How to Plan a Kid's Birthday Party
Kid's Birthday Party Overview
While most adults dread their birthdays, kids look forward to their birthdays more than any other day of the year. The thought of friends coming over, lots of good food, and gifts to open is enough to make a child jump with excitement. A typical kid's birthday party lasts at least four hours, and with so much to prepare and think about, you'll need as much help as you can.
The Mom's To-Do List
Pre-planning: 2 months before the party
On your kid's birthday, the all important job of party planner takes center stage — almost. So, it's best to prepare early because after all, you still need to be a mother at the end of the day.
- Save a date. Finalize the date of your child?s most important event. Pick a weekend date so your guests can attend and so that it does not interfere with their school activities.
- Write the guest list. Be smart about the guest list. If your child is on the younger side, many classes have rules about inviting everyone in the class or no one at all, so be sure to hand out the invitations privately if you decide to only invite a select few. Ask your child if there are certain kids they absolutely must invite and conversely, kids they do not want to invite and compile the list accordingly. You might also want to invite over a few adult friends to help you keep things in order.
- Pick your venue. Children's birthday parties are usually held at home, but you can also celebrate it in a restaurant or at a play place to save you the trouble of clean-up after the party. Make sure that it can hold the number of guest you want to invite.
- Order your invites and send them out. Once the major details of the party are finalized, purchase your birthday party invitations and either mail them out or hand them out to your child's friends.
Planning the Details: 4-7 weeks before the party
After all the major details are finalized, it's time to get down to business. It's now time to take care of the details of the party. Here are the things you need to iron out before the big bash.
- Food – pick out a theme that will make the party unforgettable for the birthday girl as well as the guest. Be sure to ask her opinion as she might already have something in mind. Young girls can be very creative!
- Decorations – most kid's parties are themed and based on the child's favorite characters. You can usually find all kinds of birthday party supplies to suit your child's taste. Be sure to order some personalized napkins and water bottles to keep on hand, as well as plenty of streamers and balloons in all kinds of colors for your birthday party decorations to match your theme.
- Games and entertainment – Be sure to plan some games or specific activities to keep the kids entertained. For example, if you're having the party at your house, you could rent an inflatable jump house or set out plenty of toys for the kids to entertain themselves. You could also host a pool party, but make sure that all the invited children can swim or have adequate parental supervision. Some other games you can include are pin the tail on the donkey, simon says, or you can purchase a piñata for kids to hit. Arts and crafts activities are always fun and you can also set up some sort of sport like soccer or basketball. Aside from actual activities, you can also hire a magician or clown to keep them entertained. Petting zoos and activities like balloon twisting and face painting are fun too. Just be sure to hire the entertainment with plenty of time.
- Party favors – every child's party is expected to have a bag of goodies for guests to take home and enjoy. Fill up a personalized favor bag with some custom chocolates and personalized cookies. You could also fill them up with some little toys, stickers, and school things like crayons and little coloring books.
- Prizes – because you're going to have games to entertain the kids, you need fun prizes for the winner and even for those who participated. This makes the children look forward to playing and keeps their attention on the party. The prizes can be anything from candy to little toys or coloring books or whatever captures your kids imagination.
Kid's Birthday Party Etiquette FAQs
Here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions for your guidance:
How do I ensure the safety of the kids at the party?
First, make sure the venue is secure and does not present a way for kids to go out unsupervised. Don't allow kids to leave with someone you don't know. Ask the parents beforehand if someone else will pick the kid up for them. Also, keep the contents of your loot bag age-appropriate and make sure that it does not present a choking hazard for the little ones.
How do I keep the kids busy in between games?
Keeping your little guests occupied in between activities and eating is the way to keep your sanity. Keep them busy by allotting a place where they can play with toys. You could also rent inflatable toys like a ballpit and slide.
Do I have to invite all my kid's classmates?
It would be too chaotic and expensive if you invite a classroom of kids. The best thing to do is just send invites to your child's close friends. Hand out the invites in private so as not to hurt the feeling of those you won't invite. Or you can treat the class by giving each kid a piece of yummy cupcake.
What are the appropriate favors to give?
Your favors should coincide with the theme of the party. These could range from small toys, which are guaranteed to keep the kids happy long after the party ends. These favors can also be placed inside the goodie bag.