3 stay-at-home birthday parties kids will love

Is it me or have kids birthday parties become too, I don’t know, birthday party-ish?

When did it become so complicated? When did we have to actually leave the house to celebrate the birth of our children?

Why must we drag ourselves outside of the confines of home for each celebration of life, from one Charles O. Cheddar to another, to muddle through an exhausting birthday celebration that ends up with someone at the party either vomiting, hitting someone over the head with a blow-up bat or an adult telling another adult, “HEY BUDDY STEP OFF, THAT WAS MY TOKEN!”?

I love having birthday parties at home.

Pre-party tips

Before you do plan any kind of house party, settle on the head count.

For kids who are school age, don’t invite the entire class. Just. Don’t.

Only invite their closest friends, or use this rule of thumb: Invite the number of children that correlates with their age. For example, if your child is turning 6, invite six kids.

If it’s an uneven number, you can always round up, and there are always exceptions, but don’t invite 29 kids under the age of 7 to a home birthday party.

Trust me.

1. Camping Party

If you have a summer birthday, you can still have fun with summer parties without renting an expensive bouncy house.

Why not have a backyard camping party?

Set up a tent in your backyard, have an adult make a bonfire and with adult supervision, roast marshmallows and have a hot dog roast.

The guests could bring sleeping bags and “sleep” under the stars … until the parents pick up at 10 p.m., of course.

Are you missing the big mouse yet?!

What you will need:

  • marshmallows
  • graham crackers
  • chocolate bars
  • paper plates, napkins, cups, wet ones, etc.
  • Don’t have a tent? See if someone in your family or a neighborhood does and would be willing to lend one as a prop. Or, just have everyone bring a sleeping bag and lay them out in the backyard as they arrive. The key here is that they are not spending the night, they’re only staying to roast hot dogs and marshmallows. Send them home once the sugar rush kicks in.

2. Pizza-Making Party/Picnic

Another cool party idea we have maybe even over-used in this house is a make-your-own-pizza party.

It was a really cool idea even back in 2008 when my then 8-year-old was into Camp Rock and High School Musical.

We had a make-your-own pizza night where her friends could watch these kinds of popular movies together and eat their creations, and she was really excited about it. We ended up making our own pizzas for years.

What you will need:

  • mini flour tortillas for the “pizza dough”
  • pizza sauce and mozzarella
  • any pizza toppings you want
  • plates, napkins, cups and vinyl tablecloth to toss after you are done (makes clean up so much easier)
  • a movie they all love
  • several vinyl fabric-backed tablecloths to lay on the floor to have a picnic to watch the movie and eat their creations

3. Spa Party

Spa parties are a huge hit with tween girls.

Get some makeup and nail polish from your local dollar store, and lay out it all out on your kitchen or dining room table for the girls to try out.

I can hear some squirming at the thought of girls sharing makeup, but they are going to do it anyway behind your back. Turn away moms.

If you are uncomfortable, though, get enough for them to each have their own individual makeup. Dollar Tree is so cheap that it makes it easy to do that.

Take your daughter to pick out what she thinks she and her friends would like to use. Then let her create the spa stations while you sit back with a bowl of Cheetos and thumb through a magazine.

Turn on the One Direction channel on Pandora, order some Little Caesars Pizza, and you have a spa party that I guarantee will be a hit.

What you will need:

  • Hit the dollar store for all the cheap makeup you will need. If you can afford the good stuff, go for it. Keep in mind, however, that some of the girls might not be able to afford to keep that look up. Also, consult all the parents ahead of time to see if they are permitted to wear makeup—that is a big one.
  • Some device on which to play music. Endless playlists are preferable, so check out free apps like Pandora or Spotify.
  • Whatever snacks the girls might want

The point is, you can pretty much put out some snacks, throw some board games on the table or some Legos on the floor, and put in a cool new movie with seven to 10 of your kid’s closest friends, and I can guarantee that they will have just as much fun as say they would at the bouncy house down the street.

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