Thursday, April 12, 2012

birthday party planning - how i do it

In an effort to make more sustainable choices for my kids birthday parties, I have made some changes to how I plan and how we celebrate.  As priorities, our parties must be cost effective, as we have 4 parties to throw each year, and simple to organise, because I like to have fun at the party too!

I break my party planning down into simple to plan tasks.  I made a simple (I do stress simple, I'm no graphic designer, but it does the job!!) birthday party planner that I use for every party.  I print it out, fill it in and keep checking back to it often.  It makes the task of planning that bit easier. 
Take a look and see if it can work for you too.

The first thing to decide is the theme.  From there all the other bits fall more easily into place. 
I just love the inspiration of this party, and am doing my own version.  We do not have a farm, but there is an arboretum (tree park) close by.  So we will be having Master almost Six's party there with an outdoor adventure theme.  He and his friends will have heaps of room to play games, there are sheltered BBQ areas with power and seating and an easy walking track.

To keep the chaos to a minimum, we allow the birthday child to invite only as many friends as the new age.  The birthday boy will be turning six, so six friends will be invited.  This is in addition to the family members who also attend our family do's. 

The reasoning behind this numbers game is that smaller numbers are easier to supervise and entertain, the birthday child is not overwhelmed with gifts (often items I would otherwise not have in our home) and less food is required so I do not have to spend so much time and money preparing refreshments.
And that is the way my parents did it and I have memories of great birthday parties!!

I use free printable invitations that I come across online and have set up a Pinterest board to keep them all organised until I need them.  This time around I used a download from WorldLabel.  We printed the birthday party info onto the cards and they worked really well.

If you have found any good free birthday invitation printables I would love to hear about them!!

Party Bags
I dislike the idea of plastic rubbish and more lollies coming home from birthday parties. So for this party I will be making simple fabric bags, which the kids will decorate with fabric markers.  The bags will hold the kids treasure hunt items and be the bag to take home some birthday biscuits as party favors.

Activities and Games
I usually allocate about one third of the party time to organised activities and games, about one third to free play and the remaining third covers eating, gift opening and cake cutting. 
This time around, our planned activities will be decorating the fabric bags, hiking an easy track around the park doing a nature based treasure hunt and party games, like musical chairs and pass the parcel.  *Edit - we never got to the traditional party games.  The kids were entertaining themselves quite happily and I didn't want to interupt!!

I made a printable happy birthday banner and some {almost no sew} fabric bunting, that will look great hanging around the picnic area for our party.  They are both frugal and reusable items.  And will be simpler to set up and clean up than balloons and streamers.

What are your tips for a fun, easy and sustainable kids birthday party?

You are welcome to use my free printables for your personal use.
If you would like to share them, please link back to this page.
Thank you.

Sharing at
30 Handmade Days ~ Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways ~ Your Green Resource

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