A 5th birthday is a real milestone. Not only is your child becoming a school kid, their 5th birthday is probably the first party they will truly remember. These reasons alone are enough to go all out and celebrate with a big bang.
For most children, reaching the age of five means one thing – starting school and increasing their independence. This is why the 5th birthday is often considered a milestone. By this stage in their life, your child probably has other friends who are already at school and it can be a time of both great excitement and a smattering of trepidation. It’s also a great gift opportunity to prepare them for school – the new school bag, pencil case, pencils etc. Given your child will have a big few days coming up, marking the 5th birthday is ideally done on a weekend, prior to starting school, so they have some time to rest and recuperate from the celebrations.
In planning the party, you will need to consider that many of your child’s friends may have already started school, and some may be in full time child care. With that in mind, you may need to have the party in the weekend, or actually have it at day care itself. But no matter where or when you decide to have the party, these ideas will help make your child’s 5th birthday party something they’ll never forget.
- For most ‘turning 5’ year olds, the fact that they are going off to school is a big deal, so why not have an ‘off to school’ theme for their party. You could have the party on the school field (with the school’s permission of course), make lunch boxes full of party food, and send home loot bags with pencil cases, coloured pencils, and notebooks. Your child could even give their friends a tour of their new school.
- By the time your child turns five, they will have a definite favourite colour (for the time being at least). Take that colour and use it to co-ordinate their entire 5th birthday – invitations, decorations, games, and even the food!
- Choose your child’s favourite character and buy the party accessories to match. Specialist party shops offer all sorts of things including balloons, tablecloths, streamers, banners, plates, cups, loot bags and prizes.
There are lots of other great party themes that are perfect for 5 year olds, and which one you choose will largely depend on your child’s interests. A lot of these themes are detailed in our Party Themes section, including:
- Animal Antics. Either choose your child’s favourite animal, or base the party around a zoo, farm or jungle theme.
- Circus Fun. Clowns, juggling, face painting and a chance to get silly. Prepare the games and activities yourself, or hire some entertainment.
- Dinosaurs. At the risk of sounding politically incorrect, 5 year old boys love a dinosaur theme.
- Pirate Party. Either at land or sea, you can make this theme as simple or as elaborate as you like.
- Secret Garden. This is a great party theme for girls, although boys will enjoy looking for bugs and digging in the dirt.
- Space Party. You can really let your imagination run wild with this theme. 3, 2, 1 blast off.
If your child attends day care or some other form of early childhood education, then chances are you may not even know the children your child wants to invite, and there’s even more chance that you won’t know their parents! With that in mind, you may need to distribute the invitations through your child’s day care, with a note asking parents to phone so that you can introduce yourself, and discuss the details of the party.
At this age, most parents will still want to stay with their children for the length of the party, but there may be a few who simply want to drop and go. You will need to decide if this is appropriate, and state it (either way) on the invitation.
If you are having a theme for your child’s 5th birthday, then invitations can be made to match, and there are plenty of invitation ideas in our Party Themes section. If however you are simply having a good old fashioned birthday party, there are lots of ways to invite your guests. You could make invitations on the computer, hand-make them with coloured card, or buy pre-printed invitations from your local stationers.
By the time your child is turning 5, you no longer need to worry about choking hazards such as balloons and confetti, but you may have to think about these concerns if there is going to be younger siblings at the party. Our 1st Birthday article lists some safety issues to consider when choosing decorations for parties with younger guests.
If you are having a theme for your child’s 5th birthday party, then our Party Themes section will give you some great decoration ideas.
It’s really easy to go overboard with party food, so remember, 5 years old kids really don’t eat that much! Save the big banquets for when they’re 15, and instead keep the food simple and snack like. If you don’t want to end up with lots of left overs, consider buying every guest a small lunch box and pack their party food into that. At the end of the party, they can take their lunch box (and any left overs!) home with them.
Our Party Food section has some great ideas, so make sure you check it out.
5 year olds are just starting to get the hang of party games, but they are yet to understand the concept of winners and losers. If you don’t want the party to end in tears, make sure that everyone gets a prize and nobody feels left out. Our Games for Pre-schoolers and Games for 5 – 7 year olds articles have got some good ideas to get you started.
If your budget allows, you may want to hire an entertainer for this special milestone birthday, or have the party at a special venue.
The most important part about milestone birthdays is making memories and creating traditions. Here are some great ideas for making 5th birthdays something special in your house.
- When your child starts high school they are going to feel dwarfed by the older kids at school, and it will be hard for them to remember that they once started primary school feeling just as small. Make your child a ‘this big’ chart on their 5th birthday, so that both you and they can remember.Attach a photograph of them heading off to school, trace around their hands and feet, and record their height and weight as well. Write ‘I was this big when I started school’ across the top, and you have a memory for life.
- Becoming a ‘big school kid’ can mean all sorts of things for different children, and largely it will mean whatever YOU make it mean. In our house it is the time when they first start getting pocket money, and they receive their very own money box to keep it in. It’s also the time when they are added to the job roster and start getting real (albeit little) responsibilities around the house.
- Milestone birthdays are a great time for children to receive a special gift, which then becomes a tradition for every child in the family. Great 5th birthday gifts could be their first 2 wheeled bike, a new school bag and all the contents, a specific charm for their charm bracelet, or a special treasury of stories. My Mum gives all her grandchildren a children’s bible on their 5th birthday.
Remember, on their 5th birthday your child will be feeling like they’re the biggest kid in the world – let them think that – they’ll find out they aren’t soon enough.
Happy 5th Birthday!