Birthday Parties - Washington,MO

Updated on November 12, 2010
J.B. asks from Saint Louis, MO
8 answers

At what age did you let your child have birthday parties with friends? My daughter is in preschool and will be 5 in a few months. I always for some reason thought that when kids started elementary school it was more appropriate then to invite classmates. Recently she was invited to another preschoolers birthday. I cannot decide if its ok or not and do you invite only same gender or all the kids. Do you let the invited children bring gifts or request not to? I don't think i would want them to bring gifts since it would be too much. Also, what are some fun birthday party ideas for a 5 year old?

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answers from Seattle on

I am having the same problem!! She has so many little friends in her pre-k and I have no clue who their parents are and feel kinda weird just inviting them. We have had 2 field trips and will have 1 more before her birthday, so I have spoken to her classmates parents but the connection is still weak. Do I invite them or what!? I feel awkward because I don't want them to bring gifts, just be there. But, is it ok to say that some don't bring gifts? I cannot stop family members, I tried last year. We have SOOO may toys n things!

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answers from Kansas City on

we have had friend parties even when they were a year old. We invited our friends that had babies and kids.

Invite all the kids from class. Some will come, some won't but be prepared for the whole class with food and activities in case they do all show up because a lot at this age usually do attend.

You could do a princess/prince party. They love dressing up and have a lot of fun at this age with that theme.

If you do thank you bags, I just do sandwich size bags of candy and maybe one little toy. I put 4 mini candy bars in each bag to start. I wouldn't spend a lot on the party bags. I usually put their names on the bags when I pass them out during the pinata time, that way they have something to put their candy in from the pinata. I put the cheaper type candy in the pinata but try to find candy that won't break when hit. air heads, taffy, tootsie rolls, nerds, mini pixie sticks and stuff like that work well. hard candy and suckers tend to break. After they pick up their pinata candy the bags are pretty full. If you don't put their names on the bags you will have kids fighting over which bag is theirs at the end because they all lay them around after the pinata and move to the next thing.

our parties have worked out well.
as kids are arriving, they play in the birthday kids room or play room and usually check out the house.
have them pick up the toys or whatever they were playing with and let them know that the party events will start when they get the area picked up.
If you don't want the kids all over the house or getting a lot of stuff out to play you could also have crafts set out on the table and have each kid make a birthday card for the birthday child or some other craft activity. Crafts are a good way to keep them occupied while you are greeting guests at the door as they are coming in. arrival time activity (15-20 min)
then we get them settled to eat whatever food we have provided (usually pizza as it's easy and cheap)
have cake-- food time 15-30 minutes, don't rush but move on when they are all finished eating.
play some games (variety of games for about 30 minutes)
do the pinata right before opening presents. (last about 15 min)
open presents (15 min)
then they go home.

2 hours is plenty of time for a party, if you go longer it is really hard to fill in activities for the whole time and once you run out of activities the chaos starts.

I have found that if they open gifts too early then half the new toys get broken or parts get lost from all the kids playing with them. I usually don't let them open the toys while all the kids are there or maybe one if it's something pretty durable. It is disappointing to your child to get new toys and have them messed up or broken before they get to enjoy them by themselves. It is also hard on them if you have them open gifts too early and they have to wait a long time to play with them. Open gifts about 15 minutes before the end time of the party.

Keeping the kids entertained the whole party is the key to a successful party without a bunch of whining and tattling.

some great games at this age are pin the tail on the donkey, or you could make crowns and pin the crown on the princess if you have a big princess poster, disney trivia, if it is warm enough to go outside--games like duck duck goose, red rover, or anything like that works too. We also used to set up the yard like a carnival with various games like mini golf area, ring toss, horseshoes or other games like that. Could also do some of these in the house if you have a big enough room.

I don't tell people not to bring gifts or to bring them. I personally will not let my kids attend a birthday without bringing a gift. They open the gifts they have and don't realize if a kid didn't bring one. Most at this age will bring something even if a card and 5.00 or some dollar store toys. We have had all variety of gift price ranges from around 3.00-20.00, usually depends on how close the friends are but kids enjoy the gifts and kids get excited about giving at this age so don't deprive them from their thoughtfulness of giving.

Have a great time and remember you will be entertaining and busy for at least 2 hours but it is a lot of fun and worth seeing that smile on your childs face.

Most of our birthday parties have cost less than 100.00 with food and party gifts. My kids know the limit is 100.00 and if there is any money left over from the party that is what their gift will cost. Most of the time they get 20-30.00 gift from us because the party cost the rest.

Now that they are teenagers I give them the choice of taking the 100.00 for their gift and no party or having a party and may or may not get a gift from us depending on the cost of the party.

