I adore kids’ parties and wrote this ultimate party guide to help you plan your own ultimate party! Let me help you from working out your theme, decorations, loot bags, timelines, and more. I believe that kids will remember their parties and not their presents – so there you have it – permission to go over the top!
DECIDE ON YOUR PARTY DETAILS
Time And Date Of Your Party
I think an ideal time for a kid’s party is in the afternoon because it gives you more time to set up the party on the day, plus you’ll only need to serve drinks, snacks, treats, and a cake. If you decide to have your party over lunch or dinner you will need to serve more substantial food.
The ideal length of time for a kids party is 2-3 hours long. Two hours for younger children and three hours for older children.
Before you set the date check that your child’s best friend and anyone else important to the birthday child can attend.
Decide On Your Venue For Your Party
I love home parties but they are a lot of work. Party venues can save you a lot of hassle, but they can also be expensive and impersonal. Also, you’ll need to check they can host the number of kids you intend to invite. Another option could be at a park, but you need to factor in the weather and have a backup plan.
Decide on the best venue for you, based on your theme, budget, number of invitees, and your stress level.
DECIDE ON YOUR PARTY THEME
Start researching what theme you are going to create by setting up a Pinterest board to gather all your inspiration. Look for any ideas you love, this includes color schemes, decorations, cakes, table layout, food options, loot bags, games, etc. Here is a board I created for an Alice in Wonderland party click here.
If you don’t have any themes in mind start by searching for girls or boys parties, first birthday parties, parties for tweens etc.
The more time you spend on researching your theme, the more easily you will narrow down exactly what you love and want to do for your party.
SEND OUT YOUR PARTY INVITATIONS
Now you have a theme, time and date, it’s time to create and send out your invites.
Work out your guest list. Remembering the more kids you invite the more expensive it will get, especially if you have chosen to go with a party venue.
You can buy invites from places like target, design your own, buy a premade design from somewhere like Etsy or send out an e-invite.
Send your invitations around four weeks before the party and ask for the RSVPs a week out from the party. You need to know who can make the party before making up the loot bags and any other items that might depend on numbers.
FOOD AND DRINKS FOR YOUR PARTY
Decide what food and drinks you plan to serve. What will you put on your dessert table? Is your party over lunchtime? Are you ordering food? Are you baking cookies, cupcakes and the cake? What drinks will you provide? Do you want to have a drink dispenser? What glasses will you use? Do you want to label these so kids know, whose is whose?
Factor in how much time you will have and how much of the food preparation you want to do yourself. Don’t be shy to ask for help from friends and family.
Tip: The younger the kids the more likely the parents will stay for the duration of the party, so factor this in and have adult nibbles and drinks at hand.
ACTIVITIES FOR YOUR PARTY
Work out what activities you would like to do at the party, depending on how long your party is, the more activities you will need. Don’t forget kids are also just happy to play and entertain themselves for some of the time.
Hiring an entertainer can be a great option especially if there is one that works well with your theme. This is absolutely not necessary but it can be a great option if the budget allows.
Decide if you will have prizes. Will everyone get a prize or just the winners of games? Have a few extra prizes set aside in case kids turn up that didn’t rsvp (yes I have had this happen) or for siblings of guests that end up joining in.
DECORATIONS FOR YOUR PARTY
Decorations pull the theme of your party together. Work out from your Pinterest board what decorations you want to include. You don’t need to decorate the whole area of the party, but a good start is a couple of feature areas. I always focus on my desert table and a spot to take nice photos of the birthday child with their guests. Then you can scatter a few decorations around to pull it all together.
A great desert table starts with a tablecloth, various treats, drinks, loot bags, and the cake which is always the feature. Consider how you will display everything, I like to stick to white plates and cake stands, and have slowly collected them over the years. Place the treats on the plates nicely, I find less is more, rather than putting too many items on one plate, plan to top up the treats during the party.
Tip: I always like my cake to sit as high as possible. Try putting your cake and cake stand on top of a box to get extra height.
I know I shouldn’t have favourites, but I can’t help it, loot bags are my favourite!
Loot bags are such an easy and effective way to incorporate your theme. Start by deciding what you want to put in them, and it doesn’t have to be all candy. Then find a bag or container that is the right size to fit everything in.
I just love making cute little things to go in the goodie bags. Above is a pic of some cute little matchbox bunnies I made for my daughters Alice In Wonderland party. For another example of my loot bags click here
Tip: Loot bags make a great addition to your dessert table if you need help filling it up.
TIMELINE FOR YOUR PARTY
Work out your timeline for the party.
Start by allowing at least 15 minutes for everyone to arrive, and then 30 minutes at the end, to do the cake and take group photos.
Add to your timeline the activities, time to eat and drink, and opening presents if this is something you want to do during the party.
Tip: On the day of the party set an alarm on your phone for when you’d like to do the cake. You will be amazed how time will fly by on the day.
CREATE AN ACTION PLAN FOR YOUR PARTY
Put your ideas down on paper, although what needs to be done might seem obvious, it is the best way to remember everything, it will also allow you to prioritise what elements you want to include, and what is nice to do if there is time.
Your Party Action Plan Should Include:
- Who is invited (tick them off as they RSVP)
- Food and drinks
- Cake (don’t forget the candles and matches)
- Shopping List
FINAL TIPS FOR AN ULTIMATE KIDS PARTY
You cannot be too prepared. Aim to do as much as you can before the day of the party.
Be realistic and don’t over commit to doing too much. If you have a very big list of what you want to achieve, the earlier you get started the more likely you are to get through it all.
Remember to take photos, um yes, I don’t have a lot of photos of my daughter’s first birthday.
Good luck and please leave a comment if you found this post helpful or to let me know how you went with your own ultimate kids’ party!