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Birthday Party Planning Guide for Kids Parties

Updated on February 26, 2014

Birthday Party Planning Guide

Birthday party planning for kids doesn't have to be stressful! Oftentimes, people are overwhelmed by all of the details and jobs that need to be done during the planning process. ANYONE can throw a creative and over the top birthday party with little to no stress - this includes YOU! I'm here to take the anxiety out of your birthday party planning by providing you with all of the steps outlined in this lens. From picking a birthday theme to the party day itself - we will go over everything in detail to help you to plan the easiest, stress free kids birthday party EVER! I've included a party planning guide at the bottom of this lens to help you figure out when you need to do what! ENJOY!

Picking a Birthday Theme

Picking a Birthday Party Theme



The first thing you need to do when planning a kids birthday party is to pick the party theme. For this important first step you are going to need the help of your birthday child. What are his or her interests? Do they like Thomas the Train or Super Mario Bros? Is he/she into Hanna Montana or maybe Winnie the Pooh or Harry Potter? Picking the theme will set the tone for the entire party.

Here's a tip: If your child is having difficulty deciding on one theme - turn choosing a theme into a game. Write down every theme idea your child has and put these into a hat. Let your birthday child stick in their hand and pull out their birthday theme. It really helps to make planning fun for everyone!

Birthday Party Planning TIP: Once you have your theme - take it to the extreme! The more over the top you are with your decorations, invitations, etc... - the better your party will be!

Pick a Birthday Party Date, Time & Location

Pick a Birthday Party Date, Time & Location



Now that you have your birthday theme it's time to decide where you would like to hold your party: home or away. Each has it's advantages and disadvantages. Home parties allow you greater control of your party so this is always the preferred method when birthday party planning.

Setting the date and time for your party. When picking a time you need to take into account the age of the children involved. Younger children usually will take naps in the early afternoon so plan your party times accordingly. Try not to plan a party over a holiday weekend as many of your guests may decide to take family vacations at that time.

Here's a Tip: I have found the best time to plan a birthday party is around 11:00am on Saturday. Why? First of all, your party will be over before most nap times are scheduled to begin. Another advantage is that you still have all day Sunday to clean-up after your event before having to go back to work on Monday.

Invitations

Birthday Invitations



As the old saying goes you only have one chance to make a first impression. Your birthday invitation will set the tone for your party with your guests so it's time to get CREATIVE! You may choose to design your own invitations, buy store bought ones or purchase personalized invitations. You can even get ones that include the birthday child's picture on them online.

Invitations can also be printed using your own printer. This allows you to not only personalize these to your birthday child - but save tons of money in the process! I've found a software that will allow you to print all sorts of cards for every holiday or occasion! Check it out!

Here's a Tip: Make sure you save one of your invitations for your child's scrapbook. It will be fun for them to look back years from now and show their own children what awesome birthday parties you threw for them!

Party Supplies

Birthday Party Supplies

Choose birthday party supplies that match your theme. You can find birthday party themed supplies at your local party store or consider shopping online. Many online party retailers can offer you party kits that include everything you could possibly need for your parties from plates and cups down to streamers and balloons.

Another good source to purchase party supplies is eBay. You can find some deep discounts and some really unique party supplies. Remember to check the feedback for those you are buying from to make sure they are a reputable seller.

Here's a Tip: Always purchase enough supplies for your invited guests PLUS 5. This way an unexpected sister or brother showing up for your party won't be left out. Also - it's a good idea to buy an extra package of napkins. We all know kids can get messy!

Party Decorations

Birthday Party Decorations



Here's where we can really get your creative juices flowing! The decorations for your party will set the mood for your guests. Decorate outside as well as inside. Always put balloons on the mail box to help guests find your home easier. Consider playing up the entryway of your home. Make sure that when you open the door you really WOW your guests with something. Cardboard cut outs and wall decorations bought online can help. Big balloons and themed table cloths will keep your theme going inside the house as well. Streamers and confetti help to set your party mood!

