Birthday Party Ideas for Kids: 8 Great Tips for Hosting

By Jennifer Bingham Hull

So, you’re planning to host your child’s birthday party at home. But how to make it fun without spending a fortune and driving yourself crazy?

The trick is to keep things simple. Here are some home birthday party ideas to make your celebration a success.

*Keep it short. I learned the hard way that three hours is too long for a party. Schedule two and a half hours instead. Many children will arrive late resulting in a two-hour party, which is perfect.

*Invite only girls or boys. This limits party size and makes it easier to plan activities that engage everyone.

*Encourage drop-offs. Entertaining kids and parents divides your attention and makes it hard to host if your space is small. Note a “pick up” time on invitations. By grade school, most children can handle parties on their own.

*Mix and match. Nothing limits options more or makes the bill add up faster than organizing a party around a theme. Let your child pick a special cake and mix and match decorations and activities.

*Create the goodies. If the kids do a craft, like beading, as an activity, the necklaces they make can serve as the treat to take home.

*Give the sibling a job. Our “birthday sister” sticks the candles in the cake and announces activities. She’s been completely co-opted.

*Stock up on silly string. Kids love to spray the stuff. And they also love to pick it up, packing it into little balls. Like magic, the mess disappears. Plan on one can per kid.

*Skip the party. Offer to take your child and a few friends on a special birthday outing instead. The zoo or a movie followed by ice cream – almost any outing is easier than throwing a party. And the kids have just as much fun.

(c) 2010 Jennifer Bingham Hull. Reprint rights granted as long as the article is published in its entirety, including the resource box and its live links.

About the Author

Jennifer Bingham Hull is an award-winning author and mother of two. Her book, Beyond One: Growing a Family and Getting a Life, looks at life after the second child. To learn more, visit, where you can contact her to receive this Parenting Tips column and sign up for her free newsletter.

About Jennifer

A former journalist for The Wall Street Journal and Time, Jennifer is the award-winning author of Beyond One: Growing a Family and Getting a Life and pens the MidAge Mom blog.

She’s profiled exceptional women from the Middle East to Latin America. Widely published, her essays have been included in two anthologies.

Jennifer is also a frequent radio and TV guest. Full Bio

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to the MidAge Mom Blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

For Advice, insight and news

In Beyond One, Jennifer chronicles her leap from one child to two, describing the enormous impact the second child has on a woman’s body, marriage, family life, friendships and work.

"Hull is the kind of woman many moms long to be friends with. . ." -The Cleveland Plain Dealer.


The Wall Street Journal, Time, The Atlantic Monthly,, MS., Parenting, Real Simple,, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Working Mother, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, American Way, Brain, Child, The Christian Science Monitor, and more.