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.
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
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!
Great Books on Party Planning
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?See results without voting
Make the Perfect Cake!
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.
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.
More Party Resources
- Host a Mystery Party
Thinking of having a party, but tired of the same old themes? Try a Mystery Party. It gives all the guests a chance to be in the lime light! Young or old, party-goers will get a kick out of dressing in...
- Webkinz Birthday Party Ideas
When my son said he'd like to have a Webkinz party for his birthday my wheels immediately started spinning! I'd played on my kids Webkinz sites many times and there were some great games that I knew would be...
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.