Let's face it, we all agonize over the whole kid birthday party planning. They are expensive, require way too much planning, and if you haven't thought about it WAY in advance, everyplace is booked.
I personally allow my kids to have a "kid" birthday party every other year. And, because it works for me, I remember who's year it is because the girls are odd years, and the boys are even. (the girls are #1 and #3, The boys are #2 and #4..see?).
And then there is the whole issue that the kids get too much stuff, maybe I'm sending the wrong message. It's hard to do a "No Gifts Please" for a kids party.
My sister in law came up with the perfect solution and covered all of the bases. Her son is a huge dog lover. She called the local pet shelter and worked out the following plan:
The kids will get an informative, field trip style tour of the shelter and then they'll get to play with the dogs in a big kennel. The shelter was able to provide a "wish list" of items that they really need (food, collars, shampoos etc.) All of the invitees are being asked to bring something from the shelter's wish list in lieu of a birthday gift. After their visit, they plan to go to a local park to play and have puppy cupcakes!
What an amazing win/win idea. The shelter benefits because they not only get items that they need, but they get an opportunity to inform a wider audience about their goals. They may even find an animal a home? The kids benefit because they get to have fun playing with the dogs, and learning a little about something new. They also are learning a little more about thinking beyond themselves and how they can make an impact or a change in the wider world.