Kid’s parties seem to have become larger than life, haven’t they? Thanks to social media, the pressure is on for parents to create Pinterest-worthy bashes with phenomenal Candy Buffets.
If the idea of all this baffles you (or even secretly excites you a little), you’ve come to the right place.
We love creating fun and magical parties, which don’t necessarily need a huge price tag.
So whether you prefer buying “ready-made”, or doing a little DIY yourself, here’s a helpful guide to throwing a fabulous party!
Pick a theme for the party as a starting point. It will aid in choosing the main colours, which can be beautifully drawn into the decor and even the food. Is there a movie, character, animal or TV show that your child loves?
When we had my daughter's Frozen party I went through the movie and picked out her favourite scenes, music, and details and those all played into the activities we did, the decorations, and what we ate.
That's the idea behind LifeStyle Emporium's Party and Decor Packages - a short cut to a stylish theme!
Tip: Rule of thumb is for stylists to choose 2 theme colours (3 maximum), and use them in various tones for balloons and decorations, to give a more sophisticated look and feel to the party. The exception being Rainbow themes.
You can probably find a party playlist online of music pre-selected to the theme of your choice!
2. Party Schedule and Activities
Kids parties usually include more than just a few of your child's BFF’s. Often there are clashing personalities: loud kids, kids that want quiet, etc. Letting them run free and play (as tempting as it may be) can sometimes backfire, with a little person in tears, and that person is often the birthday boy or girl.
It's advisable to have even a very high level plan, or at least list activities and craft for 20 minute slots. Have more activities planned than you think you need, it's amazing how something you think will take 30 minutes takes 10 or vice versa. Google and Pinterest have a plethora of party game ideas to suit every theme imaginable, especially for the older kids.
Be mindful of competitive games with the little ones, keeping prizes little and not making too big a deal about who wins or loses.
Good old Party Activity favourites:
- Treasure Hunt in the party theme (little goodies can make up part of the take home ‘party bag’)
- Musical Chairs
- Musical Statues
- Making/decorating/colouring masks
- Colouring in pages (in the theme of the party)
- Popping balloons
- Painting Nails
- Face Painting (if you don’t have a professional, get older siblings or teenagers to help out).
- Glitter glue tattoos (available in most variety shops).
Tip: Some people opt for hiring a professional entertainer which takes care of majority of the party, but you should still have at least one or 2 crafts/activities up your sleeve for before and after.
Tip: Most kids enjoy the free play time, but some may need the “alone time” to sit quietly and craft. Craft is especially fun if it matches your theme and is something the kids can take home as part of their “party bag”.
Most importantly - make sure the birthday boy or girl knows they need to go with the flow. It's okay to cut out some activities or take longer on one activity than another. Being prepared for things to not go according to schedule will keep both the parents and birthday people from being disappointed.
3. Fun Food
We’re not all pastry chef’s with amazing icing abilities, but thankfully, kids don’t generally mind. In fact, much to my horror, after hours of baking and painstakingly decorating beautiful cupcakes for my daughter’s first real party, most of the kids just licked off the icing and dropped the cupcakes!
Do whatever is simplest for you, buy them ready made, use packet mixes (even allergy friendly versions abound in stores now). There are many ways to serve up a great tasting, good looking cake. Simply use colour co-ordinated icing and/or cupcake cases (matching your theme) can make a party display grand!
Tip: Cupcakes are generally much easier to serve, and can make for a fun centrepiece display on your party table.
Tip: Use a cake or cupcake topper to capture kids’ attention, and carry your party theme even on the simplest baked goods.
Try to include at least one savoury treat and fruit with all the other party food, being mindful of anyone who may have food allergies. Most parents don’t expect special catering for their allergic children (and usually travel with their own party snacks), but will always be pleasantly surprised and appreciative if you have thought of them. You can check these details with parents upon RSVP.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need vast amounts of food and treats at a party (unless you’re specifically having a main meal like lunch or dinner). Choose 4 or 5 types of treats, co-ordinating them by colour to your theme. The impact is purely in the table arrangement - use bowls, plates and containers at various heights for a gorgeous display. Honestly, “less” treats really can be “more”, and parents will be grateful for less sugar.
Tip: Use cupcake cups to serve fruit in similar colour tones to your party theme.
4. Have a photo booth!
Making memories is really the aim of the game, and what child doesn’t love having their photo taken. Set up an area with a backdrop (a simple sheet or some streamers will do) and include some themed props (even some empty large frames are fun!).
Tip: Polaroids make a cute party keepsake. If you don’t have access to a Polaroid camera use your phone, and send the parents a link to all the photos so the kids can see all the fun! You’ll find that parents will generally take their own kid’s photo’s at the booth too.
5. Make the Favours Count!
How often have you come home from a sugar-laden party, just to have your child open up their party bag and devour more sugary treats?
The party bags can be so much more than a “necessary evil”, make the favours count!
The favour bags themselves could be a lovely little jar, or the results of a Treasure Hunt, memorable keepsakes in the party theme (like themed hair clips/bracelets/mini sticker books/lego pieces), little spa kit for a spa party.
For a previous Fairy party, we bought a package of DIY foam fairies and divvied up the pieces so that each child took home a little “kit” to assemble their own fairy at home. So lovely to prolong the party even after the guests have gone home!
Tip: Consider a small sealed bag of jelly babies (good for any age group) and party themed “usable” items. It’s a shame to waste dollars on cheap trinkets that just end up in the garbage.
Don't do it alone! Be sure to pull in reinforcements in the form of family members, siblings or good friends. Delegating small tasks or ownership of things like drinks, heating food or nail painting can take a lot of stress off your plate.
Above all else, have fun and don't sweat the small stuff. In the end, you're creating happy memories for your little ones, you can't really go wrong with a few pretty things, cake and good friends!
The LSE Team
PS. Watch this space for more party ideas, coming soon!!