Total: 18 17 0 0 1 0 0Throw a party sure to wow your kids – and their friends. A big bash can be a lot of pressure. But it doesn’t have to be! Get tips in our FREE guide for a party that’s fun, memorable and, most important, all about your kid. Metro Parent Editorial • 06/22/2016 • Edit Dear Southeast Michigan Parent, Birthdays are a blast! But behind the scenes, we all know they can be a ton of work, too. From staking out a date, time and venue to picking the perfect theme and all the details that go with it – invitations, cake, games, food, activities, goody bags, not to mention cleanup? Phew. It’s a definitely a production, right? But don’t let that daunting to-do list turn you from go-getter to party pooper. True: no matter if it’s a sweet 16 soiree, slumber party or just your “standard” birthday bash, kid shebangs are definitely an event. However, with a bit of prep, they’re also pretty darn exciting. After all, this is a day that’s all about your special girl or boy. And luckily, whether it’s kids birthday party places in Michigan, grade-A entertainers or even answers to “where are bakeries near me that really take the cake?” you’ve come to the right place. Consider Metro Parent’s Kids Birthday Party Planner a big old gift – just for moms and dads. We took a look at all the components of a successful brouhaha and boiled them down to the basics. Designed with southeast Michigan parents in mind, it’s packed with tips on everything from themes to (gasp!) fewer gifts, not to mention kick-butt hotspots to host at, amazing entertainers and bakeries/cupcake shops that’ll hook you up with a decadent dessert created especially for that little party animal of yours. Let’s get this party started, hey? First things first: Every gathering needs a venue. Unless you’re raring to volunteer your house or yard, that means you gotta book a location. Fortunately, it’s as easy as a count of 10. That’s how many party places we’ve got waiting for you in Metro Parent’s FREE Kids Birthday Party Planner. Well, to tell the truth, it’s the top 10 party themes – and destinations that’ll deliver just what you want. Which in fact gives you 32 party place pros (and, once you consider those with multiple locations, that’s a whopping 56 options at your fingertips!). It’s as easy as clicking to page 3. Got a creative kid with an eye for detail – and a sweet tooth? A cupcake shop might be just the ticket, where kids can go nuts with gobs of frosting (not to mention, the “cake” is in the bag). Or consider a pottery party in Detroit, Northville or Royal Oak. Kids can be artistic, get their hands messy – and, voila, party favors: done and done. For the more rambunctious and sporty set, our FREE guide will get ’em bouncing off the walls. Literally, if you opt for one of five places that are all about inflatables and trampolines! Or sample six cool action arenas, jam-packed with go-karts, laser tag and soft play centers. Water bugs can make a splash at some cool local pools – or opt for old-school bumper bowling or roller skating rinks. And, when only something exceptional will do, Metro Parent’s FREE Kids Birthday Party Planner tosses in a few extra surprises. Treat the girly girl to a princess palace affair to remember. For the STEM-obsessed kid, turn your microscope to a trio of southeast Michigan science centers. Or, when ordinary just won’t do, go for broke and rent out an entire movie theater. Lights, camera, action! When it comes to a DIY deal, we’ve got a great gender-neutral concept on page 6. Regardless if you’ve got a little princess or pirate, why not throw a slime party right at home? So gross yet so good, this party theme is prime for any kid who’s into making messes or turning Play-Doh into Barbie boogers (it happens!). Our icky-cool how-to covers it all, from invites and activities to refreshments and favors. Another perk to a crafty theme at home? It can ease up your budget for other extras. But there’s one party banner of advice running through all these terrific themes: Be sure to get your kid in on the planning. Don’t forget, it’s their day! Whatever approach you and your kid agree to, there’s another sure way to keep the fun going. When you download this guide, you can also get a FREE subscription to Metro Parent magazine. There’s plenty to keep the party humming along, including our giant calendar of events, crafts for kids, delicious recipes and tons more to keep you inspired. Of course, no birthday party is complete without the icing on top – literally. And