- Invitations & Guest List - Kids LOVE to dress up so opt for a theme - it allows for great photo opportunities and you can incorporate the theme right through all aspects of the party. Be creative with your invitations - try your hand at a little rhyme - you will be surprised at what you can come up with. If you have older children, ask for their help - imagine how fantastic they would feel knowing they wrote a poem for their own invites
- Costumes & Theming - If you have the time, sew/make your own costumes or alternatively, try ebay first - you may grab a bargain at half the price of a costume place. Don't hire a costume - for what you pay to hire something that is likely stained and/or worn in places, you can buy a costume outright. Try Costume City - a US based online retailer - they have reasonable shipping costs, but make sure you allow extra time for overseas destinations. Simple theme ideas include balloons (all kids love helium filled balloons), re-usable stickers in your theme (reasonably cheap and can be used again for another party or to decorate a kids room) and a personalised sign to welcome your guests at the front door. For your party music, download from ITunes any music relevant to your theme eg a soundtrack from a movie, and create a party playlist in your Ipod so that all you need do on the day is press play and you are away. Try coordinating your table wear - plates, napkins/serviettes, party blowers, cups, goody bags - you can get heaps and heaps of themed party goods online, even on ebay, or alternatively from a party supply warehouse.
- Food, Drinks & the Birthday Cake - For kids, you can't go wrong with basic party food - cocktail frankfurters, mini sausage rolls, fairy bread, chocolate crackles, just to name a few. There is so much going on, they tend to float around grazing on whatever is on the table. For the adults, why stress yourself out with cooking and preparation - save that for the cake ha ha! We arrange for our local chicken shop to cut up 6 or 7 chooks and they are pretty much ready to go. With fresh bread rolls, a few dressings and a couple of simple salads, the adults are happy too. Drinks you supply are at your own discretion - you know your family & friends' preferences. For kids, keep it simple. Most kids will drink water or cordial (not red!) but to save spillages, I opt for mini pop top apple juice - most kids will drink apple juice plus it will not stain carpet if spilt like Ribena would. Everyone has a different opinion of arranging their child's cake - some don't want the pressure of making a good cake, some opt for ice cream cake, others bake all day to get the perfect cake for their child. I would suggest a happy medium. Personally, I made a pact that I would make & decorate all my children's birthday cakes, which I bake the night before and decorate the morning of the party. It really is a personal preference but may I suggest the Women's Weekly Kids Cakes Book - my mum has a copy dated from the 80's and I have the new one - it has been a family favourite for decades. Goody bags need only be simple and inexpensive. I try to cut down on the lollies, instead I get practical little thank you gifts like hair clips and accessories for little girls and matchbox cars or trucks for little boys. Baby guests will receive a rusk and some bath toys in their goody bags. I usually stick to mini lollipops, a pack of mini m&ms and sometimes a pack of mini sultanas
- Fun & Games - Again, the ideas are endless however my system is simple - we have a craft session (for something the children can take home with them), a few team games (to help with socialisation of the kids and encourage good sportsmanship, even though my philosophy with the games is to not have one winner but everyone wins in one way or another) and finally, my signature Daddy's Activity - the highlight of the afternoon, just prior to cutting the cake. With the craft, the kids will make something in line with the theme, my favourite team games include pin the tail on something, scavenger hunts or some form of musical chairs where the kids who get eliminated then get to chose what everyone has to do eg. instead of walking around the chairs, we have spots on the ground that the kids must hop around or silly dance around before jumping on a spot when the music stops. By letting the eliminated child choose how the kids continue in the game, it removes their sadness in being out. If all else fails, I recommend a jumping castle - all kids love it! My philosophy for the Daddy activity is simple too - the sillier you make your adult male guests look, the more fun & laughter the women & kids will have. Fun ideas include making the guys dress up in funny outfits and complete a relay, anything involving water is great too as they always end up drenching each other or a simple charades activity can be entertaining. I am sure your imagination could come up with something related to your theme. An example we did last year for our clown party was to have a clown wig, red nose, silly bow tie & big clown shoes in a bucket and the daddy's formed two teams and one at a time they had to run to the bucket of clown clothes, dress up in all 4 items, pose for a photo, undress and run back and tag the next team member. Not only did the kids get a laugh, we have some great bribery photos ha ha!
- Thank You Cards - I can appreciate that not everyone has time to make elaborate thank you cards but a simple little thank you note is a nice way to teach your child gratitude and good manners. I just mock something up in Microsoft Word and I include photographs from the party in my cards as it is more personal and also a nice memento from the event. If the child is able, get them to write something on the cards, even if it is only their name a a couple of kisses and hugs, as this is more thoughtful.
Related Posts: Part 1 - Invitations, Part 2 - Themes & Costumes, Part 3 - Food & The Cake, Part 4 - Fun & Games Part 5 - Thank You Cards
Content in this post is for the most part created by gigi+lulu - Copyright 2008