So our oldest daughter (who just turned 7) had a birthday on Nov 19th. We have a family policy – big birthdays every other year only. This year was the off-year, so we told her just 3 people. We still wanted them all to have lots of fun and rather than just have a small party, we piggy-backed an activity that was already scheduled at our church. The Primary organization was having a craft day on the same weekend as the party. So, naturally, we just turned that INTO the party :)

We talked with the Primary President who agreed to our plan to sing her happy birthday and we would bring enough cake for all in attendance. We contacted the parents and had them bring their children directly to the church building. It was a BLAST. Not only was it a big party with lots of friends, but they also got to have fun making Christmas crafts, bring the crafts home, run around a little and enjoy the cake. Our house didn’t get trashed, clean up was minimal, the only expense was the cake and the activity portion was planned and handled by our dedicated Primary staff (and they did a GREAT job!).

Hijacking an existing activity proved a great way to make a small inexpensive party into a big and great party. Some tips:

  • make sure you contact the activity organizers to make sure it’s ok and ask if they mind that you bring others and sing happy birthday.
  • offer to help with some details of the activity, at least providing a birthday cake for everyone.
  • make sure the parents are ok with the venue. Although it wasn’t our experience, some parents may not like their kids going to an activity at a church.
  • have the parents drop the kids and pick up at the activity so you don’t have to arrange transportation.
  • arrive early! We arrived “on time” and there were some of our invitees already there. They were well taken care of, but it would have been better if we were they to greet them and assure the parents properly.
  • help with the cleanup. The organizers deserve this.