emphasize.

25. Greet parents (and give them jobs!)

Depending on the age of the children at your party, it’s possible that parents will stick around to watch their child and help out.

Be sure to have a list of small roles ready before the party begins and assign these roles as your guests arrive.

At parties for older children, where it’s uncommon for parents of guests to stay, assign these goals within your family, and make sure everyone knows what their responsibilities are.

This can be extremely important in order to make sure the party goes smoothly and everyone is safe.

26. Keep track of your gift givers

Have you ever sat down to write thank you cards and realized you don’t know who the specific gifts you received are from?

It happens. A lot.

It’s nearly impossible to keep every gift-giver’s card near their gift without mixing something up.

Thankfully, the solution is easy:

Assign an adult note-taker while your child is opening presents. You only need two columns:

  1. Who is the gift from?
  2. What is the gift?

You’ll be thankful you put in a bit of extra effort when you sit down with your son or daughter to write thank you cards.

Chapter Three

After the Party

27. Set aside time with your child to write thank you cards

Try to do this as soon as possible, preferably 1 or 2 days after the party.

Once again, thank you cards are an opportunity for your son or daughter to practice their manners and show their gratitude to their friends.

At some ages, it’s a necessity for parents to write thank you cards for their kids, but once kids have the ability to write, they should be writing the cards on their own.

Ready for the Best Birthday Party Ever?

Party planning doesn’t have to be stressful.

In fact, it can be fun—and seeing the smile on our kids’ faces when they’re having fun at a thoughtfully planned party makes it all well worth it.

Whether you decide to host at home, at an event space, or at a Minnesota Birthday Party specialist, organization is key.

Now that you’ve worked through our comprehensive checklist, you’re well on your way to hosting your child’s birthday party of a lifetime.

Have fun!

Download the PDF Checklist!

Enter your email to download the full 27 step birthday party planning checklist PDF!
Click the link below to dowload!
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Birthday Party Gifts

The Ultimate Kid’s Birthday Party Gift Guide!

A kids birthday party is typically a very exciting event for all children involved, whether they are guests or the actually birthday boy or girl.

But birthdays have a tendency to get stressful for parents.

As the parents of a guest, it can be particularly difficult to pick out the right gift, and your kids may not be a whole lot of help in doing so.

As a host in the midst of planning the perfect kid’s birthday party—figuring out the perfect party favors for a goody bag may just feel like too much to handle.

We totally get it—and thankfully, we have a solution that will save you time and money while ensuring the birthday party is a fun experience for both kids and parents!

This ultimate guide to kid’s birthday party gifts contains 10 easy gift ideas and 10 quick goody bag ideas for party planners. Some are DIY and some are not, so there’s something in here for everyone!

Let’s start giving!

Kid’s Birthday Party Gift Etiquette

Most parents have been here before:

When asking your kid what they think their friends would like for their birthday, you often get a less-than-solid response. “I don’t know” is probably at the top of the list, while you’ll be lucky to get something as detailed as “I think he likes cars.”

It’s time to take matters into your own hands.

But first, a couple notes on etiquette:

1. Gift giving is a must

Unless explicitly specified, you should always plan on sending your kid to a birthday party with a gift to give. It shows respect and is just the right thing to do

But with that said:

2. You don’t need to break the bank!

No-one should be ashamed of their budget. If you only have $10-20 to spend, that is more than ok! It’s the thought that counts, and most kids get excited just by the sheer quantity of presents they receive.

3. Have your kid help you pick out the present

It’s not necessarily a matter of good etiquette, but it’s a learning experience. It will involve your child in the act of gift-giving and teach them the joy of giving, while helping them feel more ownership over a process that they can’t fund themselves.

4. If you can’t attend, do you still need to buy a gift?

The short answer is no. It’s not like a wedding. The longer answer is that it never hurts to send a handwritten note saying your child won’t be in attendance. If nothing else, it will win you some points with the parents throwing the party!

For parents hosting birthday parties:

5. Don’t forget party favors or gift bags

At birthday parties these days, it’s usually expected that guests will be able to walk away with something for themselves.

This goodie bag or party favor can be small. Don’t worry, we’re about to give you some fool proof ideas.

6. Don’t gush over expensive gifts

It seems like every party these days features at least one extravagant gift. Whether a parent got carried away with a DIY project or a family member walks in with an expensive toy, it tends to happen more often than not.

The key, as a parent, is to remain respectful of other gift givers and not overreact to the gift. Instead, you can help explain to your child how special the gift is, without making any mention of the gift’s perceived cost.

7. Decide whether gifts will be opened before or after the party

You probably remember opening presents at your birthday party as a kid. Nowadays, it’s not a foregone conclusion that it needs to happen that way.

In fact, many parents choose to save the gift-opening for after the birthday party has ended. This stops gifts from getting mixed up and pieces of gifts from getting lost in the shuffle. There’s nothing like cracking open the fresh Lego set when you get home only to find that there are a few major pieces missing!

