1. What’s Your Budget?
With any party this is what you are always going to want to decide before taking any next steps. Knowing how much money you want to spend and sticking to that price will help you when making any major decision’s. It’s important to be honest with yourself about what you can afford as well. I can’t tell you the countless amounts of times I’ve planned a party and thought I would only spend a certain amount and went over that amount by hundreds of dollars because I wasn’t honest with myself about what I really wanted to spend. You really don’t have to break the bank to throw a fab party and knowing what you’re working with will save you a ton of tears later. Make sure you are saving receipts and write a list of all the things that you’d like to incorporate. As you start to create your list some things may need to be removed to stick with your budget and that is totally fine! Nixing the $200.00 an hour face painter won’t ruin the party!
2. Pick a Theme any Theme!The Speckled Freckle Party Place Image via Catch My Party Image via Crinkled Nose
You know what’s missing in a lot of adult parties these days? THEMES! Themes are so much fun, they help you decide your decor, they assist with pulling together idea’s and they’re just SUPER fun to work around! The greatest thing about throwing a kid party is that you can have fun with themes! Is Elmo taking up all your cuddle time? Is Frozen on constant rotation? Is your kid obsessed with the color pink? Their interests can be turned into a theme to create an unforgettable day. Plus you wouldn’t believe the stuff out there that can accommodate your child’s every obsession! Use the theme in your goodie bags, your dessert table, your invitations! When you feel like your creative juice is waning just go back to your theme for inspiration. Sites like Pinterest are a godsend as well and present you loads of idea’s.
3. Keep Them Active
Kid’s will get restless with nothing to do so you’ve got to come up with some age appropriate activities to keep them occupied. Believe me there’s nothing worse than kids bored out of their minds and you having to keep them entertained but having nothing with which to entertain them. This is where your creative juices can get flowing though and the fun in party planning starts. An easy and inexpensive sure-fire way to entertain kids for long periods of time is the jumper…
The jumper has come a long way! These days you can get a jumper with an attached water slide,maze and can be chosen to reflect your theme. I think it’s one of my favorite activities as it really gets the kids active and moving. At one point I’ve even seen a couple of adults get in on the action. If you’re hosting older children you can find small crafting projects to complete with them. Decorating a keepsake or getting fake tattoo’s are also a hit. If you have money to spend hiring a local performer (magician, musical act) is also a fun idea.
4.Goody & Snack BagsImage via Polka Dots On Parade
Goody bags can be as easy or as intricate as a you’d like to make them. Going to the Dollar Store and stocking up on things like bubbles, stickers, and candy is pretty simple and cost-effective and the kids love it! To make them a little more personal you can create your tikes favorite sweet treat and package them up to be made by guests later. Whatever you decide to give just make sure you decide to give something so that they know you appreciate them coming.
5.Pick a Kid Friendly MenuPosh Paperie
So it’s common knowledge that kids have pretty under developed taste palates when it comes to certain foods. It’s probably the single reason why McDonald’s is still in business today. Seeing as this is the case, make sure that when you’re planning your menu you have food listed that they will actually eat. Pizza is a huge hit (at least it was at the party I planned), but snacks are also a good idea. We took snack bags of chips and juice pouches and set them at the crafting table so the kids could snack while they created their masterpieces. Think of having something that is also easy to eat and won’t make too much of a mess. I also like the idea of creating a lunch bag for the kids and putting all of the goodies in there.
7. Get Some Help
I know it’s hard for some of you super moms and dads out there to ask for help when you need it but I implore you no I BEG you to get some help the day of your party (especially if it’s the first go around). Enlist a teen in your family and ask them to help with the activities and making sure the kids don’t wander off. Have a cousin, aunt or uncle help with passing out food and clean up. Whatever help you can get don’t be afraid to accept or ask.
8. Capture the Event
So let’s be honest with ourselves folks, really young kids probably won’t remember the party you spent months planing and hundreds of dollars executing. It goes with the territory and that’s totally fine because you can hire a photographer to capture the event for you. It doesn’t have to cost much if anything at all. Ask your uncle who just got some cool camera equipment and can’t wait to try it out, you may even be able to locate an up and coming photographer on Craigslist who wants to build their portfolio. Whichever avenue you take just make sure you capture the event to show your kids later on in life. Who knows it may even be good blackmail material 😉
9. Create a Timeline
Creating a timeline so that parents know what time activities start will really assist with helping your guests show up on time. My cowgirl party had pony rides and the gal that we’d hired could only be there for 2 hours tops as she had another party to attend so on the invites we stated that pony rides were the first two hours of the party. For younger children you also want to time the party around naps, so keep the festivities no more than 2 hours long. You also want to make time for the birthday song and cake cutting as this process takes more time then you’d think. Knowing your timeline will make the party go smoothly and creates structure to the day.
10. Have Fun
This piece of advice may seem trivial but it’s really important and gets thrown away by many parents. When I say “have fun” I mean, take time to eat, take time talk to your guests, take a moment to have a seat and rest your feet. It’ll be easy to get pulled in a million different directions the day of, however, make sure you’ve planned everything thoroughly so that you can enjoy this important milestone in your baby’s life. The celebration is that milestone but it’s also a celebration of what a great, loving, amazing parent you are!
I hope I’ve provided you guys with some good advice that you can apply to your own kids parties.Like parenting, planing a party is a learning experience. As such, tell me if there’s any other pieces of advice you all can impart. I welcome all comments and questions. As always, until we meet again…Keep the party goin!