I know this is a lot of information but hope these ideas help.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

been doing kids parties for 20+ years now! I find the easiest approach is to simply RELAX & let the kids have fun. As few rules/restrictions as possible!

I do not require/request anything special. Giving should be from the heart, not what the mom wants. & yes, we've always done co-ed parties....until about age 10 or so....which is when the whole sleepover things really starts kicking in!

As for guest list, for preschool it's way too easy to hurt other's feelings. We always invited the entire class, & sometimes siblings came too. A good rule of thumb is that almost all of the preschool age group will attend, with these #s diminishing by age 8 & on. My 14y.o. son has an annual Halloween party. This year he handed out 25+ invites.....& we had about 10 kids show up.....which I consider a perfect #!

For fun ideas, hit the Family Fun magazine's website. They have excellent party ideas. I have found that setting up stations of games/activities works better for the preschool group....with other parents assisting each station. Preschool kids have trouble being patient during parties! Here are some of the games I've used thru the years:
*Pin the Tail....but theme it to your party. We've done clown, witch, etc.
*Penny Drop: have a tall container 3/4 full of water(gallon pickle jar, etc.). Have the child hold the penny "nose-high" & try to drop the penny into the jar. older version of this game is to place a shot glass in the bottom of the big jar! Adults even try this one!
*Ball Toss: line up a variety of buckets/containers & have the kids toss soft balls into them. Designate each one a different value/color.....which then makes it a learning experience, too!

I have lots more me if you need them! Have FUN!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Spokane on

For my daughter's 4th birthday she was allowed to invite 4 friends (that she knew because I'm friends with their moms). They brought gifts (as she did for THEIR parties) and I just let them play for a couple of hours. I figured it'd be like herding cats trying to organize them into games and stuff - LOL. Then I fed them, we did the cake, and before they left the girls tore into a pinata that I'd filled with stickers, lip smackers, lollipops, mini markers, and other things that were NOT cheap plastic toys! The whole thing lasted about 3 hours and they all seemed to have a great time.



answers from New York on

For preschoolers it's very popular to have birthday partys and at this age it's always co-ed. The kids are still very integrated in their play - the boys and girls play side by side at pre-school - although they do break out into groups of boys and girls for certain types of play. Yes the kids bring gifts too. I always tried to get stuff for other kids that my kids would like, non-messy craft kits, legos. Your child may ahve a good idea of what to get and be sure to include a gift receipt. A gift card for Target it always an option too - although they get to a certain age where it's like torture to take your kid to TOY R US or Target!

The parties for pre-schoolers are almost more fun than for the older kids. They don't yet feel nervous or self-conscious, parents are always expected or at least welcome to stay. Sometimes there's party music and the kids are rounded up into a circle to do the hokey pokey or macarana, the chicken dance, the limbo, etc. Bring a camera and enjoy!



answers from Chicago on

You tend to find that the entire class is invited at that age, but obviously up to you. At the following years birthdays, the girls start to invite just the girls and vice versa, but again whatever works for her and you. Depending on budget go with what is within your range. These days in seems everyone is trying to outdo the next. I think it is so nice to do as much or as little as you can. It will be winter so would you have it at home or go to a playspace, or we went to Chuck E Cheese - it's our once a year pilgrimage!! At CEC you can book a party or just get a table and buy tokens for them. If you don't want to do the gift thing - a couple of times we have done a "book swap". Everyone brings an age appropriate book and the kids can choose one each - that way they feel like they have brought a "gift" but are receiving one back. Another idea is to ask them to make a $5 or $10 donation or pledge to a certain charity in your daughters name, such as Operation smile, Juvenile Diabetes or what ever is particular to you. Just ask them to put a cheque in an envelope in lieu of a birthday gift - then you can pass it on. Hope this helps a little with you planning!


answers from Kansas City on

My kids were two when they had co-ed friend parties. They invited preschool friends and church Sunday School freinds. I teach preschool and find this often is the case. The entire class is invited. When they reach elementary school is when my daughters had girls only parties. One year we had a luau combined party and they invited both their classes and kids from church and we ended up with 52 kids. They were in 1st and 2nd grade that year. But it is up to you. As for ideas. A lot of kids have parties at Fun Run, I've noticed. Bowling was another one. Some of the girls that have all girl parties have them at some of the dance studios that offer parties. Hope this helps. Good luck and God Bless.



answers from Kansas City on

I had a birthday party for my son's first birthday and invited some kids his age, but mostly only family showed up. It was a small party and we had a great time. His second and third party a few kids came from his preschool and from church. It was still a small party (10-15 people?) but we had a ball!

In the invitations, I added this note:"Your PRESENCE is more impotrant than your PRESENTS. Please come if you are able." Be prepared that less than half of the people you invite may actually be there.

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