Amelia will be turning two in April! I think around this time last year or even sooner I started planning her first birthday party. This year I won't be doing anything big or over the top, I wanted to go all out for her first birthday but this year I will be keeping it simple.
Planning a birthday party doesn't have to be stressful! First of all you need to decide on a theme, once you are set on that it's pretty straight forward! You can search on websites like Pinterest for inspiration for theme ideas. Kids will be happy with a small party as long as they are made to feel special and have a fun time. However even a simple party requires planning and the sooner you start organising, the earlier the excitement begins and leaving you will let work to do on the day itself.
Its advisable to start planning at least 6 weeks before the big day, you can do this by scheduling your party to-do's week by week and keeping a diary.
Here are a few tips to help you along the way:
1. Set a budget
First things first, decide on a budget and stick to it! It's always best to have a rough idea in your head so you don't over spend. Work out how much you are planning on spending on each thing. For example the venue, food/drink, invitations, party bags and party entertainment.
2. Choose a theme
If the birthday child is old enough they will most likely have ideas about the kind of party they want. Let your child pick the theme, they could help with shopping and decorating as well as with the food on the day. If it's your child's first or second birthday they most likely won't be able to express what theme they'd like so many parents either choose their favourite cartoon character or go for something a bit different for example a builders theme, a pink and girly theme or even a ice cream theme the options are endless.
3. Choose a venue - home, local hall?
Next you need to decide on a venue for the party, it will need to be big enough for the amount of guests you intent to turn up. If you are only have a small get together a party at home is usually the most suitable and cheaper option. Also your child will feel more comfortable at home on their own turf and you will know where to find everything. However many bigger party can be held at your local community centre or hall, play centre, or a local park if the weather is nice..
4. When to have it?
Most parties are at the weekend as the majority of people don't work and the kids are off school. Try to schedule parties for young children when they will be at their best so neither too sleepy or hungry. After nap time works well for toddlers so perhaps early afternoon. Also don't feel like you need to entertain for hours, a toddler party is best kept to an hour and a half and then anywhere from two to three hours is plenty for older kids.
5. Invitations/Choose who's coming
Plan who's coming. Make sure your venue is big enough for the amount of guests. Decide whether its a family or friend party or a mixture of both. Write out invitations about 6 weeks in advance to give guests enough notice so they can RSVP in time.
6. Food and drink
Here are some ideas of foods to serve at a kids party. It's always best to serve simple food, which are easy to serve, eat and clean up. Prepare and cut a selection of sandwiches, serve snack type foods in creative containers and be creative with food. There's no need to go overboard with the food, but do ensure you have extras just incase. Always hand out paper plates and cups as it saves time cleaning up afterwards!
7. Party supplies
Pick up your party supplies in plenty of time, you can usually get good bargains on eBay full of packs with themed plates, cups, banners, napkins, balloons etc. Have people help you set up the night before and then do the remaining in the morning. Party bags don't need to be expensive, you can have a sweet table and guests help themselves to sweets when they leave or for toddlers you could make up little bags full of little treats and toys. You could also get some name badges made so everyone knows each other's name, this is usually a good idea if its a younger kids party.
You may wish to hire an entertainer for example to make balloons or even a kids entertainer. Do shop around as some of them can be ridiculously expensive. If you would rather not hire an entertainer then a simple cd player and some kids cd's will do perfectly fine. Decide on some games for example pin the donkey, pass the parcel and hide and seek.
Now relax! Enjoy the big day and don't stress!You might also like:
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