Cincinnati Family Magazine

Your # 1 Hometown Family Resource

June 14, 2024

Dive In To Birthdays

Trends and colorful party themes that kids are going berserk about.

Before you send out the invites, know that the most important thing you can do before you plan your kids’ birthday party is to ask them what kind of party they want. The answer may surprise you and be a little simpler than you thought. Involve your kids in the party-planning process by letting them assist with the invites, choose the color scheme, venue and food. That way they feel extra special and in charge of their big day! Simply ask – “What kind of party theme do you want this year” or “Which best friends do you want to invite?” Of course, you are the parent with your own limitations, so communicate that to them so they understand how far they can stretch.

If you and your kiddo are at a loss of ideas, try adding in some of these fun and sweet birthday trends of 2023! They are sure to be a hit and will be the life of your party. 

Interactive Activities + Party Favors
Instead of throwing random favors in a bag, have kids interact together with a simple, fun activity or craft they can make-and-take home with them. Parents will love seeing their kids creations. If you need more assistance (it can get a little crazy depending on the amount of kids you invite) ask a couple close parent friends to stick around and help. 

Kiddie Mocktails 
Having kiddie mocktails and adult cocktails can add a nice touch to the party. Kids love to pretend and sip on “fancy” drinks. Kiddie beverages can be as simple as a Shirley Temple (Sprite, grenadine syrup, ice and maraschino cherries) or sparkling juice in a plastic, fancy cup. Adults can kick back a bit, too while they sip on their adult beverage and watch the kids play. 

Vibrant Colors
Ask your birthday kid what their favorite color is and let it pop! Rather than putting together a balloon arch, this year it’s about creating fun photo backdrops with flowers or colorful art, for example. Encourage kids to gather together and snap a photo with the birthday kid for a nice memory. 

Selfie, Anyone? 
Speaking of photos, selfie booths are super fun and simple for the bigger kids! Thanks to social media, this is a trend that isn’t going away anytime soon. Set up a booth with printed out props glued to popsicle sticks, a cool backdrop (Amazon has a ton!) and a Polaroid camera for instant prints. Add them to a photo book or let the little guests take a photo home for a souvenir! If you like both ideas, it’s quite fun to take a photo of the photos then you can have a digital copy or print them out yourself. 

Animals, balloon artists, magicians and music all make for a great addition. The entertainment doesn’t have to last for the duration of the party, but it can compliment the party theme and be something the kids look forward to.

Keep it Classy
Classic party themes never get old. Unicorns, race cars, Mickey Mouse, Toy Story and rainbows are all the rage and it has been for years. Safari and carnival themes are great for boy and girl parties with colors and options intriguing to all of the littles; construction zones, car racing themes, sports and hands-on activities for boys; and disco and rock star themes for girls are some fun ideas your kids may be excited about. Add a pinata to match the theme and that’s a wrap.


“Skating birthday parties seems to be groovy right now! I’m thinking the Little Mermaid and Miles Morales will be popular themes with the upcoming movies.” — Amber D Horton

“We are doing a ‘3-I-E-I-O’ theme for my son’s 3rd birthday. I have a petting zoo scheduled to visit, too!” — Ashley Morgan Blomeke

“Last year was Buc-ee’s and Dollywood-themed; this year she wants ‘Wednesday’-themed.” — Laura Steinmann

“JumpZone for my youngest. I love it … they play for three hours, we have the place to ourselves and I don’t have to clean anything up!”  — Lisa Meyer

“Rolling-skating parties seem to be making a comeback! That and campout parties for the warmer months. Love the ‘fiver’ birthday gift request. We did this for my daughter. We asked our guests to bring $5 in a card to put toward an axolotl and all its accessories our daughter is saving to buy.” — Julie Calihan Tucker

“My kids have been asking for an Urban Air Trampoline Park birthday party. Who knows if that’s popular or not. I never think about things like that. We went on spring break to Gatlinburg and the kids were all about the arcade so they want an arcade party, too.” — Tara Mokren

Successful Pool Parties

Pool parties can be tricky, but also a huge hit if you plan it right. Here are some fun and simple ways to keep it less stressful for you and memorable for your birthday child: 

  • Ask guests to bring floats, etc.: What’s a pool party without cute floats? Amazon has all kinds of them! Plus, have some extra life vests on-hand. Ask guests to bring a towel, goggles and to come ready to jump in.
  • Have extra towels: For the kids who forget to bring one.
  • Have an adult supervise the pool at all times: You can never have enough eyes on the pool! 
  • Decorate with Tiki Torches: Not only are Tiki Torches “bug” torches, they make for a cheap and fun decoration!
  • Plan Party Games: Having a game or two in your pocket adds to the excitement and makes a good ice breaker. Go classic with a water balloon toss or organize a chicken fight.
  • Create a Playlist: Grab your Bluetooth speaker and create a playlist on your phone with the birthday boy or girl.

What’s a “Fiver” Party?

Struggling to clear out the clutter and at a loss for what your birthday kid actually needs? Consider a “Fiver” Birthday party. Here’s how it works: 

Instead of getting a gift from party-goers, you request that each guest contribute $5 to the birthday kid in lieu of gifts. This $5 will then go toward a special gift that the birthday kid gets to pick out themselves.

Parents like Fiver Parties because it takes the stress out of gift-buying and eliminates clutter. It’s a win-win for everyone, that is, if you and the birthday child are in agreement about it. 

Before you say, “Yes I am in!” remember to make it clear to your guests when sending out the invitations. Not everyone knows what a Fiver Party is, so be sure to mention wording something like, “Your presence is the only present that we need, but should you want to give something to the birthday kid, please consider giving $5 that they can put toward something special,” and maybe mention what it is your kiddo is saving for. Easy! 


About the Author

Amanda Hayward

Amanda Hayward is editor of this publication. She is from Cincinnati, Ohio, and a mom of three with one on the way. If she's not writing for Cincinnati Family, you'll find her running, juggling kids, teaching group fitness classes and cooking up healthy recipes.