The internet is full of AMAZING and extravagant birthday parties for children of all ages. I am in awe of these parties that are completely coordinated, from the color of the food to the ribbons on the favors and everything in between. They look incredibly beautiful in pictures and laid out in a blog post.
But, do the kids REALLY have more fun?
I would have to say no. Now, I have 5 kids, and the oldest is 16. I have given each of my kids a birthday party nearly every year. So, in all, I have thrown somewhere between 30 and 35 birthday parties. Some have been more extravagant than others. But I really think the kids have just as much fun at a simple birthday party as they do at one that is completely decked out.
I know many of us who surf blogs see these parties and wish that we had the time, energy, money, or talent to be able to throw one like that for our kids. But, many of us are lacking in one or more of those areas. And guess what. That is ok!
I thought it would be fun to show you the last party I threw for my 4 year old. I REALLY tried to keep it simple, because I just didn’t want to spend the time or money to make it over the top amazing. It was a train themed party because he LOVES his GeoTrax train set. (As a side note, the GeoTrax trains are the absolute BEST…our whole family plays with them together. Ok, maybe not my teenagerJ)
Here is the train cake I made for him. I know it LOOKS extravagant and over the top, but it was actually quite easy. I wanted it to be very exciting for the kids. I have thrown several other train parties and made the train cake where each car was a small cake all decorated with frosting and candy. This one was MUCH easier. I just found some little éclair trays and baked cupcakes in them. I piped some blue frosting on each one and covered with bright candies I got at the dollar store. I cut out the wheels on my silhouette and attached them with hot glue. No Silhouette? Just cut them free hand or with a craft punch. I didn’t even go to the trouble to decorate a special engine, but used the motif from the invitation to flank a double decker cupcake. The track was super easy. I covered a board I had in the garage with white paper. Then, I piped chocolate frosting for the track and used fudge dipped wafers for the railroad ties. SUPER easy. The dollar store has LOTS of different kinds of cookies for, well, a dollar!
For the food I picked up these plastic bins at the dollar store, cut out some wheels and attached them with brass brads, and tied the bins together with some ribbon. I made an engine by placing one bin with another smaller bin I had on top. I bought a white plastic tablecloth at the dollar store and used one of those super fat markers to draw tracks down the middle of it.
We played simple games like “Car, Car, Engine” (Duck, Duck, Goose), London Bridge, “The Conductor Says” (Simon Says), and Red Light, Green Light. The kids LOVED these games. They also got to play with our huge GeoTrax train, which they loved. When they first got here while we were waiting for everyone to get here they put together some of those super long alphabet and number train puzzles.
They each got an Engineer’s hat to wear and then take home. I don’t do favor bags. Honestly, I think most parents hate favor bags. They are full of candy they don’t want their kids to have a little toys that get left all over the houseJ Plus, they are super expensive to put together when you have a party with more than 4 or 5 guests. So, I gave up on favor bags. I figure the kids get to come to a party so why do they need to take the party home???
So, that is our simple train party. I have to tell you the kids had a blast and several of the moms have told me things their kids said about the party days later.
Tomorrow I will be posting my top 10 tips for a great kids birthday party!