Twelve years ago I threw my first kids birthday party. I remember saying to my husband who may have been questioning the magnitude of said party that part of the fun of having kids is throwing birthday parties for them. I still think that to this day. I love the process of choosing a theme, staying up late to finish decorating, choosing the perfect party invitation, frosting cupcakes, etc. Kids parties can be stressful with so many different details but if you have a plan and stay organized it doesn’t have to be.
The first thing I like to do is decide on a theme. I try to incorporate that theme into several different aspects throughout the party. Some basics are:
I don’t necessary do all of these things at every party but it’s nice to have a guide to go by and change it up as needed.
Now it’s time to make a guest list and choose your invitations! I’m so excited to work with our sponsor, Basic Invite, to share this information with you today! I’m a little obsessed with paper goods: invitations, Christmas cards, business cards, anything with pretty paper I love!
Invitations are the perfect way to introduce the theme of your party to your guests. Most likely, it’ll end up on the fridge. And at my house a beautiful invitation will stay up well past the date of the party.
Basic invite is one of my favorite places for online invitations. With almost unlimited color options you’re sure to find the perfect invitation for your party! Once you select a design, you can easily change the color of each element on the card and preview it instantly. With over 180 colors to choose from, your invitation is sure to be exactly how you want it. They not only have awesome kids party invitations. You can choose from, wedding, graduation, baby shower, 30th invitations and so much more!
It’s also one of the few websites that will let you order a printed sample of your invitation before you place your final order. You can see first hand the amazing paper quality, see how it will print and make sure it’s perfect before you order.
All of the envelopes are peel and seal so they can be closed quickly and securely. And with over 40 different envelope colors you can easily find the perfect match for your invitation.
And here’s my favorite part, because with three kids life is busy and I need all the help I can get. They have an address capturing service that allows you to share a link on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other social media to request your friends and family’s addresses. The addresses are stored in your account and can be selected during the design process. Plus they offer recipient address printing at no cost on all card orders. Major time saver!
They have a sale going on right now for 15% off with coupon code: 15FF51. With all the expenses of a party it’s always nice to save a little money!
Location, Location, Location
Now that you’ve decided on who you’re going to invite and how you’re going to invite them, you can appropriately determine where you are going to host!
Having your event at home is a great option especially if the guest list is small. We have done many parties – both big and small at our house, but I’ve come to the conclusion that if we’re having a large number of children it’s much easier and less stressful to go somewhere else.
Parks are an inexpensive place to have a party with plenty of great energy escaping activities for the kids. And park shelters are inexpensive to rent. The down side is you have to haul all your decorations and food to the location but it’s worth it to come home to a house that hasn’t been hit by the toddler tornado! Just make sure you have a back up plan in case of rain.
Kids gyms, bounce houses, indoor pools etc… are all great places you can go to no matter what season it is and the entertainment is all taken care of for you. You can personalize these types of parties by adding printables to favor bags, cupcake toppers and water bottle labels. And you skip the hassle of planning games and cleaning up.
Minimize the Chaos
If you have decided to have your party somewhere other than your home chances are the entertainment part is already taken care of at the venue. If you are having it at home you will want to think of one or two organized activities to keep the kids entertained. Obviously, if you have a party with a bunch of one year olds having some toys easily accessible is really all it takes. But if the kids are older you will want to think of an age appropriate activity to keep them entertained.
Once my kids were about three they started choosing the theme of their party with a little help from me. We chose based on what they were interested in at the time and the activity or activities went along with that. You could hire outside entertainment to come in or have an activity set up at a table all ready for kids to work on when they arrive. I try not to let the parties drag on forever because I know kids attention spans are short and parents have other things they need to do on a weekend.
I have found that, depending on the activity about 30-45 minutes is a good time frame. Then if you allow 20-30 minutes for eating, plus cake, presents and a little free time you’ve got yourself about a 2 hour party which is typically around the time frame I try to keep them.
Onto refreshments! If you’re having the party during meal time the less you have to do the better. You don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen cooking during the whole party. Pizza, hot dogs or sandwiches are all kid friendly options that won’t break the bank. If you want to spend a little extra you could have something catered in that the kids enjoy.
Even if you don’t have your party during a scheduled meal it’s always a good idea to provide a little snack. Maybe some fruit cups with yogurt or popcorn trail mix. Maybe the kids were too excited about the party to eat a good lunch? You don’t want a bunch of hungry little kids running amuck do you? =)
For drinks I find it easier to provide the kids with individual juice boxes, mini water bottles or cups with cute paper straws set at their seat and have a beverage station set up for parents with a couple options for them to choose from. Add some cute printable paper wraps to the water bottles and attach a paper straw with washi tape. Don’t forget to label that sweet tea!
What’s in it for me?
It’s customary these days to send the guests home with a little party favor to thank them for attending. I’ve done everything from custom t-shirts to candy bags. I try to provide a favor that goes with the theme of the party somehow. A cute water bottle or jump rope for a gymnastics party or a paint set for an art party. Maybe a cute sugar cookie packaged up in a clear bag and wrapped with twine. Don’t forget to attach a thank you tag to it!
Sometimes I make the activity they are doing go double duty as the favor. If the kids are making a craft of some sort they get to take that home as part of their favor. Tutus for ballerinas or the painting they created at an art party.
I think whatever the favor they are just excited they get to take something home!
Most importantly, try not to stress about it! The kids will enjoy it even if the house isn’t perfectly clean or the cake is made from a box.
And don’t forget to order your invitations before the sale is over! Everything is 15% off through the end of the month with coupon code: 15FF51.