Kids’ Birthday Party Planning Tips for Busy Parents

There is always an air of anticipation when planning a kids’ birthday party. The party can be as easy or complicated as you’re willing to make it. Here are some useful tips to help you plan the occasion, even if you haven’t got much time…

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Party Venue

Decide where you’re going to host your child’s party.  The choice of venue will be paramount in much of your other planning.  Lots of venues offer childrens’ birthday parties; from football clubs, swimming pools, play gyms to church and village halls.  A lot of these venues offer ‘package parties’ so you don’t have to worry about anything apart from the date and time of your party.

You might however decide to do something a little different and take on organising your own party at home or in a church hall.

Choose a theme

Choosing a theme will help you simplify the decision making process as it will provide a link between all aspects of the party, starting from the invitations, food, party games, decorations and finishing with the thank you notes. It will give your party a coordinated feel too and can be picked to highlight your child’s interests.

You can choose a commercial theme around your child’s favourite cartoon character, or choose a more generic theme and let your imagination and creativity run wild! Here are a few ideas for all ages to get you started:

  • Favourite Colour(s) – pink, blue, red, silver and black… you can ask the guests to dress to match your theme too!
  • Favourite Animals – jungle animals or farm animals work well
  • Dinosaurs
  • Favourite Nursery Rhyme
  • Space / aliens
  • Pirates
  • Knights
  • Trains
  • Princesses
  • Butterflies
  • Disco
  • Hearts
  • Sports Parties – Ballet; Football; Cricket; Netball; Athletics

Arts and crafts

  • Beading – Necklace and bracelet making
  • Decorating a t-shirt or cup
  • Baking – popular and simple bakes include Smarties cookies and our Chocolate Buns Recipe
  • Card Making
  • Construction – Wooden kits or junk modelling with cardboard boxes

Party Decorations, Invitations & Party-ware

Once the theme has been decided, you can start looking for party decorations, invitations and party-ware.

The internet has made it so much easier to find fantastic products but if you want to keep the decorations simple choose some party balloons filled with helium or air, table cloths, paper plates and cups that tie in with your theme and this should be enough to create a festive atmosphere.

Games & Entertainment

Old fashion party games such as pass the parcel, musical statues and musical bumps are still hugely popular.  However you can rename these to fit your party theme, perhaps play sleeping princesses instead of sleeping lions.

Some children may enjoy some quieter activities so having a stack of colouring sheets and crayons is always a good idea.

Checkout our Stay at Home Kid’s Birthday Party Ideas for a Memorable Day for more entertainment ideas.

Party Food

Now that you have your party-ware, decorations and invitations you can start thinking about the food.  Small children will not usually eat a huge amount of food. While the children will be hungry for a lunchtime party, a selection of snacks might be more suitable for a mid afternoon party.

If you haven’t got a lot of time to prepare your party food, stick to simple classics, such as pizza, sandwiches or hot dogs. Serve chopped fruit, small tomatoes and carrot and cucumber sticks to add some colour.

Ask for help and have a contingency plan!

You won’t be able to direct party games, cut the cake, warm up the pizza and direct your small guests to the toilet all at once. Ask other adults or older siblings to help, especially if you’re expecting a large group of children. This will take the pressure off you and ensure that everything runs smoothly.

If you’ve planned a garden party or some outside games make sure you have a contingency plan and plenty to do inside it it rains!

Thank you notes

You can say thank you in person or sending a text or email might be acceptable – but a hand written note will almost always look more thoughtful.

You can use a group photo of the children as a thank you card – it will double up as a keepsake for the guests, and kids love seeing pictures of themselves. Read our How to Take Good Photos at your Kid’s Birthday Party post for tips on taking good pictures.

Remember that a little imagination can go a very long way.  If you have everything organised, you can now relax and enjoy your child’s party!

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