Take my friend Sam for example, who decided he knew what was best in terms of pleasing his 5 year old daughter Daisy and her friends instead of listening to Daisy's pleas of playing teachers and having a school themed party (strange, I know!) and instead opted to book a puppet show for the group of youngsters. On arrival Daisy desperately tried to take a 'registrar' while the puppet show was overshadowed by the cries of frightened children confronted with those creepy dolls and the Birthday Girl trying to 'teach' them a lesson by locking them in the bathroom until they had done their homework. But fear not as this kind of disaster is an exception if you follow these rules:
Rule Number 1: Plan ahead with the birthday child
Firstly, sit down with the Birthday Child and find out what he or she wants. As a general rule, children up to the age of 8 are happy with traditional parties and games where as the older they get, the more niche they become.
Not only will the Birthday Child be super excited about their upcoming party, they will very important to have picked the theme and activities.
That is another thing: theme. Pick one and stick to it relentlessly. Common themes are fairy and princess parties, pirate, football, and super hero themes.
Rule Number 2: Get organised with the help of a check-list
I LOVE lists. Actually, more accurately I LOVE ticking things off my list, even though it does seems like I tick off one action and two more crop up... regardless I hope this check-list helps:
- Ideally it is best to arrange the party on the day of the child's Birthday or the weekend before or after. If the child's birthday falls in school holidays there is a good chance that some of the children will be away, so make sure you plan it on a day where the best friends can make it.
- Decide on the length for the party as well as thinking about the general structure. Two hours is a great length, and works well when the first hour is taken up by party games, followed by a birthday tea and for the remaining half an hour arranging crafts and colouring in competitions.
- Start and finish time
- Guest List
- Invitations (stick to the theme)
- Essential supplies
- Tablewear - plates, cutlery, cups, serviettes, table decorations, table covers
- Party banners, balloons, birthday candles, music, music player, party bags, prizes, sweets
- Party games such as pass the parcel, treasure hunts, piñata, pin the tail, craft game
- Food and drink
- As a rule I tend to find less is more. Children don't tend to eat a huge amount at parties so stick with a few varieties of sandwiches, crisps, chopped vegetables, sausage rolls, cheese sticks and some sweets such as party rings, cupcakes and fruit.
- AVOID fizzy drinks! Opt for water and squash.
- This is probably the most daunting part of the party for the majority of mums and dads. After working out the structure of the party, plan 4 - 5 games. An ice breaker game at the beginning to warm everyone up is a great idea, followed by musical games (bump, statues), a treasure hunt, pass the parcel, and my personal favourite - sleeping lions! Try and match the games to the theme and use role play to really get the children involved and enjoying the party.
- Birthday Cake
- Volunteers - get all the adult help you can get! You cannot be in ten places at once so don't be shy asking for a hand throughout the party.
- Thank you notes
Rule Number 3: Relax and Enjoy the Day
Make sure you have your camera ready, your nerves steady and a well earned
bottle glass of wine!
TIP: At the beginning of the party, thank the parents for the present and swiftly take it out of sight. You do not want a pile of presents becoming a huge distraction throughout the party!
Thank you for reading and stay posted as I am going to be sharing a lot more tips about games, themes, cheap party ideas and venues.