Growing up, attending friends’ birthday parties were a blast. Fun food, great games and a beautiful birthday cake, not to mention time spent outside of school with friends. In honor of Sienna’s birthday this month, we are hosting a pineapple themed birthday party. That’s right, a pineapple party! Pineapple cake, pineapple slices dipped in chocolate, pineapple fruit drinks…pretty much pineapple everything. All of this party planning got us thinking how we as parents can throw the ultimate birthday party for our children, while still being mindful of our budgets without going overboard. Here are our five favorite party planning tips to keep in mind when planning your child’s next birthday party.

#1 Pick an Extraordinary Theme

Your child’s birthday only comes around once a year and although there are a variety of party planning tasks to tackle, picking a theme is one of the most important ones. From princesses to pirates to puppies, the party theme possibilities are endless (not to mention downright overwhelming at times). Since it is your child’s birthday, look to the birthday boy or girl to make the final decision. Asking for their party planning input will make the planning process more meaningful since they will feel like they are a part of the party planning process.

If your child needs help deciding on a party theme, consider three factors: what they watch, what they like to do and what they are curious about. For Sienna, this year it’s pineapples, but who knows, next year it could be a mad scientist themed birthday party. (We will have to wait until next year to find out!) Need help picking a theme? Here are 120 birthday party themes for your consideration.

#2 Bake (or Buy) a Wicked Cool Cake

Once you have picked the birthday party theme, it’s time to pick out a birthday cake to compliment the overall birthday party theme. With Sienna’s pineapple themed party, we are baking up a pineapple cake and serving fresh pineapple slices, as well as other fruit slices that will be hand dipped in chocolate. Yum! If you decide to bake your child’s birthday cake, ask them to help out in the kitchen. If baking isn’t your thing or you find yourself pressed for time, don’t hesitate to outsource the birthday cake to your community’s local bakeshop. Ditch the parent guilt trip and instead, pass off this party planning task to a professional so you can focus on other party planning details.

#3 Get Your (Party) Games On

When it comes to birthday parties, one of the best parts is playing fun party games. (No we are not talking about pin the tail on the donkey). Consider where you are hosting your child’s birthday party (indoors or outdoors) then decide what birthday party games will best suit your party location. Bonus points if the games compliment the birthday party theme! Need some help planning party games? Here are 24 birthday party games that won’t cost you a single cent.

#4 Serve Fun Finger Foods

Although the birthday cake is one of the most important elements of your child’s birthday bash, you will want to serve more food than just birthday cake. Make sure you include a variety of fun, yet healthy finger foods like vegetable or fruit sticks dipped in Chixi, cheese slices served with crackers or pretzels, granola bites. homemade tacos, grilled chicken kabobs and individual pizzas. Don’t forget to keep your own energy up with these double chocolate protein bites. Hosting parents at the party too? Make a tray of bourbon bites for the adults to enjoy.

Bonus Tip: Keep your child’s birthday party nut-free with these nut-free substitutions when cooking and baking.

#5 Pass Out Memorable Party Favors

All good things must come to an end, so send your party guests home with memorable party favors to express your gratitude and appreciation for celebrating your child’s big birthday. Take pictures at the party and send party guests home with their photo placed in a fun frame or bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies, flourless chocolate cake bars and homemade chocolate candies for a super sweet treat parents won’t feel bad about.

Planning your child’s next birthday party doesn’t have to be stressful. Consider these five tips the next time you are party planning and remember to tag us @hellochixi so we can see how you and your family celebrate birthdays with Chixi!