27th Apr 2014 Published by Catherine Haines
Kids Parties Made Easy
Help, I’ve never held a kids party before!
I’ve talked to a lot of parents about kids parties and a theme that keeps cropping up time and time again is that they don’t feel confident enough to host a kids party. They worry about running out of things to do and not managing to cope with lots of children. Keeping children occupied for a couple of hours doesn’t sound like too much of a tall order, or does it? There are a number of ways that parents have been trying to deal with this problem:
- Hiring someone else entertain the children
- Take the children out to soft play, swimming parties, farm parks etc
- Cinema and resteraunt
- Let the children run riot and then have a lie down with a stiff gin afterwards!
- Don’t have a party
Parties should be fun
The thing is parties should be fun, and hosting a kids party can give your child some great memories. With a little planning beforehand things can actually run smoothly leaving you and the children happy. So if you’ve been too worried to hold a kids party before, don’t be scared. Here are a few tips to help you plan the perfect party.
First ask your child what kind of party they would like. Themed parties are very popular and can give you an starting point to plan decorations, tableware and dress code.
Send out the invitations about a month in advance. If parents are leaving their children with you get them to text a reply – that way you will already have all the parents phone numbers so you won’t have to ask for them on party day.
Very young children should have their parents with them at the party so that they can deal with any little problems like potty training and tantrums. For older children you will still need a couple of helpers. Decide who will be in charge of games, setting out food and crafts in advance.
Decorate the party room with balloons, streamers and colour or party themed decorations. The decorations will add some real atmosphere to the party and will look great in the photos. Prepare the party food – buffet style, hot food or food boxes – the choice depends on the age of the children and the theme of the party. Don’t forget the cake! Get the party bags ready – themed party bags can add a really memorable end to the party , as well as a few sweets – remember siblings of the birthday child so they don’t feel left out. Get some tunes ready for the party – whats your child’s favourite music, or whats yours? Older kids love chart music (make sure it is clean!), young children are often happy with familiar children’s tunes like nursery rhymes. Keep the remote handy for musical statues.
When the children arrive, give them some time to say hello to each other. You can leave out some colouring sheets and pens for them to occupy themselves while you are waiting for the rest of the children to arrive.
After they have arrived at the party a craft is good. It gives something to take home with them or even wear at the party. Crafts for younger children should be fairly simple as you can let them use their own imaginations and you won’t have to do it all for them! Decorating hats, notebooks, door hangers, masks or wands can be easy and fun and you may only need stickers and pens. This means less to clear up and easier to manage with a number of children. Make sure they put their names on so they can be easily identified at the end of the party.
Party games should be age appropriate and are of course dependant on weather the party is indoors or outdoors. Some games match the party theme such as a treasure hunt in pirate party. Keep a list of party games and prizes handy, if you name the party bags in advance you can pop the prizes in and they won’t lose them.
Birthday food can be as extravagant or as simple as you want but for a party tea try to keep things small. For example cutting the sandwiches up with biscuit cutters can make them more appealing to children. For older kids hot dogs or pizza are easy but popular choices, they don’t need utensils and are quick to prepare. Keep a jug of squash handy throughout the party as children can get hot and thirsty during active party games and need their thirst quenching.
The Birthday Cake
The Birthday cake is a magical moment for any child. Light the candles, the lights go off and sing ‘Happy Birthday’. Remember that you can’t carry the cake and take the photographs at the same time!! There are some great cake designers around but making your own can be rewarding to. Do what you are comfortable with.
The Last Bit!
After the birthday tea you won’t have too long until the parents come to take them home. So add a few more party games or for a birthday to remember – a piñata. As the parents arrive to take their children home don’t forget the party bags.
If you have a lot of children coming to the party or younger children you’ll probably want the birthday child to open the presents after the party. It gives them something to look forward to after the party and you can make a note of the senders for the thank you’s.
Don’t forget the thank you’s but this doesn’t have to be a letter. Cards stapled to the party bag, emails or printed thank you’s including a picture from the party are now very popular. Above all enjoy yourself!
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