Here's a Tip: Go completely OVER THE TOP! Throwing a Finding Nemo party? Run blue streamers along the ceiling and hang decorative fish. Throwing a Thomas the Train party? Use black electrical tape to create rail road tracks leading your guests from your driveway straight into your house. Really GET INTO your birthday party theme and use your imagination! If your theme has a tv show or movie associated with it - watch it a few times to get more ideas!

Party Games

Birthday Party Games



Having some fun games for your guests to play during your party can really help make it fun and memorable! You can use old stand-by games such as pin the tail on the donkey or get creative and make up games that suit your theme!

How about a scavenger or treasure hunt for your next party! It's something that the kids will go CRAZY over and talk about for weeks!!! Best of all - there's absolutely NO planning on your part - the software does it all for you!

Here's a Tip: Make sure you have prizes for any game you play - kids LOVE it when they can "win" someting, even if everyone else "wins" too!

Pin the Tail on the Donkey Variations

Pin the Tail on the Donkey Variations

Here are some variations of the Pin the Tail on the Donkey theme that you can use at your next party! Manfacturers have gotten smart and created themed "pin the tail" games for about any birthday theme you can think of!

Birthday Party Entertainment

Birthday Entertainment



Planning some birthday party entertainment may be a good option. Renting a bouncy castle can help to make your party a hit. You may also want to consider hiring professional birthday party entertainers like magicians or balloon animal making clowns. Just make sure the entertainer you hire is right for your party's theme and age appropriate. Consider also that some kids may be intimidated by clowns and other masked entertainers. It's always a good idea to have a back-up plan such as an alternative activity like a craft for those children who get overwhelmed easily.

Here's a Tip: ALWAYS check your entertainer's references before hiring them or better yet, get a referral from a friend or relative. You may also want to consider asking them if you can

Party Food

Birthday Party Food

The food you choose to serve at your birthday party can compliment your theme. For example, if you are throwing a NASCAR party serve food you would find at the concession stand: hot dogs, hamburgers, nachos, popcorn on the tables, etc... You can also creatively serve your food to your birthday guests. Wrap hamburgers in checkered flag wraps you can find at your local resturant supply store, put hotdogs in hot dog sleeves, buy real plastic nacho dishes with a spot for the cheese and nachos. Get CREATIVE!

Here's a Tip: If you choose to get your event catered instead, make sure you not only check your caterer's references, but that you also taste the food! You don't want to end up finding out their food isn't delicious on the day of your party.

Birthday Party Crafts for Kids

Birthday Party Crafts for Kids

Give your guests something to do and something to take home with them as a souvenir from your party! The key is to have a craft that doesn't take up too much time, isn't too messy and is age appropriate for your birthday guests.

Party Group Picture

Group Party Pictures



How cute is this picture!?! Make sure you get a candid picture of your party guests to remember this party by! Purchase some cute themed costume pieces and have your guests put them on before the picture. This also makes for a cute addition to your thank you notes!

Birthday Cake

The Birthday Cake



The birthday cake will likely be the focal point of your party! What kid doesn't love a party themed cake!? This is where you will really have to dig down deep and get those creative juices flowing! Having a dinosaur party? Make a volcano cake complete with lava flowing down the sides! Throwing a Harry Potter party? How about cupcakes with different things on them like golden snitches or wizards hats? The more creative you get - the better your cake will be!

Everyone has a different skill level so don't expect to make a cake like you'd see on the Food Network if you can't boil water. Also - don't hesitate to order a cake from a bakery and put your own creative touches on it later. Just remember, whatever you decide to do...do it BIG! It will make for a cool memory for your birthday child and give them some birthday bragging rights with their friends.

If you want to learn to create cakes like the pros you can learn the same secrets to cake decorating that the professionals use to create truly beautiful cakes! Here are a few sources to help!

