2018 Birthday Guide

Social media, often a place that provides information and advice for new parents, can also beguile parents into thinking that each year a birthday must be met with an extravaganza. We compiled a list of simple, special, and milestone birthday parties along with what parents had to say.

Keep It Simple


Jamie Squibb celebrated both her girls’ birthdays with dinner and a movie. She says, “They were allowed to pick two friends to come with us to dinner…and we didn’t have to have a big party at our house, clean up after.”

Family Birthday Meal
Visit your child’s favorite restaurant for a meal with the family. Most kid-friendly places offer a special birthday option, whether a free dessert or a pack of singing waiters.

House Party

For most of us parents, this was the classic way to celebrate a birthday. Pick a theme (or not), decorate accordingly, and plan activities. House parties can be extravagant or down-to-earth, depending on how motivated you are, but they also can require a lot of work and patience. To come up with ideas, visit Pinterest for a wealth of information to plan the birthday
of your child’s dreams.

Summer Birthdays

If your child’s birthday arrives during one of our warm months, options abound for keeping it simple while entertaining. If you have access to a pool, swim parties are guaranteed hits during summer months.
Another option: take the family to a zoo. Both the Toledo Zoo and the smaller Indian Creek Zoo, just over the border in
Lambertville, offer a great time.


Sleepovers, a budget-friendly but exhausting option, provide unforgettable memories. Order a pizza, pick up a store-bought cake, rent your child’s favorite movie, plan an activity, and for the rest of the evening, the kids are in charge— for better or for worse.

Andrea Brown, mom of 4 girls, celebrated twice with sleepovers. For  daughter Makayla’s 9th birthday, they invited 10 friends:  “[It was a night of] 4 AM wake-ups and no sleep for mom. Some girls made up stories to scare each other for fun, but a few girls became nervous that they and went home. The house was totally trashed, BUT there was much bonding, crazy fun, laughter, and wild memories that will last a lifetime!”



Whether you want to pitch a tent or go glamping, Oak Openings in Whitehouse has all the options. The Caretaker’s Cottage and Pine Ridge Chalet, rival Hocking Hills cabins in Southeastern Ohio, with a fraction of the travel time.


When throwing a birthday party at a venue, the key to keeping it affordable is choosing a reasonable location and a manageable guest list.

If you plan to keep it intimate with just a couple friends, Reset, next to Bar 145 on Monroe, has vintage arcade games. While geared toward adults, Reset allows kids during daytime hours. Most of the games are free as long as you buy food and drinks.

Get Active

CNC in West Toledo offers birthday parties for up to 10 kids for only $150. Kids can choose from kickball, soccer, or battle ball.   Phil Thomas, father of 5, owns CNC and leads the fun. CNCforlife.com

Crystal Dupler explains, “I choose to have a birthday party at CNC because they could accommodate exactly what I wanted. My son wanted a nerf party where he and his friends could have open space to run and enjoy themselves. It was a very memorable party experience for him… and no stress for me!” 

The YMCA offers a variety of custom party themes that won’t break the bank, like Rockstar Dance, All Star MVP, Master Artist, and more. Packages include cupcakes, waters, invitations, and tableware for up to 24 guests, plus a party host for the duration of the two hour party, for $170 (members) or $220 (non-members). Ymcatoledo.org

Emily Creamer has turned the YMCA for several birthday parties because “you can’t beat the price,” she explained.  Creamer also chose the West Toledo indoor pool for another party, saying “the kids were able to swim for over an hour and then play in their activity room for an hour. This party was the perfect amount of energy for a good price.”


Roller Skating

Ohio Skate offers packages that include admission for 10-15 skaters, pizza, beverages, and more based on which package you choose. Best yet? The birthday child also gets to skate free once a month for a year! $130-$220.

Rachel Jaffe celebrated Kylie’s 8th birthday at Ohio Skate: “It was the best birthday party we’ve had.  It was very cost effective and they didn’t throw us out at the end of the party time; the kids were able to keep skating as long as they wanted!”


The icing on the cake: For budget-friendly and completely customizable cakes, check out local business McKiddy Cakes.

The licensed home bakery creates confections of all sorts on top of hand-designed cakes— cupcakes, cookies, smash cakes, chocolate covered pretzels, and cake pops. Base price for cakes start at $2.95 a slice and up, but depends on the type of cake you’d like. If you have ideas and want to discuss them, or are unsure what your budget can get you, the bakery offers quotes and free consultations. Party favors, consisting of other sweet treats such as the cake pops and pretzels, are also a fun addition to your kid’s party.

From buttercream frosting to fondant, and snickerdoodle to marble flavors— you name it, they make it! 419-250-0788. mckiddycakes.com

Erin Schoen Marsh
Erin Schoen Marshhttp://www.erin-marsh.com
Erin is a writer/editor, yoga teacher, and mama to two little ones.

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