Whatever happened to the “come over for a slice of cake” birthday party? Here are some great tips for a cruisy kids party at your house, no stress style!

Remember when it was perfectly acceptable to have a few toddlers over without having an entire petting zoo in your backyard? From kids who hear “Happy Birthday” sung by the cast of a musical to Sweet 16 parties that equal the cost of tuition for a year of high school, kids’ birthday parties have gone well over the top.

To a lot of people, it’s not just about keeping up with the Joneses, it’s about crushing them in hopes of throwing the coolest birthday party for your perfect little dinosaur lover or fairy princess.

And don’t even get us started on the party favours. That idea should have been thrown away (along with all of the junk) a long time ago.

We love parties. It’s just that we’re advocating a simpler way. You know the old story about the kid who gets piles of gifts but plays with the box instead of the shiny new toys? It’s the same philosophy.

Ever notice the power of a simple water balloon or a pinata? Kids don’t need a lot to make them happy. They just need their friends, a few treats and permission to have fun. So when the next birthday rolls around, resist the urge to book the lot and go old school. Basic doesn’t mean it’s boring.

FIVE SIMPLE RULES FOR A SIMPLY SENSATIONAL BIRTHDAY PARTY

1. DITCH THE PARTY FAVOURS – As parents, we can attest that the kids don’t give a hoot about these little throwaways. Nobody really ever needed another bouncy ball from the dollar store. They are a waste of your time and money and just end up in the rubbish.

2. GO SIMPLE – Kids love games such as duck, duck, goose, pin the tail on the donkey and even tag. You don’t need to hire a magician to see the magic that is created when kids get together and are allowed to run around and have fun.

3. SET A THEME – For example, throw a low-key backyard birthday with a monster-truck theme for a boy. The kids will play “pin the licence plate on the monster truck” and “red light/green light”, and then cool off in the monster-truck car wash (aka the sprinkler). If you’ve got a princess in your house, get some glitter nail polish and paint all the little toes and fingers and you’ll have a happy group of little girls.

4. DON’T THINK YOU NEED TO BE MARTHA – The kids aren’t going to realise that you whipped up that icing from scratch, so unless you love baking, make it easy on yourself; get a packet cake. Same goes for other food. You don’t need to be carving flowers out of carrots to impress kids. They’re thrilled to have pizza delivered.

5. INVITATIONS – It’s the invite that counts, not what it looks like, so don’t fret over embossed invitations. Email is easy for everyone, and sites like evite.com make it foolproof to send out invites. Don’t be afraid to express yourself and be funny.

~ getbuttonedup.com.

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