Downsizing Birthdays? Minimalist Kids Party Ideas

This is a guest post from Veronica Mitchell. She’s a mother to two adorable little girls and a handsome little boy. She spends her days caring for her children, packing lunches, reading aloud, kissing boo-boos, and working as the Chief Editor of MyParentingJourney. Today she’s sharing some minimalistic ideas for downsizing Birthday parties.

When you’re trying to live a minimalist lifestyle, planning your kid’s party can be a daunting task. You want to go over-the-top to celebrate every birthday, but what about all the waste?

Parties usually mean buying or making a lot of decorations and props that you’ll use only once and discard. Or they’ll be tucked away in a closet to collect dust for a couple years, waiting for an opportunity to be used again.

How can you throw an extraordinary party without all the unnecessary frills that distract from what’s really important?

Where Do I Start?

First and foremost, try to clarify your values and understand what’s most important to your child. Have a discussion about what they want for their birthday.

Now, of course, if you ask a kid “what do you want for your birthday?”, the typical response is an item of some kind. It will take a little more probing to get answers that will help you plan a party.

Try asking some this-or-that questions to figure out what your child really values.

  • Is it more important to invite ALL of your friends to your birthday or to spend the day with just a few of your best friends?
  • Do you expect everyone to bring a gift for you or would you rather give on your birthday?
  • Is it better to impress your friends with a cool venue or share a special outdoor space with your friends?

Hopefully, their answers will hint at areas where you can minimize. Remember, you’re not minimizing your kid’s birthday, you’re maximizing their party by decluttering the experience.

Maximize The Experience

The objective of downsizing the party, including only what counts most, is to supersize the sentimental value of the birthday. The more special and personal it is, the more memorable it will be for everyone.

Starting to introduce minimalism while children are young could have an impact and stay with them for the rest of their lives. In this age of status anxiety, it might be one of the best life lessons you can offer them.

A birthday party shouldn’t be used as an opportunity to prove your status. If that is the primary focus and concern, the anxiety it causes will inevitably distract everyone from their enjoyment of it.

Keep it simple. Make it personal. The experience is so much more important than the expense!

Minimalist Parties For Kids

Less is more! This is one of the basic tenets of minimalist philosophy and it extends to party planning as well!

It’s great to have things organized and to have a variety of activities at the ready. It’s not necessary to micromanage and schedule every activity, ushering kids from one game to the next. Let the party evolve organically as much as possible.

Some themes and activities to consider:

  • Go on a hike at your child’s favorite park and include activities like a nature scavenger hunt.
  • Devise a mystery for your guests to solve, this can be as complicated or as simple as you like.
  • Have a backyard treasure hunt; if your child plays Minecraft, they can use the game to make their own treasure map!
  • Invite your guests to make their own sundae, instead of just serving ice cream with cake.
  • For little gamers, try a LAN party, where guests can bring their devices and play their favorite games together.
  • Instead of gifts, include a swap in your party plans for older children; it could be a clothing swap, book swap, movie swap, or video game swap.

So, What About Gifts?

Birthdays and holidays can mean accumulating more stuff, if that’s how your circle of friends and family are accustomed to showing you they care on those special days. It’s a hard habit to break.

Talk to your child about whether they need gifts from everyone and whether they want to make a performance of unwrapping each one in front of their guests.

The swap party idea has already been mentioned. This is a great way to cut excess and get rid of some clothing, books, movies, or games your kid no longer uses, by trading them for others they may enjoy more.

For a baby’s birthday party, you can ask family and friends to bring diapers instead of gifts. Just be sure to inform them of the brands and sizes you need.

Another way to kindly discourage gifting at your kid’s party would be to ask their friends and family to donate to a cause your child cares about instead. You can easily set this up online through social media.

Or they can ask everyone to bring pet care items to be donated to a local animal shelter. They will get to drop it off themselves and meet the animals and the people they’re helping take care of them.

Have Your Own Ideas?

If reading this has sparked your creativity, please let us know what you’ve come up with in the comments section. Share to include your friends in the discussion about minimalist kids party ideas!

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