- Holidays and Celebrations
Birthday Parties For Kids in 5 Easy Steps!
Birthday Parties 101 - 5 Easy Steps
Make your child's next birthday party a party to remember! The party itself is as important as the birthday gifts for kids.
This lens is designed to make your next birthday party easy and fun in 5 simple steps.
From the invitations to the thank you cards, we've filled in every step to ease the stress and increase the fun!
Step 1 - Choose A Theme
Spongebob or a Hawaiian Luau?
Before buying any supplies, you will want to think about the theme of the party. Will it be your child's favorite cartoon character? Or maybe they would like a Pirate or Luau theme! Children love to have a say in their theme, so a good idea might be to take them to your local party store or browse party supply websites for available themes.
Once you have chosen a theme, you can decide what types of supplies you want to buy - like party cups, plates, napkins, invitations, thank you notes, banners, table covers, balloons, table centerpiece, goodie bags, birthday party favors, cake toppers, pinatas, etc.
To save some money, you can buy just a couple of the theme supplies - like decorations and napkins, then just match the rest of your supplies to the colors.
Step 2 - Invitations/Guest List
Invitations should be sent out 2 weeks prior to the party.
You can either buy invitations that match your theme or you can make your own. Always add a RSVP to your invitations so you know who is coming to your party and can plan for the right amount of goodie bags, food, etc.
There are many companies online who custom make invitations, and can even include a picture of the birthday child on the invitation. If you like that idea, but don't want to spend the money, you can also buy invitation kits to print from your own computer - Check out your local office supply store.
You may want to buy matching Thank You Notes also at this time so you can send them out after the party to say Thank You to your guests.
Time - Make sure to put the time the party ends, so parents know when to pick up their children. If you are not having the party at your house, check with the facility the party is being held at to see how long your party can be. Many places have set time slots to choose from.
Guest List - Will you invite your child's whole class? Just a few friends? Family only? The old rule of thumb is that the number of guests should equal the age of the child (a four-year-old, for example, would invite four children). Like most old rules, there's some truth to this advice. Young children in particular are hard to organize and can get overwhelmed easily so it's best to keep the number of guests small. Make sure you have enough adults on hand to handle issues that come up, so you don't get overwhelmed too!
Birthday Parties - What's your opinion?
Is there a limit to how much you should spend on your child's birthday party?
Step 3 - Location, Location, Location
The cheapest and easiest place to host a birthday party is at your own home. This especially works best with the "under 5" crowd.
Check with your local parks about using their facilities. You may need to pay a fee to reserve the shelters and make sure the bathrooms are open.
Other great birthday party locations and possible features are:
The Zoo - (Personal close-up interactions with animals, all day admission, guided tours.) Check with your local zoo to see if they offer party packages.
The Movie Theater - (Party rooms, free movie snacks, tours of the projection room.)
Aquarium - (Some offer overnight stays - sleep with the dolphins!)
Outdoor Birthday Party When the weather is nice, outdoor Birthday Parties are great Just remember these few tips:
* Make sure the area is clear and if its grassy, mow a couple of days before the party day. * Remember to move any animals out of the area until the party is over, just so Fido doesn't jump on anyone and get their party dress dirty.
* Choose a clear location for the games to be played.
* If you will be having some music, make sure you have electrical needs close.
* Make sure sidewalks and paths are free from obstruction.
* Make sure you have plenty of tables and chairs for guests.
* Lastly, check the weather report and have a backup plan if the weather turns bad.
Do you prefer to have birthday parites at home, or somewhere else?
Step 4 - Cake / Cupcakes / Refreshments / Food
Cake and Refreshments are the highlight of the party. Don't forget, if you choose to serve ice cream, buy enough to serve with the cake and it's a good idea to offer more than one flavor.
You can make your own cake or order one to match your theme. When ordering one to match your theme a good idea is to take a napkin from your theme supplies to help show the colors and design you want on your cake.
Call your baker ahead and see how much lead time they need to make the cake. Let them know the date you need to pick it up. Order cake sizes according to your guest count. It's better to have too much cake than too little!
You can order cake in different flavors to please all guests. This should be the time you double check to see if you ordered enough plates, napkins, cups and plastic ware from your themes above.
You may want to serve cupcakes for your party. They are easy to eat and can be decorated to match your party.
Choose your refreshments you will be serving. Always have bottled water for guests that can't drink other beverages.
Freeze Kool-Aid flavors that match your party colors in ice cube trays and serve in clear soda for a fun touch! If you have a punch bowl to serve it out of, add the ice cubes right before guests arrive. Make sure there are plenty of cups to serve your beverages from. It's also a good idea to have a permanent marker nearby to write each guest's name on the cup so they don't take a new cup every time.
How about ordering Pizza or better yet let the kids make their own pizza. Set up a table in the kitchen having ready made crusts and bowls of toppings on it and let each guest custom design their own pizza.
Another fun idea is a taco bar. Have a choice of soft or hard shells, help the children with the taco meat then let them load them up with lettuce, black olives, tomatoes and cheese!
Step 5 - Games, Activities and Goody Bags
Everyone goes to a party expecting to play games. Make the games simple. Don't choose games that will be long or complicated. Below are simple games you can purchase beforehand and have ready or you can create your own.
GOODY BAGS AND BOXES
Every child loves to go home with a goody bag. Ideas for bag fillers are pencils, rubber balls, candy, coloring crayons and bubbles. These are nice to handout as each guest leaves or if the items are small they can be placed by each plate at the table.
Some other great ideas that replace the goody bags are:
T-shirts designs that the birthday guests can color
You can buy iron-on designs that can be colored by each guest then transferred to a t-shirt or you can buy blank transfer sheets to print from your own computer. Then you can personalize them with each guest's name for a truly fun and unique gift! More info from HP.com
Paint a Piggy Bank!
Kids love to paint! Buy ceramic piggy banks or other paintable item from your local craft store and have each child paint one of their very own. Also have each child paint their name or small design on the Birthday child's bank as a fun keepsake.
Foam Picture Frame
Purchase foam picture frame kits from your local craft store and let each guest decorate their very own. When the kids arrive take a group picture, then while they're creating their frames print the picture from your computer for an instant memory they can take home with them!
Unique and Fun Birthday Favors
If you'd like something a little more unique and personal than your average goodie bag filled with small trinkets and candies, there's a great selection of birthday party favors for kids you can find online. Above are a few of my favorites.
Filled Birthday Tins are a cute favor that can be personalized with the child's name and birth date then filled with your choice of candies or mints. Many designs are available!
Lollipop Favors make a great centerpiece and take-home treat! You can decorate your tables by grouping lollipops in fun containers.
Mini Bubble Gum Machines are a great favor for kids of any age! The classic design bubble gum machine is a cute keepsake for the birthday guests and comes filled with gumballs!
What's better than Oreo Cookies? Birthday Themed Chocolate Covered Oreo Favors! Not only festive, but delicious too!
After the Party - Thank You Notes
It is always proper to send Thank You Notes after your party. Let your guests know that you appreciate their birthday gifts. You can purchase inexpensive packages of Thank You notes that match your theme , or you can make your own.
For the younger child who hasn't mastered the art of writing long notes yet, you can find "fill-in" thank you cards at local or online stationary stores.
I like to include a picture of all the kids together that I took during the party. It's a way for the child to always remember how much fun they had!