Birthdays as the kids get older

As kids get older, many things change. No longer do they need you to get them a snack or pick out their clothes. As you would expect, their tastes in TV shows and books change as do their friends as they grow up and experience more.

So it is no wonder that birthdays also change. Many parents throw birthday parties for their kids when they turn one. The party of course is more for the parents as the baby has no idea what all the fuss is about. They are all about playing with the boxes and smashing cake with their fingers.

We never did big parties when our kids turned one or two. In fact, they only had parties with us and the grandparents until they turned 5. Then it became parties where you invited their whole class. I use to like doing them at party places as they seemed to be less of a hassle, and I got to enjoy the party rather than run it. (I even wrote a post about that. Click here to read it.)

The inviting the whole class worked for a few years. And then we would just invite the boys or girls – depending on if it was Jase’s or Lexie’s party. And three years ago, we moved to having the parties at home. It gave us more creativity with their themes.

Jase did an awesome Army turned Lego party followed by a How to Train Your Dragon party. Last year, he just invited a couple of friends over for science experiments, video games and a water balloon fight. His birthday is tomorrow. We celebrated with family yesterday, but he is going with some friends to a bowling/laser tag place this coming weekend to celebrate.

For Lexie’s home parties, we first did a Minecraft themed party and this year it was Pokemon. Next year, we will probably try to scale her party back to maybe just a few friends. Or perhaps she will have a sleep over.

Jase next year will be in middle school. And with that, I imagine parties will end. Of course, Lexie is quick to point out that teenagers can have parties too. I just don’t think we will be making that a yearly thing.

I know college students and adults who still throw parties for their birthday. And if the kids want to do that, I am not stopping them. It just isn’t something I have every done. My last birthday party was when I turned 21. It was also my only surprise party. (And the day I got engaged.) I’m perfectly happy celebrating with a dinner out with the family. But we will see as the kids get older what they want to do.

A Pokemon Birthday party for my 9-year-old daughter 

Though she may love pink and puppies and spends her time singing songs from Disney’s Moana, Lexie rarely chooses a “girly” theme for her birthday parties. Last year, she chose Minecraft. This year it was Pokemon.

Like last year, we decided to have this party at the house. A quick look at Pinterest brought a slew of ideas. But after a few years of going all out on the kids’ parties, we toned it back a little this year.

Invitation – I always design the kids’ invitations. Since Lexie loves pink and Pikachu, I combined them for this card. We printed them at Wal-Mart. She invited her whole class plus three other friends. Thankfully, everyone didn’t show up. We had eight kids (not counting Jase, who decided to introduce/explain all the games instead of participating.)

Decorations – We kept this pretty simple – mostly white and red crepe paper. This included hanging the crepe paper from the ceiling to make a giant Pokeball design. We also printed out some Pokeballs to affix to the walls.

Our Pokemon table covering was pretty easy. You just take one red tablecloth and one white tablecloth and attach them in the middle with black duct tape. Throw in a white plate in the middle (outlined with black tape) and ta da, you have a Pokemon tablecloth.

I used red plates for the cupcakes and then bought some Pokemon plates and napkins for the pizza. Our goodie bags were white Kraft bags with red and black paper glued on them to make them look like Pokeballs.

Food – We decided to keep it simple this year. We just served pizza, water and Rootbeer for lunch followed by cupcakes. Each cupcake had a different Pikachu on it.

Games/Activities – Again, we kept it pretty simple. The biggest challenge was that it rained on her birthday, and we had to move all outdoor activities inside.

Decorating Masks – I traced two different masks onto light yellow paper. The first was a Pikachu design, and then I did a generic mask for those kids who might not be into Pokemon. We put out different color markers for them to decorate them.

Pin the Fire on the Charizard – As a version of Pin the Tail on the Donkey, I printed out a Charizard with the flame on its tail missing. The kids then had to land a cutout of the fire on the spot.

Water Balloon Target Practice – I printed out various Pokemon characters – assigning each a point value based on how big I printed the character. We originally were going to attach them to the fence, but since we had to move the game inside, we taped them to the inside of the garage door. The kids used water balloon to throw and accumulate points. Since this was a water game, I laminated the Pokemon cutouts.

Pokeball hunt – I saw this version of an Easter Egg hunt on Pinterest. You decorate ping-pong balls to look like Pokeballs and then hide them throughout the yard for the kids to find. This would have been great in our big backyard. Instead, I had to go hide them while the kids were doing the piñata in the garage. I hid them around the living and dining room. I missed seeing how well this game worked as I was out picking up the pizza while they played.

Pikachu Says – To fill in time while I was getting the pizza (it took longer than planned), the kids played this version of “Simon Says.” They liked it so much that they did it again after pizza and cupcakes.


Pinata –
The last few years I have made the piñata for the kids. But since Lexie didn’t want a Pokeball piñata which would have been easy to make, I bought a piñata at Wal-mart and simply added pictures of four different Pokemon to the outside.

Lexie declared the party was great. All of her friends seemed to have a good time too.