Choosing a theme should be your first order of business. It's the core that you will plan the birthday party around.
sources, clockwise from left: Hi Sugarplum, Hostess with the Mostesst, Greene Acres Hobby Farm, Hi Sugarplum, dimple prints
I encourage you to use this as an opportunity to celebrate your child's interests. I've seen a few party themes here and there that just don't seem to fit what most kiddos enjoy. For example, a Chanel themed party for a toddler. Unless your three year old is extremely brand conscious and will throw a fit if you can't hand out Dolce and Gabbana bags as party favors, perhaps try for something a bit more age appropriate like Cookie Monster, the circus, Princess, etc. There are some great websites out there that list party theme ideas by age and sex! (See the bottom of this post for resources)
On the other hand, sometimes it's not mom and dad coming up with off-the-wall themes to impress others. If your seven year old wants an Olympic high-diving party, maybe steer him towards something fun at the local pool...maybe a pirate theme? Remember, you're the parent! Just because Joey wants you to rent out a state park and go bear hunting doesn't mean you have to go that route. Redirect! Maybe Joey could be happy with a camping themed party and a fun bear or fishing game in your backyard?
*Use the first year or two to have fun with your themes and do whatever you want...because they will have an opinion later on!
Time of the Year:
Think about holidays or the season that is close to your child's celebration date. You don't have to necessarily decorate for a holiday, but you can use the colors that are prominent in that holiday and incorporate them into your party.
OR, you can go the opposite route, which is what I tend to do. My girls have birthdays in December and January. I know there is absolutely NO way I can decorate for Christmas, undecorate, decorate for a party, undecorate from the party, and redecorate for Christmas without going completely bonkers. All that hauling back and forth from the attic makes for a really cranky mommy who just wants to keep her kids happy and enjoy the holiday season at the same time.
I do decorate my home for Christmas, but I also carve out little "party areas" (the kitchen, play area, etc) that are dedicated to celebration. I don't have to continually switch out decor, and the birthday girl still feels special!
In the kitchen:
In the dining room (coloring center):
In the play area (DIY Barbie Fashion Show Puppet Theatre):
Look online at websites, blogs, and yes, even Pinterest to find fun new ideas. The library can also be a great resource with party planning books, or grab a couple issues of the latest magazines at Target. Parenting magazines usually have great party layouts, but you can always tailor ideas from home magazines to fit children's parties too. So many of the items sold online and advertised in magazines can be recreated for a fraction of the cost!
Birthday Party Ideas
Celebrations at Home
Best Party Ever
Express Birthday Planning
What are some of your favorite birthday party themes?
*You can read from the beginning of the series here!
If you enjoyed this post or found it helpful, I hope you'll click your "Pin It" button to add this post to Pinterest, or a +1 for Google+. And I always appreciate kind comments!