Unforgettable Birthday Ideas Your Kids Will Love

I’m always looking for how to make a birthday special, but the idea of throwing a kid birthday party makes me break out in sweats. Many people can throw spectacular birthday parties and love doing them.

I am not one of them.

I believe that being a great mom looks different for all of us. We should play to our strengths and drop what doesn’t make us happier or better moms.

So, lets give up the mom guilt! I’m perfectly happy attending beautifully crafted parties, but I know that throwing them just isn’t my thing. For several reasons…

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how to make a birthday special pin

Why Not Big Birthday Parties

THE BIRTHDAY WORKLOAD

Thank you for the beautiful ideas, Pinterest, but I’m not going to spend hours getting 50 origami flower napkins just right.

I’m not that crafty, and I have three small kids.

I already spend a good chunk of time trying not to be overwhelmed with my to-do list.

Three separate parties every year making the right favors and games is a TON of work. And it fills me with panic just thinking about it.

THE BIRTHDAY STUFF

My kids already have a bazillion toys.

Some toys are great, but too many and my children don’t appreciate what they’re getting.

Plus, I get overwhelmed by a lot of stuff, so the thought of adding a bunch to my house gives me enormous anxiety.

Sanity Saving Party Options

unforgettable birthday ideas

So, what are the alternatives to highly detailed parties if they make you perspire?

First, you don’t have to swear off ALL parties! Check these low key party options out, then read on for how to make a birthday special without a party at all!

THROW OCCASIONAL BIRTHDAY PARTIES

First, host birthday parties for special birthday years only.

We throw a first birthday party, and I know some that do it when children reach five and ten year birthdays so that they are spread out.

TRY LOW KEY BIRTHDAY PARTY IDEAS

We have attended parties where kids just play at the park, gym, or pool. They are super laid back and essentially playdates that include a cake.

DO DONATIONS

Additionally, we love it when kids bring donations instead of gifts.

Not only does this teach a meaningful lesson, but it gives the birthday child the thrill of delivering donations to an organization that needs it.

Pet shelters, women’s shelters, and hospitals are always on the lookout for supplies.

THROW AN ANNUAL PARTY

Finally, at our house, we enjoy one big summer party (instead of 3 separate birthday parties) as a way to still get friends, family, and neighbors together once a year.

How to Make A Child’s Birthday Unforgettable

how to make a birthday special

Now, it’s still extremely important to me that the kids feel special on their big day! So here’s what we do to make their day feel magical by itself!

1. GO ALL OUT WITH DECORATIONS

unforgettable birthday ideas

We have lots of reusable banners that we hang around the house as well as balloons to blow up. All of this gets put out the night before, so they see it as soon as they walk down!

2. HAVE A SPECIAL BIRTHDAY DINNER

Just because there’s no party doesn’t mean there’s no special celebration!

On the night of the birthday, we have grandparents come for a dinner of the child’s choice. Being kids, it’s usually pizza. Then, we celebrate with cake and a few presents!

Not able to celebrate with others due to health concerns? Check out How to Make a Birthday Special Stuck at Home

3. GIVE BIRTHDAY COUPONS

Guys, I’m a big lover of coupons!

They take up no space in my house and don’t make my kids psycho from sugar. For birthdays, they get a coupon for 30 min extra TV, 1 extra hot lunch at school, and/or to stay up late for 15 minutes.

4. WRITE LOVE LETTERS

Every year, I write each kid a letter on their birthday about the special things they loved, have learned, and have accomplished throughout the year.

They often have me re-read them throughout the year. The letters make them feel special, and it’s an extra reminder that they are loved.

Additionally, I try to keep a copy of each letter on the computer so that when they turn 18 I can give them all of the letters as a gift!

5. MEASURE THEM ON THE RULER

ruler to make a birthday unforgettable

We made a ruler when our oldest was little and measure every birthday!

It has been SO fun to see how tall they are each year and compare how tall the siblings are at different age points.

6. GET TOGETHER WITH FRIENDS

Since we seldom do birthday parties, we like to do a birthday dinner together with a few family friends around the special days.

That way the kids still get to “invite friends” over, but we’re not overwhelmed.

7. ONE-ON-ONE BIRTHDAY DATES

Every birthday, we have a one-on-one date with mom and date at a separate time. Here are some great ideas for your quality birthday time:

  • Buy a book at a book store
  • Buy some “big boy” tools
  • Get ice cream or treat
  • Go out to a fancy dinner or restaurant of the child’s choice
  • Explore the nearby creek or go fishing at a lake
  • Go to the zoo or amusement park
  • Take a picnic somewhere new
  • Go see a movie
  • Fill the bathtub with pillows, books, and snacks and read

*This tradition is close to my heart, but it has become much less feasible with three kids and tighter schedules.

Instead of an outing, we simply spend one-on-one time at home doing whatever the child wants to do on his/her birthday. This includes playing with toys and having a fun treat at home.

Related Post: How to Spend More Quality Time With Your Child

8. READ A SPECIAL BOOK

read for special birthday ideas

Our children received The Night You Were Born at birth, and I adore reading it to them to remind them of how unique they are. Check it out HERE.

Another great birthday book option is Happy Birthday To You by Dr. Seuss.

9. DIG OUT THEIR BABY ALBUM

What child doesn’t want to see themselves as a baby?

Peruse their baby book and special mementos. Then, you can all see how much they’ve grown over the years.

Celebrate Milestone Birthdays

My daughter turned five last year, and we have a few special traditions to celebrate this milestone as well!

milestone birthday ideas

10. THE Q & A BOOK

This is the BEST book to promote meaningful conversations between children and parents. It is a fantastic three-year guide for kids. And every day has a different short prompt to discuss. Examples include:

  • What was the last thing you built or made?
  • Which language would you like to learn and why?
  • Which do you like more, being inside or outside? Why?

My son and I have talked about the questions in this book for the last two and a half years just before bed, and now my daughter is in on it as well.

Related Post: 7 Traditions to Add Meaning to Every Day

11. THE 5 YEAR PHOTO BOOK

I am the WORST at printing pictures out. It’s one of the reasons we use Chatbooks (an automatic printing service).

Yet, I give them each a special book of their first five years of life on that milestone birthday. At least when they’re older they will have something to look at that isn’t from a computer!!!

Love the idea of creating unforgettable family memories?

Then, check out my bargain ebook, jam-packed with 250+ unique family traditions for major holidays, birthdays, and everything in between!

Remember, different traditions work with different people. Try out several to find your fit. But keep it fun and stress-free!

How do you make a birthday special?

And check out these other great family posts:

How to Make A Birthday Special (No Party Involved)