Birthday parties are a right of passage for our kids and the grownups they belong to! We love celebrating the lives we created and we love seeing their beaming faces! But we can’t deny the relief we feel when said birthday party has been attended and completed – done and done! In this article, Chicago North Shore Moms outlines a few of our favorite birthday party places and spaces as well as birthday party prep and and the dreaded party favor debate!
Party Places and Spaces
Thinking outside the box is our way of giving you the gift of time. Traditional birthday spots are great (just had my son’s birthday party at Dave & Busters in Vernon Hills) but I know we mamas like to change things up a bit. Here are a few gems:
- AquaMermaid – Become a mermaid for a few hours. Rent a time slot at your local pool (ie. park district) and AquaMermaid will provide your party with a magical, mystical mermaid instructor(s) AND mermaid tails for rental. Contact: 866-279-2767 or [email protected]
- Nova VR Lounge in Grayslake, IL – Experience virtual reality in their state of the art, clean and inviting gaming lounge. It’s a one of a kind encounter that will have you’re birthday buddy and attendees smiling from ear to ear! Contact: 224-541 – 4898 or [email protected]
- High Tea with Gerri in Long Grove – Great for any age but best if birthday attendees are at 10+. From the gardens and homes of the North Shore, to the estates of Barrington, to the historic homes of the Gold Coast, the Art of Afternoon Tea lives on through the tasteful creations of High Tea With Gerri. Contact: 847-948-1724 or [email protected]
- Ohh La La Mobile Manicure Party + PJ’s + movie undernighter or overnighter – Start the evening out with a little nail pampering in PJ’s then and finish the night with a movie, pizza and a care package each of movie snacks! Contact: 224-281-2570
- Hot Ground Gym (Northbrook, Naperville & and Vernon Hills) – The obstacle courses are high energy that the little ones LOVE and can hang with 100%. My big kids had birthday parties there and both loved them! The party is short, sweet, hands-off and 100% run by the awesome staff. Minimum age is that all participants be age 5+ due gross motor skill development. Contact: 847-250-0153
- Lock Chicago Escape Room in Evanston – Participants won’t be locked into a room at Lock Chicago. Rather, they will be given alternate end goals for each challenge, so really they’re a Challenge Room adventure rather than an Escape Room. Contact: 312-646-0051 or [email protected]
The trend with party favors is one that is moving away quantity and towards quality. There’s also a movement away from party favors all-together. Alas, if you’re not ready to head down the ‘nothing’ road here are few party favor suggestions that answer the question, “Best non-junk birthday party favors…”
- Donate! On behalf of each attendee donate $3-$10 to a non-profit or foundation of your choice. Make it fun for the birthday kid and have them help you research what’s important to him or her.
- Joke books/chapter books – Scholastic books and Amazon both have age-appropriate books at a cost of $3-$5.
- Beauty rest – A fun kids sleep mask like this adorable unicorn theme mask + Lip Smackers or a nail polish.
- Novelty cookies from Peace.Love.Cookies home bakery. Likely this themed delicious treat won’t end up in a landfill! Contact: 773-968-3624 or [email protected]
- $5 gift card to ice cream stores like Dairy Queen or Menchies placed inside a wallet purchased from your local Dollar Tree or Five Below store.
When it comes to party prep we’re big fans of keeping it simple! Your child’s party is special which is why we love going back to the ‘old-skool’ way of inviting peers with real paper invitations albeit done the easy way. Basic Invite is a great resource for birthday party invitations for kids, simple party invitations, and costume birthday invitations (Halloween is weeks away)! What we love about Basic Invite:
- Their nearly unlimited color selections allow you to truly match the color of your invite to your party theme.
- Custom Samples – Basic Invite is one of the few websites where you can order a printed sample of your actual invitation.
- Over 40 Different Colors of Envelopes and All of their envelopes are peel and seal.
- Address Capturing Service and recipient address printing at no cost on all holiday card orders (yep it’s also time think about that).
- Right now Basic Invite is offering 15% off with coupon code: 15FF51
Or…. consider making this an art activity for your birthday boy or girl. Plus, you’ll get them off of their device for a few hours (tv, tablet, xbox, etc.). Head over to your local craft store for good ‘ole fashion scrap booking supplies. They all have loads of ‘scrapbooking starter kits for kids’ available in-person and online so minimal brain power is involved 🙂
Cakes & Treats
- Peace.Love.Cookies home bakery provides delicious and beautiful custom cookies, brownies, bars, cakes and so much more. Contact [email protected].
- Three Tarts Bakery & Cafe, Northfield – Contact 847-446-5444
- Dairy Queen – you can’t go wrong with a blizzard cake and they do a nice job with simple decoration
- Bent Fork Bakery, Highwood – seriously delicious cakes and frosting. Contact 847-926-4438.
- Jewel-Osco cakes and of course, the cookie cake – yep, affordable, simple but cute and yummy, too. Sorry, Mariano’s, personally I’m not a fan.
- Sweet Ali’s Gluten Free Bakery, Glenview – This bakery is an absolute gem to those with gluten allergies. They are a certified gluten-free bakery offering dairy-free and nut-free options as well. Contact 224-432-5530
- Cupcakes – bring plain cupcakes to the party with containers of icing, sprinkles and small candies and let them have at it. It’s a fun activity and affordable. But messy…
Chicago North Shore Moms hopes we’ve saved you time and stress with this birthday party spotlight! For more great suggestions head over to our Children’s Parties resource tab! Whatever you choose, we wish you and your little people a very happy and healthy birthday! Cheers to another trip around the sun!