Every parent knows that there is a special kind of pressure surrounding kids’ birthday parties. You want your little one to feel loved and celebrated, but birthday parties can get expensive. Plus, keeping up with the Joneses, who may or may not have rented a few ponies for their child’s birthday, can get overwhelming.
So first and foremost, let go of that idea that you should be keeping up. Birthday parties are supposed to be fun. If you’re worried about how your child’s party measures up, you’re going to be miserable. A community engagement project out of the University of Minnesota is encouraging parents to celebrate birthdays without pressure, which is something that can actually make for parties that are more enjoyable for all involved.
But what do you do if you’re at a loss for how to even celebrate that birthday?
I grew up in Arizona, where most everyone I knew simply opted for pool parties around their birthday. Now, I live in Alaska, and I have a daughter who celebrates her birthday in February. I’ve learned that sometimes you have to get a little more creative with the winter birthday party. But getting creative doesn’t have to mean making yourself crazy.
Here are some fun and simple winter birthday party ideas sure to delight any child.
1. Frozen birthday
Sure, “Frozen” came out in 2013. But if your child is anything like mine, the obsession still exists. So why not play off of that for a winter party theme? You could have the kids build and decorate marshmallow Olafs, host a singing contest to the tune of “Let It Go,” and pin the tail on Sven.
2. Ski or sledding party
If you live anywhere near a ski resort and your child is old enough that beginner ski lessons are an option, you could throw a party there. Try hiring a ski instructor to teach the kids on the bunny slope for an hour or two. Most resorts also have conference rooms you could rent out for cake and presents.
What if there are no ski options nearby or you’re dealing with a younger crowd? Head to the local sled hill and bring along some prizes for the fastest sledders.
3. Painting party
Get online and find out if you have any ceramics shops or painting studios nearby. Plenty of these studios offer up the perfect winter party solution. Kids get a chance to express their creativity. Parents can get in on the action and make themselves a new coffee cup or follow a canvas painting tutorial.
4. Slumber party
Every kid loves a slumber party. There’s something about the winter months that seems made for an overnighter. Invite a few kids over and set up a hot chocolate and popcorn bar that can be indulged in between board games and movie showings. Set the sleeping bags up in the living room and don’t be surprised if the giggles continue well into the night.
5. Cookie decorating
Especially for parties around the holidays, getting kids together to decorate cookies is sure to be fun for all. Or maybe you want to get the supplies for gingerbread houses and encourage your guests to team up and try to make the best house. All you need for a party like this is a long table and plenty of decorating supplies. The kids will do the rest and they’ll probably enjoy sneaking a few bites as they go.
6. Bounce party
Trampoline parks and indoor bounce houses are all the rage these days. Depending on where you live, you may have a few of these locations to choose from. Kids love these places and they are known for hosting some spectacular birthday parties. The bonus would be that you wouldn’t have to come up with any kind of theme. You just rent the space and show up with your guests for lots of energetic fun.
7. Winter wonderland
If you’re just itching for that theme, why not go all out with winter wonderland? You could decorate the space in snowflakes, set up a makeshift igloo for the kids to play in, and serve snow cones as the dessert. Your guests could participate in a snowman building contest out back, and making up some snow slime is sure to delight.
8. Ice skating party
If you have an ice skating rink in your area, or even just a popular skating pond nearby, getting all the kids together for a skating party could be a blast. Set up an impromptu hockey game or provide parents with “Perfect 10” cards to judge figure skating attempts.
And when the skating is over, why not invite everyone back to your house for a viewing of “The Mighty Ducks”?
9. Winter olympics
The Winter Olympics won’t be back officially until 2018, but that doesn’t mean you can’t host your own winter games now.
If you have limited space in your own yard, scope out local parks that might provide just the right setup for a few winter contests. You could set up an obstacle course and declare snowball fighting to be a new Olympic event. Create a simple tobogganing path while you’re at it.
Whatever you do, just make sure that both you and your child are having fun doing it. There’s research that suggests that up until the age of 7, kids are still susceptible to believing it is the birthday party, not their birthday day, that ages them.
So throw the party! But don’t stress yourself out in the process.