When To Start Planning
1) Begin the party planning process 6 to 8 weeks prior to the party date. At least 8 weeks if you plan to have live entertainment, because entertainment can book fast in some areas. If you're not hiring a performer than 6 weeks is enough time. Using these time frames will give you plenty of time to plan the party without being rushed which equals less stress.
2) Send invitations out at least 4 weeks prior to the party.
Give your guests plenty of time to put your party on their calendar
without making them feel like you're making them commit months in
3) Plan your party start time around the age of your child. Young children such as preschool age to kindergarten will do better with a morning start time around 10:30/11. This will help minimize melt downs as the kids will be less cranky.
You can do an afternoon party with young children, but have the party finish no later than 4pm. The later it gets the more likely you are going to see melt downs and temper tantrums.
The older the age group the later the party can end but we wouldn't recommend an evening party for kids until they reach their early teens.
4) Another helpful kids Party Planning Tip is to always pick a theme. A theme serves as a blueprint to planning your party. Once you have the theme you know what direction to go, what types of items to seek and the overall tone of your party. Without a theme the party will be a miss-mash of disjointed ideas. ALWAYS PICK A THEME! Then move on to the party decorations.
5) When using a theme (which you should always do) don't go overboard. A great way to incorporate a theme at a children's party is through the 100's of products made specifically for children's theme parties. You should absolutely incorporate some of these items into your party decor through the use of plates, cups, napkins tablecloths, centerpieces, balloons and more, but be sure to edit. Using to many of these products can be overwhelming. We suggest if you're using themed plates, cups and napkins then use a solid color tablecloth that matches your theme. For instance the Barbie color is bright pink so a bright pink tablecloth would be perfect.
6) Balloons are the perfect
party decoration! Balloons fill up a party space and make everything
look festive. If you can only afford 1 party decoration purchase
7) Remember to always get your child’s input. After all it is about him or her. Giving your child an opportunity to have some input makes your child feel involved and proud when their ideas are incorporated into the party.
8) Don't go overboard on food at a kids party. Children are more interested in the games and activities then the food. Easy food items are best such as sandwiches, hot dogs and pizza.
You can also incorporate your theme into the food, such as dinosaur nuggets
at a dinosaur party! Or add a fun element such as a cotton candy machine, ice cream bar or candy buffet.
9) Have plenty of activities. There is nothing worse then a party full of kids and nothing to do. Kids won't sit still so if you don't provide something for them to do they will find something to do and it probably will not be what you want them doing. So, plan activities and don't have long waits between activities.
Crafts are always a good choice. Crafts take up a good chunk of time and keep kids interested. Story time works with young children, but make sure the story is based around your theme. Physical activity is always great provided you have the space. Kids need to burn off energy so if you have the space for things like treasure hunts, races or bouncy house (to name a few) you should incorporate them.
10) When incorporating party games keep in mind no child should go home empty handed. If the games have a win/lose element then make sure you have some games where everyone wins. Like a treasure hunt where each child keeps what they find. Or a pinata where all the kids get something.
11) Kids love goody bags, but it's not necessary to spend a lot of money on favors. Kids love the idea of a goody bag. A successful goody bag should have candy and a few trinkets that reflect your theme.
12) When planning live entertainment keep in mind your age group. Don't plan a 45 minute puppet show for toddlers because their attention span will not allow them to sit still that long. For toddlers plan several shorter activities such as sing alongs and dancing.
13) After age 5 you may want to consider all boy or all girl parties. Around age 6 girls are going to want to do different activities than boys. If you choose not to have an all boy or girl party then choose activities that both genders will like such as magic shows, relay races and treasurer hunts.
14) Don't think you have to be the most original party planner in the neighborhood. It is OK to repeat games you saw played at parties your kids attended. The party is for the kids and if they enjoyed the game at a friends party they'll enjoy it at yours.
15) Have plenty of help. An active kids party can be a lot for one person to monitor so enlist the help of others. This way your helper can conduct an activity while you do something else. Also have enough people so that the children are monitored at all times. Remember you can't be in two places at once so ask for help.
16) A great kids party planning tip is to stay organized. The only way to avoid stress when planning an event is to be organized. Keep a checklist of what you have completed and what needs to be done. This will keep you sane.Check out our comprehensive and easy to use Party Planning Checklist.
Do you have a great Party Tip you'd like to share? We'd love to hear it!