You’re buried at work, you sit on two committees at school and the kids have seemingly a thousand activities. And, oh crap, you need to plan a birthday party for your first-born. Instead of banging your head against the wall and having to clean your house, pick up the phone and leave the party planning to somebody else who will gladly host your kid and his friends.
Location, Location, Location
Birthday parties are big business these days. Back in the day, your parents invited Grandma, Grandpa and a few cousins over to the house and called it a birthday party. These days, birthday parties are events–and the really cool ones are away from the house. This is good news for you since a bunch of rowdy kids won’t be trashing your abode.
Where to Go
Bowling alleys, gymnastics centers and zoos offer birthday party packages. Those pizza joints that boast games and rides live for kids’ birthday parties–all you do is show up, and let the kids run wild. Minor league baseball games provide entertainment for sports-minded kids. Hair and nail salons cater to fashionistas. Museums or paint-your-own-pottery shops draw the artistic crowd. If all else fails, select your favorite playground for the party site.
Before You Book It
Take into account the age and interests of the birthday boy and his party guests. Younger kids will need to burn some energy, so consider an active party. If your birthday girl and her friends are quiet, a salon or pottery party may fit the bill. Find out how many children the location can accommodate. If your child wants to invite his whole class to the party, a gymnastics center with a 15-child limit may not work. Cost is always a factor as well, so make sure you can afford it (of course, the price for not having to do any of the work may be well worth it). Ask what’s included in the cost. Some locations provide cake, ice cream and paper products while others provide a full meal. Book your location at least two months in advance as the more popular sites fill up quickly.
While a five-hour off-site birthday party would be a nice break for you, it’s not likely going to happen. The location you choose may have a time limit, since it may book back-to-back parties. If there is no time limit, an optimal party time is one hour for kids 3 and younger (be sure to schedule it around nap time), 90 minutes for kids 4 to 7 and two hours or longer for older kids, suggests the Birthday in a Box website. If you don’t want to pay for or provide a meal, schedule the party away from lunch or dinner time.
With an off-site party, it’s imperative to put the address and phone number of the business on the invitation. Indicate whether it’s a drop-off party and the exact start and end times. If the parents must stay, make sure you cover their costs, too. Enclose any liability forms the location may require so parents can fill them out ahead of time. Give yourself enough time for RSVPs because you’ll likely need to let the business know in advance how many kids will be attending.
- zoo image by danimages from Fotolia.com