KIDS PARTY PLANNING 101
If you’ve planned and hosted a kids party before, you will know how stressful they can be, and how much time and thought goes into them. We want to try and help take some of that stress away by sharing our top kids party planning tips, to help make the next kids party you host a raging success.
As stressful as they can be, they’re also a great way to share some special moments with your kids, so make sure you enjoy these moments like choosing a theme together, and letting your child pick out a cake design.
WHERE TO START
We don’t want to sound like a bore, but the best place to start is with a budget in mind. Parties can quickly get out of hand by the time you factor in gifts, venues, cakes, décor, party favours and food. Make sure you keep within your means and scale back if it’s looking like it’s going to blow the budget, as you don’t want to be paying for a party months down the track.
Once the budget is set, start the party anticipation by talking to your child about possible themes, and let them think about it for a day or two to make sure they are still happy with that theme a few days later.
Look at venues if you need to host offsite, and start doing a rough guest list to make sure there will be room for everyone you’d like to invite.
GUEST LIST & INVITATIONS
Start with all of your essentials and go from there, remembering that families with young children will often need to bring siblings along, so make sure you count the siblings in the guest list.
If your child has a best friend whom they have to invite, it’s a good idea to check in with their parents to make sure the date and time of the party is going to work for that child before locking in venues and dates.
Narrowing down a guest list can be tough, but start with your essentials and create two lists, adding to either the definitely invited list, or the maybe invited list depending on RSVPs. Make sure your final guest list numbers are going to work with the budget you have set, and if not, scale back here.
When it’s time to send invitations, make sure you distribute outside of school/daycare/kindy (a rule that a lot of schools/ECE’s have), to make sure no children who aren’t invite, feel left out. Also make sure the invitations include all party details, and any special information like a reminder to bring togs and towels if it’s a pool party, or contact details of parents if it’s a slumber party.
ENLIST YOUR TRIBE
Pulling together an entire kids party on your own is tough work, so unless you’re Wonder Woman or Superman, get your tribe of helpers to save the date in their diary and make sure you give them a heads up before party day, on where you’d appreciate their help.
PARTY FOOD PREP
Start a Pinterest page of any themed party food that would work or ideas that are quick and easy to re-create, that kids will love. You don’t need to be a Masterchef whiz in the kitchen to make it look like you’ve put lots of time and effort in – instead use cookie cutters, themed boxes/food holders, themed plates, napkins and cups to add to some simple food. And if catering isn’t your thing, outsource it to give you one less job to do. Do remember to make sure no kids have any allergies or intolerances too, and ensure there is food they can eat if they do suffer from those.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
The kids are likely to be so busy having fun, they’re unlikely to notice the homemade bunting you spent hours curating, so remember to keep it simple and realistic for the time that you are going to have to set up and pack down the party.
A little planning can make the party day flow effortlessly, so make sure you plan out how the day will unfold. We’ve created a kids party planning checklist, so you can tick items off as you go.
Split the party time into roughly 15 minute intervals, and ensure you have something planned for each of those. If you have hired an entertainer, check to see how long they will take and then build your plan around that. 15 minute for party food, 15 minutes for cake formalities and eating, 15 minutes for a party game. This will hopefully provide you with a good idea as to whether you have too little, or too much planned. As a general rule, I always recommend having an extra party game up your sleeve in case the one you had planned is all over in 5 minutes.
WRAPPING THE PARTY UP
If you’ve hired a venue for the party, you’re often rushed to wrap up a party and get the guests on their way so you can tidy and pack up before you’re charge a late fee. A great way to wrap up the party is to have party favours ready to give the kids as they depart. (A mystery bag of goodies is normally enough to entice even the most involved kid away from what they are playing). Get these set up by the door and have your kid at hand to pass out and thank all of their friends as they leave. If stretching to party favours isn’t in the budget, gift a piece of cake and balloon as they leave will have most kids happy.
If you follow the above, you’re sure to have hosted a fabulous party! Now you can take a well-deserved break until the next party rolls around.