We’ve all seen it…the pile of gifts at a traditional children’s birthday party. It is exciting at the time, but ask them in six months what they received and most won’t remember. However, take them to that event they have always wanted to go to and they will surely remember it. In a world where “stuff” seems to overwhelm our lives, consider giving the gift of an experience this year instead of a traditional party. Make a memory with your child they won’t soon forget.
Setting a budget…just like a birthday party, birthday experiences can be provided at any budgetary level. Make sure you consider not only the cost of the tickets (for sporting events, concerts or theme parks for example), but also food and any other souvenirs you are willing to purchase.
Choosing the experience…every child is different, professional sports events might top the list of some, while others may want to visit a theme park or new museum they haven’t been to yet. Others may simply want an over-night stay at a hotel with a pool or to see the professional ballet or symphony. A ride in a helicopter or a limousine might be what other kids have always wanted to do. Decide whether you will offer choices to your child or select it for them.
Inviting friends…depending on the experience and your budget, you may be able to invite a few friends to go with your child on their experience. Having someone to share an experience with can not only increase enjoyment but also help create even more special memories for your child.
Giving other gifts…just because you are giving an experience doesn’t mean a traditional gift is not possible. Consider giving a gift that coordinates with the experience or maybe something to help time pass on the trip if there is a long car ride to the experience. A new baseball glove if you are going to a baseball game, new tennis shoes if the event requires a lot of walking, maybe let them chose a souvenir from the gift shop or a camera to take pictures during the experience.
Making it special…Birthdays are all about having a special day for your child. Send invitations if inviting others for the experience. Make a paper announcement or special certificate to detail the experience for your child. Consider ordering a special dessert or maybe bringing a cake to the experience. Give a t-shirt or hat as a party favor if it fits into your budget.
Memories last a lifetime. Give your child an experience they won’t forget this year.
children parties were very low tech, there were lots of games with Dollar Store Prizes, and they lasted only a few hours usually only involving ice cream and cake. If you served a lunch of hot dogs or sloppy joes, that was extravagant. Today, parents feel compelled to hold parties at a venue other than their homes although the average home is much larger than it was even 30 years ago. There is almost always a meal involved unless it’s an all-night event which involves several meals. Guests still bring a gift, but the host is now expected to send home so much more than just a party favor and some additional game prizes.Today,goodie bags filled with candy and toys, or complicated craft projects are expected. Thankfully the expectations do not reach the level of those who attend the Academy Awards but they are another added expense that can be further complicated by diet restrictions and the diversity of our culture!When considering children’s party ideas, most parents are looking at and feeling the pressure of the expense of time and finances. Perhaps taking a step back from the madness would be in order. Whether it’s for a birthday or to alleviate summer boredom, have a retro party.
A retro party
involve much more than savings on food and prizes. They are a way to pass along a bit of family history and heritage. Children love to hear stories of “days gone by” from their parents and grandparents. In most households, they are the most requested stories. Why not take it to the next level and instead of just telling them about your parties from yesteryear, let them experience what was “rad, sweet, and wicked” when you were their age. There are so many occasions you could do this with-national holidays, birthdays, Christmas parties, winter parties, summer boredom parties, or even as a school project.
Although at first, the idea might seem “hokey” to some kids, the fact remains that kids are kids and when given the opportunity can make their brand of “fun” in almost any situation. So, while they are experiencing the fun of re-living the past with you, they are also creating and tweaking new fun experiences in their own generation that might also be included in a retro party for their own children in the future.
Honestly, fun does not have to be complicated or tech savvy. It does not have to include next week’s grocery budget either. Returning to the simplicity of times gone by might be just the ticket and a good way to make a memory your kids will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
Everyone loves ladybugs, and ladybugs make a great theme for a toddler’s birthday party. Tape black paper circles to a red table cloth for instant ladybug decorations, and of course, red and black streamers and balloons will also fit the theme perfectly.
Serve ladybug cupcakes — frost the cupcakes with red icing, add brown mini-M&M’s or chocolate chips for spots, use a mini-Oreo for the face, and cut strips of black licorice for the antennae.
Join the National Wildlife Federation for the Great American Backyard Campout on June 25. Whether you camp right in your backyard or out in the wild, you’ll be giving your children memories to last a lifetime. What a great idea to get everyone outdoors!
Amy’s Campout Party Invitations:
And if you’re looking for something special to serve, here’s a fun summer dessert we’re just dying to try: