Make Party Planning a Piece of Cake
Planning any party can be stressful! It takes time, creativity, and the ability to stay organised. Having an idea about what to do when is the first step in taking the guess work out of your next event.
Theme You will find that starting with a theme around which you can organise invitations, decorations, games, crafts and food will start you off feeling in control of your party. If your kiddo is old enough, involve them in choosing the theme, or make the theme one that reflects their interests — whether it's a unicorn, rainbow or an animal adventure.
Guest List and Invitations Making a guest list will depend on the age of your child and the space you have to host your party in. Remember little ones may get overwhelmed with hoards of people around. If your kiddo is over three or four, involve them in planning the guest list. The invitations can be either store-bought or homemade and should set the mood for the event. Older kids may enjoy making invitations out of paper dolls, puzzle pieces or computer templates, depending on your chosen theme. In addition to obvious information like the time, date and directions, include special details like "bring bathers" or "parents should accompany children."
Place It is important to keep the number of guests in mind when choosing a venue for your party. Most of us opt for having a party in our back yard. If you are having 15-20 kids plus their parents, make sure you have enough space for the kids to run around and play. If you decide your home isn't suitable for a children's party, there are lots of options that that come with obvious advantages (including being able to come back to a clean home after the children have been picked up). For a small fee, you can often reserve space in a community park or recreation center. Restaurants and church halls are also a great option.
Set a Date
When choosing a date for your party, check to see if there are any major sporting events or holidays that fall on the same date, this have an impact on who can attend.
Decorations Atmosphere is everything. Once you've chosen a theme, use a little creativity to set the scene. A few balloons and streamers will go a long way to setting the party vibe.
Entertainment Choose entertainment based on the ages and attention spans of your guest. A great option for kiddos under the age of two is soft play equipment. For kiddos from 2-6 a ball pit will provide hours of fun.
Organise Help Don't go it alone. Everything will be much easier if you have help — delegate jobs to your hubby/wife, relative, neighbour or friends. Having someone to buy ice on the day or blow up balloons can be the difference to your party running on schedule or not. And don't forget about asking for help to cleanup. You'll be exhausted after the party so every set of hands will be appreciated.
Food For small brief parties, fruit, popcorn and cake is really the only refreshment you need. Many young children look at the cake as the focal point of the whole birthday ritual, so be sure to let them help make it (or have a say in the design). For longer parties nothing beats a backyard BBQ! This way you can delegate the meat to someone who is comfortable around the BBQ and you can prepare the salads the night before, leaving you plenty of time on the day to enjoy the festivities.
Control Expenses You don't need to spend a lot of money to have a successful party. Remember, kids just want to play. Controlling expenses also means that you should not feel obligated to send home goody bags full of expensive toys. While some stickers or a craft make nice souvenirs, most parents are steering away from elaborate party favours.
Expect the Unexpected The hardest thing to plan for at any birthday party is the unexpected. Here's what you can do to keep chaos at bay:
Be prepared for meltdowns. An adult helper can take a distraught child aside while the rest of the group continues celebrating.
Stock band-aids, ice and tissue.
If parents are dropping off children, be sure you know about any food allergies or relevant medical conditions.
If you have pets, it's best to keep them separate from the guests. Include them in your family celebration — but know that some children are allergic to or afraid of even the most gentle animals. Similarly, many pets are afraid of small children who may not know that it's a bad idea to pull tails or step on paws.
To assist in your planning right click and save the checklist below. It should help keep you on track and make your party planning a piece of cake!