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Birthday Nostalgia: 17 Home Party Ideas for Kids

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We’re in the thick of birthday season here. My youngest turned 7 last week, and her birthday party is this weekend. In a few weeks, the tween will have her own birthday party, followed by the teen a month later. Combined, my girls have now celebrated 30 birthdays, and it has me a little nostalgic.

I’ve planned more parties than I care to count — and this Friday night is my very first repeat. My friends are coming over to help give my youngest the best fake slumber party ever! Because, I’m not quite ready for 15 little girls running around my house all night long.

We’ll squeeze an entire slumber party into 2 hours of pajama party fun, then send them home to bed! We first landed on the idea 8 years ago, when my oldest wanted to have her first slumber party. I just wasn’t quite ready for it, so I pitched the Faux Sleepover idea.

We did hair, makeup, and nails. We watched a (short) movie. We had pizza. We had a (mad libs) bedtime story. And, then they all went home. As I’ve looked back at those party photos for inspiration, I’ve gotten a little nostalgic.

Here are 17 of our favorite home birthday parties:

  • Tea Party 1 of 17
    Tea Party
    With fancy sandwiches, tea pots, and fun serving trays, we had 24 kindergarteners in our home for a birthday tea party. This was her first year in school, with real friends to invite. I needed to keep it simple, because she had a hard time narrowing down the guest list.
  • Fake Slumber Party 2 of 17
    Fake Slumber Party
    The next year, she wanted a sleepover. I vetoed that idea fast, but we came up with a compromise. We threw a pajama party, with all the fun of a sleepover in just 2 hours. Hair, makeup, nails, pizza delivery — the girls had a blast, but I had them home before bedtime!
  • Baking Party 3 of 17
    Baking Party
    To date, this is one of my favorite birthday parties. The invitation was written as a recipe card, and each girl got to take home an apron and a decorated craft box full of the cookies we baked together.
  • Royal Holiday Festival 4 of 17
    Royal Holiday Festival
    This was my middle daughter's first "friends" party. She wanted a Christmas party for her December birthday, and she was super into princesses. Thus, the Royal Holiday Festival was born. She wore a princess gown, we frosted the castle, and the house was decorated for Christmas.
  • Arabian Nights 5 of 17
    Arabian Nights
    This party was all about her desire to reuse her Halloween costume. We had a Magic Carpet Ride (aka musical chairs), fortunes, and an Arabian castle cake.
  • All Aboard 6 of 17
    All Aboard
    This was just a family deal, but I was so pleased with the simple cake that I had to share it. She loved her Thomas birthday train. We also sent tickets to our guests, with the boarding date and time for our party.
  • Pink Milk Party 7 of 17
    Pink Milk Party
    Another kindergarten birthday, another tea party — this time with a Charlie & Lola theme. We called it a Pink Milk Party, and the kids had a blast with strawberry milk instead of tea.
  • Webkinz Game Night 8 of 17
    Webkinz Game Night
    Inspired by her dad's LAN parties and the very popular Webkinz toys, we gathered her friends and several computers for a fun afternoon of video games and stuffed animals.
  • Construction Trucks 9 of 17
    Construction Trucks
    The youngest was obsessed with all things that go for her first few years. The construction party was a favorite because we already had so much on hand — orange cones from soccer weighted down the balloon bouquets, a dump truck held the cupcakes, a Tonka toolbox held the napkins and silverware. It was simple and fun for the kids.
  • Party Like a Rock Star 10 of 17
    Party Like a Rock Star
    Dressed as divas and rock stars, our guests spent the afternoon playing Rock Band and Guitar Hero, complete with a guitar cake for the birthday girl.
  • Fashion Forward 11 of 17
    Fashion Forward
    This one started because the oldest wanted to tie-dye with her friends but didn't like the 60s-style tie-dye party themes. We landed on a fashion party where we made our own lipsticks and tie-dye.
  • The Marshmallow Party 12 of 17
    The Marshmallow Party
    Um, I can't take the credit for this one. My then-3-year-old announced she was having a Marshmallow Party. Not knowing what that even meant, I started with the food. Marshmallows for the chocolate fountain, rice krispy treats, colorful mini-marshmallows. Then I added marshmallows to a pink crown and let her wear the pink tutu from Halloween. She was a Marshmallow Princess, and it was her "best party EVER!"
  • Fashion Show 13 of 17
    Fashion Show
    My little fashionista loved this one, but we came at it from a much different direction that her older sister's fashion party. The girls did makeup, hair, and nails, then walked a red carpet to pose in front of our backdrop (which was leftover from the previous year's school play).
  • Slumber Party 14 of 17
    Slumber Party
    By 12, her friends had been narrowed down and officially selected. It was time to finally let her have a real sleepover, with as many girls as we could hold. It's what she has done ever since, as well. She'll be having her 4th birthday slumber party in just a couple months. Her sister has followed her lead, too. By 9, she was down to a handful of good friends and planning for years of slumber parties.
  • Costume Party 15 of 17
    Costume Party
    Ah, yes, the year of Halloween. We checked out spooky movies for months, planned our costume for an entire year, and talked of nothing but Halloween for as long as I can remember. She asked for a Halloween birthday, and I was more than happy to oblige. With clearance prices just in time for her birthday, this was the least expensive party I've ever thrown.
  • Holiday Baking 16 of 17
    Holiday Baking
    This was our 2nd baking party, but as the birthday girl had requested another Christmas theme, it was completely different. We focused on holiday treats and gingerbread, with the girls taking home a box of treats in lieu of a goody bag.
  • Fancy Nancy Tea 17 of 17
    Fancy Nancy Tea
    Apparently, I only do tea parties for kindergarten, but we once again added a twist that was uniquely her. She reprises her Fancy Nancy costume for a very fancy tea party. The kids dressed up, then blinged out a little more when they arrived, with feather boas and beaded jewelry. We had fancy sandwiches, cookies, and a lot of other foods that appear in a Fancy Nancy tea party book. She was very specific about the menu!

Follow Heather on Twitter, Pinterest, and her blogs.

More from Heather:
Budget Birthday Parties
What Happened to Pinatas and Tea Parties?

More on Babble.com:
How to Save $10 on Every Grocery Trip

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