4 Year Old Bday Party

Updated on February 22, 2011
H.H. asks from Vineland, NJ
14 answers

My son is turning 4 on March 16th and he is currently in preschool/daycare and I have goin back and forth with weather or not I should have him invite the kids in his class or not. I would have no problem at all if the party was not at my home but I am not sure what my money situation is goin to look like at that time just yet. So what I am asking does anyone have any ideas of where I could have the party at instead of my home or the bigger question is should I wait one more year to invite kids from school for his birthday?

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answers from Dallas on

I never think it is a good idea to invite the whole class - it is too much money and way too many presents. I have never understood the point either. I invite family kids and the friends they have mentioned by name from school, play dates and neighborhood.

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answers from Boston on

Inviting the whole class is a burden for many families. Parents are tired of having a party every weekend and shopping for all those gifts, and hosts are tired of overspending for so much food, activities, goody bags, and so on. Four-year-olds are not very interested in watching another child open all kinds of toys that they don't get to play with. The more kids there are, the longer everyone has to sit there and watch. And the birthday child isn't old enough to really show appreciation (especially for gifts that they aren't as thrilled with). So it's an exercise in frustration for everyone.

We started our son with friends at parties at age 4 - he invited 4 friends. Not their siblings, not their parents. The party lasted about 90 minutes I think. Our son received 4 gifts. We played some party games and had cupcakes. The rest of the time, they ran around the yard. It was fun, manageable, and so on. We did not usually accept invitations for huge parties unless my son was particularly good friends with the birthday child. He didn't usually enjoy those big Chuck E Cheese parties anyway - a big free-for-all and a huge expense for the party-givers. So we always stayed very reasonable and he has no regrets.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Do whatever you can afford. If this means a small party, your 4 year-old will still think it's great. One guideline I've gone by is to invite the same number of kids as the age of your child. So 4 would be enough.



answers from Washington DC on

I would just send in cupcakes to the class and keep the outside of school party for family and close friends. We do this every year. Its an extra $20 vs. $200.



answers from Erie on

This is really up to your preference. Our twin boys turned four last year, and we did have a party at a local bounce place. Our thought was that it was a place we wanted to take them anyway, so why not invite their friends along. We chose a weekday morning (because they only had preschool a few mornings a week) which kept the cost down because it was a flat rate to rent the whole place. We supplied snacks, drinks, and birthday cake. In our case, we felt like we could spend a little more since it was a shared party. The flip side is that their preschool is out of our school district, so it is unlikely these little friends will remain close once they hit kindergarten :(

* You didn't ask, but I thought I'd weigh in on a peeve of mine. We did NOT do any favors or goody bags for the kids (I will refrain from preaching about how I feel about this trend). We also requested no gifts (because we know some people feel obligated to bring something, we chose to request donations to the local food bank, which was a big hit with our kids).



answers from Philadelphia on

My son just turned 4 this month. We had a small Cars-themed party at home. We invited 3 of this friends from daycare (only 1 could make it, but it was his best buddy, so he was happy) and had a few other kids (cousins and friends' kids). It worked out great - a total of about 6 kids 6 and under. We had some activities for the kids and plenty of food for the adults. Our son had a great time.



answers from Boise on

I agree with the others. Our dtr is turning 4 in March too and we are only inviting a few from her class and others from our neighborhood. I do think it's important (and many schools have a policy against) to not pass out invites at school unless everyone is invited so our invites are going directly to their homes.



answers from New York on

It is pretty expensive to have a party out someplace (most were over $200). I was just checking since my pre-k son just turned 5 yesterday. Winter birthdays can be such a pain that way. I send cupcakes and goody bags to school last year and munchkin donuts and goody bags this year (they do birthdays at 9:30 am this year). We had a few family friends and relatives over to have cake on his birthday. I am trying to set up a play date or special outing (like a children's museum) with 1 friend or family friends. In past years I set up a special play date on his birthday and this year the scheduling didn't work out.

I feel there will be many years of school ahead for bigger parties. With young kids 1 child per year of age is a good rule. Big parties with little kids are too chaotic for me. I also have limited space at home and could not fit 27 kids (they have a big class and 4 teachers). My mom used to let me invite all the girls in my class in K-2 which would be maybe 10-12 girls for about a 2 hour party at home (she did lots of games). I would not invite 10 boys that age to my home though!



answers from Honolulu on

It is never a 'rule' that you have to invite every single person from class.
I have never done that.
We keep it small and per our budget only.
We only invite my kids friends.
If it is only 3 kids we invite, so be it.
A "party" does not have to be tons of people.
A kid will be happy with any party.

There will be many more years ahead... of making Birthday Parties.
This is only Preschool/daycare.
If anything, just send some cupcakes for his class to his Preschool/Daycare. That is what many Moms do.



answers from New York on

my son just celebrated his 4th and he is in preschool also, he gets invited all the time and we do attend some. i had his at home with just family and friends of ours who have kids near his age=total 6 kids, which was plenty at this age. he wanted to have it "somewhere" with "everyone" from school. we have all those years ahead of us when they will have established real friendships in grade school and they wont be so easily convinced to have a small party at home. anyway i let him help me make the cake, pick out decorations and then decorate the house. he had no complaints. keep it small and cheap while you can! if you decide to go the other way check to see if there is a Childrens Museum in your area.



answers from Philadelphia on

I would say have it at chuck e cheese. They serve you and clean it up. You could call and inquire about prices. They also have coupons for tokens in stuff in the coupon section of the newspaper. It it also at this point something to think about for the day. Are you ready to deal with a big birthday party for him. Is he asking for a birthday party? If not,then wait until next year. Good luck and happy birthday to your son. My son will be four in July.



answers from Phoenix on

what if you brought a treat like cupcakes, along w/ special napkins, plates and maybe even goodie bags to his school. this way his classmates can celebrate w/ him and you don't have to entertain them in your home.



answers from Pittsburgh on

In my son's preschool class, the favorite place to go to a birthday party is Bounce U - the kids LOVE it. And the place does all the work so the host parents like it too, from what I've heard. One child had a party there about a year ago, and now that's where all the kids request for their parties. It has definitely been preferred over Chuck E Cheese by the kids here.

I don't know what it costs because I've avoided hosting a big school-class birthday party for my 4 (almost 5) year old. He loves playing with his cousins, so I've stuck with the extended family birthday party so far.


answers from Williamsport on

When my daughter was that age and in daycare, my hubs was away and I had very limited dough. I found out from the daycare which other kids had birthdays in that month, and asked the moms if they wanted to "merge" parties. Three of us went in on a party at a local kids gymnastics place and split the cost. It was triple the fun at 1/3 the price, and almost every parent there commented it was so nice to only have to attend 1 party instead of 3. Also, all the pressure wasn't on me to come up with a fun party. I did the decorating, the other two moms did the cake and refreshments.
Also, at age 4 (I did this too on the day of her birthday which was a couple weeks before the "big" party and it would have been enough, but it was too late to back out of the mega party) I sent little gift bags with her to school and some sweet treats, and the teacher led Happy Birthday and it was PLENTY. I also went in that day and read some of my daughter's favorite books to the class. Several parents commented later that their kids loved that. As newbie mom with my first in "school" I ended up doing more than I needed to. You can send treats to his class and it's enough.

I wouldn't have done anything at all at that age, but all the other kids were having "parties" at local parks and stuff on Saturdays, so I didn't want my daughter to feel bad.

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