Planning a birthday party to remember

 Sarah Impelmens Mon 3 February 14


Your child's birthday is soon approaching and it is time to start putting some thought into how you are going to celebrate another year of growth and milestones. Whether you have decided on a small intimate party for five or a whopping giant party for 20, you'll want to ensure it is your child's best party yet. So where do you start?

Involve the birthday child from the beginning! Birthdays are one of those few occasions where children are particularly motivated to be exceptionally helpful, so begin the planning by having the birthday boy or girl brainstorm some party theme ideas. Once your child has come up with a few ideas you can work together to develop a much needed 'to do' list. This will include a guest list, your invitations, decorations, entertainment, a chosen venue, party food and the cake!

To Hire or Host?
Once the birthday child has decided on a theme, your next step is to decide if you are going to hire an entertainer or if you would prefer to host the party yourself.

A hired entertainer or party service really can create lasting memories for your child, not to mention take the stress out of having to entertain a group of excited children! But with a birthday (or 4!) to celebrate each year, this option isn't always realistic let alone within budget.

So if you have decided to play hostess it is essential you plan your party. Your main objective is to make sure that all the guests have fun on the day. So organise the games, decorations and food a couple weeks prior to the party date and be sure to recruit one or two helpers to assist on the day. This way you can put your hostess hat on when the guests arrive and you will not feel burdened with tasks such as serving the food.

The Menu
Keep it simple! In our experience, children are usually too excited and having far too much fun to be overly fussed when it comes to the food. Finger food is usually the most convenient option when it comes to catering for your child's party, so aim to offer a few healthy snacks like fruit kebabs as well as the always popular party pies, sausage rolls and mini pizzas. You might also want to include a couple fun party foods that coordinate with your chosen theme. For example 'biscuit wands' for a fairy party or jelly boats (made in half an orange) for a pirate party.

Be aware of any food allergies guests may have prior to the party by asking each parent of any known allergies in advance. This way you can prepare alternative food for those with allergies, and remember it's always best to avoid anything with nuts!

Entertain Me!
The number one secret to a successful birthday party is keeping the children entertained for the duration of the party. Party games are a must of course, however rather than simply focusing on capturing each child's attention why not aim to captivate their imagination too!

Revamp some old classics to co-ordinate with your chosen party theme. Musical statues can be renamed 'princess poses' pass the parcel may be 'Pass the pirates treasure' and pin the tail on the donkey could become 'pin the eye-patch on the pirate.'

When it comes to party games, the common old favourites are usually a winner with the under-fives as toddlers and pre-schoolers are often experiencing these games for the first time. However when it comes to primary school age children a little more time and thought will be required. Aim to come up with at least two unique party games or activities. Remember by the age of 8 and 9 the majority of children will have attended quite a number of birthday parties. Although they will still enjoy the old classics like musical statues, it is always super fun to surprise them with a game they have not yet played before.

Get Creative
Planning and incorporating a craft activity in to the party really can create a fun element. Ribbon wands are great for a dance theme, custom t-shirts are great for both boys and girls, fairy wands are perfect for a fairy party, beaded bracelets are popular with the girls and kaleidoscopes are always a great option for the boys. If you decide to add a creative experience to your list of activities, keep it relevant to your chosen theme and plan to fit it in after the children have participated in a physical game to ensure they do not get restless.

Let the Games Begin!

Dress Up Relay Race. Organise a basket of dress up clothes, hats and headbands. Some old adult's shirts and trousers will be ideal as the children will be stuffing balloons inside the clothing! On the day of the party have the children split into two teams (three teams for a group larger than 12 guests). Once you have the children's attention, explain that each team will be required to work together to help dress a fellow team member in the clothing provided and then stuff an allocated number of balloons inside. The child must than run to a designated point (without dropping any balloons), and put on a headband or hat before running back to their team. The team who have all their hats on first are announced as the winners! Recommended for ages 8 +

Peg Race. Have 4 to 6 children pair up and stand a metre or two in front of the remaining guests. Place around 40 pegs a metre away from the children who have partnered up. Have the children decide who out of the two will be the 'pegger', then let the participating children know that once the music has started the 'pegger' must pick up one peg at a time and peg it too their partner. Then simply press play and watch the fun unfold. The pair with the highest number of pegs once there are no further pegs remaining are the winners.
To make this game a little tricker for the older kids, shout out some instructions as to where they will be required to peg their partner. E.g. 'peg one to their shoe'. Recommended for ages 6 +

The Mystery Box. A slightly quieter activity that is bound to keep your guests guessing. After filling a covered box with mystery items each child then has a go at feeling each one and guessing what they think each item is. The child or children that guess correctly receive a small prize. Recommended for ages 5 +
Treasure Hunt. This is a great game to play towards the end of the party when children are beginning to get a little restless. Rather than simply handing out favour bags why not have the children search for their party bag contents outdoors (or indoors if space will allow). For the older children you could come up with a scavenger hunt and have each child find the party favours on their list. Recommended for ages 3 +

It's Party Time!
If you have hired an entertainer or professional party service - well it's over to them. However if you've opted to play host this time around then remember; the true secret to hosting the perfect party is to simply create a fun atmosphere, so put your smile and dancing shoes on and have fun with it!

Author: Sarah Impelmens. Sarah is the owner/operator of kids party businesses Pretty Pamper Parties & Superstar Party Squadand has been working in childcare for over 10 years. For more information on Pretty Pamper Parties visit: or for Superstar Party Squad visit their facebook page.


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