How to Throw the BEST Birthday Park Party
Updated: Apr 11
Your child's birthday is coming up, you want to throw them a birthday party, and you're up against a deadline to get those invites out.
What are you going to do?
The trampoline park or indoor play center is fun and easy, but it's so expensive! Not to mention that those places are germ factories.
You could do it at your house, but then you're on the hook for all the cleanup and prep. It's a LOT of work.
What if I told you there was an amazing and unique option sitting right in front of your nose that was low cost, low stress, and might be one of the best birthday parties your kids and their friends have ever been to!
Throw a birthday party at the park!
This blog post will walk you through how to throw the best birthday party ever at the park. A birthday party at your local park is fun, but it's also relatively inexpensive and is a low-waste birthday party option. This tutorial is NOT for the most aesthetic park party. It is meant to be functional, low-waste, EASY, and low-stress so you can focus on what really matters... celebrating and having fun!
Why do a birthday party at the park?
It contributes financially to your town and will benefit the general upkeep of a park that you use regularly.
It creates positive memories that are linked to a special location. Every time you visit this park you will remember the fun times you had celebrating your child's birthday.
It creates a sense of ownership in your town. When we hold meaningful events at a certain place we start to think of them as "ours." That kind of attitude in public spaces will breed a civic mindset in your child, prompting them to take initiative in the care of their park.
You will spend less money and create less waste!
First, pick the best park for your purposes.
The first step of planning your park party is deciding where! There are usually quite a few parks in any community so make a list (mental or on paper) of what you're looking for and choose the park that presents the best options.
Where are people going to gather? Make sure it has tables, easy parking for the number of people you'll be inviting, and that adults will have good visibility to where their kids will be playing.
Different parks have different offerings. The local park in our town has a great playground right next to a fenced-in skate park. My daughter, who just turned 5 years old, loves bringing her Micro Kickboard scooter and Strider balance bike to the skate park with her little sister. We ran the idea by her of doing a scooter party and she loved it! We ended up having 15 of her classmates attend so I think it was a popular idea! If kids got tired of the skate park, there was also a huge playground for them to play at.
Check Your Local Regulations
Before you get send out invitations, check with your local recreation department or other town or city hall official to make sure that the space where you want to meet isn't being used for other purposes on the day you want to meet. Some parks require official reservations and may even charge a fee--although the fee will likely be much less expensive than a party rental at another location!
The skate park near us is unable to be reserved, so we did run the risk of having other people using the area while we were there. However, we took the risk. We scheduled our party on the early side (11 am) to minimize the likelihood that teens or other people would be there. We did luck out and we had forty minutes where the kids in our party were the only people there.
Send out Invitations
Once you've picked the park you'd like to meet at, prep your invitations. Depending on the size of the park, make sure you're clear on where you want people to meet. Is there a promenade, gazebo, or another landmark that can direct people where to go?
We scheduled our party for just about 90 minutes and that was the perfect amount of time for kids to play and eat without getting bored or into any shenanigans.
Prep your Purchase List
Prepare a list of all the items you think you are going to need and make sure you have everything ready to go beforehand. We were able to fit all of our prepared items except for the balloons into a 30-gallon tote bin--including the cupcakes!
Here was my list of items:
- tablecloth (I only got one for the main table but some people might want a tablecloth for each table)
- tape (to secure the tablecloths to the tables so they didn't blow away)
- 6 balloons (one large happy birthday balloon and 5 multicolored balloons to direct people to our table)
- goody bags (with a few extras)
For food and drink:
- large plates and small plates
- water bottles
- juice boxes
- birthday candle
- trash bags
For food, we ordered pizza (we placed the order the night before) and I made homemade cupcakes. My husband ran across the street to the pizza place and brought it back about halfway through the party for everyone's lunch.
Regarding pizza party math: for 15 five year olds we ordered 4 pizzas and asked the pizzeria to cut it into 12 slices instead of 8. We ordered one veggie pizza for the grown-ups. We came home with almost a whole pepperoni pizza and half of the veggie pizza!
Throwing the Best Party - the day of
We arrived at the park about twenty minutes early to set up. We taped the tablecloth down and then secured the balloons to the tablecloths (they were hooked to clips). We put the goody bags on the table where we wanted people to leave their presents. We put the juice and water on the tablecloth and then sprinkled some starbursts around just for fun!
A few minutes before people were planning to arrive I had my husband bring our kids over to the skate park with the happy birthday balloon so people could find him and to establish a presence there.
Clean Up - Keep it Low Waste
Our total cleanup took only TEN minutes and involved only ONE trash bag other than the pizza boxes! The only waste we had was from the plates, napkins, and juice boxes.
We brought the balloons home and will play with them for quite a while.
I was so pleased to see that this was a low-waste birthday party because producing less waste is a huge value for me! Although I typically would choose a paper banner or fabric pompoms over balloons, I did allow for them this time just because of the visibility in a public space.
A huge success!
I was nervous about doing a park party at first. I was concerned that there were variables outside of my control like how busy the park would be or if the weather would stay nice. But I consider this party at our local park a huge success! I would love to see more people utilize their local parks as a venue for birthday parties or other events.
You will spend less money and create less waste!
If you can't tell, I am SOLD on the idea of park parties! I hope that I have given you some great ideas to utilize if you decide to throw a birthday party at your local park.
Have you done a party at the park? What are your best tips?
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