18 Tips for Throwing the Perfect Children's Party
There's so much to consider when throwing a children's party. How many children should you invite? What theme should it be? How are the children going to be entertained? More often than not, children just want to play with their friends and feel like king or queen for the day. But where and how should you start? Here are 18 tips in throwing a successful party:
1. The Theme
Most parents feel comfortable starting with a party theme around which they can organise decorations, partyware, games, food, etc. Both you and your child will enjoy making plans that reflect their interests — whether it's a LEGO party, funfair party, karaoke party or garden party. Start with your kid’s interests or view our party packages together.
2. Pick a Date
We always recommend a weekend party, even during school holidays. Parents tend to be more flexible on a weekend. Families may have their own plans on bank holidays and special days such as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Also make sure that key people are available before spreading the word.
3. Time it Right
The most common party mistake is allowing it to run too long. A party should be around 2 hours long. If you're hosting a party for pre-schoolers then we recommend hosting the party around 10:30am-12:30pm (when kids are fresh). If you're hosting a party for older children then we recommend preparing in the morning and hosting the party in the afternoon.
4. The Venue
If you decide your home isn't suitable for a children's party then a community/church hall is not expensive and well worth the money. There’s usually a car park, kitchen, and toilets, and everyone is in one room. If you decide to book a venue then try to book months in advance. Parties away from home usually work better for children over 5 since younger children may be overwhelmed by unfamiliar surroundings.
5. Set a Budget
Costs for children's parties can add up quickly, so set a budget before you start planning. It's easier to think about the per-person cost. A Play Chest party can help lower overall costs as most of our packages include party supplies, balloons, game prizes, invitations and more.
Children normally start making friends around the age of 3, particularly at nursery and playgroup. For pre-schoolers, we would recommend inviting the entire class to avoid hurt feelings. Once your child is at school there's likely to be several contenders for weekend party dates each month. It's best to send the invitations as soon as you have confirmed a date, time and venue. If you send them too late, many guests won't be able to come. Remember to put RSVP on the invitation complete with mobile phone number.
Most parties allow parents to drop-off their children from the age of 6. Make it clear on the invitation whether parents should drop off their child or wait around to avoid any confusion.
8. Food & Drink
Stick to the basic party food for children's parties. You can't go wrong with pizza, cake and ice cream. Go with finger foods that you can set up ahead of time and serve at room temperature, like triangle sandwiches. Take the time to ask the parents about any allergies prior the party. Some parents are against their children having fizzy drinks, some even object to juice. It's recommended to have some bottled water or sugar free squash as an alternative. If possible and safe, set up a drinks table so that adults can help themselves.
Party decorations can be as simple as balloons and streamers. Helium gas is a great way to fill larger spaces with balloons. Try being creative with technology such as using a TV in the background to play a princess music video playlist for a princess party or playing a Lego movie for a Lego themed party. Disco lights are a fun addition; this will help create a great party atmosphere.
10. Make Coat Space
Remember to make plenty of space for coats. Maybe ask a family member to be on coat duty.
Have friends or relatives help manage coats, take photos and clean up.
If you're hosting a knockout game with younger children then present the children who are out with a small reward. It doesn’t have to be much; a small sweet will make them happy. If adults are staying for the duration then persuade the adults join in the games, but make sure that the children win. Children love adult participation and it gives the adults something to do.
Children don’t need to have music playing full volume all the time but it's nice to have something on in the background. The volume can be cranked up when it is relevant to a game. Make sure the music is suitable for the theme and the age.
14. Keep The Parents Entertained
If you have parents' stay for the duration then remember that they are also guests and shouldn’t be looked upon as a convenient helping hand. Get them involved in games and provide plenty of adult-appropriate food.
A lot of parents can be nervous about having images of their children appear on Facebook and other social networking websites. Put parents minds at ease by letting them know that you will only post images of your own child if you decide to upload any.
Have a table or box where guests can put birthday gifts. This frees you and your child up from having to take each gift. Opening gifts at a party is not a good idea as feelings can get hurt. Gifts can get lost and children can argue over toys. It's best to open these when everyone has left.
17. Party Bags
Set a budget for party bags, approx £1.00-£1.50 is plenty. Remember this is a thank you not a gift. Buy party supplies in bulk and divide them between the bags. Items such as wrapped sweets, activity sheets and small toys make great party bag fillers.
18. Enjoy it
Remember it’s a special occasion, relax and enjoy it, they’ll grow up before you know it!