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A Playdate-Style Birthday Party


Birthday parties for littles can add up fast. For a few Benjamins, you can take them and a few friends to a bounce place or rent a bounce house for your backyard. We didn’t start big parties like that for my older daughter until she was about five. So when my younger turned three, even though she now knows about big blow-out parties, we decided to stick to a small, at-home party.

I landed on the idea of playdate-style, which isn’t really a thing, but I think it should be! It may just be a label I made up to the way most people do parties anyway? With the cost of donut-themed invitations, rings, dollar store helium balloons and food, I was able to pull off the fun-for-my-daughter party on a small budget. (She had picked the donut “theme” from a catalog, and I filled that wish via Amazon and Mr. Ronnie’s Donut Shop!)

For the playdate style, I basically got out most of our daughters’ toys and made stations or centers like you’d find in a preschool classroom. We had hoped the weather would be nice and we could have bubbles, scooters and chalk outside, but it was one of those weirdly cool days that popped up this spring, so we stayed inside for the planned activities. We had Duplos, blocks, a dollhouse, baby dolls, kitchen/restaurant play, trains and vehicles on our road rug, and Play-Doh, which was the biggest hit.

In addition to the donuts, I made cupcakes, fruit salad, and a cheese and cracker plate laid out like the number three. The helium balloon party favors made nice decor, and we also had a number three made out of pink balloons on one wall. I strung photos–one from each month of her third cycle around the sun–and a “3” balloon, and that was a big hit with her. Since she’s younger than her sister, we honestly have fewer framed photos of her! 

I originally thought I’d stick the donut rings into the cupcakes–that’s how they’re used in the pictures online. But seeing the made-in-China labels made me hesitate, and in the end, they made perfect anchors for the helium balloons. The kids really loved the balloons, and they were easy to get–although comical to get home from the store. 

Although I had to clean my house a lot before the party and clean it all over again AFTER the party, it was still fairly easy and lowkey. What kinds of parties do you like to have for your kids?

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16 May 2019


By Mari Walker

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