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Easy 4th birthday

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#1 MsLaurie

Posted 16 September 2018 - 06:20 PM

At the end of November, my daughter will be four. Having a birthday party has somehow been at the centre of her existence for months now, and she is desperate for ballooons and cake and friends.

Unfortunately, by late Nov, I’ll be 34 weeks pregnant.

So, I need some easy ideas to let her have her last hurrah as an only child, but not exhaust myself completely.

Not keen on playcentres, would prefer an at-home type thing but not quite sure what might work. Her interests range from unicorns to dinosaurs, lions to pirates, music to books, so really anything will work.

TLDR: need ideas for maximum 4yo at-home party impact for minimum effort!!

#2 Apageintime

Posted 16 September 2018 - 06:35 PM

We're fans of easy at home parties. Do a few themed things and kids seem to be happy. DS is 4 about the same time and wants a dinosaur party. I'm outsourcing the cake, making leaf shape cookies, hanging some flying dinos from the roof and will cut a watermelon up into dinosaur shapes.

We'll play pass the parcel and statues.

#3 hoohoobump

Posted 16 September 2018 - 06:36 PM

Sprinkler/water play/slip n slide (shallow and not needing major supervision)
Low hanging piñata

#4 aluminium

Posted 16 September 2018 - 06:37 PM

Man, 4-years old -
balloons and cake and friends!

That's it.

Morning tea. 10am - 11:30am.
Fruit/veggie platter, cake, jugs of water.
Loads of balloons to play with.
A game of musical statues.
Pass the parcel.
Duck-duck goose.


#5 Prancer is coming

Posted 16 September 2018 - 06:50 PM

I would do a bbq lunch.  I find a big feed means less time for entertaining!  And parents will be staying at that age and it is pretty easy to do sausages in bread and buy a few salads.  Kids that age don’t need lots of structured games.  Have some toys out, have a craft or drawing station and have a few games like dancing and stopping when the music stops, musical chairs or lolly hunt.   Or get the kids to bring a teddy and have a teddy bear picnic.  

You could have them arrive at 11:30 and spend 30 minutes greeting people and playing.  Start feeding people bbq at 12:00.  12:30 you could do some organised games.  1pm do the cake, then DD can open up presents and they can go at 1:30.

See what your DD particularly wants to do and then you will definately deliver what she wants.

Edited by Prancer is coming, 16 September 2018 - 08:03 PM.

#6 22Fruitmincepies

Posted 16 September 2018 - 07:17 PM

DD has a pirate party for her 4th birthday, it was great! I had a non-sleeping 6mo at the time, so easy was important.

It was a 2 hour morning party, I served fruit, fairy bread and cake, and there was water to drink. The highlight was the very simple treasure hunt I made up that morning. We also had pass the parcel and musical statues by DD’s request, but I would skip that if you can. We stocked up on gold coins from big w, and had some eye patches etc. Big W had a huge range of pirate themed party stuff, but we didn’t go overboard.

#7 Popper

Posted 16 September 2018 - 07:25 PM

Morning tea or afternoon tea with a small number of friends. Fruit/veggie platter, cake and just let the kids play for a couple of hours. Easy and thrifty. They don’t need scheduled games and activities at that age.

#8 quartz85

Posted 16 September 2018 - 07:27 PM

Bubbles, chalk if you have room for drawing and a treasure hunt (we did gold chocolate coins).

#9 harryhoo

Posted 16 September 2018 - 07:35 PM

I'm a big fan of local park parties. Fruit platter, cheese platter for parents, drinks and cake. Pinata and hand out bags so kids can make their own lollybag from pinata winnings! Maybe bubbles and balloons but I wouldn't do games at that age. The kids make up their own fun.

#10 Riotproof

Posted 16 September 2018 - 07:35 PM

Let her pick a cake out of the aww cookbook and build the theme incredibly loosely on that.

