Birthday parties are great for some kids and are not ideal for other kids and their families. There will be plenty of families that will not give their kids’ birthday parties for various reasons.
If you want to know what to do instead of having a birthday party, then I have some ideas for you. I’m the mom who is not a good event planner at all and the thought of planning a party is just not my idea of fun.
After throwing a fun, yet stressful 1st birthday for my daughter, I figured that I would need to plan out some birthday party alternatives for the future. If you want to know how to make your child’s birthday special at home or need help planning a birthday outing, keep reading!
Why Are Birthday Parties Not Ideal For Some Kids?
There are many factors as to why birthday parties are not the right choice for some children. And many of those kids would also be happy not to have a party either. Before discussing birthday party alternatives, let’s look into some of those reasons!
Emotional And Physical Stress
Planning for birthday parties is entirely stressful. First, you have to gather up birthday invitations and send them out whether they are sent online or through snail mail.
Then you have to wait for the invitees to RVSP, which many of them do not. Then you have to follow up with the invitees who haven’t responded after a specific timeframe.
There’s no guarantee that they would respond to you either way. Now you have to take your chances on how many supplies and how much food to get.
Once the party starts you have other kids and possibly their families to stress over. That is if it this is your child’s first or second birthday. At least with the parents being present during the birthday party, they will be taking care of their kids.
However, if your child is in kindergarten or is older and wants their friends to come without the parents being present, you have all of these other kids to face. And what happens if one of them gets sick or gets hurt? The responsibility is on you. Is it worth the stress?
Birthday Parties Can Be Expensive And Time-Consuming
It does not matter if you plan to host the birthday party for your child at your home or an indoor kids’ entertainment center. Birthday parties are expensive, and the cost of supplies, food, cake, and rent if the party isn’t hosted at home adds up.
Speaking from experience I easily spent almost 1,000 dollars on my baby’s first home birthday party! It was a shock to me because I naively budgeted about 500 dollars for the house party. After it was all said and done between food, decorations, gifts and entertainment I was wayyy over budget.
And money is not the only thing that adds up. It is time. There is so much time consumed when it comes to planning a birthday party.
Sure, you can easily host an “inexpensive” party at home that consists of cheap snacks, paper products and a movie that kids can watch.
However, even if cost isn’t the issue, go back to the point above this one. A cheap birthday party does not mean it will be less stressful and less time-consuming.
Too Many Gifts That Never Get Used
What happens when plenty of kids or adults are invited to your child’s birthday party? They bring gifts (well they should anyway since you were kind enough to ask them). But what happens to all of those gifts?
Your child might only play with a few and for a short amount of time. The rest of the gifts end up collecting dust as they take up space.
Your Child That Does Not Have Any Or Many Friends
Toddlers that have birthday parties will not have friends except for their classmates they know from preschool. You will be stuck with having to invite the parents of those kids that you don’t even know. That can be awkward.
Or, how about if your child does not have many or any friends at school? In that case, your child may not even want a birthday party at all.
What is the solution in this case? The best thing to do is to think outside of the box and come up with birthday party alternatives.
What Are Some Fun Birthday Party Alternatives?
The great news is that you can celebrate your child’s birthday without being pressured to throw a party. In fact, in any way you celebrate your child’s special day, it can be as memorable for your little one as any birthday party.
Even if your child is not old enough to remember their birthday celebration, you can still make memories to share with them later! Now let’s look at some birthday party alternatives for kids.
How To Make A Birthday Special At Home
1. Celebrate With The Close Family
That is not an unusual birthday party alternative. However, this is one that parents often forget about being a great option to celebrate their child’s birthday.
You can always get party favors such as banners, balloons, birthday cutlery, and party hats. You can get a cake, and only have close family members coming by to join the fun.
That may even be more enjoyable than having a birthday party with other kids and their parents who you barely even know. Besides, your child can be excited about the idea that their favorite aunt or uncle will be coming to their intimate birthday celebration with the family.
2. Finger Painting Birthday Celebration
This birthday alternative is perfect for the toddler. This is an ideal method on how how to celebrate the first birthday without a party.
Grab some washable finger paints like these, lots and lots of paper, and plenty of rags and cloths. Your toddler can have plenty of fun finger painting during their first, second, or third birthday.
And why not get some extra paints for you and your partner so you can all join in on the fun? Who needs to worry about a birthday party when everyone is having fun making their masterpiece with finger paints!
3. Decorate The House
Even if you are not planning to invite your family over for a quiet celebration for your child, you can still decorate the house. And go overboard with it!
Grab some streamers as well as plenty of banners and balloons. Grab other birthday wall decorations. There are even themed kits that make it easy to go all out. This way, your child will feel special since it is decorated just for them on their extraordinary day.
And don’t forget to take plenty of pictures of the decorated rooms. You’ll regret that otherwise, after you take down those decorations. You can even decorate the outside of the house.
Go and put streamers on the porch and a birthday sign on the lawn. Make it known to the whole neighborhood that the birthday star of that day is in that house.
4. A Giant Helium Age Number Balloon
You know another thing that kids are guaranteed to love? A giant helium age number balloon! You can have your child stand next to the number balloon while holding it and taking plenty of pictures.
Don’t forget to share them on social media if you want! Your social media friends and family can celebrate your child’s birthday with you.
5. Serve Your Child A Birthday Breakfast
Why not start your birthday boy or girl’s day just ideally by surprising them with a birthday breakfast? It can be waffles, pancakes, or your child’s favorite cereal.
And to add some fun to it, why not create a ‘design your pancake or waffle’ area. That area will consist of sprinkles, syrup, fruit, whipped cream, or chocolate chips. Serve it on some fun birthday cutlery as well.
6. Birthday Scavenger Hunt
Why not have your child go on a small adventure to look for their birthday present?
The idea is, to begin with, the birthday breakfast, and during that time, you give your child the first clue about where their birthday present may be.
Ask your child to solve a few riddles or answer a few questions so they can have an idea of the location of their gift.
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7. Go Over Birth Story Memories
While the house is decorated in birthday art, you can dedicate this day to your child by focusing on the story of their birth and their memories as babies. Kids are always fascinated by those stories.
Put on a video of them as newborns in the hospital or at the home after they were born. Bring out the personalized keepsake box of the first items they had as babies. This birthday party alternative is ideal for kids that are past the kindergarten stage.
Where To Take Kids For Their Birthday
If you have decided to have a special outing instead of a birthday party, the good news is that there are tons of kid friendly places to take your child on their special day. These birthday celebration ideas won’t make you or your kid feel like they missed out anything by skipping the party!
Some suggestions include:
Indoor play area- We have one of these locally called Play Street Museum. My one year old loves it there! Perfect option if you are celebrating a first birthday or birthday for a younger child
Build A Bear
Aquarium or Zoo
Indoor trampoline park
Visit a farm with kids activities
Pumpkin patch- this is a cute idea for birthdays in the fall!
Local lake or beach
Go Kart/Mini Golf
Recreational nature center
Horseback riding outing
Knott’s Berry Farm
Lunch at a special restaurant like Rainforest Cafe
The Crayola Experience
There are many creative ways to celebrate your child’s birthday without a party. The way you celebrate can also depend on the age, as well as the development of your child. Either way, you know that you do not need a party to have a fun birthday celebration for your child!