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Party Tips Here are some festive hints for your child's next birthday

Birthday parties are supposed to be fun, but of course, there is often a fair amount of behind-the-scenes work (from parents) to make sure the day is both a good time and a good memory. With that in mind, we asked area parents for their best birthday party advice and received a wide range of tips. Fun, as it turns out,  can be defined in a lot of ways.

“For my daughter’s fifth birthday, she has a huge soft spot for homeless animals and asked if her guests could bring gifts for the animals at a shelter. It was a huge success and saved me from clutter from unused toys.” —CATHERINE

“I feel like parties should stop focusing on the ‘party’ and start focusing more on the child. We stopped throwing extravagant Pinterest parties and instead spent the money on our child. They get to decide on a large gift, vacation or choosing a special friend to take on a day adventure. Parties are great and all, but let’s stop impressing people with who did it best and start celebrating the child.” —LYSSA

“Our kids are 19, 10 and 8 (and because we’re crazy, we have another one on the way) Over the years we’ve had so many different types of parties and attended even more. We’ve done big parties, small parties, combined parties and even some years with no party. Out of all of them, the most memorable have been the low-key ones at home. The best one ever was a combined party for our two youngest a couple of years ago. We rented an inflatable movie screen, ordered tons of pizza, filled the coolers with drinks and invited everyone and their families to bring blankets and chairs. Everyone was outside, kids were running around laughing, even the neighbors came over to say how great it was to see kids outside playing.” —JACLYN

“Anything that gives the guests fun things to do or explore. We’ve had fun with decorating your own mini-cakes, a foil fashion show (pair up kids with a roll of foil and they create outfits), scavenger hunts and mini science experiments.” —JANE

“Our kids and their friends seem to love the old-fashioned playdate-style party in the basement or back yard with group games (like stacking cups, dance competition, etc.) just as much as the big blowout parties. Our neighbor had a fantastic party with pony rides, bounce houses, live entertainment, huge food decorations, fireworks and dance music, and shockingly, our kids don’t even remember it!” —TRICIA

“Harris Teeter does a free smash cake for first birthdays. I’m glad we did this. My daughter was so dainty with tasting it. There certainly wasn’t any smashing happening. We did a brunch and donut theme. It was ‘Donut grow up, sweet one.’” —SHAELYN

“Nowadays it seems like parents feel they must constantly keep all of the party kids entertained. You really don’t. If you want to do a party on a budget, you can make the cupcakes and put out some party games for kids to play. Or if you like the idea of not having to clean your house or you don’t have the room, Michaels craft stores do a great job at hosting parties for a very reasonable price.” —NICKY

“We just did a ‘fiver’ party for our 4-year-old. He really wanted a big-ticket item that we couldn’t get him, so he loved the idea. Instead of a present, we asked guests to bring $5. I’m sure some people found it tacky, but we just mentioned on the evite that people could do it or not. Older family members and some of his friends still brought presents, so he had a few things to open. But most of our friends loved the idea and just did a fun card and a $5 bill. He took his money and went to the store to pick out his item (Power Wheels) and loves it. He learned a tiny bit about saving and didn’t expect gifts. And we didn’t get a bunch of toys we already have. Win-win!”—KATIE

About BC Staff

Baltimore's Child is written by parents like you. Want to contribute? Email our editor Jessica Gregg at [email protected]

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