5 steps to a fun kid birthday party

by Jen in birthday party

A year ago, as we wrapped up my daughter’s 5th birthday party, the Cupcake Fest, we chatted about what the theme might be for her 6th birthday party. When the idea of a sledding party came up I said “sure!” I mean a sledding party in early February seemed reasonable. Little did we know that this would be the year that winter did not arrive in Toronto. But, as they say “the show must go on” so we pushed ahead with our sled party plans and crossed our fingers that snow would come. And it did!

The night before the party a few flakes flittered by. At 5am I woke up and peaked out my bedroom window. I could not believe my eyes, snow covered everything, everywhere. I crawled back under the sheets with a smile on my face…the show would go on!
So, what happens at a sledding party. The same 5 things that happen at all birthday parties…invitations, decorations, an activity, cake/food and loot bags. I realized a few years ago that really all parties are the same it is only the age and theme that change. Birthday party planning doesn’t have to be totally overwhelming if you stick to covering these 5 basic areas. I start by creating a document to keep track of all the important information. Every year I go back to the same document and just update the theme and the year. That way I know who I invited, what I served, what we did from the previous year.


Last week I shared how we made our colour your own invitations. The creation of the invitation also involved determining the guest list. This one is always hard with school aged kids – who you invite is entirely up to you.


The benefit of an outdoor party is that nature decorates for you, right? However, because we didn’t know if there would be ANY snow or if it might be an extremely cold day we had to decorate inside our house. We tried to make the house as “cool” as possible, with icicles. I created these icicles by first measuring the opening I wanted to cover. 

Then I used a large roll of paper, and cut it the length of the opening.

Finally I drew an icicle shape on a sheet of paper (the IKEA big roll of paper).

Just cut along the lines and hang with tape. Icicles everywhere.

The Cake 

sledding party cake peopleOkay, so we go a little bit crazy around here with our cakes. It is fun to embrace a theme. This year we created a sledding hill out of three layers of cake and some icing. Playmobil figures were my sledders and I used fondant to make the trees, the sleds and the touques/scarf. This cake was simple to make, it just took a little imagination. The reality is that kids are happy with any cake and are happy with any food. We set out crackers, cheese and fruit. By the end of the party the platters were clear and the kids are happy.
HOT TIP – food planning depends on the timing of your party. If your party is over the lunch hour you are expected to serve lunch. A few years ago we had a pasta themed party, thus it was held during in the evening. It comes down to the timing.


Over the years we have learned that kids really just want to play. A little bit of guidance can help keep the party moving along. For the sledding party it was all about getting outdoors. While we had grand plans of races and sledding games the kids were perfectly happy to just sled. HOT TIP – Try and pick an activity that everyone will enjoy. Know your age group. The hill we went to was small, but we had 4 – 8 year olds and we didn’t want to sled on a hill that was too challenging for the little ones. The party should be fun for everyone.

Loot Bag

Okay, here is another area that I really embrace. A few birthdays ago we decided try and make the items that were going into our loot bags…even the bags. It does take a little time, but I sew our little loot bags. I like the idea of the bag being part of the gift. HOT TIP – you could use a ready made small reusable bag. We try and include an activity and something to eat in our loot bags. Generally that means a homemade cookie and a crafty item.  The sledding party loot bags included a sledding felt board, a ball of snow play dough and a snowflake cookie. Simple and fun items…I’ll have a “how to” post about these loot bags next week.
That’s it. Children’s birthday parties don’t have to be stressful to plan. Kids are flexible and easy to please, especially when they are in groups. I know they are loud and full of energy and it can seem overwhelming. With a good plan things can run smoothly. The best part is they are kids they’ll never know if the activity you planned didn’t go exactly according to plan. They are just happy to be playing with their friends.

Looking for more ways to connect with your kids?
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Rebekah February 17, 2012 at 10:28 pm

Thank you for linking up to The Outdoor Play Party!! I LOVE this idea for a birthday party. You are so right that kids just want a chance to play at a party. We try to make some of the items in our gift bags too.

Kierna C February 18, 2012 at 9:22 am

What a fun party & it goes to show that you can have any theme you want, no need to be restricted by the usual resources out there. As Rebekah said, thanks for linking up this week, Kierna

abbie February 23, 2012 at 4:04 pm

This is awesome! What a fun birthday party. We are thinking of doing a hiking party for our four year old. So many people have been throwing around ideas for us but nothing says “Sam” like a hiking party. But we will see. I just hate planning a party around the weather. Great ideas, thanks for linking them up to the outdoor play party.

Anonymous November 25, 2012 at 2:48 pm

So did you do the cake a presents first in the house and then go to the hill to sled? I am wondering the logistics of this all as I am trying to host one of these myself this winter. thanks!

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