Despite our worries about the predicted rainfall, we ended up having a beautiful rain-free day for our little guy’s 4th birthday. We briefly discussed holding it at a place where you pay to have someone else handle all the planning and all you have to do is show up. But both my husband and I thought it would be nice to have an old-fashioned birthday party at our place. My next thought was – we have to have a bouncy house, right? It seems every party we’ve been to lately at someone’s house involves a bouncy. My husband wasn’t into that idea, and in the spirit of the old-fashioned birthday party, I remembered that we survived childhood without even knowing what a bouncy was.
Then the planning began. My inspiration came from the Garnish website. Here, in a nutshell, is what we did…
Food: I ordered the little white boxes from Garnish to make box lunches for the kids. They contained peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (the first 8 or so cut out in star shapes of various sizes with cookie cutters, until I realized how time-consuming, sloppy-looking and wasteful it was, after which I just cut the sandwiches into four squares), little bags of baby carrots, small containers (with lids) of ranch dressing to dip the carrots – (I bought these from the neighborhood cafe for 10 cents each because I remembered they put their jelly in exactly the kind of containers I wanted), cute little fruit kebabs on mini skewers from Cost Plus (I used a clipper tool to cut of the sharp ends so the kids wouldn’t get involved in dangerous sword battles), and a box of 100% juice.
For adults, my mom made her famous chili, and I ordered a deli tray from Costco and added condiments and buns. Cake was from Costco. What a deal. A half sheet cake (feeds 48 people) that was so delicious for $15. I got ice cream in boxes from Target, and we sliced it. There’s just something about a slice of ice cream that I love.
Decorations: Streamers and balloons in our great room and our son’s room. My husband is so talented at this, it really makes the house look uplifting. They’re all still up, and I really don’t want to take them down.
For the kids tables, I covered them all in brown paper (bought in the packing section of Target) and re-used the cylinders the play dough came in for the goody bags, and filled them with crayons and stickers. Made labels for these and put them on the kids tables so they could decorate the tabletops while lunching.
Activities: We really didn’t plan too much here. The kids found plenty to do in the backyard, climbing and sliding on the jungle gym set, riding trikes around the patio, tossing balls around, and such. By far the most popular activity was digging in a big pile of dirt with garden tools, shovels and dump trucks. I was glad to see the dirt pile getting so much attention since it’s been sitting there, pretty much without a purpose, since last spring when my dad cleared an area for our vegetable garden. As my husband put it, “You can plan all the fun activities you want, but when it really comes down to it, all these kids need is a big pile of dirt.”
Goody Bags: I have come a long way since my son’s first birthday party when my friend’s son came up to me as they were leaving and asked “Where are the goody bags?” I didn’t even know what he was talking about! This year, I ordered the small round soup containers from Garnish, and filled them with two little containers of play dough-like substance, two little Hershey’s miniature bars, and a sheet of smiley face stickers. Then I tied a little animal cookie cutter on the outside of each container with a thin yellow ribbon. I bought Wilton’s Mini Noah’s Arc Set, which has 6 cookie cutters in a box. They have a lot of mini sets available if you wanted to match a certain theme. They also have letters, so if you really wanted to get personalized, you could give the initial of each child’s name. I got my son involved by having him put the round labels on the container lids, which said “Thank you for coming to my birthday party!”
Hopefully this has given you some ideas for your next kids birthday party! Now I’m off to help install the new desk. Yippee!