I’m well into the children’s party scene. Even before the children started school they had invites to parties and started to become aware of what makes a good birthday party. Party bags, music, games, balloons and of course cake are pre-requisites these days. You can really go to town with kid’s parties but there are some little tricks for throwing a birthday party that you might not know about that will save you time, money and effort. Yes, if you have the budget you can hire someone and a venue to do it all for you, but if you haven’t, fear not. I have picked up a few tips over the years and I asked the country’s top parenting bloggers for their best kid’s party hacks and they didn’t disappoint.
#1 The guest list
Choose your guests wisely. Don’t invite the whole class or nursery. Choose a number that’s manageable for your home or venue and that you can afford to cater for. Your child will understand, and if you set firm limits they’ll choose the friends they really like and engage with and no one will be left out. If you’re inviting family, again think carefully about who to invite. If you think anyone will be offended, just explain it’s a kid’s party and they can always pop round for tea another day if they want to pay their respects.
“We only invite great friends, and you can’t go wrong in any area of life when you’re surrounded by good friends.”
Renee, Mummy Tries
#2 Activity Tables that have dual purpose
Set up a few activity tables, ideally outside if weather permits for the children to do, it keeps them occupied for a large chunk of the party and then their efforts become the party favours. Ideas that work well for this are:
- Get plain party bags that they can draw on and decorate with stickers to personalise
- Buy a job lot of plain wooden keyrings to decorate
- Buy cheap wooden or cardboard photo frames to decorate
- Colour your own treasure map (thanks Ginger Mum)
- Decorate your own cupcake – buy cheap cupcakes and go to town with the icing and sprinkles
- Instead of a party bag, give each child a photo to take home (instant print) of themselves taken at the party with props/back drops. Simple, cheap and different! SeeingRainbows
#3 Make up lunch boxes for the food
If you’re holding the party at home, and the thought of catering terrifies you, make it easy on yourself. Get some of those cardboard lunchboxes and pre fill them with a sandwich, drink, crisps, fruit, whatever you think will do well. Name them for each child so there’s no confusion, especially if there are any allergies. For some fun during the meal give them some stickers to put on their box. Also, less washing up! Thanks to Bubbablue and me and Mama Mei for this tip.
#4 Buy sweets in bulk
You can’t get away with a party without sweets. In schools now when it’s their birthday they seem to give sweets to the whole class after school. It’s mostly those little haribo packets but if you’re after something different why not look up your favourite retro sweets. We recently received a hamper from Lolly’s Sweet Treats which was personalised to us, with all our favourites in. I can’t believe they managed to get sweet peanuts, I haven’t had those in years! You don’t need to get a hamper, you could get a job lot of your child’s favourites and pop some in the party bags, or have sweetie stations according to your party theme. If you’re having a minecraft party, red liqorice sticks make great TNT lighters, for princess parties you can have sweetie jewels and sweet lipsticks and a monster party is easy with all the variety of jellies and teeth you can get! Why not make your own sweet cones with your favourite sweets. There’s a tutorial for sweet cones on We made this life here. Check out my Pinterest board for Kid’s Party Ideas, it’s full of awesome ideas and inspiration for a variety of themes.
#5 The Cake
Don’t sweat over making a fancy cake. Either buy one ready made from the supermarket, get them to decorate their own cupcakes (see above) or try this easy donut cake from Daisies & Pie. The year before last I made a princess castle cake by buying two different plain cakes and covering them in buttercream, then used ice cream cones for the towers. Kids really don’t care about it being perfect. How about making a Pokemon cake like this one from Chloe Me Just Me, or this one from A Mum Reviews, who bought a plain iced cake and decorated it with coloured icing to suit.
Don’t get the cheapest possible balloons, they’ll burst really easily (found this out the hard way). Go for mid range plain balloons that go with your theme. White ones can be drawn on with a marker, which works well if you can draw a simple animal or even their age on it. It looks more impressive and personal – thanks to Charlie Moo’s for this tip.
#7 Get involved
If your theme is around a book, like Harry Potter, The Hungry Caterpillar or can be related to a book, like a fairy or pirate party, do a story time book reading, especially towards the end to calm everyone down. Dress up yourself as one of the characters and you’ll be winning. If you’re a dab hand at magic, singing or have any talent, you can be the entertainment.
#8 Face Paint
A good quality face painting set is a great investment, trust me. When it’s party time, have a face painting station. If you’re not confident, ask around and someone will be good at it. You don’t have to be great at art, a simple flower on the cheek or a skull and crossbones on the arm is all you need to worry about. Face paints often come with a book of ideas, and there are plenty of simple ideas online you can find. Alternatively, have a tattoo station with wash off tattoos. If you have older siblings, rope them in to help.
#9 Don’t forget the matches!
It’s cake time – you don’t smoke, and are not a candle lover. Cue rushing around trying to find that long lost box of matches you have hidden away for emergencies or trying to find the one smoker at the party. One year we had to go round to my neighbours and borrow matches! Get them ready in advance for the magic moment.
#10 Use disposable plates and cutlery
This is a must, don’t just use paper plates, but disposable cutlery and cups too. Chuck it all away at the end. I love this idea of presenting wooden cutlery from Miss Bunting. You could use ribbon if you don’t want to use sweets.
I hope you find these tips useful, thank you to all those that contributed. Happy partying!
Disclosure: I was gifted the sweet hamper. Contains affiliate links.
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