Kid Party Planning: Tips and Ideas

 One of the greatest joys of my life has been planning my children's birthday parties. I've tried to make them memorable and fun, only resorting to parties at food places when they requested it. Since my children are growing older and my party days are numbered, I hope this hub will help others create fun and memorable parties for their children.

Location First

Where to start? The location of the party is always first on my list. The reason for this is, if it is a place that needs to be booked and whether or not they have openings will decide the party date for you. When choosing where to have your party here are a few things you should consider:

How many guests? The number of people you plan to invite could decide where you have your party. If you want to invite your child's entire class, and you live in small house or apartment, you may want to look for other options, such as a local park. More than likely they will be equipped with some type of pavillion where you can set up a table for the cake and other refreshments. Another handy thing about parks -- when you run out of games for the party goers, there's still free entertainment. Parks normally have jungle gyms, swings or an assortment of slides to keep the kids busy.

What kind of entertainment are you planning? If your child wants to have a pool party and you don't have a pool, then a local pool that offers party packages might be what your looking for. If your entertainment consists of a few party games, then your living room or back yard is the simplest answer.

Last but not least, and in most cases should probably be considered FIRST-- your budget. If you just don't have the money to hold your party at a place where there is a per child fee, the best place is always FREE. Some of the best memories I have of my childhood is my backyard. With a little thought and effort your back yard or living room can be the back drop for your child's best birthday ever!

Camp Out Party

Setting the Date

 Once you decide on the where, then it's time to grab a calendar and figure out the when. I have always tried to keep the party date as close to my child's actual birthday as possible. Some years this was just impossible.

Scheduling can be a nightmare. In the fall, Fridays are not favorable if you live in an area where local high school football rules. In the spring, expect a low turn out if there's on going baseball tournaments. These are just some examples of what to look out for when you pick your party date. You wouldn't want to set your party date on the same day as another child's party, the day the fair is in town, or some other event that would keep guests from attending.

With that said, there will probably not be a perfect time for everyone on your guest list, so consider your family's schedule first and any other important people that you really want to attend.

Once you set the date, it's time for the fun part.

Fun Party Themes

Mexican Fiesta!
Mexican Fiesta!

Picking a Theme

Having a theme for your party makes the rest of the party planning easy. The theme will dictate the decorations, food, games, and even the cake!

Some of my favorite themes: Mystery Party, Movie Party, Ladybug Party, Luau, Fiesta, Spa Party, Camp Out, Haunted House Sleepover and even a Halo Tournament Party!


 Always try to send out the invitations at least 2 weeks before the party date. This will ensure the parents have time to think about schedules, who will bring the child, and have time to shop for a present.

I always try to mail the invitations. If you're not planning to invite the whole class, I would advise not having your child hand them out at school. This will prevent your child from having to answer the question, " Why am I not invited?"  and hopefully spare some feelings. Children have a difficult time understanding when you give your child a limit of how many guests they can invite.

Make sure to include address of the party, with directions, or at least a contact number for parents to call with questions.

Set a definite time. A start time, and an end time. There will always be guests that show up late. If you wait until everyone gets there, all of your guests might miss the entertainment. I have attended parties where people were leaving and the cake had never gotten cut.  If you are having a sleepover make sure to put a pick up time for the next morning.

Other information to include besides the date and time: any special items, such as a sleeping bag for a sleepover, or towels for a pool party. If you are planning a costume contest of some kind, make sure they know it! For example; A Rock Star party: Best Rock Star Costume gets a prize!

Homemade or Store Bought?

Do you make your kids birthday cakes or order them from a bakery?

  • Bake my own cakes
  • Buy them
  • Depends on how busy I am
See results without voting

The Magic Cake

 Out of all the party food, no matter what the theme, the Birthday cake holds the spotlight. It has magical qualities when you are a child. Not only is it special because it was made just for you, but it gives you a wish! Everybody knows what comes after the cake--PRESENTS! Hopefully their wish is about to come true.

The magical cake does not have to be store bought, or have fancy decorations. I have done both, and I have always gotten more compliments on the cakes I have baked and decorated myself. So don't feel like you have to go out and spend money on a fancy cake for child's birthday to be special. You know more than anyone what your child likes, so you have the ability to make their very favorite cake. That in itself makes it special.

