Planning a birthday party for your kids can be overwhelming and stressful, especially if you don’t have a plan. You might be thinking to yourself: where do I start, the decorations or the food? If you’re stressed about planning the party, it’s likely you might forget some key parts of the party.
Luckily, following steps can make it a whole lot easier – and fun. Here are the seven steps to planning the perfect birthday party for your kid!
1. Choose a Theme
The first step to planning a kid’s birthday party is choosing a theme. While not all parties have to have a theme, it’s encouraged to think of one to make the party more unique and align with your child’s interests. Think about your child’s favorite activity or movie as a starting place. These can make great party themes. Other areas to think about when choosing a theme are favorite places to visit, toys, or characters they look up to. Some themes will be easier to find party accessories for, more than others, but it makes for a good opportunity to get creative and get the whole family involved in the brainstorming process!
If you’re having trouble figuring out a theme your child will love, here are some popular party ideas to consider for your kid’s birthday party:
- Video Games
- Favorite movie or TV show
2. Determine the Guest List & Send Invitations
The next step is to determine who you’re inviting and then to send out invitations. While this may seem like a fairly easy step, it can actually be rather difficult. The best way to decide who is on the guest list is to determine a budget and how many children can come within that budget. This makes it easier to start choosing the main guests, such as close family and friends. From there, if there is some wiggle room, go ahead and add others. Also, some parties may be for friends only and others may be a family party. It’s important to know what kind of party you want before you make your guest list.
Things to consider when making a guest list are:
1. How many guests does your budget allow?
2. How big or small you prefer it to be.
3. Will the party be for your kid’s friends or only family members?
4. Does the party venue or your house have enough space for all the guests you want to invite?
It’s also important to determine what kind of invitations you want to use for the party.
Three invitation types to consider are:
1. Store-bought: Store-bought birthday invitations will be fairly cheap, however, there are a limited number of options. There may not be invitations available that suit your party theme if you do choose to have one.
2. Custom made: Custom made invitations can be made on a number of different invitation-making websites. You can make the exact invitation you want with design, color, and theme. However, these tend to be a little more expensive than store-bought invitations.
3. DIY: Sometimes with custom made invitations, they may not have what you’re looking for in their options. Making DIY invitations will give you the exact invitation you want and at a fraction of the price of custom made invitations. You do, however, have to make these yourself, which can be time-consuming but also a ton of fun!
3. Pick the Location
There are plenty of great places to have a kid’s party, but there are also many things to take into consideration before deciding on a location. The first thing you should decide is if you’ll throw the party at home or if you want to hire a venue. Throwing a party at home can sometimes save money (other times more once you add it all up), but most party venues include things like games, activities, take pictures, plus set up and clean up, which can save a lot of time and stress. A party at home can also make it impossible for you and your family to enjoy the party and spend time with the birthday boy/girl because you are busy hosting and getting things ready for the next activity. Hiring a venue that includes a host will allow you to relax and take in the special moments.
If you choose to go with a venue, it’s important to take into consideration the season and weather. Both of these will determine where your party will take place. If your child has a winter birthday, an outside venue isn’t the best idea, but a climate-controlled venue with indoor party rooms would be a great option. As a tip, it can be important to choose a venue that has indoor and outdoor areas available, in case of unexpected weather.
Once you determine the type of venue, there are a few more decisions to make.
1. Budget: It’s smart to set a budget because this can help eliminate options out of your price range.
2. Private or public: Some will be private party venues and others public (this means more than one party might be going on in the same room). Private venues are the safer choice because there’s no chance a child will run away or get lost in another party, but public venues could offer lower prices.
3. Age: Lastly, check age requirements for venues. Your child might be too old or not old enough for some venues due to rides or activities they offer, so it’s important to check the limits before reserving.
4. Order Food
The next step is ordering food. Most parents might think this is simple, however, there are many allergies and dietary restrictions that you should be aware of before feeding other parents’ children.
Before deciding on your food for the party, it’s important to ask yourself these questions:
1. Do any of the guests have food allergies or dietary restrictions?
2. Do I need to provide options for different dietary restrictions?
3. What time should the food be ordered for?
If you answered yes to the first two questions, it’s smart to contact the parents who have children requiring a specialized diet. If you have food in mind, for example, pizza, ask their parents if their child can have dairy or certain types of meat usually found on pizza. If they say no, ask them what food is safe for their child to eat. This will ensure all the children will be able to safely eat food and not feel left out.
Can’t forget about your dessert too! Because who doesn’t want to end a great party on a sweet note. You can do cake or cupcakes – cupcakes are so much easier to manage plus you can have two flavors while most single tier cakes are only one flavor. Just be sure to have the birthday kiddos favorite flavor.
Ordering the food in advance for a certain time will also prevent delays. If you call ahead by a week or at least a few days to order your birthday party food, this ensures that it will be ready at the proper time.
5. Purchase (or Make) Decor & Party Favors
If your party is at a rented venue, there’s a good chance that they will decorate for you – and might even supply party favors. However, if you need to supply favors and decorate yourself, you can do that a couple of different ways.
Buy decorations/party favors
- Birthday banner/sign
Make decorations/party favors
- Birthday banner/sign
- Party hats
- Other DIY decorations
Making decorations can save you some money and let you get creative with your theme, but some decorations will have to be purchased, such as balloons or party horns. If you have less time, buying is a great option, just a bit more costly.
6. Choose & Gather Materials for Games
Whether your birthday party is at a venue or at your house, it’s important to pick out some fun games to entertain your guests!
There are plenty of party games to choose from, but before deciding on which games to pick, take into account the age of the kids and make sure the games are suitable for them. It’s also important to choose games that are designed for a group of children to play. You wouldn’t want to pick out a game that would leave out half of the party guests.
Where your party is located can have an effect on which games you play too. For example, if the party will be at a jump park, there probably isn’t room to bring a game that requires a large setup – stick to games that don’t need materials or little materials. Also, keep in mind the amount of effort it will take to set games up.
Lastly, it’s important to supervise the kids while playing games to make sure no one gets hurt or nothing gets out of hand.
7. Create a Checklist for the Day Of
Creating a checklist for the party can help ensure you don’t forget anything the day of. Here’s a list of five helpful things to put on a checklist to make sure you have everything ready!
- You know the number of guests
- Food is ordered and will arrive at the correct time
- Decorations are set up
- Games are set up
- Party favors are ready
Of course, not all of this has to go on your checklist and you might include other things as well, but it’s a great starting place to make sure everything is ready.
These seven steps will help you plan the best birthday party for your kid and your wallet! While these steps can be a good outline for you and your family, make sure to do what works best for you and reach out to party planners for any extra advice.
To learn more about party planning, visit Pump It Up’s birthday party page.