by Kimberly Davis Guerra
There’s one thing for sure, as a parent you will have your share of birthday parties to plan (and attend)! With sites like Pinterest and Instagram, the opportunities are endless and somewhat overwhelming. At the end of the day, whether you have cake and games or you choose an over-the-top experience, what makes a great party are the memories!
Toddlers – PreK
Honestly, this is more for the parents than the kids. Give them a cupcake to smash and free rein to run around with their friends and they are good. However, for us, it needs to be a little more special than that. So, here are some great ideas for major Instagrammable moments.
Arts & Crafts
Whether it’s chalk drawings on the driveway or finger-painting in the yard, toddlers love to be given direction and get their hands dirty.
From Elsa to Spiderman, costume characters are always going to provide shock and awe to this age group. Build your party around their favorite princess or superhero and you are sure to be a big hit.
All ages love animals, but at this stage, a bunny, some baby chicks and a goat could be all you need to send these little ones into happiness overdrive. Of course, finding a company to bring a small petting zoo to your backyard would be even better!
Now it starts to get a little trickier. Most kids start to have a very specific idea, and a guest list for their parties. While it may be a challenge to please their developing tastes, you still are in control at this point. Enjoy it before you hit the ‘tween years.
Games, games, games
This age group is ACTIVE, and require lots of games and/or activities. Think laser tag, inflatables with waterslides, foam parties and mobile video gaming trucks. All are extremely popular for both boys and girls.
Destination is key
Did I mention this age group is active? Think bowling parties, baseball games, roller rinks/ice skating, go-carting or an arcade. Again, it’s great for both boys and girls.
This is the age when slumber parties really kick into high gear. Get ready for weekly rotation of houses between friends, and then a huge gathering of all of them for birthday weekends. It is chaotic and you will go through a lot of food, but it will make for great memories.
This is the age when you get a bit of a break. Tweens are ‘too cool’ to have big, lavish parties. You can normally get away with one or two good friends hanging out for the weekend with a little pomp and circumstance. Destinations are great for these years or even weekend getaways.
Backyard campouts, outdoor movie night, make-your-own pizza party, all great ideas.
Now is the time when everything kicks into high gear. Think themes. These can be lavish or simple. The trend for 2019 is colored smoke bombs photos, donut walls, backdrops galore, and custom t-shirts!
Ideas – Amazing Race scavenger hunt, DIY Escape Room, spa party, sports team themed parties, epic limo parties, pool party or dance party — turn your home into a teen club! Whichever direction you go, your teen will be sure to LOVE every minute of it.
OVERALL party trends for 2019
Backdrops are key
Selfies seem to be here to stay, and to ensure your party has Instagrammable moments, the right backdrop is crucial. Whether you are looking for a wood wall with twinkle lights, flowers or fringe, backdrops are a key element to any party. If you are brave enough to DIY, there are hundreds of ideas on Pinterest. Alternatively, there are some great rental companies that will up your party game to stellar level, for a fee.
No longer is it sufficient to just grab a dozen balloons and have them floating around the party table. No, that will not do. Big balloons and lots of them, are required. Think garlands, towers and jumbo size. I won’t lie, I used to think it was a little over the top, but it does make for an incredible visual and makes any room feel festive.
A Curated theme
Once you come up with your theme for your party, everything needs to follow suit. From the location to the invites, to the menu, music and décor, and not to mention the party favors, a crafted and curated party is the norm these days.
It’s all about the cake (or the donuts)
This is an ongoing trend that just seems to get bigger and better every year. Donut walls, number shaped cakes, cupcakes that look too good to eat. Whatever direction you decide to go, more than likely it won’t be with a cake made from a box