6 No-Stress Birthday Party Themes Kids and Parents Will Love

These low-key but fun ideas are perfect for your child’s next party.

By Betsy Voreacos

Planning – and throwing – the perfect kid’s birthday party can mean massive amounts of time and money, not to mention stress! Here are some ideas for really easy, but super fun parties that will take away the pressure so you can all enjoy the special day.

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Have a pseudo-sleepover!

Sleepover parties. Kids love ‘em but parents, well…that’s another story. So, compromise! Have all the guests come in pajamas with their sleeping bags and stuffed animals. Let them eat junk, play games, and watch movies for hours. And then (the best part) send them home before bed.

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Glow big or go home.

Kids love playing outside in the dark, so why not make a party out of it? Buy some inexpensive headlamps or flashlights, plus plenty of glow sticks and glow necklaces (which will double as party favors), and make your own fun. Do shadow puppets against the wall of the house, go on a nature walk, tell not-so-scary ghost stories or make up your own flashing-light Morse code and talk team-to-team across the backyard.

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It’s a shore thing!

Everyone loves the beach, so bring the beach to your own backyard! Have the kids wear swimsuits and bring beach towels, set up some umbrellas, fill up a wading pool, set up a sprinkler, and splash your way to a fun-filled day. Give bright-colored sunglasses or flip-flops as party favors and serve boardwalk fare like pizza, French fries, and ice pops.

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Instant-gratification selfie party.

Everyone loves a selfie, and kids love seeing their photos get “developed” right on the spot. So use an old-fashioned instant film camera, or hook up a digital camera (or your smartphone) to a compact photo printer. For even more fun, set up some photo booth backdrops with props. Hang prints with clothespins around the house and send everyone home with a couple of selfies and some groupies, too!

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Go ahead, act out!

Let the kids write their own play (or provide a simple script) and have them act it out. Provide fun props from the dollar store and costumes from your own closets. Break the kids into groups for multiple presentations or just have one big production. Invite the parents to come back early for pick-up so they can enjoy the show!

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Kick it old-school.

Everything old is new again. You may think pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey is passé, but kids love playing games the “old folks” (ahem!) played as kids. Try some potato sack races with old pillow cases or laundry bags, egg-on-spoon races, duck-duck-goose, musical chairs, bucket tosses…Even ask the grandparents to share their childhood games and guaranteed, everyone will have tons of fun!

What’s the best, simple party you’ve ever thrown?

Betsy Voreacos lives with her family a stone’s throw from New York City. An overly involved mother of three, Betsy has always been acutely aware of her shortcomings as a parent, not to mention those of her children. She documents her life in the brutally honest Old Minivans Die Hard.

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