Surprise Birthday Ideas Your Child Won’t Forget


If you're feeling pressure to give your kid a great birthday party, remember it could always be worse. Rich parents are trying so hard to outdo each other with Instagram-ready birthday parties that they're spending $50,000 or more. You don't need to spend nearly that much to give your child a birthday party they'll always remember. Read on for three surprise birthday ideas that will wow your kid this year.

A Backyard Party

This is a classic for a reason. Every kid dreams about going to bed and waking up to find out that their house or yard has been transformed into something magical. You may not have a wand, sure, but you can still turn the backyard from something boring to something that will wow both your kid and their friends.

Start with decorations and food. You'll need balloons for the guest of honor, and the food should be all about what your kid wants, at least within reason. If they want Anna from Frozen to jump out of a five-tiered cake, then they're out of luck. But you can still give them a Frozen-themed cake if that's what they're into right now. If they'd prefer clowns to Disney characters, then look for birthday party clowns that will keep everyone entertained in a family-friendly way.

Of course, don't forget to keep an eye on the weather as well. Backyard birthdays work best for kids born in spring or summer. You can still pull off a backyard party in October or November, but plan to move things inside the house in case of bad weather. Remember that kids usually take their cues from adults. If you don't act like the weather is a big deal, then they won't either.

A Trip to Disney

In 2019, about 100 million Americans said they planned to take a family vacation. Your child's birthday may not line up with the days you can get off work, and that's OK. But if you can arrange to take your child to a place like Disney World on their birthday, then you're giving them the ultimate surprise. And if you play your cards right, they don't have to know about it until you see the sign welcoming them to Disney World.

If that feels like too much, consider revealing the surprise the morning you're scheduled to leave. Depending on your child's age, you can tell them something like "We're going to visit Grandma next week." Then, on the day of the trip, give them a stuffed animal of their favorite Disney character as you wish them a happy birthday and tell them what's really going on.

If you have other kids, don't forget to make the experience good for them as well. For instance, a toddler may not understand the appeal of Disney quite as well as a six-year-old. Research Disney World stroller rentals before you go, and have a backup plan. Such a plan might mean letting your younger child go back to the hotel with one parent while the other parent escorts the birthday boy or girl around The Magic Kingdom.

A Day Off School

As a kid, you loved nothing more than an unexpected snow day. While you can't plan for snow on your child's birthday, you can wake them up and declare that they don't have to attend classes that day. Instead, they're going to spend the day with you. Maybe you'll go see a movie at the mall, or have lunch at their favorite kid-friendly restaurant.

A word of warning, though: Only go with this option if your kid has barely missed any days of school for the academic year. If they got a bad case of the flu last fall, then you shouldn't take them out of school in the spring just because it's their birthday. Missing school is fun, but not if you're way behind on your work when you get back the next day.

Nola Blanton researches, organizes, and delivers high-level and impactful strategic content that helps OI's readers understand, discuss, and prepare for emerging trends in business and marketing.

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