Kids birthday parties are a highlight of their year and you will want to create a special day they will love. Do you find planning a party exciting or do you see it as a rather daunting challenge? With some planning and practical ideas, you will be sure to celebrate your child’s birthday in a way that results in many smiles and great memories.
Kids love to feel included so ask them to help with the planning – perhaps they can write out the invitations, blow up balloons or assist with the food. Assisting in the preparation not only gives them a sense of responsibility but they’ll also get that exciting feeling of anticipation leading up to the day.
Follow these steps to create a party your child will remember
1. Consider Your Budget
Fun kids’ birthday parties don’t need to cost a lot of money. Consider a setting a ‘per person’ budget which will allow you to easily evaluate your birthday party options. Once you decide on your budget, stick to it. There are many budget conscious options available and recruiting help from others, including some DIY and a bit of creativity, the kids will still have a blast.
2. Decide on a Theme
Of course, the party is all about the birthday child, so ask them whether they want a particular theme for their party or give them options to choose from regarding a certain activity or location (if you keep their options wide open you risk them being disappointed if you can’t meet their expectations!). Explain any restrictions such as budget or number of guests.
3. Date and Time
Pick a suitable date and time for your party. It’s a good idea to ensure your child’s best friend is available on your chosen date to avoid disappointment.
When selecting a time, keep in mind that a party held mid-afternoon means guests won’t expect a full meal. As a guide aim for 2 to 3 hours in duration, especially for younger kids.
Regarding location, would you prefer to have the party at home or at a venue or park? Having the party at home or a local park can be better on your bank account and more personal as it gives you complete input into the day; however, this option does include a lot of preparation and clean up afterwards. If you chose this option, you’ll be busy hosting so ensure you have an extra pair of hands to help with the setup and clean up. Assigning a photographer is also a good idea to free-up some of your time. Hiring a professional can be expensive, so ask a family member or a parent to be designated photographer to capture the day.
Having the party at a venue which caters for kids’ birthday parties is a great option as most things are taken care of for you. There are many great options including cinemas, public pools, bowling alleys or trampoline parks such as Flip Out – a fantastic option for some physical activity. Not only are the kids entertained, but party packages often include a private room, food and beverages and a cake. Also, an indoor centre means bad weather won’t ruin the day.
5. Guest List
Once you know where you’re having your party you can decide on the number of guests. Sit with your child and compile a guest list. Then decide on paper or electronic invitations. Fortunately, when you book at a venue, digital party invitations are sometimes included which you can print at home and save money. Once this is decided, ensure they are sent out at least 2 weeks prior to the party. Ask for an RSVP so you know who is coming and check for any dietary requirements.
If you hold the party at home, include some short games such as musical chairs, pin the tail on the donkey, charades, bocce or a scavenger hunt.
A fun option is a craft activity the guests can participate in, such as decorating a cloth bag, designing and making a paper hat or creating bead jewellery. Visit your local discount or art supply shop for cheap craft supplies. This gives the kids something to take home instead of a goodie bag.
Simple science experiments always fascinate children, while also providing an educational experience. There are many ideas online, such as this great article on Kidspot.
7. Food and Drinks
Who doesn’t love party food?! Keep it simple and fun and in small portions – kids don’t sit still for long so something they can grab in one hand is best. There are loads of party food options including favourites such as pizza, nuggets and chips as well as other options including mini quiches, meatballs, small sandwiches, and fruit. Remember to cater for any guests with allergies or specific dietary requirements.
In terms of drinks, soft drinks are easy and other options include a bowl of fruit punch or milkshakes. Have plenty of water on hand – perhaps a large water dispenser with ice and sliced fruit in it to make it fun.
8. The Cake
This can be daunting to organise but don’t feel pressured to provide something mind blowing that breaks your budget. Have a go at making a cake yourself – there are many ideas online that are simple yet very impressive. Your child will love something that suits their tastes at the time such as a favourite movie character, superhero or sport.
Alternatively, consider providing plain cupcakes, bowls of icing and lollies and let the guests decorate their own cupcake. Then pop a candle in each and sing happy birthday! If you have a catered party at a centre like Flip Out, the cake is provided!
9. Thank You Gifts
A small thank you for the guests is a nice touch. Rather than send them home with lollies, you may like to give a small toy or game – just make sure it is age appropriate and safe. Some ideas are crayons, a small book or a gift card. You may not need to provide gifts if you incorporated a craft activity and guests are taking home their finished. If you’re going to an activity centre such as Flip Out, small gifts are included in each package so there is no need to think about these!
By now your mind is probably ticking over your options and buzzing with enthusiasm and creative ideas! Sit down with the birthday child and plan a day they’ll remember.