Your Tween’s Birthday: Yes, You Can Have Fun and Not Go Broke!

Birthday parties for tweens. Lots of things to consider. What to do, who to invite, where to have it? Princess and Thomas the Tank parties are seriously out. Inviting the entire class should not be an option anymore. Draining your wallet for the perfect place isn’t needed. Consider these ideas instead:

  • Painting FingernailsA twist on the traditional sleepover party for girls. Start the sleepover party late (8:00 p.m. or so). Have the invitees come already dressed in their PJs and slippers. Do pedicures and hair makeovers for the entertainment. It’ll be late by the time makeovers are done, so settle the crew down with a DVD. Do the cake for breakfast. I know this sounds crazy but doing something as different as this will be a big hit and it’s easy. It won’t kill them. I’m sure doughnuts have about the same sugar as a piece of cake. Serve it with fresh fruit if you feel guilty serving cake for breakfast. Go ahead. Enjoy.
  • Boys turn for the sleep-over: Nerf Gun wars. Limit to four or five guests.  Have them come with their arsenal of plastic bullets and accessories. (Send little sisters and pets to a sleep over at a friend’s house!) Clear out the basement. Make sure you have ear plugs … for you! Provide pizza and an appropriate action DVD after 10:00 p.m. Enough said.
  • Go on a day road-trip. Let your tween pick the destination within in a two hour drive. St. Louis has many fun places to offer – the Magic House, the City Museum and the Science Center. Bloomington has the Children’s Museum. Champaign offers the Orephum Children’s Science Museum. Suggest only one or two friends can come along on the road trip. Plan to do a special birthday lunch. Have the restaurant do the whole “Happy Birthday” singing bit. Take lots of pictures. It’s a whole day of birthday fun instead of two hours of complete chaos. And that is how you should sell it. Trust me. Your tween will love it.
  • Have a night out on the town. Have the tween and her/his best buds dress up in their best and go out for dinner. Maybe take in a show at UIS or Hoagland. If that’s too much, just dress up. You could even dress up like a chauffeur if that would fly with the tween. And laugh it up.
  • Take them to a concert or a professional sporting event with a couple of friends. Check the calendar and see what falls close to the tween’s birthday.  See our post on concert venues.
  • If your tween still wants a birthday party with more than a couple of friends then try a “Live from the Red Carpet” party, sort of like an Oscars party. Keep the invite list to 6 or less. Have all the invitees come dressed as a celebrity. Have awards for best dressed, best smile, best props, etc. Make certificates and have an award ceremony. Videotape their entrances and the award ceremony. Have them create their own movie or do karoke. Decorate a giant cookie to look like a movie reel.
  • Local company Facial Artistry offers birthday parties of face painting or nail polish creating. Recommended by SpMoms readers.

Work together with your tween to plan a birthday that you both will talk about for years. Hopefully one of these ideas will get the wheels turning toward a great day. Many happy giggles and fist bumps to you and your tween!

Submitted by Springfield Moms writer and Advisory Board member Allison Klint.


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