This year, my five year old was wise to the the birthday party scene. In the past we've been able to get away with a casual party for both the boys where we invite whole families. Not this year. Kid 1 really wanted to have a super hero party. At this stage, he doesn't really know that much about actual superheros, we we were able to get away with a loose theme.
We invited a ton of friends and held the party at the park around the corner on a Saturday morning. It ended up being a really fun party. I am not one of those ladies that has an adorable spread of matching water bottles. I like to keep things simple. Even though it was low key, we got a ton of compliments on how fun the party was. I'm certainly not experienced at throwing parties, but here are a few things that worked really well for us.
I think the key to having a fun kid party (in the summer) is to have it outside where they can play. If you have a good backyard, great, use it. If you are like me and don't, choose a local park or beach. I love having our parties in a public place so I don't have to worry about cleaning before, during, and after the party. I don't know what I'll do when Baby Girl is old enough to have a party since her birthday is in the winter. Outside parties are the best.
Keep it short and simple. This is especially true for parties for young kids. Don't plan too many activities. We had a craft for the kids to work on while everyone was arriving. This was pretty fun for most of the kids. I cut out pieces of coloured poster board to make into superhero cuffs. The kids decorated these with glitter glue, letter and star stickers, and crayons. When they were finished, we stapled them onto their arms and called it good. Kid crafts with staples are my favourite.
We also organized a few relay type games for the kids. This ended up being a little crazy since there were about 20 kids there, but in a cute and adorable kind of way.
Little kids love to dress up. The parties that have been the very most fun for us have involved costumes (true for adults as well as kids). I won some respect from our friends and my kids by showing up in super hero attire. Sorry no picture! I'm not quite ready to post a picture of myself in tights, and gold accessories.
Make a good cake (I made my new favourite Wacky Cake Recipe with chocolate frosting from the Cook's Illustrated book).
Bring wipes. Don't forget this, the wipes are very important! They were indispensable for cleaning glitter glue and chocolate cake off of hands and faces.
If you do a goody bag, keep it simple and practical (I like that article that Emily linked to as well). We've been to a few parties recently where the goody bags had very fun, and very inexpensive toys that broke within the hour. This seems like such a waste to me. This year instead of sending home goody bags we are sending out thank you cards (made by Kid 1) and leather super hero masks (made by me and more on that later).
Looks like a fun party, eh? It really was.