To spruce up an invitation, create a homemade frame using pinking shears or craft shears with funny edges (scallops, half circles, triangles) and place your favorite photo in the center.
For children ages 4 and under, let each make an "all about me" book with handprints, drawings, and a Polaroid photo from the party. Older kids can personalize a scrapbook using stickers, fabric, makers and other baby photos. To assemble the scrapbook, use a three-hole punch to make holes in a stack of construction paper. Weave twine through holes and tie.
"For my daughter Lauren's first birthday, I created a multiple-choice questionnaire about her first-year development -- when she started smiling, how many diapers she went through a day, etc. The highest-scoring adult won a gift certificate, and everyone enjoyed the fun." --Carol
Glue color copies of your child's photo onto the tablecloth. Add colored paper triangles at the corners to look like photo corners.
"For my daughter's first birthday, I wanted a special memento. So I took my favorite photo of Hannah, blew it up to 11x14, and attached it to the middle of a standard-size poster board. I put the board in a frame and removed the glass cover. As the guests came in, I had them write my daughter a birthday note on the poster board and sign it. Everyone loved doing this." --Krista
Give each child a single snow-globe that has a slot for a photo. Slip a Polaroid photo of the child taken during the party into the slot, and you're done.
"Every year at my daughter's birthday party, I make simple frames from poster board and let the children decorate them with stickers and markers. I then take each child's photo at the party. When I get the film developed, I put the picture in the frame that the child made and send it with the thank you note. The child remembers the party, and they have a cute party favor and picture from the event." --Dawn
This unique cake, personalized with your child's name, photo, and mementos, is designed to look like an open book. It's so realistic, guests will be tempted to turn the pages.
Prep and decorating time: 1½ hours
Bake time: 25 minutes
Yield: 12 to 14 servings
Copyright© 2004. Reprinted with permission from the April 2002 issue of Parents magazine.