- Pick Activities that are Age-appropriate
- Decorations and more…
- Cake or Cupcake?
- The Take Away
Base the Party on Your Child’s Age
Yes, sounds silly and obvious but parents, please remember when you’re thinking of making your child’s birthday plans, make sure it’s age appropriate.
Would you believe:
We’ve seen parties for 1-year olds at “brazilian steak houses,” with guests (children) looking confused and uncomfortable in this bizarre setting. Think of your child and their friends. Would they be comfortable at a 4-star restaurant or would they prefer the cheesy “pizza party?”
Would your 3-year old be ok unsupervised at a golfing fun center? Probably not. We tend to want to make ourselves (the parents) live vicariously through our children and it sometimes isn’t a good fit.
Don’t be impatient.
If you really, really want your daughter to have a formal tea party for her birthday, let her enjoy it at a more appropriate age instead of 2-years. We know your husband would like for your son to have a birthday paintball party (but again, age is a determining factor.)
Please don’t put yourself and the chosen “establishment” in an awkward position to reject your plea for a birthday party for a child that is too young.
What is your budget?
In today’s age of inclusion, we’ve been taught not to leave anyone out and to invite everyone in your classroom.
That’s a Big commitment.
Is that financially feasible if your child’s class is 31 children and each child will cost the birthday parent $32 each? Look at creative venues instead of high-ticket activities. Are the kids ok jumping at an inflatable kids center instead of paying sky-high prices per child to “faux” parachute jump at the newest facility? Remember that your child has at least several more birthday parties in their future and you shouldn’t break the bank each year.
You might be wondering.
When planning your budget, will it be just for immediate family or friends? Will it be the child’s entire classroom? Is the party including a sit-down meal or is it just light snacks and refreshments? Does the venue you’ve chosen allow decorations? Some venues provide decorations and other venues may even allow you to bring outside food to save you money on catering or ordering food. Will you be giving goodie bags or will the event provide a take-home item? These questions will help begin structuring your budget.
Planning the Party: Venue
Don’t send out e-vites yet! Let’s not get ahead of ourselves before booking the venue. We’ve seen parents scrambling at the last last minute when they’ve forgotten to book a venue and not have availability after all. Venue tips for choosing your location:
- Is it easy to find?
- Is it close to everyone? Don’t choose a venue that’s too far.
- How many people can it hold?
- Do they allow siblings to watch or is it limited to just participants?
- Are you allowed to bring your own food/drinks or must you purchase onsite?
- What is the deposit required?
- Can you bring decorations?
- Do you have setup time before your event?
- What does the venue provide? Plates? Napkins? Music? Assistants?
- Is the room private or will you be sharing it with other groups?
- What is your time limit?
Now that you’ve chosen your venue, let’s talk scheduling. What time would you like to start your event? Mid mornings are great if you have a group of kids that aren’t busy with swim, soccer or baseball practice.
Keep this in mind when scheduling early.
Most children are more readily available during the late afternoon time such as 1 or 2pm. Noon is recommended if you’re providing lunch. If you’d like to avoid that aspect, plan for a later time so that you’re only responsible for snacks, cake, etc.
We’ve discussed time, but what about day?
Do you want to book the party on a weekday after school? Most parents prefer the ease of a Saturday afternoon party or even a Sunday late afternoon party.
E-vite or other emailable invitation?
Yes, some still use the old-fashioned mailed invitation and that will be your choice. Please note that you want to add rsvp contact info so that you can get an accurate count of guests for planning purposes. At least 3-4 days beforehand is recommended for a rsvp date. Emailed invitations are best as soon as possible (with at least a two week notification.)
you have a second person proofread the invitation for accuracy before you hit that SEND button.
Decorations and more…
Invites are done, venue booked, now what? You’ve gotten the theme decision from your child. You’ll begin the online search for your streamers, themed-balloons along with matching plates, napkins, forks, cups and tablecloth(s).
since these items may be more inexpensive online. Also, you may find a bigger selection for what you’re searching for.
Pinterest is a great site to get some decorating ideas. Just type in kids party decoration ideas and you’ll be amazed at what you find. This will also show you how to setup and present the food/snacks/drinks. Pinterest is great for showing you how to accomplish alot by designing or setting up on your own instead of purchasing expensive setups.
Use this time to get your child involved in helping glue or assemble decorations for the party. It is their time and they may even bring up a great idea or two since they’ve probably been to a number of friends’ birthday parties.
Food choices are pretty easy for a child’s party. If an at-home party, make good use of fresh fruits, veggie cups, etc that can be refrigerated up until the party. If the event is at another venue, easy is the best! If it’s a party around lunch time, start with some cute cups of “goldfish” crackers or fruit as an appetizer. Chicken nugget trays with various dipping sauces are a favorite!
Pizzas delivered hot to your venue are also a no-brainer but please make sure to order at least one or two cheese-only pizzas since children are a bit more fickle about toppings.
Drinks such as juice boxes or pouches are fun and easy! If event is at-home, a homemade punch with fruit is also a great choice. Parents tend to stay away from bottled sugary sodas for obvious reasons.
Cake or Cupcake?
With parent’s thinking outside the box, new solutions for birthday cakes have been popping up. Birthday cupcake towers are great since you know exactly how many children will be attending and your local bakery can theme the cupcakes easily and this is less mess for everyone too.
Birthday ice-cream cakes are also a new fav since some kids avoid the sugary frosting from a traditional cake. But let’s talk traditional cakes now.
Chocolate or vanilla cake?
Have your baker create a half-chocolate, half-vanilla cake for that picky group.
The Take Away
Take-Home item for the guests are important! Depending on the theme of your party, it can be something as simple as the “painting” from a paint party or as yummy as a bag of assorted candies and small whistle or bracelet. Let them remember the good times with something “cool” to take home and either play with or eat. As always, use your judgement on appropriateness based on the age of the children.
Remember to take time to enjoy the day with your child. With good planning, the atmosphere should be relaxed and well-paced. Photos and videos should also include parents so that those memories are recorded and enjoyed by everyone!
If you live in Houston, TX and are looking for unique kids’ birthday party ideas, Art Class & Milk Glass offers fun paint parties for kids 6 and over.