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Hosting 3 kids birthday parties last year amidst my babies being unwell & my life low key falling apart was weirdly… fun.
I used to hate throwing children's birthday parties. You want to get things right for your kid and that can be stressful. Plus there are so many elements to think about and something will always go wrong. (Last year the worst thing that happened was a guest sticking their finger in the cake. No injuries. No crying. I’ll take that!)
Here’s what I’ve learnt about hosting children's birthday parties well! I hope these tips help you build lasting memories ☺️🎂
1. Plan Early: Start the party planning process well in advance to ensure everything runs smoothly. I usually start a little note on my phone with checklists for party guests, potential dates, theme ideas and a draft menu around 3 months before the party.
2. Let Your Kid Pick The Theme: Let your child be the party planner-in-chief by choosing the theme. Throwing a good party is all about the details. Choosing a theme adds a personal touch that makes the day extra special and it reduces the decisions fatigue when it comes to decorating/picking outfits/choosing a cake.
As soon as I theme is locked in, I order decoration packs from Amazon and show my kid to get them hyped up (and prevent them requesting a last minute theme change!) For my son's spiderman themed party I used this tableware set.
And for the decoration I used this Spiderman party set that even came with balloons! I typically order supplies online from Amazon and get any helium balloons blown up at Card Factory.
3. Save Trees. Use Digital Invitations: Once you have a theme, create e-invites with Canva or other free software and make sure you set an RSVP date at least 2 weeks before the day. Make sure to ask about food allergies, not just for the little ones but for the adults too. Try to send invites out 3-4 weeks in advance.
4. Plan Age Inclusive Entertainment: A good party needs food & entertainment. Tailor the fun to the age range of the attendees. If you have a range of ages (siblings, church friends etc) then think about activities that suit both the older and younger kids.
I love bouncy castles and soft play for catering to pretty much everyone. For my eldest daughter we rented exclusive use of a soft play place with a party room and catered food, but for my baby twins we ordered a bouncy castle and rented baby friendly soft play equipment to create our own set up.
5. Plan Kid Food & Parent Food: In my house the kids eat what the adults eat. But on party days we go for crowd pleasers: chips, sandwiches, veg sticks, pizza. All the typical party foods get served up for the kids. The adults usually get served jollof, salads & charcuterie boards. If everyone has a full belly the party is bound to go well!
6. Ask Your Kid About The Cake: Whether you have favuorite bakers or opt for supermarket cakes, ask your child what they want and watch their face light up when you make it happen.
My son wanted a Spider-Man cake and I was able to pick this up for £14 from Tesco. My eldest daughter drew her dream LOL Surprise theme cake and I knew I wasn’t going to get this in a supermarket 🙃 but my girl Shinasi's Kitchen came through! In fact she baked 3 birthday cakes, dozens of cupcakes and brownies and even carrot cake tray bakes for me this year and nobody believed me that they were gluten free! Some years I bake and decorate the cake together with the kids which is really fun too.
7. Make Party Bags Together: I ordered themed items well in advance for the best prices. I typically include stickers, a toy, temporary tattoos, bear sweets, putty or play dough and something else themed. I always set up a mini assembly line and get my kids to help put the bags together. Sometimes they want to ensure that certain stickers/toys go to particular friends and it’s really sweet to have those thoughtful touches.
I made a collection of my favourite party bag items on Amazon which may make your life a bit easier!
8. Ask Friends To Help Decorate: I ask a few friends in advance to arrive early and help with set up, and I aim to arrive at the venue (or send the kids to the park with their dad if hosting at home) at least an hour and a half before guests arrive, then have helpers arrive at least an hour before the party. This means I have time to start to set up and identify what I need help with.
For my twins party I booked Moments by Mandie and she did an incredible job on the balloon arch & sequin wall!
For popular themes it's easy to grab decorations online.
9. Make Clearup Fun: I have a Tidy-Up playlist on Spotify that I use for clearing away after play dates or parties and I try to encourage all the kids to help a little. Even if just popping balloons or jumping on boxes to pop into the recycling. Good life training for the kids and less work for the adults. Win-win!
10. Live in the Moment: Join in with the games. Jump on the bouncy castle. Stuff your face with cake. Crawl on the ground with your kid if you need to, whatever it takes to switch off and have fun. It’s your party too! 🎈🍰
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