So, Q celebrate his 4th birthday last month and it's the first real kid's party I've thrown.
I had a few goals for this party: 1. For Q and his friends to have fun, of course. 2. To keep it from being too overwhelming and ending in the birthday boy crying. 3. To keep the cost down. 4. To keep the party green.
So Q invited 3 of his little friends to come over to our house on his birthday and he and I set about getting ready for the party. We decided to keep the party low-key, so it was basically a play date with a few organized games and cake. I also wanted to involve Q in the planning and making of the loot bags so that he appreciated how special a birthday party was for he and his guests. It also helped build the anticipation for him in the week or two leading up to it.
I think the party was a success and Q and his friends all seemed to have fun! Here's what we did:
1. Made a homemade cake together. Q loved licking the icing spatula the best!
2. Sewed drawstring loot bags from fabric we already had (something like this, though I didn't actually use a pattern...but should have!)
3. Sewed bean bags using flannel fabric and rice (again, I didn't use a pattern, but something like this). Quinn loved to help make these, and they were quick and easy. He used a funnel to fill them with rice and then tested them all out.
4. Emailed invitations (though I can totally understand the appeal of handmade invitations, especially for older kids)
5. The birthday boy also has a special felt crown that I made him a few years ago, that comes out each birthday (instead of party hats).
At the party we played a few bean bag games, with no winners or prizes. A bean bag toss game. We taped a wide ribbon to the floor and the kids balanced a bean bag on their heads and walked on our "balance beam". We also did a bean bag relay, where the kids lined up and passed the bean bags over their heads to each other and into a basket at the end.
The real winner game we played was non-competitive musical chairs. The concept is similar to the version we all remember as kids, but no one is "out". You start with the same number of chairs as kids and each round you remove a chair but all the kids stay in. They all have to continue to pile on to the remaining number of chairs. The kids loved this one and there were big grins and giggles as the number of chairs dwindled each time. Note, use sturdy chairs!
So, those were our few ideas for a fun but green and budget-friendly, non-commercial party. I'll be looking to do this again in about 11 months, so I'd love to hear more ideas!