It also keeps the fun going:

Kids don’t have to patiently sit and watch while their friend unveils a never ending supply of new toys. In this sense, leaving the gifts until later can me more inclusive and considerate.

On the other hand, the party should be centered around the kid celebrating a birthday, and it can be nice for gift givers to see the smiles that go along with opening a special present.

The bottom line:

It’s up to you as a parent!

8. Make sure you know who each gift is from, and you have thank you cards queued up

As a parent, this is the most important tip to remember:

Bring a notebook to the party and write down each gift and who it’s from. You will need this information for thank you cards.

Speaking of thank you cards:

Make sure your kid is aware before the party that he or she will be tasked with writing thank you cards. It’s an important lesson, and it will ensure that they aren’t blindsided when you bring it up after the party.

10 Low-Cost, Creative Gift Ideas For Kid’s Birthday Parties

While there are countless creative options to ensure the birthday boy or girl is ecstatic about their birthday gift, we thought you would provide you with 10 of our favorite options.

Here’s a combination of 10 DIY and store-bought gifts that won’t break the bank but will certainly crack a smile!

1. A Sand or Snow Brick Maker to Build the Ultimate Sand Castle or Igloo

build an igloo

Kids love building forts. This takes fort-building to the next level.

Whether you live in a warm or cold weather climate, this igloo or sand castle building is one of the least expensive and most fun activities a kid can pursue.

An ice or sand brick-maker can cost as little as $5 and can lead to days of fun. If you feel that it’s too inexpensive to give as a complete gift, consider creating a hand-written step-by-step “how to build an igloo” guide. You can find the steps here.

2. Build a Set of DIY Lawn Dominoes

lawn dominoes

If you’re in the mood for a fun DIY project, this will fit the bill perfectly.

You won’t need much more than wooden planks, a circular saw and a drill press.

Follow this guide to create a beautiful set of giant lawn dominoes that are sure to be the most stunning gift at the party.

To save time, you can use a simple wood stain or paint instead of a torch to darken the surface of the boards.

3. Create a Giant Jenga Set

giant jenga

Here's another great DIY project involving wood. This one is even easier than building homemade lawn dominoes, and it makes for one of the most exciting games around.

Check out this guide for creating a giant Jenga set that doesn’t require a whole lot more than 2x4 boards and a saw.

If you don’t feel like building the wooden storage box, that’s no big deal! Just use a simple rubbermaid tub!

4. Craft Homemade Notebooks or Journals

homemade notebook

You can have your crafty kid help you out with this one!

Create a beautiful homemade notebook in minutes with this excellent step-by-step guide.

Feel free to make multiple notebooks and include a nice set of colored pencils or pens to go along with the package.

Parents will love this gift: It helps them take care of school supplies for the foreseeable future!

5. Adopt An Animal

symbolic animal adoption

Don’t worry, no-one is showing up to the party with a cage they’ve poked some holes in. Bringing a real pet as a gift may ruffle some feathers.

Instead, why not go for a symbolic animal adoption through the World Wildlife Foundation?

Choose from multiple animals to adopt. Each one comes with a plush toy, a certificate of adoption and a tote bag. Funds go towards a great cause: protecting wild animals and their habitats!

6. Adopt A Star

adopt a star

Does the birthday boy or girl have a passion for astronomy? Adopt a Star is the perfect STEM-related gift.

You will receive an Adopt a Star certificate along with glow in the dark star stickers and instructions on how to find the star in Google Sky.

Funds go towards the search for Earth-like planets and the characterization of stars.

7. Make A DIY Portable Lego Tray

lego tray

If you’re attending a kid’s birthday party, it’s very likely that kid plays with legos. If you’re getting a gift for a lego-obsessed kid, why not have it be lego-themed?

This quick and easy guide shows you how to create a portable lego tray from scratch. Parents will appreciate the gesture, as it will stop legos from being scattered across their floor.

If you want to supplement the gift, include a lego set or a small pack of legos with the tray!

8. Build a Set of DIY Wooden Snap Blocks

DIY snap blocks

This DIY project is on the slightly more complex side, but it will most certainly turn heads for its creativity.

Stimulate creativity by creating homemade wooden snap blocks of all shapes and sizes which can be snapped together to create any pattern.

The best part?

You may be able to do the whole thing for under $20! Check out the guide.

9. Consult Target’s “Bullseye’s Best Toys”

bullseye's best buys

 If you decide you just don’t have time for a DIY gift, that’s ok. We get it!

Fortunately there are some fantastic gifts out there that kids love. Why not take the guesswork out of identifying the perfect gift and check out a gift guide instead?

Target’s “Bullseye’s Best Toys” list is a collection of original and bestselling toys sold at Target stores.

Check it out!

