Tips for Throwing a Do-It-Yourself Birthday Party

It’s always an exciting time when your little one’s birthday is approaching. While they are excited about being a year older and presents, they also want to celebrate their big day with friends. Throwing a birthday party doesn’t have to cost a lot or even be stressful for you to plan. With a little help from Pinterest and some DIY, you can throw a spectacular birthday party that your little one will remember for years to come! The Big City Moms team loves to put together a birthday party for our little ones. We’ve compiled some of our tips for throwing the ultimate birthday party for your child.

  1. THEME: Besides working out the basic logistics of the date, time and location, the first step in planning a party is deciding on a theme. Think about the things that your child likes. Is it sports, a TV show character, a favorite color? You can create a party around almost any idea.
  2. BUDGET: Before going out and buying anything you need to sit down and figure how much you want to spend on the party. Keep track of costs so that you are able to stick to it. It’s always a good idea to do a litle bit of reasearch online to find the places that have your supplies at the best price.
  3. SEARCH FOR IDEAS: Want to make your party stand out? Search for creative ideas of things to have at your party. Whether it’s a fun way to display food, decorations, or activities for kids, the internet is full of fun things for children’s parties. We love searching Pinterest and Project Nursery for ideas and inspriation. Most of the items you need can be found on etsy or Oriental Trading.
  4. ASK FOR HELP: Whether you ask your friends to help you with small projects or hire a company to help you execute your ideas, don’t think you have to do it all by yourself. On the day of, it’s a good idea to have someone help you set up everything and prepare the food.
  5. HAVE FUN: These birthday parties aren’t just for your little ones to make memories, you need to have a good time too. So sit back, relax, and enjoy being in the moment with your little one that is another year older.

Here are some simple themes and ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

Younger kids:

Candy theme

  • Invitations can have images of candy or just bright colors. Use phrases like “join us for a sweet celebration”
  • Party favors can be a giant lollipop with a photo of the birthday child in the center or just a simple sticker or tag saying thanks for partying with me..
  • For decorations use clear dishes, vases, bowls filled with bright colored candy. It’s always a good idea to separate the candy by color and keep in mind candy that is age appropriate (i.e. choking hazards.) Keep in mind temperature of your location. Warmer spots plus little kids can turn chocolate treats into gooey messes.
  • Cake: you can go with cupcakes, a cake or cake pops (cake on a stick) you can check out local resources
    HERE. If you want to go at it yourself – you can do the obvious – top the cake with candy – but remember – less is more and stick with a color scheme and don’t overdo it!

Sports fan:

  • Whether you choose a specific team or a specific sport, this is one of the easiest themes you can do.
  • Invitations – use the color scheme of the sports theme in the shape of the ball
  • Decorations, hang up sports jerseys, hang inflatable balls from the ceiling and print out images from the computer
  • Ask your guests to wear their favorite Sports Jersey/tee to tie in the theme.
  • Party favors – give balls with the kids names on it and/or crayons and coloring books with a sports theme.
  • Cake: the shape of a ball or cupcakes alternating with bat, ball, racket etc.

Dora, Elmo, Yo Gabba Gabba etc:

  • Character parties are by far the easiest party to create – especially if you choose a well-known character.
  • Most party goods stores carry everything from plates, cups, napkins, banners, streamers and even party favors featuring popular characters from TV and movies.
  • For cupcakes or cakes you can order a basic cake from a supermarket or bake a cake and frost with the characters colors. Then print out images from online and make cake toppers (an image on a stick).
  • A great party favor idea for preschoolers are books and coloring books featuring the character. You can find most of these at discount stores like the 99 cent stores, Marshalls, TJ Maxx etc.

Older Kids

  • If you are hosting a party in your home and are thinking about themes you may want to outsource an activity like having a chocolate making party. Hire an experienced cook/teacher. They will come with all the supplies, have a lesson plan in place and best of all will help with the clean up so you can focus on having fun.
  • Thinking of having a tie dye party? Hire a company as they are experienced as they do this all the time and come with all the supplies.
  • Disco party – hire a DJ as they will bring everything the DJ, dancers, dance floor gifts, facilitate games and more – so instead of you downloading all your favorite dance tunes – you can be dancing with the kids.
  • For other party planning resources, check out our directory

Outdoor parties

  • The trickiest part of hosting an outdoor soiree is the weather. Always have a back-up plan whether it’s a rain date, renting a tent or moving the party inside. Although renting a tent can be expensive, if you are the type of person that doesn’t want to bother being a slave to the weather channel get a tent no matter what for reassurance. If it ends up being a hot and sunny day your guests will be thrilled to be in the shade.
  • If you are planning a park party be sure to research ahead of time if you need any permits. Typically permit fees are a small nominal sum depending on how many people you have.
  • Also make sure you are clear on any rules as far as food, beverage, tables, noise restrictions if you are having a musician or even just using your iPod and some speakers.
  • For outdoor parties – the simpler the food, the better – keep it to snacks and cold sandwiches – bagels and bite size sandwiches are usually a good bet for kids – as they require little to no prep and are not messy. If you are ordering from a deli – make sure you make them aware of no peanut butter out of a courtesy to other children who may have an allergy.
  • Pool parties – ALWAYS hire a life guard or two if the facility doesn’t provide them. Make sure you write on the invite for every child to bring a towel, swim suit and a change of clothes. A great party favor idea is a a towel for each of the kids, it’s a great way to tie in the swimming theme.

Want more ideas? Check out some of the parties that the Big City Moms team has thrown for our little ones: