How to Plan the Perfect Children's Birthday Party

Amber Clark

Oct 05, 2016

How to Plan the Perfect Children's Birthday Party

When your little one has a special birthday coming up, make sure he or she knows just how much they're loved by throwing the perfect kid's birthday party. Parents have enough on their plate without having to stress about party planning, which is why we've put together this easy guide to making your party a smash hit with kids and adults alike. From the products you need to come up with cute and charming décor to the tips for creating a fun atmosphere, this guide covers everything you need to know about hosting the best children's birthday party ever.

Step 1: Get the Details Down

The first thing you'll need to decide for your kid's birthday party planning is when you'll be having it. Nailing down a date may involve talking to a few of your closest family members or maybe your kiddo's BFF. Once you ensure that the A-listers in your life are available, you can choose a date.

Next up is the location. Will you be hosting this party at your home or renting out a space? You could even have it at a local restaurant, arcade or miniature golf destination. If it's outside your home, you'll want to inquire about what you're allowed to do as far as décor and whether you can use a party room for a little more privacy. Many parents like to do kid's parties at home since they can decorate however they like, and the kids are free to run around and play as they please.

Step 2: Invitations

With a date and location in mind, it's time to set the guest list. Bust out your address book and jot down the names and addresses of the invitees. Make sure you have enough space for everyone, and start budgeting for food and drinks for the group. Also, be specific about whether adults are invited. Some parents love being able to stick around and enjoy mingling with other adults, while others appreciate knowing that it's totally okay to drop their kid off and enjoy a few hours to themselves.

Now that your guest list is settled, you can shop for invitations. This is one of the most fun parts of party planning since it can set the tone for the whole event. It's a great idea to tie in a personal interest your kiddo has, whether it's a sport, a TV character or a certain toy. Or, you can go with an overall design theme, like polka dots, rainbows or shades of blue and green. The invitations you choose should be tied into the rest of your décor, so take your time to pick out a design that inspires you to come up with some fun and fabulous kid's party decorations.

Step 3: Decorations

When it comes to children's birthday parties, it's easy to get carried away buying lots of random, fun things you come across at the store. But if you want your party to look stylish and charming, stick with a color palette and theme throughout. That means if you fall in love with a construction party plate set, you should keep the theme going. Choose bright yellow napkins to match the yellow from the construction hats, or buy a tiny forklift to set atop the cake. You can still be creative while staying on theme for the party.

There are plenty of fun ways to decorate, from balloons and streamers to banners and signs. Don't forget that party favors can also be tied into your decorating scheme. Have party hats complement the colors for your party, and pick out cute little toys that go with the theme. For example, a construction theme could also involve buying little dump truck matchbox cars for each party guest.

Step 4: Food and Drinks

Planning out the menu for a kid's party can be more complicated than you might have originally anticipated. Many kids have specific dietary needs or allergies, so it's important to get any pertinent info from parents before the big event. In addition, if parents will be hanging out during the party, you'll want kid-friendly and adult-friendly foods available.

One fun way to make the party more memorable is to come up with unique culinary creations. It's a great way to surprise and delight your little one, and if you make something that appeals to kids, it's sure to be a success.

Cupcake kits are a great example of something you can do to make your party food a little more fun. Whether you use unicorn cupcake kits or Peter Rabbit cupcake kits, it's a great way to make custom treats for everyone to enjoy. You can make them before the party or turn them into one of the fun things for the kids to participate in during the party. Either way, who can say no to a freshly baked cupcake?

Drinks are another factor to consider. Keep plenty of kid-friendly options on hand, including milk and juice. You can even include little water bottles as part of the party favors to encourage kids to stay hydrated while they run around having fun. Parents, on the other hand, might enjoy some grown-up drinks, whether it's coffee, soda or cocktails. Mimosas and Bloody Marys are especially popular among the adults at morning and early afternoon kid's birthday parties.

Step 5: Activities

The traditional birthday games like pin the tail on the donkey and duck-duck-goose are a little boring to today's kids. Plus, it's always great to get them to try something new and fun while they're at a party. You can try the aforementioned cupcake kits, for example, since involving food is almost always a surefire way to get kids excited about a group activity. Allowing the kids to decorate their own desserts also makes them feel grown-up, and you can include a special cupcake topper for the birthday boy or girl to make them feel extra-special. 

Physical games are another popular choice. Most kids are running on adrenaline at these parties, so giving them a chance to wear off some of that energy is a great idea (and much appreciated by the parents afterward). Even something as simple as a game of tag is fun, but you can organize Ping-Pong tournaments, plan a scavenger hunt, or take the kids to a trampoline park. Involve your kiddo in the activity planning process to find out what will make his or her day the most memorable.

Step 6: Party Day

You've spent lots of time working out the venue, the date, the guest list, the invites, the décor, the food, the drinks and the activities. Now, the day of the party has finally arrived! It's time to put all that planning into action. A handy checklist of things to do will help you stay on track before guests arrive.

First, make sure you gather up all those perfectly coordinated decorations you've been collecting. If possible, enlist another family member or a friend to help you get everything set up. It's nice to do this in advance, so you can spend the last minutes before the party getting things tidied up.

You'll also want to have a plan for your food and drinks distribution. Appetizers and drinks should be out and easy to access. Pre-fill cups of water or juice for the kids, and have little snack bowls out with kid-friendly options like carrots, crackers, and cheese. Your dessert should be waiting in the wings along with your cute matching plate and napkin sets. Have plastic forks and spoons set out in cups, so kids and adults can grab them as they're needed.

Get party favors ready to pass out. Some items might be in little take-out baggies, but the items kids can enjoy during the party (like party hats or stickers) should be left out, so kids can grab them on their way in the door.

Set up any games you planned for the day. You can even make signs that list the schedule for the day. Kids and adults both like knowing what's been planned, and when kids know that there's time set aside for free play outside coming up soon, they'll be more likely to control themselves when they need to sit and watch another kid opening gifts or blowing out their candles. You may also want to plan a short activity right at the beginning of the party since it helps the kids warm up to each other and clearly marks a starting point to the festivities.

Finally, don't forget to enjoy yourself! You put so much work into planning a great party, and you deserve to have a great time along with your guests. Keep an eye on things and make sure everything flows smoothly, but also remember to take a moment to appreciate all your hard work and the wonderful feeling of watching your child create a lasting memory.

Planning the perfect children's birthday party is a breeze when you use these helpful tips. As long as you stay organized, stick to a fun theme, and plan activities to please all your guests, you'll enjoy smooth sailing come party day. 

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