Throwing a birthday party for your child can be a piece of cake with some simple preparation and a few creative ideas.
Farmyard animals, live entertainment and a guest list a mile long - creating the perfect birthday party for your child doesn't have to blow your budget. In fact, it's the simple things that are likely to make the party a roaring success. A magical and memorable day where the little ones are kept busy and your birthday boy or girl is smiling ear to ear can be easy to achieve with a few easy tips.
1. Decide upon the location
So your little one wants a party... what next? First think about the best place to have it. Will it be a big party with lots of children running around or a small one, which is generally easier to supervise? Based on numbers, consider whether it's best to have an outdoor party, for example in a park or at the local swimming pool, or a party at home. The benefit of having an outdoor party is that there's lots of space for the kids to run around, enjoy nature and with a bit of luck a bright sunny day as welli. The downside, however, is that it might be difficult to keep the kids in one area, which could be a cause for safety concerns.
A party at home can be a great alternative where you won't have to worry about people taking the best BBQ spot or the shade under the tree. At home, you can set up food, decorations and games in advance, and have peace of mind knowing it's an environment where you can easily keep things in check. You should of course take a childproofing tour beforehand, checking under furniture for hazardous items and ensure appropriate adult supervision throughout the party.
2. Let the birthday boy or girl decide on a theme
It's their party and they'll cry if they want to, so it's best you let them decide on the theme. Whether they want to be a mermaid in the ocean, an astronaut in space, or a lion in the jungle, the party can become their scene of choice with a few simple decorations, themed food and inexpensive costumes.
3. Send out invites and plan activities
Once you've settled upon a manageable number of guests, it's time to get cracking on the invites. Make personalised invites with your child from a template and decorate them with fun materials like glitter glue, crepe paper and stickers. This activity will encourage their creativity and involve them in the planning processii.
While you're at it, why not discuss the types of games and activities that will be held at the party. Find out what games your child wants to play and think of how the activity can work with the theme. Party classics like musical chairs and statues, pin the tail on the donkey (which of course can be changed to fit the theme), the chocolate game, treasure hunt, pass the parcel and a piñata can keep kids entertained for hours.
Craft activities are also an option and can give the children something to take home as a memento of the party. For example, decorating cupcakes or biscuits with icing and lollies is a fun and delicious way to keep the kids occupied. Colouring in and decorating templates that fit the theme is also a great idea; magical 'wands' made from paper star cut-outs attached to straws are bound to delight a party full of costumed fairy princesses and wizards.
Getting creative outside is just as easy as it is indoors with a simple, fun and yet educational activity. One activity to try out is tie-dying; all you need is a number of plain white t-shirts, which can be bought for next to nothing, a variety of dyes, rubber bands and gloves, and buckets to soak the shirts in. This inexpensive activity can open the kids' eyes to the wonders of tie-dye as they experiment with colours and patterns.
As it gets closer to the date, it's time to start thinking of fun and colourful decorations, like fairy lights, streamers, paper-chains, confetti and party hats. If there's no specific theme for the party, decorate in your child's favourite colours. Visit your local arts and crafts store, shop online to find decorations, or make them at home with your child - there are plenty of inspiration ideas online.
5. Snacks and cake
Last but definitely not least, the food should not only be tasty but also entertaining. Colourful, themed and non-messy (if possible!) food will keep the kids happy and full. Finger food like fairy bread, chips, mini sandwiches, frankfurters, sausage rolls, carrot and celery sticks, and fruit skewers are just some party food favouritesii. Try to leave out a mix of healthy and sweet food. Serve the food in a creative way to entice the kids: colourful platters, creatively shaped food, and themed plates and cups will make eating part of the fun!
The birthday cake is often the most memorable part of the party, so make sure it's a good one! You can order a themed cake from a local cake shop or bake your own at home. Cake tins in all shapes and sizes can be found online as well as recipes, decorating ideas and templates. If you want to reduce the mess when it comes to the cake - why not try cake pops? Cake pops are just like lollipops except with cake! They combine cake, frosting and chocolate all into one bite-sized ball of deliciousness and can be decorated in any way to fit the theme of the party. Since they're the new craze, you'll be able to find plenty of cake pop recipes and tips online.
Finally, prepare party bags for the kids to take home - add fun or useful items that you can pick up from discount variety or party supply shops, such as yo-yos, stickers, bouncing balls, planting seeds, as well as an assortment of treatsii.