Shannon has asked us to repost a "Greatest Hits" Works for Me Wednesday. I've only had a couple posts so far for WFMW, so I decided to repost my very first one. So here it is!
I don't like to spend a lot of money on birthday parties—I'd rather spend the money on my child's gift—and I also don't like to stress out over throwing a party for preschoolers, so over the last few years I've done my children's birthday parties a little differently to cut down on both the cost and the stress level.
1. Forget the cake! Well, there's actually still cake, but just in a different form—cupcakes. And now here's the low-stress part…I don't frost the cupcakes! Nope, I leave that to the kids.
During the party I set out paper plates for each child (the little Zoo Pals plates work really well since they have the two bowl-like ears) and put a spoonful of frosting in one ear, and an assortment of sprinkles in the other. Then the kids get to frost and decorate their own cupcake. Not only does it save time and money doing it this way, but the kids really enjoy decorating their own birthday cupcake.
And since you're using cupcakes, you can also put a candle in each cupcake so all the kids have a candle to blow out.
2. Scoop out the ice cream into individual cups before the party. Stick a plastic spoon in each cup and place all the filled cups on a tray in the freezer. When it's (cup)cake and ice cream time, it won't take much time at all to serve the ice cream to all your hungry guests. A twist to this that a friend of mine just did a couple weeks ago for her daughter's party is to fill a cupcake tin with foil cupcake liners, and then fill the liners with the scoop of ice cream.
3. Don't make goody bags ahead of time. Instead, purchase a package of colored "lunch-sack" gift bags and then let the guests decorate the bags with stickers and markers during the party. This takes the stress out of having to know exactly how many kids are going to attend so you can make sure you have enough goody bags. The next step will explain what goes into the goody bags.
4. Make a paper bag pinata from a large gift bag, decorate it with streamers, and then fill it with the candy and party favors. During the party, the kids can take turns hitting the pinata with a stick (we use a lightweight plastic kids' golf club). When the pinata is broken open, the kids can use their decorated bags to pick up the goodies.
We usually begin the birthday party with the kitchen table set up for decorating the goody bags. I also put out a coloring sheet or two so the kids won't run out of activities while they are waiting for the rest of the guest to arrive.
After the bags are decorated, we bring out the cupcakes for decorating. The kids finish up decorating, eat their cupcakes and ice cream, and then move into the living room for the pinata.
The final phase of the party is the presents, after which the kids just play with each other (and with the new gifts), and by that time parents are usually arriving to pick up their kids.
Low-stress, low-cost, and low-fuss!
Visit Rocks in My Dryer to read other great "Works For Me Wednesday" tips.