Birthday Party Learning Opportunities

Editor’s note: The event took place in October 2019 before COVID caused a mandatory shut down and social distancing measures.

Do you love planning birthday celebrations for your children? It can sometimes be a bit stressful to plan when life gets busy and parties can get expensive. But what if the time invested in planning a birthday party can yield valuable life lessons for your child as well? Working at Island Wealth has helped me to understand the importance of building financial literacy skills at an early age. In addition to creating memories, birthday parties are opportunities to instill values, strengthen financial skills, and develop creativity.

As my daughter’s 9th birthday approached, I began thinking of ideas for a party. My goal was to host a joyful, interactive, and educational celebration for her. I intentionally involved her in the planning. Together, we discussed ideas and decided on a spa-themed birthday celebration!

First, we decided on inviting five friends. Then we drafted a list of fun activities such as foot massages, manicures, facials, and making bath bombs. Spa music and a diffuser would help set the mood. From there, my daughter made lists for supplies, lunch menus, favors and even how the girls would rotate among the activities. Cursive writing came into practice when she wrote signs for each activity, like titling the foot massage station, “Water Bliss.” We even found an affordable bath bomb making kit at Costco!

Instead of purchasing all the favors for the party like I usually do, I thought: Why not involve her? I gave her a budget of fifteen dollars to spend on each guest. She decided on pink, fluffy bathrobes along with pastel, striped headbands. These favors would not only fit the theme but could be used after the party. For about a week she scoured Amazon for the right price, color, size and checked if shipping was free. I’m happy to say, she stayed within her budget. Then she recruited her grandmother and aunties to help with painting nails and manning the stations.

Teaching children to compare costs are practical skills that will serve them throughout their lives. My daughter and I discussed the benefits of hosting (lower cost, private setting, and ability to do other crafts) and compared it to the convenience of going to a real spa.

ItemsNail SalonSelf Hosted
Spa Activities$34 manicure & pedicure
34 x 6 = $204
Nail polish- FREE
Foot massage- FREE
(borrowed from family)
Decorations$6 (birthday sign and activity signs)$6 (birthday sign and activity signs)
Favors$15 per person$15 per person
Lunch – Pizza, fruit chips$50$50
Crafts$3 birthday sign, signs for stations $3Bath bomb kit – $14
Facial masks – $1 each

We wanted more control over the time-frame since many venues require a reservation fee and limit parties to certain hours. My daughter realized that for a fraction of the price at a spa, she could have a party with more activities and time with her friends at home!

Finally, the day arrived and it was well worth all the planning and hard work! The girls arrived and immediately put on their bathrobes, headbands and delighted in all the spa stations. They conversed, giggled and crafted together. Our spa was so relaxing, one girl even fell asleep!

Children don’t always realize how much time and effort it takes to host a party or the costs associated with it. My daughter had a memorable birthday AND strengthened her budgeting and organizational skills. Now, I’m wondering what’s the theme for my son’s party?!

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