10. Consult Good House Keeping’s “Hottest Toys in 2018” List

good housekeeping

Similar to Target, Good Housekeeping has put out an excellent list of their own.

Check out “The Hottest Toys of 2018” before heading to the store or ordering anything online.

10 Goody Bag or Party Favor Ideas For Kid’s Birthday Party Hosts

We’ve created a list of 10 creative party favor options for busy, party planning parents.

Whether you want to create something from scratch or provide a cute store-bought trinket, these 10 ideas will be the perfect resource.

1. Make Small Batches of Homemade, Kid-Safe Slime

slime

It may seem inexplicable to adults, but kids absolutely love slime.

Here’s a great step-by-step guide for creating homemade kid-safe goo that will last over a week and lead to hours of fun.

2. Make Homemade Bath Crayons

DIY bath crayons

Bath crayons are fun, but most importantly, they’re not permanent! Kids will love playing around with the all-natural soap-based product and creating great art on the walls of the bathtub.

Here’s the ultimate guide for creating homemade bath crayons!

3. Create DIY Bath Bombs

DIY bath bombs

Kids will be mesmerized by the beauty of a fizzing bath bomb. We can’t think of a better way to combine play time with personal hygiene.

Here’s an easy way to make homemade bath bombs that make the ultimate party favor!

4. Buy Inexpensive Wayfarers for all Guests

All the kids at your party will feel like movie stars if you equip them with trendy wayfarer sunglasses.

If you’re ok with your party turning into selfie-central, this is the perfect gift.

You can get a 10 pack for about $22 on Amazon.

5. Give Yo-Yos as a Fun Retro Gift

This may seem a bit old school, but yo-yos are still cool!

It’s a pretty intuitive skill to develop and kids will have a great time coming up with tricks together and competing over who can keep the yo-yo going longest!

Plus, it’s another inexpensive gift you can find on Amazon for about $3!

6. Send All The Kids Home With a Book

books as a gift

Don’t look now, but you just officially became everyone’s favorite parent (among the adults, at least).

Who said a party favor had to be a toy or an edible treat?

A small book is the best possible educational gift, and the fact that it’s being received as a gift will incentivize kids to actually read it.

Check out Half Price Books, where you can pick up tons of inexpensive children’s books for a very low price.

7. Provide a Take Home Lego Kit

bulk legos for gift

It’s easy to find wholesale legos online or “pay by the pound” lego bins at toy stores. A little bag of legos is a great take-home gift for any kid to add to their collection.

8. Bake Homemade Cupcakes

homemade cupcake gift

There’s nothing quite like a sweet treat. And even though party guest will have had the chance to enjoy plenty of cake at the party, we’re sure they wouldn’t mind having a treat for when they get home as well.

Homemade cupcakes are a quick, easy, and inexpensive party favor idea.

Best of all: You can have your kid help you make them!

9. Give Everyone a Succulent Plant

Succulent plant gift

A plant? Seriously?

Yes, seriously.

Giving a kid a plant helps teach discipline and responsibility, as they will be responsible for taking care of something and keeping it alive.

You can find succulent plants, which are very easy to keep alive, at places like Trader Joe’s for about $5. The small plants look great and all come with little pots, so there’s no need for additional purchases.

If you want to be extra thorough, you can include a little note card with watering and sunlight instructions.

10. A Gift Card or Tickets

gift card

If all else fails, and you just don’t have time to create something homemade, there’s nothing wrong with giving every guest a gift card to a place they will love.

In fact, gift cards are a great way to teach delayed gratification to children while giving parents ideas for future outings with their child.

Here are some great gift card ideas for kids:

  • Gift Cards for an Indoor Amusement Park: Many family entertainment centers offer indoor fun for kids year-round. Parents will love taking their kids to a safe, enclosed location full of fun attractions.
  • Movie theater gift cards: What kid doesn’t love the movies?
  • Bookstore gift cards: If you don’t have time to buy a book, why not give kids money toward something educational?
  • Bakery gift cards: Kids will love cashing in on a special treat in the following days.
  • Tickets to the zoo: Zoo admission will be exciting for kids and will give parents an opportunity to take their children out.
  • Tickets to the Science Museum: Most major cities have a kid-friendly science or history museum. This is another way to earn points among the parents.

Keep Your Kid’s Birthday Party Fun and Stress-Free by Choosing Big Thrill Factory

Party favors… Check! Gifts… Check!

Whether you’re hosting, or just bringing a gift, that’s one fewer chore on your list.

Planning a birthday party for your child should be an easy, stress-free process. There’s no need to coordinate every single detail when you could just as easily leave that up to party planning experts.

If you’re looking for fun kid’s birthday party ideas in Minnesota, look no further:

The expert party planners at Big Thrill Factory will help you plan the perfect kid’s birthday party, and will take all of the stressful work off your plate.

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