#11 MGB

Posted 16 September 2018 - 07:38 PM

Have a morning or afternoon tea party.

A couple of platters of food and a cake

A few games:
Musical statues
Treasure hunt

I know you mentioned at home, but if you have a local park close by, at least you wouldn’t  have to clean before or have a big mess at your house after.

We had one at home a couple of years ago and then a park party this year. We could have done without the games at the park as the kids were happy to just play with each other and on the equipment that was there.

#12 ~LemonMyrtle~

Posted 16 September 2018 - 07:50 PM

For my son’s 4th birthday we had a dress up party. I hung a bunch of costumes from the clothes horse and sat it in the lounge. All the kids came dressed up. They all spent the party dressing up and playing.  I brought a few accessories from Kmart, eye patches, medals, etc. Most the dress ups we already owned though.

Lollies and chips and dip for starters. Then we ordered about 12 pizzas for everyone, delivered. We used Paper plates. Then we cut the cake and had that for dessert out of paper bowls.

Very easy. Simple clean up. Minimal effort, kids had the best time.

For my other sons third birthday we did nothing much for the kids, they just played with his presents and toys, and had a great time. Balloons on a stick were very popular. Then DH did a bunch of hamburgers and bacon on the BBQ and everyone made their own hamburgers for dinner. Cake was dessert. Simple.

Kids that age have fun at the simplest of parties.

#13 ABabyPlease

Posted 16 September 2018 - 08:17 PM

I found the 4th birthday very stressful. I was thinking that the kids could just play around by themselves but a whole lot of his kinder friends turned up and were expecting to be entertained.

It was more difficult and more embarrassing because all the parents stood around chatting, so loudly that the kids couldn't hear the music for pass the parcel etc.

Since then, I've succumbed to an entertainer or party venue. Luckily we can afford this with only one child. Alternatively maybe you have a cousin, friend or relative who can help entertain the kids whilst you deal with the rest.
Good luck!

#14 JBH

Posted 16 September 2018 - 08:27 PM

The best preschool party we went to they got a company to come and put a bouncy castle in the backyard and there was no other entertainment. Fairy bread, cheese and crackers and a fruit plate plus water to drink. Cake and happy birthday, take a freddo and a hot wheels car. And at the end and the company came and packed down the castle. Easy and fun.

#15 Sarzie

Posted 16 September 2018 - 08:52 PM

I’ve put out different age appropriate activities before and it has worked well. Lots of options (train table with wooden train tracks etc., duplo, playdough table, colouring table) plus whatever’s in the backyard (trampoline, cubby house etc). The kids entertained themselves then with only pass the parcel and pin the tail on the donkey as organised games.

#16 StartledFlamingo

Posted 16 September 2018 - 09:43 PM

We've also done local playground parties at that age. Watermelon, pizza, fairy bread, biscuits and dip (more for parents). A few balls for the kids to kick if they want but no organised games. I hate organised games at that age, it's like herding cats, parents are trying to pull kids away from where they are playing in order to wait around taking turns to follow rules, any always at least one kid in tears (perhaps I'm just biased as it's usually mine).

Bouncing castle idea is great, if you have the room for it.

#17 ~J_WTF~

Posted 16 September 2018 - 10:13 PM


You can hire people to come in and set up whole themed parties. Ask in your local FB community group for recommendations.

Buy platters of food - subway, sushi, Coles or Woolies cheese platters. Some chips and lollies and you are good. Get a cake made to match the theme. Send your partner to do all this running around.

#18 Tinky Winky Woo

Posted 16 September 2018 - 10:16 PM

Some food, a cake, present opening and letting the kids play whatever they want.  

No need to do party games anymore.  Loot bags are easy now.  I little lego mini figure or shopkins bag which are about $4 each and a chocolate or lollypop attached.

#19 marley*and*me

Posted 16 September 2018 - 10:19 PM

Just did the easiest 5yo party ever.

