Birthday Party Planning Tips
A step-by-step guide to help you plan your child's birthday party.
I absolutely love celebrating birthdays.
Whether it’s my own birthday, my husband’s, my children’s, family, friends, I just love them. I know some people don’t really care about their birthdays and honestly, that’s sad. Birthdays are a celebration of life! And we should all enjoy every birthday that we are blessed with.
Not only do I love birthdays, but I love planning birthday parties. From kid’s parties to a surprise 80th, I’m all over it from beginning to end. For today though, I’m going to share some tips on planning a kid’s birthday party.
Like I mentioned in my previous article, I’m a planner. So when I start to plan my children’s birthday parties, I usually have a date picked out several months in advance. It’s always good to have a date in mind a couple of months ahead of time so you can block it off on your calendar. Once you have your date, start asking your child what kind of theme they would like their party to be. If they are having a hard time making a decision, give them a birthday party catalog or go to a party website where they can see some choices to make their decision making a little bit easier. Once the theme is chosen, you can then decide together where the party is going to take place.
It is a good idea to send out the invitations about a month before the party with an RSVP date of a week before the party. This gives guests ample time to respond and shop for presents and it also gives you time to get a final head count before the big day. Some inexpensive invitations can be store-bought or ones that you make yourself. I make my own on my computer and print them out so it doesn’t cost me very much. Things that you want to include on the invitation are who the party is for and for what occasion, the time and date, the location, if food will be served, an RSVP date with contact information and any other important information guests need to know.
While you wait for guests to RSVP, you can start thinking about what kind of food you would like to serve, if you want to have any games, crafts and entertainment for the kids (depending on the location), what you want for decorations, the birthday cake and goody bags or favors.
Not all birthday parties need to have a meal served, for example, pizza. You can have the party, say right after lunch time and just serve small snacks, cake and ice cream.
If the party is at an indoor or outdoor play area then the kids will obviously be busy playing the entire time. But if the party is at your home, a function hall or a restaurant, etc., it is a good idea to have some sort of activity, games and/or entertainment to keep the kids amused. Some very easy and inexpensive activities that I do… I print out coloring pages online, make copies and put those along with a box of crayons on the table and let the kids color pictures.
I also put together a little craft for the kids to make. You can find craft ideas online or in some party catalogs. You can prep the supplies yourself or buy them already to go. All of my coloring pages and crafts go along with the party theme. As for entertainment, it all depends on your child. Some ideas could be a magician, a clown, a face painter or an impersonator of your child’s favorite character, etc. You don’t have to have any entertainment, especially if on a strict budget; I am just offering some suggestions.
Decorations can be over the top or very minimal. It is completely your choice. Put a couple of balloons up and the kids will be ecstatic.
The birthday cake is one of the biggest hits at the party so make sure it’s a good one! Choose your child’s favorite flavor and frosting and a cute idea is to have the bakery decorate it so it matches the theme of the party. One very popular cake idea lately is a cupcake cake. It is a bunch of cupcakes that are decorated together to look like a cake. One awesome thing about that, no cutting involved! Oh and don’t forget the candles.
The last thing to check off your list are the goody bags and/or favors. I personally do not do goody bags anymore. I find that they are usually filled with stuff that will just get thrown away in a couple of days. But if you can put useful things in the bags, then go for it. I have now been giving party favors to each guest. Some ideas are a decorated cookie, a gift certificate for a kiddie cone at a local ice cream stand, something personalized, etc. One year I gave the kids a chocolate that was in the shape of their first initial, it was a hit.
When the day of the party arrives, it will be full of excitement and of course stress, as we all want things to go perfectly. But whatever you do, your child will be so thankful and they will remember these parties for the rest of their lives.
Nothing beats the feeling after all of your hard work, when your child tells you, “This was the best birthday party ever!”
Happy planning, enjoy and don’t forget your camera.