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Challenge: Summer Fun

Tips For a Summertime Birthday Bash (even if it's not really your kid's birthday!!)

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Here are some tips, tricks and inspiration for throwing a summertime birthday party from a piece I wrote for FamilyCorner - enjoy fun in the summer sun (and backyard) even if your kids aren't celebrating a birthday!

It all starts out innocently enough – you’re planning a simple kid’s birthday party, perhaps at the local arcade or bowling alley. But by the time you add up the cost of the venue, the food, decorations, party favors, and the cake, that simple kid’s birthday party can be a real budget-buster. Having a party at home, especially if your child has a summer birthday, is a great opportunity to be creative and cut expenses.

With the beautiful summer weather, consider other party spots like the local park or the beach. What if your child’s birthday is in winter? I have a friend who celebrates her child’s winter birthday just with the family and then in the summer throws a backyard birthday bash to celebrate with all her child’s friends! Check out how games, crafts, water play and using what you already have on hand can add up to a great summertime birthday party without breaking the bank:

Backyard and water fun
Have a pool? Throw in the water toys and let the kids splash around, set up swimming relays, or divide them up to play games like Marco Polo and sharks and minnows. If there’s no pool, sprinkler fun is fine too, and a spirited game of hot potato with water balloons is sure to beat the heat! Setting up a backyard Olympics with events like sack races, obstacle course (use small, inflatable pools as water hazards if you have them!) and tug of war can round out the afternoon. Plastic medals or ribbons (which can be inexpensively purchased in packs) can be handed out at the end of the day to reward the kids for showing their team spirit. Try our beat the heat summer party for more outdoor ideas.

Crafting party favors
Whether inside or outside, your home can be the perfect place for kids to get crafty. In this case, crafting does double duty: setting up a fun activity keeps the kids occupied and allows them to take home a finished product as a party favor. Check your craft drawer first; you probably already have a few of the materials needed to make some awesome projects, and supplies can be purchased from the dollar or craft store for less than the usual plastic party favor that ends up getting tossed anyway. For example, kids can make tie-dye T-shirts, bling out plastic Frisbees or foam swords with beads, feathers and glitter markers, or check out this taped painted canvas idea where each child can take home their own piece of artwork!

Food and decorations
After all that activity, kids are going to be hungry! Foods like pizza, hot dogs or sliders are pretty standard party fare, but you can change things up (and cut back on the paper plates and plastic utensils budget) by forgoing the traditional birthday cake: angel food cake and strawberry skewers, ice-cream sandwiches, or these adorable pool party cupcakes can be an alternative to the usual (and if store-bought, sometimes pricey) birthday cake. Balloons are a colorful, inexpensive way to decorate, whether clustered together on a table or hung on chairs or walls. Get the kids in on the decorating beforehand – they can draw and decorate their own ‘Happy Birthday’ party signs, make construction paper chain streamers, or craft a this festive piñata.

Need some more inspiration?
Take a peek at this Pinterest page for more summer birthday party ideas and let the party planning begin!

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