While large birthday parties can be fun, they are often superficial events, chock full of candy, cake and party games. Small birthday parties with family provide an opportunity to focus on your child’s likes and dislikes and to incorporate heartfelt meaning into the celebration. You will then have a one-of-a-kind birthday your youngster won’t likely forget -- even after all the presents have been opened and all the cake is gone.
Talk with your child about the birthday party to find out what he would like. While your 6-year-old might not be able to plan every detail of the event, he'll be able to let you know if there is a particular theme that is important to him or a place he's had his heart set on celebrating the special event with the family. Use his interests as a guide throughout your party-planning efforts, while keeping your budget in mind, too.
Start the celebration early by surprising your child with a colorful display when he wakes in the morning. Inflate balloons the night before his birthday and sneak them into his room to cover the entire floor. Enhance the display with a confetti trail through the hallway to the birthday breakfast table and a chair decorated like a birthday throne. Make a crown ahead of time, too, and leave it for your youngster to find at his place setting.
Plan a special birthday-themed activity or two, such as crafting a birthday banner or a scrapbook of all his favorite photos of the past year, to make it more memorable and draw out the excitement of the day.
Have the birthday child help with decorating and party preparations. While your youngster is probably very excited about the party, getting ready for the event -- helping to twist streamers and inflate balloons -- can be exciting, too. The party preparations will prolong the fun and make his birthday feel like a grand event, regardless of the size of the guest list. If you’re hosting the party at home, you might even be able to convince him to help you tidy up in anticipation of birthday cake and presents.
Incorporate sentimental activities into the party. Since you don’t have to keep a room of small children from bouncing off the walls or ransacking the house, you can take the time to indulge in a few calmer moments. For example, you can make a video of all your child’s previous birthdays and other monumental moments and watch the homemade film together as a family. Even if you’re celebrating at another location, you can end the day by gathering together for the movie at home.
Encourage each family member -- Dad, brothers and sisters -- to make something special for the guest of honor, such as a card, beaded necklace or a wooden room sign. Handmade gifts can be more personal and with a smaller guest list, there is more time to discuss the effort that went into the gifts and the sentiment behind each one.
Serve decorate-yourself cupcakes for dessert. With a small gathering, it’s less likely there will be a huge mess at the end. Start by covering the cupcakes with a thick layer of the birthday boy’s favorite frosting. Arrange bowls of toppings, such as chocolate chips, candy-coated chocolates, colored sugars and sprinkles, down the center of the table. Taking the time to decorate the cupcakes also prolongs the birthday celebration.