Birthday Parties at Home: Cake and Thank-yous
By Carol Band

Piece of Cake

The centerpiece of a birthday is the cake. If you are not a baker, pick one up from a bakery or at the local supermarket. If you are making a cake, remember that most kids care about how it looks, not whether the frosting is real butter cream. So don’t hesitate to use a mix and save your energy for the decorations. Splurge on cake toppers at a cake decorating shop or raid the toy box for Playmobile™ people, trucks, and plastic animals that fit your theme.

Toddlers often prefer individual cupcakes – these are neater, too! Stack them, decorate them, skewer them, line them up or cluster them around a centerpiece.

Try baking cupcakes in flat-bottomed ice cream cones. Frost and top with a cherry. They look special and are fun (and neat) to eat.

Older kids who’ve already had cake at a family party and cupcakes at a school classroom party might be willing to consider an ice cream cake, a birthday pizza or a gigantic ice cream sundae to be shared by all the guests.

Food is a great place to continue the party theme. Rename favorite foods and serve them with imagination. Even cheese sandwiches seem special when they’re cut with a cookie cutter; carrot coins are delicious when they’re heaped in a treasure chest and cake is even more fun if there’s a prize in every slice. Before frosting, insert foil-wrapped chocolate coins into a cooled cake. Be sure to warn the guests!

If the children are under 5 years old, chances are that some or all of the parents will stay for the party. Be grateful for the extra eyes and hands and be sure to have something for these adults to eat and drink.

Don’t Forget the Thank-You

The day before the party, remind your child about the importance of saying “Thanks.” Rehearse a polite response for duplicate gifts (“I can never have too many of these!”) or a gift that they don’t really like (“How did you know that I don’t have one of these?”). Keep track of who gave what so that your child can write appropriate thank-you notes. Use the computer, draw a picture or send a photo – whatever it takes to say, “You helped to make my birthday really special!”

More on Home Birthday Parties

  • How to Host a Memorable, Fun-Filled Birthday Party at Home
  • Activities and Goodies

    Birthday party veteran Carol Band is a freelance writer and mother of three.

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