A Birthday Party Idea for the Busy Parent

As I think about how to celebrate my daughter’s upcoming birthday, I remembered a party we recently attended that stood out for many reasons, but mainly because it was a simple, fun-filled event at a local park.  The invitation read:

“Please come to our mystery party!

How did these guys get to be five already? It’s a mystery to us!

Join us for some clever clue-sleuthing fun and games in G Park to celebrate the birthdays of E and G. Pizza and light lunch served – and cake, of course. Siblings are welcome, too.

In lieu of gifts, let’s have a book exchange. Please bring one new wrapped book.  Each family will be able to take a book home.”

There are three elements I love about this party and will plan to use in one of my future birthday bashes:

  1. Joint Birthday Party – If your little one happens to have a friend/classmate with a similar birthdate, how nice would it be to share in the festivities (as well as the party planning and execution).  A joint birthday party can teach a toddler the invaluable lesson that life is not always about me, me, me.
  2. Mystery Party – Although this particular party was a full-blown mystery-themed bash with clues and all, I love the idea of a real mystery party, where the theme/activities/food are all a mystery, until your guests show up.  This means, one could send out the invitations a month in advance, call it a “mystery party,” and not have a thing planned until the week of.  I LOVE it!  This is the perfect solution for any busy parent or procrastinator at heart.
  3. Book Exchange – I love giving and receiving books.  The way the book exchange works at a birthday party is, each guest brings a new book wrapped as a birthday gift.  The books get numbered and placed into a basket as guests arrive.  As the party comes to an end and guests prepare to leave, you have each child pick a number out of a hat, and he/she gets to take that numbered book home.  Isn’t that the best party favor ever?

If you have any other practical and fun ideas for children’s birthday parties, please share.  I always have these elaborate visions of hosting beautiful themed parties where everything is perfectly planned and executed, but let’s face it . . . who has the time?

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