Published February 23, 2015 by
Plan The Best Kids Birthday Party
Planning a birthday party for your child is an exciting and important occasion. You want your child and his or her friends to have a great time and you want to be able to relax at the party as well. By being prepared and organized, you can easily accomplish these two goals.
By following these simple tips and using the resources outlined in this article, you should be able to plan a stress-free and memorable party for your child. I recommend planning the party 4-6 weeks in advance to leave yourself plenty of time to get everything organized. And for all of you that have already had the party, be sure to leave your party planning tips and lessons learned in the comments. Everyone is an expert in something!
1) Choose A Party Theme
Themes could revolve around your child's favorite color, animal, sport, hobby, movie or TV character. Party planning is simplified greatly once a theme is selected. Themed invitations, birthday party favors, decorations, plates, napkins and thank yous create a festive feeling that flows throughout the event. If you are on a tight budget, consider themed items for decorations and balloons, but use color-coordinated plates and napkins to eat on. Themed kids birthday tableware can get ridiculously expensive at some party supply stores. Although you can find it online cheaper sometimes... for example, check out these inexpensive themed baby shower supplies that would be great for a toddler birthday party as well.
Be sure to enlist your child's ideas when choosing the party theme. It is all about them after all and let's face it, kids tastes change quickly. One day they'll be all about Spiderman and the next they'll love Ninja Turtles!
2) Choose The Invitations & Who To Invite
Your goal should be to get your invitations sent and delivered about 2-3 weeks before the party. This will give guests enough time to RSVP, shop for birthday gifts and juggle their calendar if need be.
Deciding who to invite to the birthday party can be a bit tricky. For toddlers, family, friends of the family and neighbors that the child knows are the best choice. As the child gets older, consider daycare and Sunday school kids and possibly their parents. For school-aged children, try to be discreet when handing out party invitations, especially if you aren't inviting the entire class. Either mail them directly to the child's house or hand deliver them outside of school to avoid problems with parents and other children that aren't invited to the party.
Many local party shops and card stores carry birthday party supplies in various themes. Depending on how many people you plan to invite, buying themed invitations can get expensive. Several cheaper options include making the invitations using Microsoft Publisher or another software program on your home computer or making your own personalized invitations using scrapbook supplies. Just remember that the invitation doesn't have to be an elaborate "masterpiece". If you want to get the kids involved, let them help cut, glue or color items for the invitations. Another inexpensive invitation idea is to use websites like Free Invitations Online or Evite where you can create and either print or e-mail free custom invitations.
If you prefer more elaborate invitations that are truly customized for your child and their birthday party, consider an online invitation shop such as Express Invitations.
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3) Plan Birthday Party Games
Adapt some of your childhood favorites to create fun games that fit in with the party theme. Avoid tears and disappointment by choosing games where all the kids have a chance to succeed. Keep the prizes simple by using things like small candy gifts or stickers and be sure that at the end of the games, all of the kids have some sort of 'prize'. You could just pass out gifts to all of the participants instead of just the 'winner'. Some of the time-tested traditional games are Pin the Tail on the Donkey, Musical Chairs, Red Light Green Light and Simon Says.
For some great outdoor and indoor game ideas, visit Party Games and Outdoor Games. Another great source for birthday party games is A to Z games where you can print out and choose from a large selection of great games online. Just click on the link below.
4) Decide on Food (and Party Time)
The time of the party will affect what kind of food you will need to serve. I recommend having an afternoon party sometime between 1 and 4 PM. By choosing that time of day, you can stick to serving trays of finger foods, snack baskets and cake with ice cream on paper plates. It is a great way to keep things simple and save money at the same time.
Prepare as much of the food the day before the party as possible. This will cut down significantly on party day stress levels. You don't want to get stuck in the kitchen during the party because you'll miss out on all the fun. Bake or order the themed cake ahead of time. Select foods like fruits, veggies, chips and dips that can be prepared ahead of time. Have them in the serving bowls covered with Saran wrap ready to go. Ask a friend or neighbor to help with serving on the day of the party. Most people will be more than happy to help out.
To find some quick and easy kid-friendly food ideas, visit Birthday Express Recipes.
Top 10 Birthday Party Planning Mistakes Video
5) Make Party Favors or Goodie Bags
Give your guests a little something to tote home with them and they'll remember your party for months or years to come. Create festive 'goodie bags' using cute little treat bags that you can buy online or at a local party supply shop. Fill it with items to match your party theme or other age appropriate items such as small rubber balls, lip balm, whistles, stickers, crayons, pencils, mini stickers and of course birthday candy gifts.
If you are running short on time or creativity or you just want a sweet favor, consider a cookie party favor options. We have cookies that can be imprinted with a photo of the child as well as numerous shaped theme cookies such as sports balls, birthday cakes and firefighters.
To save time and postage later, tuck a thank you note inside the take-home goody bag or add a thank you personalized hang tag to the party favor.
6) Party Day & Opening Presents
Once the big day arrives, all of your preparation and organization should pay off. Be sure to enlist the help of a friend or neighbor to reduce the stress so that you can enjoy the party along with your son or daughter and all of their friends. Set up and decorate if possible the night before the party and I'm going to reiterate that you should try to have all the food prepared the day before as well. Other tips are to remember to get film or batteries for your camera, charge the video camera battery and pick up some candles along with matches or a lighter for the child's birthday cake.
Once the food is served and games have been played, the time that every child waits for arrives - oh, the joy of presents! It is just as exciting for the kids to watch their present being opened as it is for the birthday boy or girl to open their gift.
To help prevent the "open mine first" dilemma, make a game out of it by playing Musical Presents. Have the children sit in a big circle with each child holding a present. An adult controls the music turning it on/off. While the music is playing the kids pass the presents from one child to the next around the circle. Whichever present the birthday boy or girl is holding when the music stops is the first birthday gift that they open. Keep playing the game until all of the presents are opened. I recommend that prior to the party, you have a little talk with the child about saying thank you when he/she opens a present. Manners count!
My biggest piece of advice for the day of the party is to relax and have fun... don't sweat the small stuff!