There are lots of things to think about when your child’s birthday is looming. If you’re having a party, whatever it involves – being home or out somewhere, doing it yourself or getting an entertainer, a small gathering or big crowd – here are 12 good ideas that you might not have thought of!
Smart Food & Drink
(1) If you don’t want the expense or hassle of a full-scale meal, have the party after lunch and before tea – that way nobody will expect more than snacks.
(2) If there aren’t enough tables or chairs to seat all the party-goers, spread out paper tablecloths and let them have a picnic on the floor.
(3) You don’t need to provide an endless supply of sweet or fizzy drinks – just make sure there are jugs of water and plastic / paper cups on hand, especially if the kids are running around and getting hot
Make Special Memories
(4) Sometimes the best part of a party is the bit you didn’t plan – being allowed to go outside and play screechy muddy football in the dark may turn out to be more memorable than the cinema and pizza that went before it!
(5) Do you have a friend or relative that is a soldier, police officer or a pilot? Ask them to show up in uniform and join in the games – little kids will be wowed by your uniformed guest of honour.
(6) To guarantee a burst of hilarity 10 minutes before the end, release a load of balloons into the room and turn the music up. The tricky bit is blowing the balloons up beforehand and keeping them hidden during the party (store them in bin-bags). Release all the balloons at once and watch the kids running around shrieking – it’s super fun.
Avoid Possible Pitfalls
(7) Think about things that might distract your miniature guests away from the party activities – it’s annoying to take a load of kids bowling and watch them try and sneak away to play on the flashing bleepy games machines.
(8) If you have to tidy up at the end, don’t forget the bin bags!
(9) Check with other parents beforehand whether there are any food allergies to cater for. To be told, “oh by the way James is allergic to dairy” when little James arrives at the party and all the food contains cheese or milk could well increase your stress levels.
Clever Crowd Control
(10) If parents are staying and someone offers to help, show them where the kettle is and ask them to make teas and coffees for the grown-ups.
(11) Birthday parties are usually fairly boisterous and noisy affairs – have a quiet table with colouring sheets and pens available for the mini introverts who may need to side-step away and have a few quiet moments to themselves.
(12) Some parties need detailed planning and time-management, but parties that aren’t overly structured can work well too. You could lay on a few games, serve a little food (remember to serve the savouries before the sweet stuff), do the cake, and then turn up the party music and let the kids play freely on hired / borrowed tricycles or scooters, with ball games, or in play-tents with teddy bears and tea sets.