Parenting Blog

Kid’s Birthday Party Ideas

Moonbounce at the Mouse's 2nd B-Day party

It’s beyond strange that I’ve penned an article about the best out-of-the-home kid’s birthday party ideas.

Why?  Because I have 2 young kids and between ’em I’ve planned 8 parties, and not a single one took place outside the home.

Oh, it’s not for lack of effort. Every single B-Day party plan started out with the idea of having it off-site. The appeal of such an event is very attractive:

  • no big pre-party clean up
  • no big post-party clean up
  • no doors left open by nieces and nephews who (although I’ve been to their homes) must actually live in barns
  • no food prep
  • no food ground into the new carpet
  • pretty much no planning. After all, you pick a place, pile up the pizza and juice boxes, get a cake and wham – instant party!

Yep, every one of my kid’s parties started out NOT here, yet all of them ended up BACK here – in our house and yard.  The reasons for this are numerous, almost always involving money and, to a lesser extent, food selection (for the Bear’s 5th b-day party last year, I had the brilliant idea of making personal quesadillas, her favorite food at the time, for all 40 guests.  The Bear took the orders and I cooked.  I still stink of grease and onions).

Having an in-home party hasn’t been a huge deal for the Mouse.  Her birthday falls around Memorial Day weekend which usually means blue skies and warmer temps. The Bear however is early March, so her parties invariably fall on a weekend day just after a big snow and thaw – meaning a muddy mess in the yard (this year looks to be more of the same, what with 2 feet of snow on the ground less than 2 weeks before the big day). The party (meaning, the people) must then be confined to our smallish ranch home and I usually end up abusing Tylenol to battle a severe headache.

So what are the out-of-the-home choices when it comes to B-Day parties? Not all of these are inexpensive, but here are some of the best kid’s birthday party ideas that intrigue us year in and year out (along with a few handy dandy tips).  Maybe one of these party ideas will work for you and your kid (while also fitting into your party budget):

  • Bowling Party – a couple of lanes, pizzas, juice boxes and a cake.  Sweet & simple.  Tips for scheduling a Bowling party – ask if your local bowling place can accommodate your own music, this way you can bring some of your kid’s favorite CDs/CD-Rs and control the vibe, volume and the musical taste (a biggie for us).  Also inquire about other games and the possible inclusion of them in your package; for example, our place has Boardwalk style basketball shooting, skee ball, video games and those grabby claw things.  With retractable bumpers to avoid gutter balls and big metal guides to roll balls down the lane, bowling parties can be fun for little kids too.
  • Paint-it-Yourself Pottery Studio – an artistic party idea.  Each child choices a piece – plate, mug, figurine – and paints it.  Tips for scheduling a Pottery party – ask if the finished pieces will be ready to take home at the end of the party. If not, you may be stuck going back and then delivering the artwork to each child.
  • Indoor Bounce Zone – These indoor inflatable bounce places have been popping up all over the place the past few years.  They provide a contained room for a worry free party (save for the worry that kids will bounce into each other).  Tips for scheduling a Bounce party – it’s likely your area will have a couple to chose from (Bounce U., Pump It Up seem to be the big chains, but others may also be nearby).  Take your kids and try them all out before you pick one for the party.  This way you can see which place offers the best mix of price, equipment and cleanliness – while your kids get some bonus playtime.  Tell the bounce places that your thinking about having a big party there and ask for a free 15 minute trail of bouncing for your kids to test it all out.  Ask how often the equipment is wiped down, then bring your own hand sanitizer anyway!
  • Batting Cages/Indoor Sports Zone – Not sure how many of these are out there.  We have one near us.  Same thing as the Bounce zones, try ’em out and see which your child likes the best.  Ask about a party area for food/cake.
  • Live Music – This is what each of our parties started out as.  We are very close to World Cafe Live, a venue in Philadelphia that is home to a Saturday morning kid’s concert series.  The idea of a rock-n-roll birthday party is outstanding and highly unique.  In many cases, it’s possible to arrange for the band/artist to wish and/or sing happy birthday to your child (have the video recorder ready!)  You should definitely ask about that as well as a possible meet-n-greet with the artist for photos, autographs, etc. after the show.  Look around your area for a venue that books daytime all-ages/family rock shows.  Last year, I brought the kiddie rock to us. Check out scenes from Mouse’s 2nd birthday here.
  • Outdoor Party – Parks, Arboretums, Zoos and Botanical Gardens all may have party packages available.  Some may offer nature tours, arts and crafts and meet-n-greets with animals and animal experts that may be able to give a private talk to your party.  Clearly, this is a weather-risk party option…unless you happen to be in San Diego or Bermuda, where it never seems to rain.
  • Movie Theater Party – Many movie theaters offer a birthday party plan that could include use of a private room for food/cake/presents.  If you have a small, non-chain theater in your town ask them about a private off-schedule showing of a current movie or the possibility of screening a classic (think: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or Singin’ in the Rain).
  • Library Party – not sure if many libraries hold parties, but some may have a special enclosed area where the noise wouldn’t be a factor.  Could be good for young toddlers parties – have a storytime, do puzzles and maybe watch a movie.

The Bear’s 6th B-Day party is less than 2 weeks away. Invitations were sent using, where I was able to make a custom invite (I figured it’d be kinda cheesy to use a standard template seeing as how I design stuff for “a living”) and we walked out of Michael’s Art & Crafts yesterday with $100 worth of decorations and activities.  I’ll save the theme, food, loot bag contents and such for another post – keeping the suspense alive.

In the meantime…

Got another off-site party idea?  Been to a great party out of the home?  Let me know about it in the comment section.

Tags: ,
Wordpress Social Share Plugin powered by Ultimatelysocial