Stick to the basics when you throw a kid’s party. Kids can be entertained with a theme party with traditional activities such as playing games, eating cake and watching the guest of honor open gifts.
Set the budget for the party, which will provide guidance for planning the party. The budget will determine where you can have the party, how many guests will be invited and what kind of food, invitations and decorations you can have.
Pick a party theme and incorporate it into the invitation design, the tablecloth, the plates, games and the menu. Use colors related to the the theme. Themes can be related to sports, transportation, fantasy, animals and birthday milestones. A person’s first, 13th and 16th birthdays are all milestones, and the number can be the theme (see Resources section).
Make a guest list. This can include friends from school, neighborhood friends, relatives or a combination of these people. Decide if the party will be mostly for children or if adults will also be invited.
Mail out invitations at least a month in advance of the party. If you will be serving pizza or other filling foods, include that information on the invitation. Request that guests RSVP. Also be clear if parents are invited to stay or if you need some parents to help supervise the kids.
Make or purchase party favors and decorations that match the theme. Small sticker books, coloring books, medium-sized bouncing balls, cars, dolls and play figurines that go with the theme all are good party favors.
Decorate the mailbox with balloons or a sign. Add streamers and set up a festive table with a themed tablecloth, a centerpiece and place settings. Set up a second table for gifts.
Arrange furniture indoors to make room for games that are age appropriate and related to the party’s theme. Set up outdoor games if the weather is good. Remove any valuable items from the room and tuck in wires and other hazards, especially if some of the party guests are particularly young. Lawn bowling, a scavenger hunt and relay races are popular games for a kid’s party.
Make food and snacks that are healthy and can be easily prepared. Make a fruit salad and put it in individual cups. Make sandwiches with whole wheat bread and hummus, ham spread or chicken spread, and use a cookie cutter to shape the sandwiches. Set out individual-sized cups of applesauce that can be used as a dip for sweet potato fries or chicken nuggets.
Allow for some free playtime and time for guests to get acquainted. Play games. Serve food and then the cake. Organize gift-giving time and keep track of who gave what.
- Get phone numbers of parents who are dropping off kids in case of an emergency or if a child wants to leave early.