GUIDE TO THROWING A KIDS PARTY
There was a time when a kids party meant a finger buffet and couple of party games. But nowadays our little darlings have taken the traditional birthday celebration to a whole new level. We all want the best for our children, don't we? Yes. So get planning.... A birthday bash shouldn't require a bank loan but it should provide a couple of nice smiley childhood memories and has the potential to raise a childs social status to most popular kid in the class.
To help you, we've put together a series of practical guides to throwing a party for kids of all ages. Our guides to throwing a party for babies, toddlers, kids aged 4-7, kids aged 8-13 and teenagers parties are crammed full of ideas, tips and inspiration to make sure that your child has the most memorable party ever...
TIPS FOR ORGANISING A KIDS PARTY
The key to throwing a successful kids party is all in the planning. Parents with younger kids will be familiar with the a more is more party policy. Popular with the nursery/ Reception year set, this is basically where you invite every single kid in the class. Even the horrible pinchy, bitey, nasty, dribbly ones. As kids get older so lessens the demand for this rave-style birthday bash though. Thank goodness! Avoid date clash by getting your invite out early. If your child shares a birthday with another kid in the class, a save the date text isn't a bad idea. You can be certain that everyone who rocks up to your toddler party will bring a gift. In terms of toy quality, the toddling years represent everything that is truly awful about childrens toys. Deluded parents of toddlers will buy their little ones tasteful wooden toys hoping to distract them from the gaudy world of plastic. But most fail. Almost every toddling human desires a big pink pushchair or giant blue plastic train set. Avoid a plastic invasion by tactfully making tasteful present request pre-party. Drop hints about how much little Alfie ADORES reading books and how Jemima longs to expand her vintage doll collection.
A text invite is quick and easy. Click and its gone. No writing, sticking, sending. Next option is the email invite which, if you're a bit of a social climber, will allow you to show off your Photoshop skills to the other parents and offers an opportunity for you to circulate a celebratory birthday shot of your beloved spawn looking particularly gorgeous. Paper invites are the good old-fashioned option. You can buy lovely posh bespoke-type ones at notonthehighstreet.com or create your own (quite fun) at zazzle.co.uk. Of course, the real challenge is actually getting the invite safely into the hands of the respective little friends parents. Send them into school with your kid and they could be sitting in their book bags until next birthday. Be aware of this.
HOME OR AWAY
Think hard about the party venue. A party at home can seem like the low budget option. But if you're planning to accommodate more than 10 squawking small people, consider the crisps trodden into your carpets, sticky finger prints on furniture and cake smears across walls. A post-party industrial house clean could have your budget skyrocketing. Party venues activity centres, soft play areas etc. can often do all the catering for you which saves a job, but try and avoid peak times such as weekends and school holidays when charges will be higher. Summer parties can be held in a local park or free outdoor play area with a picnic and a few energetic party games.
TO SHARE OR NOT TO SHARE
If you want to lay on an impressive do but are worrying about the cost implications, a joint party can be a good money saving option. One golden rule is to choose someone that your kid actually likes. If the other mum is a super-organised party throwing expert, excellent. The other golden rule is to introduce a one-present-per-kid policy. Request that your little guests bring only one gift for one of their hosts (work your numbers out carefully first) or you will end up with a houseful of birthday plastic and nowhere to store it
If its your first foray into birthday cake making, wed always recommend following a recipe. If its something simple you want to do, stick to an easy peesey Victoria Sponge. Slap some jam n the middle, some icing on the top and youre done. For something a little more advanced, the Hummingbird Bakery recipes are hard to beat taste-wise. But if you have the time and want to create a birthday masterpiece, Australian Womens Weekly Great Kids Cakes has some really fun designs which are much easier to make than they actually look.
THE GOODIE BAG
By the time youve forked out for the party food, venue (if you've decided to minimise potential house damage), cake, balloons, kids party costumes etc etc. the party goody bag can feel like one extravagant, offspring-indulging step too far. More often than not, this overpriced plastic tat ends up in the bin within 20 minutes. Better to hold your head up high and forget the post-party present altogether. Haven't they had quite enough treats already or if you must bestow gifts upon your hyped up sugar-filled party guests, get them something useful The Book People do great deals on multi packs of books which can be really cost effective or create your own lucky dip. Boys can take
home their own mini football without breaking your bank. And most little girls will love a brown paper bag filled with stickers and little sweets.
COSTUMES & THEMES
Party entertainers can be expensive, so keep the stress levels down by doing it yourself. Most kids like to dress up, so you can rarely go wrong with a fancy dress party.
As a general rule, boys under 10 can rarely resist the lure of a superhero suit and little boys dig pirate costumes. Younger girls love a princess dress or fairy tales in general. And lets be honest, an animal morphsuit is pretty cool whether you're a girl or a boy.
View our guides to the most popular kids fancy dress party themes