Birthdays are exciting events, especially for children, who seem to enjoy birthdays with more eagerness each year. Whether you’re hosting a parade of princesses for your little lady or corralling miniature cowboys for a dapper young mister, rest assured that when it comes to birthday parties, little ones have the most fun.

With this in mind, it stands to reason that as a child, receiving an invitation to a birthday party is an almost equally fabulous event. Getting that invite means picking out a toy and an outfit and waiting with bated breath for the day of the big event, which most likely features balloons, candy and cake. Of course, the fancier the invitation, the more excitement your little ones are likely to feel, but just what makes a birthday invitation awe-worthy?

We’ve collected our favorites to give you a taste of what it takes to hype your little party-goers up for the big day.

Themed

Our Favorite Children's Birthday InvitationsPhoto Credit: Lisa Norris

When it comes to kids, there are two ways to go to create ideal birthday invitations. If you’re looking to create an optimum level of fun for kids over age three or so, consider a themed birthday party. Options here are almost endless and range from very specific to just a touch of fun, like the animal themed passport invitation here. Of course, passport invitations are a great way to introduce a safari or travel theme, but they can also be used as an interesting way to make party goers feel even more special. Check them at the door to lend a VIP air to your event!

Our Favorite Children's Birthday InvitationsPhoto credit: Magik City

Themed birthdays are fun as a kid and even more so when they involve games! Whether you decide to go with indoor or outdoor games, providing themed games at a child’s party not only keeps the kids preoccupied, it also offers a much needed break and time for socializing between parents. Who ever said a child’s birthday party was just for kids? For younger children try a circus theme, with invitations that mimic big-top announcements, and feature animal-themed games and the like to keep the little ones having a blast throughout the event.

Our Favorite Children's Birthday InvitationsPhoto credit: Lauren Chism Fine Papers

If your littles are slightly older, bring the party inside and host a miniature video game convention in your special guy (or girl’s) honor. Even better, or if you’re not the type of mom to volunteer for housecleaning after the fact, invite friends to join you at a local arcade, and keep the mom-factor simple while also providing a wide variety of games for all interests! Chances are, you remember when video games were slightly more pixelated, especially those of the arcade variety, so go retro and model your invitations like old-school, simpler games. Think Pac-Man, Pong or Atari options!

Our Favorite Children's Birthday InvitationsPhoto credit: Heidi, One Creative Mommy

Finally, any mom who’s hosting a party since winter of 2013 knows the request for “Frozen” goodies is a possibility. A “Frozen” themed party may be one of the most fun to make invitations for, as the popular kids’ movie is laden with fun phrases like, “Do you want to build a snowman?” “Let it go,” and more, and opens up a wonderland of crafty options for letting kids know there’s a party! Check out these snowman invitations, perfect for a winter birthday, or even for an ambitious party-thrower dreaming of fake snow.

Classic

Our Favorite Children's Birthday InvitationsPhoto credit: Calm Cradle Photo & Design

If you’re aiming for a more simple affair, possibly for a first birthday, you may want to aim for a classic approach to sending invitations. One popular route for early birthday invitations is to include photos of the little guy or gal from a recent photo shoot, so that invitations not only serve as informational sheets, but also memorable party favors.

Our Favorite Children's Birthday InvitationsPhoto credit: Jackie Jean Photography, Angie Ray Photography via The Shoppe Designs

You can include extra decorative touches (think wedding invitation style) or keep it simple with a single card for each guest, but either way, this option provides an easy way to appeal to the parents of your youngster’s friends and promise a party that ALL attendees can enjoy, while also reminding your invite list how adorable the guest of honor is!

Our Favorite Children's Birthday InvitationsPhoto credit: Kelsey Williams

Of course, it’s still possible to create a memorable, extraordinary party, complete with matching invitations even if you choose not to use a playful children’s theme. Think soft pinks, glitter and bows for little ladies and light blues, puppies or trucks for tiny gentlemen, or shake it up and show your guests that your tot is completely unique! You have all the colors and patterns in the world at your fingertips!

Our Favorite Children's Birthday InvitationsPhoto credit: Karen Mordechai

If you’re not the crafty type or are running short on time, fear not. There are any number of invitation companies like Minted and Simple Song Design, creators of Rooney’s golden invitations and Sophia’s polka dot invitations, respectively, who specialize in making sure that your invitations take the cake so that your guests will want to show up and do the same!

When it all comes down to it, children’s birthday parties are, above all, celebrations of your little ones and they deserve to be affairs to remember. You’ll need to let the prospective guests know the details anyway, so why not add a little imagination and get the party started before the big day?