The party-free birthday

You planned a legendary blowout for the first birthday, hosted a kid-packed soiree for the second and invited the entire preschool class over for the third. Yes, those parties were magical, but as the fourth one approaches you’re wondering if you can keep up the momentum.

Mom having cake with daughter


Spend a day with friends

Call up one or two of your child’s closest friends and head to the zoo, the park, the aquarium — anyplace where your kid can run around and have a blast. Hand out small party favors (think small noisemakers or glow bracelets) to your child and her friends. If your little one enjoys the spotlight, buy a birthday hat or pin and let him wear it around all day. Skip the trouble of calling ahead to reserve a space, deliver a cake or decorate a venue. Just show up and celebrate!


Celebrate one on one

Plan a special date — dinner at your child’s favorite restaurant, an afternoon at the movies or even a morning at the park — for just you and your birthday kid. Leave siblings, phones and even pets at home so you can focus all of your attention on your little one. The extra one-on-one time will make your child feel special, and you’ll get some time to marvel at how much they’ve grown.


Invite close family

Most grandparents love nothing more than marking a special occasion like a birthday. So invite them over to dote on the birthday girl or boy and share some cake and ice cream.


Host a playdate

The beauty of childhood is that anything outside of the normal routine of the day feels like a party. So invite a few friends over for a playdate. Don’t worry about planning a craft or special activity. Unstructured playtime with a good friend is a perfect gift for any age.


Decorate to celebrate

It is well documented that the presence of balloons fills small children with glee. But even bigger kids love walking into a room decorated just for them (heck, I even still enjoy it!). Decorate your child’s room while he is sleeping or deck out the kitchen in birthday banners before she comes down for breakfast. Leave the streamers up for a few days and celebrate your child’s birthday week!


Birthdays don’t have to be all about the party. As long as you take some time to celebrate with a little something special, your child’s next birthday will be one for the memory books.

More party ideas

Birthday party themes for girls
Birthday party themes for boys
Easy birthday party recipes


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