Birthday Party Bags

Birthday Party Bags

Send your guests home with a goodie bag! Fill it with party-themed items! You can find pre-made goodie bags at stores like those I've listed above or you can make your own. Either way - make sure you include age appropriate items, parents will thank you for it later!

Here's a Tip: Always make enough party bags for all your guests +5. This will assure that any little brothers or sisters who unexpectedly attend the party aren't left out.

Thank You Notes

Thank You Notes


Get your child involved in writing out the thank you notes to their guests. If you child is old enough to sign their name, let them. If they can write the notes themselves, again let them. It gets them into a good habit of remembering to thank people for things that they are given and really lets them get involved in the process of being grateful.

Don't forget to include a copy of your group picture in your thank you notes! Your guests and their parents will love to see / remember just how much fun your party was!

Here's a Tip: Make sure you write down in each birthday card what each child gave as a gift. It will make writing your thank you notes easier!

Party Planning Guide

Your Party Planning Guide

4-6 WEEKS BEFORE YOUR PARTY

- Choose a theme for your party.

- Select a date and time for your party.

- Choose a location for your party and make reservations if necessary.

- Write out your guest list.

- Create a party "time line" (i.e. 2:00-2:30 crafts , 2:30-3:00 games , etc...).

- Book entertainment if needed (bouncy gyms, magicians, etc...).

3-4 WEEKS BEFORE YOUR PARTY

- Make or purchase invitations.

- Mail invitations 2 1/2 weeks before your party.

- Plan games and activities.

2 WEEKS BEFORE YOUR PARTY

- Purchase party supplies and decorations.

- Plan menu and make shopping lists.

- Arrange for help (call friends or relatives to lend a hand).

1 WEEK BEFORE YOUR PARTY

- Follow up with guests who haven't RSVP'ed yet.

- Order cake and balloons.

- Prepare any foods that can be frozen until your party date.

2-3 DAYS BEFORE YOUR PARTY

- Buy disposable cameras or make sure your video/digital camera is charged and empty.

- Do your shopping.

- Prepare your payments for your entertainment.

- Put together the goodie bags.

DAY BEFORE YOUR PARTY

- Prepare remaining food including cake or cupcakes.

- Clean and child-proof party area.

- Set-up and decorate party area.

PARTY DAY!

- Finish any last minute food preparations.

- Pick-up balloons and cake.

- Set-up games.

- HAVE FUN!

2-3 DAYS AFTER YOUR PARTY

- Finish cleaning up / putting away.

- Write and send thank you notes with your child.

- Get pictures developed and/or e-mail pictures to family.

If you found this lens to be helpful - please let me know!

Tell me about YOUR Birthday Party!

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    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 6 years ago

      You really have nice party ideas.

      Happy Valentine Day

    • pkmcruk profile image

      pkmcr 7 years ago from Cheshire UK

      Very nice lens which is also well crafted - you have been blessed by a Squid Angel

    • thepartyanimal2 profile image

      thepartyanimal2 8 years ago

      Being a party planner myself I think this is very well put together and I think you have touched on all the great ideas that are needed to put together a great party with a little creativity. *You have been Blessed by an Angel* Party On...

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 8 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      Very beautiful and well laid out lens. 5* from me...

    • MsSnow4 profile image

      Carol Goss 8 years ago

      Very Nice job :) I like it :)

    • amy1980 profile image

      amy1980 8 years ago

      The picture idea is great. Will use it in my next party!

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 8 years ago

      This is a great lens on an important subject. Very enjoyable and well done. 5* and fav

    • justholidays profile image

      justholidays 8 years ago

      Another great of your party lenses! I just would have like to see more pictures but I think the layout isn''t made for more... Anyway, it's a great lens once again!

      Congrats,

      Dom.

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 8 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      I don't have any kids to plan birthday parties FOR, but I sure appreciate all of the useful,creative tips and suggestions you've provided here. I'm sure this will help a lot of people plan some great parties for their children. Nice job and a nice looking lens, too.