Planning Your Child’s Birthday Party

Birthdays are huge milestones for your little one, and for you! Surviving another year of parenthood is certainly worth some celebration, and watching your little one grow another year older is a moment that shouldn’t pass without some hoopla.

VPK provider celebrates milestones
Parties are fun for everyone!

The idea of a party is quite simple: invite friends and family, blow up some balloons, cut a cake, and open up presents. Easy right? Not quite. As you know, we are living in the Pinterest era, which means you have probably felt some pressure to make your child’s birthday absolutely picture perfect. We believe the key to successful party is to simplify, organize, and build in time to actually enjoy the party. Here are a few hacks to kick start your party planning:

Choose a Theme

Getting your party purchases in order is so much easier after you have picked out a theme. You may feel tempted to pick a specific theme, like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Princess Jasmine, but you may want to select a more general theme to make your purchases easier to find and more cost effective. Instead of a Batman themed party, consider a Superhero party. Instead of a Frozen themed party, consider a Princess party.

Goody bags for hands-on party in Miami
Small toys from Oriental Trading and the Dollar Store make great items for goody bags!


More general themes help can help you avoid the prices that stores charge for specific brand names. One of the best parties I ever planned for my daughter was a Soccer themed party. Between invitations, tablecloths, and plates purchased at the Dollar Store and TONS of goodies purchased from Oriental Trading (any party planner’s best friend), I was able to pull off an awesome party on a teacher’s budget in August!

Party ideas for infant and toddler care
Use items you already have (like this old hockey net!) to decorate your party.

Another bonus to having a general theme party? You can still incorporate your child’s favorites without going overboard. A cardboard cutout of your child’s favorite athlete can still fit into your basketball party without breaking the bank. And your child will think you are the coolest mom ever. Score!

Plan Easy, Low Cost Activities

We all know the activity mainstays of birthday parties: bounce houses, clowns, and magic shows. While bounce houses can be fun, they may be inappropriate depending on the ages of the children on your invite list (and I’ll be honest, the possibility of head to head collisions definitely freaks me out). Clowns and magic shows are a blast, but they will cost you a pretty penny.

VPK student hosts soccer party
Create an Autograph Station where your guests can sign a ball or stuffed animal!

Instead of spending money on outside entertainment, we suggest planning your own activities to entertain the kiddos. Having a summertime party? Set up your sprinklers, buy a set of water cannons at the dollar store, and lay out some sponges so the kiddos can soak each other. If you have a sidewalk or parking space, layout some sidewalk chalk and watch your guests show off their creativity! Having a party inside? Set up science stations where kids can make their own slime, bath bombs, and clay volcanos. Sometimes, Pinterest can be your friend 😉


Saving money on entertainment and decorations can help you save up for a special birthday present or a family dinner where you can decompress after all of the party excitement. Whether you choose to go all out or keep it conservative, remember that a birthday party takes weeks of planning and is over in a few hours. Enjoy your time celebrating your little one and soak up every second!