Children’s birthday parties are supposed to be fun, but all that planning and preparation can often get in the way of what is supposed to be a celebration for both you and your child. So what’s the secret to organising a successful kids’ party? Keeping things as simple as possible, and finding fun activities that will keep your young guests entertained, and won’t leave you exhausted in the process. From playlists and party bags, to cats, crafts and card tricks for kids – here are our top 5 tips to help you put on a party to remember (for all the right reasons).
1. Invitations: Keep numbers low
Given the opportunity, many children will invite their entire school to their birthday party so it’s important that you give them a clear limit on how many friends they can invite. Parents often feel pressured into inviting their child’s whole class to their party but this isn’t always practical, and shouldn’t be considered the norm. If you’re concerned about upsetting or alienating other children, deliver your invitations discreetly (handing them out in class will inevitably lead to upset) or simply invite either all the girls or all the boys to avoid anyone taking the rejection personally. However many people you choose to invite, send out the invitations well in advance to give your guests as much notice as possible.
2. Food: Fuss-free (not fancy)
A hungry child is rarely a happy child, so make sure you have more than enough food to cater for all your guests. Here, simple snacks and finger foods work best: sandwiches, cocktails sausages and carrot sticks are all moderately healthy and tasty options. Putting on a good spread doesn’t have to cost a fortune either – bulk-buying a small variety of foods will keep costs low, and don’t worry about venturing away from fail-safe favourites such as chocolate fingers, mini pizzas, and ready-salted crisps. If you can’t enjoy a few treats at a birthday party, when can you? Ultimately, there’s really nothing better than a classic slice of cake or good old jelly and ice cream.
3. Fun for free: Simple crafts and card tricks for kids
You don’t need to rent a bouncy castle or hire a clown to put on a fab party. The more you spend, the more stressed you’re likely to become and often the best children’s parties are those which encourage kids to be creative and have fun in a relaxed environment. Prepare yourself with a few of your child’s favourite party games or why not learn a few simple crafts or card tricks for kids, and encourage them to put on their own magic show? Another great idea is to give your party a fancy dress theme. ‘Cats and dogs’, ‘Pirates and Princesses’ or ‘Under the Sea’ will appeal to both sexes, as well as help you decide on what music and activities to organise for the day.
4. Music: Child-friendly soundtracks
Every party needs a good soundtrack, but you don’t need to own an impressive record collection or expensive sound system to get everybody singing and dancing along. Choose tracks that are upbeat and child-friendly, listening out for any offensive lyrics so that you can remove anything which other parents may deem inappropriate. Disney soundtracks are always popular, though the best person to ask for help is the birthday boy or girl themselves. Not only will they have a good idea of what their friends enjoy listening to, it will also take the pressure off you and ensure every song is a hit with the young crowd.
5. Party bags: Quality over quantity
It’s lovely to be able to send your young guests home with a memento from your fabulous party, but don’t feel pressured into giving elaborate presents or full-on goodie bags laden with gifts. Small, surprise treats such as glow sticks, indoor sparklers or sweets stuffed into a balloon will leave any child with a huge grin on their face, while personalised gifts will make any guest feel special. One easy and delicious idea is to decorate biscuits with their name in icing, either before they arrive or as an activity during the party itself. Just don’t forget that all-important slice of birthday cake!