Venue was local park, no clean up at home required.  Went from 10-12.  Kids just played on the swings and rode bikes and scooters.

Food was everything she requested,

Cupcakes (just came from a packet)
Jelly cups
Watermelon and apples
Plain chips
Sausage rolls (I did pre make these as I make sausage rolls in bulk)

Only game was a piñata as she didn’t want any others.

She made some party bags by herself using brown paper bags and pictures we printed out.  

Turned up, put out food, cleaned up by wrapping all rubbish in plastic table cloth and went home.  There wasn’t much rubbish though.

She had the best morning for minimal effort and cost under $50 for everything.

#20 DaLittleEd

Posted 17 September 2018 - 12:22 AM

Having just been to a 4th birthday party, my advice is to avoid pass the parcel. It did not go smoothly.

#21 crazy87

Posted 17 September 2018 - 12:35 AM

Have just had a 4yo party so my suggestions are:
Instead if a big cake, just make packet cupcakes, but some Smarties etc and get kids to decorate their own or your child to help you decorate before the party

Hire or buy or borrow cheap jumping castle

Dress up entertain them for hours + cheap plastic accessories

Ours was dinosaurs and I found some cardboard dinos at spotlight they all painted but that might be too much mess!

Buy in pizzas and do a fruit platter with some nice chocolates for adults

Lots of non helium balloons- buy a pump instead of blowing! Helium balloons are disaster...much weeping when they float away.

Get one of the parents or your DH to dress up in some goofy costume or something and act as the "entertainer" the kids think it's the total best. You can do the dumbest stuff and they think it's funny

#22 cakeys_mummy

Posted 17 September 2018 - 08:02 AM

Some simple craft - KMart sells plain cardboard masks. Spread out on a table (or floor) with crayons, pencils, stickers, kids will love it. Max 5 kids. Then cake and run around outside with bubbles. Skip the pass-the-parcel and statues with 4 year olds - way too hard!  Some music for dancing can fill the time.

#23 jalu

Posted 20 September 2018 - 11:52 AM

For our daughters 6th birthday, we had a dress-up and hired an entertainer for a few hours to entertain the kids with games.. roughly $250 I think. She wanted a superhero theme, so we just had some superhero themed decorations and games.

Some ideas of some different kids party themes if you need some inspiration

Edited by jalu, 26 September 2018 - 08:56 PM.

#24 heffalumpsnwoozles

Posted 20 September 2018 - 01:41 PM

I had DD1's birthday party when 38 weeks pregnant with DD2. It was only her 2nd birthday so we just had two good friends over, ate a bit of party food and had a very simple cake with green sprinkles and plastic Night Garden figurines on it. That was exhausting enough.

Now on to my third kid and have completely come around to the idea of getting someone else to do it. At 4, they do need a little bit of effort to keep them occupied, so for stress free at-home, I would get an entertainer. Under no circumstances do pass the parcel, I still have flashbacks to my eldest's 5th birthday party 6 years ago. Buy a Freddo ice cream cake, the kids adore it. Get a pinata so they can fill their own lolly bags, and as a parent who has been through the stages of drowning in plastic junk from party bags too many times, please just give out a $2 colouring book and couple of crayons. These will keep my child busy on the trip home and I don't need to endure the crying when the toy inevitably breaks and/or disappears.

#25 anna_garny

Posted 20 September 2018 - 01:50 PM

Our rule is that they can invite as many friends to the party as years they are turning - so 4 friends for a 4th birthday party.

We did ours at the local playground with sidewalk chalk ($5 from lincraft) for the kids to draw all over the ground with and  some 50c bubbles from Kmart instead of lolly bags. I made up a fruit and veggie platter with some tortilla chips and a plate of fairy bread. We were there from 10:30 until 11:30 so nobody expected real food, the kids were all happy with water (the other 'party treat' was a new drink bottle for each guest).

We went over around 10AM and put up some paper streamers so that people knew where it was, and were home by noon.

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