Who doesn't love celebrating a birthday? Especially with a little kid. I'm finding that kids really don't need big, fancy, over-the-top parties, expensive gifts, or an impressive cake that no one wants to cut into because it's too pretty (As much as the party planner in me wants these elaborate things for my own children.). All that extra fluff is really just for the adults! This year as my little boy turned 4, I have discovered that with just some simple and inexpensive touches a child can have an amazing birthday.
As my son's birthday approached I wanted to give him a memorable birthday but was feeling a little overwhelmed with my life as a mother of 2 children. I contemplated planning a big party with all his new friends from preschool but I just didn't have the energy or the time to pull it off this year. I decided to SIMPLIFY, but still keep things SPECIAL.
I thought about the highlights of my birthdays as a child. I don't consider my family the best at celebrating birthdays, at least not to the extent that I want for my own children, but there are two things that stand out. For some of my earlier birthdays, I got to search for my birthday presents using clues in treasure hunt fashion. As I got older, I got to go out to lunch, at the restaurant of my choice, and do a little birthday shopping with my mom - just the two of us.
So using my past birthday experience, here are some of the special yet inexpensive things that we did for my son's birthday this year:
Using a $1 bag of balloons from the dollar store, Jeremy and I filled Spencer's room with balloons while he was sleeping the night before his birthday. Now this is not for the light sleeping child! You wouldn't think it at first, but balloons are loud! Not just when you accidentally pop one on a toy with a sharp edge, but also just trying to carry multiple balloons at a time. They rub together and are very loud when trying not to wake a sleeping child. But I will tell you - it was worth the effort! Spencer thought it was the coolest thing ever, to wake up on his birthday with a room full of balloons. Add in a special party hat and balloon wand from the dollar store and you have one happy boy - all for $3!
For the 2nd year in a row, I made a treasure hunt for Spencer to find his presents. Here are the clues for Spencer's treasure hunt. He has been watching Blue's Clues recently and was really excited about the blue paw print I free handed with a blue crayon on note cards. 4 clues for birthday number 4. It was such a small and simple touch but really took the treasure hunt over the top!
Look at that excitement at finding a present! If you haven't tried a treasure hunt for birthday presents with your kids I highly recommend it. Such a simple idea that brings such joy!
Another special touch: I ordered this personalized birthday banner using a tip from my favorite money saving blog, Hip 2 Save, for only $7.95! You can see the details of this deal HERE. They run this special occasionally for Hip 2 Save readers and it came at just the right time for me to order in time for Spencer's birthday. It is a nice, heavy-duty, vinyl banner that I personalized with Spencer's name. I can reuse this banner every year, so for $7.95 I felt that was quite the catch! Spencer thought it was fabulous that the banner had his name on it...
The simple, homemade cake. You can see some of Spencer's past cakes HERE, HERE, and HERE. In the past, I have always tried to be an over achiever in the birthday cake department. I am not a cake decorator so that would usually leave me feeling disappointed by my lack of skill. However, I have come to discover that I prefer a homemade cake to a store bought one - they are cheaper and taste better in my opinion. Spencer said he wanted a Toy Story cake this year and I was really intimidated. If you search for Toy Story cakes online you will find some amazing and very detailed cakes. I was definitely not in the mood to slave over a cake this year. As I questioned Spencer more about his cake desires he said he wanted a chocolate cake with Toy Story toys on top...wait...what? Toy story toys on top? Wow! That is super easy! I can do that! The end result: I put some small Toy Story figurines on the top of a homemade chocolate bundt cake and Spencer thought it was the best cake ever. It was pretty darn good cake too. I'll share the recipe soon in case you're interested.
Another tip: invest in a special plate exclusively for birthdays that you can serve the birthday cake on or the birthday boy/girl can use for their special birthday dinner/cake eating. Spencer's birthday cake was served on our special plate. I bought it from The Pampered Chef since I am a consultant and sell their products, but I have seen special plates at places like Hobby Lobby and TJ Maxx that don't cost much. It's such a simple thing but children will think it is so special.
Thanks for taking the time to read my long-winded post. I hope you have found something useful or at least found some inspiration. It really doesn't take a lot of time or money to make someone feel special on their special day!