when it comes to a dazzling dessert, we’ve got 15 of the sweetest bakeries in town ready to help. Whether it’s a classic cake from Le Cakery, Chocolate Bar Cafe and Zingerman’s Bakehouse or cupcakes galore, this list is festooned with staples and offbeat picks – and all the fondant and buttercream you can handle. Hunting for something a little more out-of-the-ordinary? Sink your teeth into Metro Parent’s FREE Kids Birthday Party Planner for some amazing Mexican pastries or decadent tres leches cake from a Detroit/Pontiac bakery. And why not try pie? A seven-city local chain that got its start in Armada has just what you need (its Michigan Four Berry is legendary!). After all, your kid’s big day calls for something unique, from the theme to the cake. And sometimes, let’s face it: You’ve just have to pull out the stops. Here’s where our guide gets creative. That’s because, beyond your birthday basics, the FREE Kids Birthday Party Planner hooks you up with awesome entertainers and tips on teen parties and even handling the no-gift request. When you want the best kids party entertainers in southeast Michigan, our planner blows “Pin the Tail on the Donkey” out of the water. Princesses, spider heroes, caricature artists, science shenanigans, kids circus and tumbling fun and standout clowns and magicians: Find the cream of the crop waiting on page 8. While these pros will easily get your tykes ROTFL, your teen, on the other hand, might be rolling his or her eyes at your party plans. Sidestep a snooze fest (no offense, slumber parties) with our trio of terrific themes, including Woodstock, time traveling – even a full-moon rave. Have kids pick their fave decor, playlists, recipes and more. Don’t be surprised if they get more involved in the process! Speaking of tricky situations, you know those tactful little “no gifts, please” notes? Yeah – like that usually works. If your kid already has too much stuff (‘fess up, you’re among friends), scope out page 11 for generous and goofy alternatives – and a sure-fire way to navigate that gift-free request while still honoring guests’ giving spirits. When it comes to putting together a big hurrah, sometimes your bash needs a little extra boost. With Metro Parent’s FREE Kids Birthday Party Planner, you’ll be well on your way with piles of party places in Michigan, cool party themes and birthday cake ideas, not to mention a few extra “favors” that take it from basic to bodacious. Since family life calls for loads of celebrations, there’s plenty more where this comes from. Our FREE handbook is an easy way to plot out parties all year long. And, when you need more ideas, your FREE subscription to Metro Parent magazine – which you get with this guide – fills in the gaps. Each monthly issue offers oodles of cool attractions in southeast Michigan, crafts for kids, recipes and calendars with enough family-friendly events to make every day a party! So, what’ll it be? A super-girly soiree, moonwalk marathon or gymnastic-packed gathering? From eyeball pizza to a DIY psychedelic shack to having guests help you adopt a tiger, Metro Parent’s FREE Kids Birthday Party Planner is sure to stoke your thinking cap and give you plenty of ways to rock the next birthday. Maybe your party needs a little rocket launcher, juggling or live-action singing Princess Ariel action to pep things up – or some seriously creative confections. Consider this guide your gift to help make it all come together. Yeah, parties are a lot of work. But it’s all worth it when your kid’s face lights up in those photos! PS: If you’ve got a few months before the big day yet, that’s even better. Party places, entertainers and even cake shops tend to require some advance notice. Don’t wait till the last minute and risk missing out! Get Metro Parent’s FREE Kids Birthday Party Planner – and FREE subscription to Metro Parent magazine – now. PSS: Have you been holding off on a big hurrah or wondering where to find the best kids birthday party places in Michigan? Digging around to find the right vendors and venues can be a hassle. That’s the beauty of this handy-dandy handbook. We’ve rounded up bunches of credible, whiz-bang wonderful sites and spectacles sure to bring a smile to your little celebrant’s face. Get those party gears churning – and check out our freebie today! Note: This Freebie is fresh as of July 2016. We’ll definitely be updating and expanding it every year, but be sure to call ahead for the latest details – all info is subject to change!