Summer birthdays can be hard on kids. Friends are away on vacation and it’s crazy hot outside. This year I threw a summer birthday party for my son that was a balance between fun and easy. He couldn’t have been more pleased.
Summer birthday party
The biggest concern with a summer birthday party is the hot summer sun. To make it a little more guest-friendly, we planned the party for mid-morning. It was only about 80 degrees or so and our backyard was mostly shaded. We also put up two pavilion tents over the back porch. Although we plan on putting in a permanent shade eventually, this helped keep the food from getting hot during the party. We did consider hiring a private party room in NYC as I know a few people who’ve done it and their parties have been incredible! But, we decided to persevere.
Unfortunately it also made most of my photos dark!
I decided to keep it simple, so there wasn’t a major theme like our LEGO party. I decided to work around the ideas of summer: sunshine, rainbows, and clouds.
We set up a table on the porch with a white plastic tablecloth from Dollar Tree to look like a cloud. I also picked up rainbow-colored balloons, streamers, and plates. Since we already had the tent up, it was the natural place to hand the streamers and balloons.
We didn’t really do party favors this time. My son asked for noisemakers, so everyone tooted their horns during the party and then took one home.
Altogether, I spent about $10 on the decorations.
I’ve learned from past parties that there is a perfect balance between too much and too little to do. I’ve also learned that it is almost impossible to hit that mark.
As the guests arrived, they made party cannons.
How to make a party cannon
- Take a paper cup and cut off the bottom.
- Take a balloon and tie the end closed. Cut off the top of the balloon – just a tiny bit.
- Stretch the balloon over the bottom of the cup.
- Fill the cup with foam pieces or whatever you want the cannon to launch.
When everyone had arrived, we turned on the sprinkler and the kids played on the splash pad.
We have a slip-n-slide and the kids just always stand on it instead of sliding. I figured they at least needed more room, so we put together this makeshift splash pad.
How to make a splash pad
- Lay out a large tarp. Ours was about 10-feet square.
- Put a sprinkler in the middle. We picked this one up at Target for $12. It shoots straight up and around in a circle. (If you can’t find this sprinkler at Target, but have time for shipping, you can get it at Amazon too.)
- Hook up the water hose and turn on the sprinkler. The tarp will partially fill with water – about a half-inch deep.
Naturally, the kids decided that this was a good place to slip-n-slide.
Our third activity was a limbo and hula hoop contest. Some of the kids were a bit shy, but they all tried to go for a few rounds.
After we took a break for food, the kids just played on the splash pad until the party was over.
I’m all about healthy party food, so I made up these rainbow fruit cups. I got the idea from My Frugal Adventures. I just cut up the fruit into small-ish pieces and layered it in the cups. I picked up this set of clear plastic cups at Dollar Tree, $2 for 20.
- Red = strawberries
- Orange = mandarins
- Yello = pineapple
- Green = grapes
- Blue/purple = grapes
I think even the picky kids ate all of their fruit. It was the perfect treat on a hot, summer day. Most of the adults also had rainbow fruit cups and said it was a great idea.
Of course, you can’t have a birthday party without some kind of cake. My son requested chocolate, so to keep it simple, I just purchased a box mix. I wanted it to be really good, so I splurged on Immaculate Baking Co. chocolate cake. It was just as good – maybe better – than if I’d made it from scratch.
I topped all of the cupcake with Martha Stewart’s marshmallow frosting, which looks like clouds. I mixed up the frosting and put it in a zip-top bag. I cut off the end and piped the frosting onto the cupcakes. They didn’t turn out magazine-pretty, but they were so delicious.
All of the kids and adults had a good time and I got several compliments on the details. Altogether, I think we only spent about $50 on this party. Sometimes it’s the simple things that are best.