Party Food

 You might be to tempted to go all out, and have foods that go along with the theme. It's always best to keep it simple and remember that most kids are picky eaters. You're always safe with hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, and don't forget the Cheetos!

Depending on the time of day you might decide to skip food altogether. For instance, if the party is right before dinner, parents probably won't appreciate you filling the kids up with snack foods.

If you are hosting a sleepover, it's probably best to serve dinner before bringing out the snacks. For older girls, you might consider having a fancy sit down dinner if it goes along with the theme. They love to play grown-up with fancy dishes and napkins. If you are serving tea or lemonade don't forget the sugar cubes!

Note on Food and Drinks: Some kids may have allegeries or other medical conditions that restrict them from eating certain foods. It's always best to check with the parents before the party. Make sure to have plenty of water on hand for children that are diabetic or are allgeric to dyes.


Party Games

Children love to play games! No matter what their age. I try to have atleast three games for them to play. Often times if the kids enjoy a game they will ask to play it again, and again, and again.

Finding games to go along with your theme maybe a bit of a challenge. When this happens I have a few old stand-bys that can be played at any party.

  • Limbo- Kids love to limbo! It doesn't have to be a Luau or Beach Party. Any type of music and a broom will do.
  • Pass the (Beach Ball, Coconut, Pumpkin, etc.) - This game is similar to musical chairs, another favorite. Have the children sit or stand in a circle facing out. When the music starts they pass the object around the circle. Who ever is holding the object when the music is stopped, is out of the game. This continues until there is only one person left.
  • Doughnut Game- This game can get messy, but the kids love it! I would recommend only doing this outside. Tie a string or rope across two trees or poles. If you have a clothesline in your yard, this is perfect. From this rope, you will tie strings that hang down, one for each child. Tie a doughnut on the end of each string. The doughnuts should reach the child's mouth. Without using their hands, the first child to eat all of their doughnut wins. Sounds easy, but it can be very difficult! Make sure to have a camera ready for this one!
  • Twister- This game will probably be around till the end of time. Kids love to bend and twist. They know that eventually they will end up in a big pile on the floor.

Comments 8 comments

mandybeau profile image

mandybeau 7 years ago

Hi Ya

Love the idea I'm a real party theme person.....But what I wanted to say ws that in my country, The otherside of the world. We are really budget conscious, with a real do it yourself attitude.

Parties we have here are some of the Best. We often can the gifts, and ask that guests put so much towards the party. Otherwise you can have a kid go to a really budget party, with a great gift, and vise versa. We also have these pot luck things, I think they are English in origin....Most of the people out here are English, and everyone brings the food. I used to think tacky, but after enjoying a few I now think Great idea. Read My St valentines Day Hub



mamacoots profile image

mamacoots 7 years ago from Louisiana Author

Thanks, Marilyn. Pot Lucks are great! You really get a great variety foods so you know they'll be something for everyone. Just make sure and ask what everyone plans to bring. lol I went to a pot luck once where most of the people brought green beans. It was funny.

glassvisage profile image

glassvisage 7 years ago from Northern California

I love all the bright colors in this Hub! You are a great planner... makes for great pictures to share with the kids later in life

mamacoots profile image

mamacoots 7 years ago from Louisiana Author

Thanks for the comment! ;-)

I have tons of pictures that I'm hoping to put into scrapbooks for each of my kids, one of these days..... lol

Dottie1 profile image

Dottie1 7 years ago from MA, USA

My kids are older now but this hub brought back all the fun that went into planning a party for them. My favorite theme was the camp out. It was a very memorable party that my kids talked about for years. Great tips and ideas and well written hub. I very much enjoyed the read and loved all the colorful pictures. :)

mamacoots profile image

mamacoots 7 years ago from Louisiana Author

Thanks for stopping by Dottie! ;-)

retirementhelp profile image

retirementhelp 7 years ago

You should be a party planner!! Fantastic ideas, my wife is going to use this hub as a guide for our grand daughter's next Birthday party. Thanks!!!

invita profile image

invita 6 years ago from Tampa, FL

So much information, this is great. We are planning a cup cake party for our daughter.

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