This is Day 183 of the Green in 365 series!
By Renee from Joyful Mom
As a kid I loved my birthday! A cake and ice cream! A simple celebration of my birth. I am continuing that simple celebration with my kids as well. For their birthday they get to:
- pick out the cake,
- pick out dinner, and
- pick out a fun family activity to do.
My husband has also starting taking the kids out to breakfast on the weekend nearest their birthday – he came up with that sweet idea and the kids LOVE it.
As parents we have made a choice to not have our kids go to every party they are invited to – not because we don’t enjoy a party – but we think that a birthday celebration should be more than goodie bags, tons of toys, and the stress of making it party perfect! (I didn’t have Pinterest when my kids were smaller, thank goodness!) We let our kids decide if they want to go and then take them shopping to buy the gift, make the card and get involved. 4 kids + busy schedule = not many opportunities to make the party.
We like to allow our kids to have a social event near their birthday where they can invite the number of friends equal to their age – for my son’s 5th birthday he had 5 friends. I didn’t count siblings of those friends. I was upfront with parents explaining that a homemade card would be very appreciated but no gifts. The intention was set to have a great time without gifts (sort of like Thanksgiving–a great meal and family without gift drama.)
Ideas for Simple Birthday Party Celebrations:
These are all types of easy and simple parties that we have thrown for our kids.
Water balloons, hoses, a tiny baby pool for a sink or float game, more water balloons, water balloon basketball and baseball. The kids had a great time spraying each other, make a sprinkler obstacle course and trying to “catch” water in a cup.
We have had many parties where everyone brought a book and went home with a book. I have had themed book parties like Fancy Nancy–where the kids dressed up fancy, I made “fancy food” and the kids use big words. I have had bigger book exchanges where kids bring 5 books and take 5 home–this is a great idea right before a school break–kids get “new books” that belong to them.
A spin on this party is to take up a collection of books for a classroom at school–one teacher was starting a new unit on bugs so everyone brought a book, signed it and then decorated a gift bag. As the kids get older they begin to enjoy the idea of being philanthropic.
Animal Food Drive
My daughter had an idea that she wanted to raise money for our local humane society. A great idea but tricky for a 7 year old to do–so she asked if she could have a “party” near her birthday to celebrate her love of animals! I thought that was a great idea–so we had “puppy chow” (pretzels, marshmallows, cherries) for snack and they watched a movie. This was the simplest party and she had tons of dog and cat food for the shelter!
I love planning parties that are fun, low key, low cost, low waste but BIG on building memories. I’ve had Valentine Making Parties (this was a huge hit–I was able to get rid of a ton of my paper stash, kids were really creative and parents didn’t need to buy Valentines!), Bowling Parties, a “Thanksgiving” Party where the kids made thank you cards to use throughout the year, End of the School year ice cream making parties–simple ways to get kids together without the expectation of gifts, a bouncy house, and pony rides!
When I started out as a Mom I thought I wanted huge birthday celebrations but as my family grew my desire for bigger has changed to a better and more simple approach to birthdays! Have your expectations changed? Do you celebrate big or simple?
Renee is a wife, mom of 4, writer, speaker, creative artist, joy-seeker, a student of life and a teacher of universal lessons. She writes about it all at Joyful Mom–in everything give thanks.
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