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Everything You Need to Know to Throw a Fantastic Kids Birthday Party

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

It's not easy when it comes to kids birthday parties. The venue, date and time, invitees, the big birthday cake, the food, decorations, entertainment.... and on and on and on.... and of course, we busy mamas want and end up doing it all! 

So, I thought I'd share with you some of my creative ideas over the past few years...

Most importantly, you need to decide if you're going to make a big birthday celebration this year. The general rule of thumb is: 1st birthday is a big one to celebrate, 2nd, 3rd, 4th are optional, then 5th and 10th birthdays are big milestones, and then the sweet 16th of course. Although, between ages 5 and 10 kids are old enough to really understand what birthdays are all about, so they will want their party every year! Now if you decide to celebrate the 'optional' birthdays for one child, I recommend to do the same for the other children, otherwise they will get jealous. And, if you think about it, it wouldn't be fair otherwise. Now that we got the big decision out of the way, let's talk about the fun stuff!

Decorations....
First, you need to pick a theme for your child's birthday party. If you are not very artsy and don't like to spend to much time on being creative, I recommend checking out the theme ideas from the big party stores, such as Partycity; that way, it will be easy to find or make matching decorations for your child's birthday party. I'm suggesting to buy the minimum and for the rest DIY to save some money.

Common birthday party themes for which you can easily shop:
  • 1st Birthday: Minnie Mouse, Mickey Mouse, Sesame Street, Elmo, Disney Princess, Disney Cars, Firefighter, Farmhouse Fun
Other unique birthday ideas include: Lion King, Pirate party, Fairy Garden party, Little Chefs, Art party, Animal Jungle, Hello Kitty, Frozen, Super Heroes, Dr. Seuss, Winnie the Pooh, Ladybug, Baby Einstein, Peter Rabbit

Really, you can go with anything. For instance this year, for my son's 3rd birthday, the theme was 'Puss in Boots'. He is absolutely crazy about that cartoon, so I had to be very creative when it came to decorations. What I usually do is set up a big table in the main room of the house and decorate it MASSIVELY to create the visual effects of the chosen theme. Then, I would hang or set up smaller decorations throughout the first floor of the house (that's where the party is happening) to keep up with the chosen theme.


What you will need to buy will depend on the theme you've chosen. But, in most cases, you want to buy the plastic cutlery, paper plates, paper cups, balloons (not necessarily helium filled), invites (to be mailed, dropped off or emailed) and loot bags. The rest you can DIY!

For invitations, I always use evites. There are a lot of themes from which you can choose at www.punchbowl.com, and it's FREE! For more unique themes, I use www.uPRINTinvitations.com; a nice customized evite usually costs $10-$15.

Punchbowl sample evite




Also, on Punchbowl you can find many great ideas for your theme birthday party.

uPRINTinvitations sample evite



The Venue....
There are several options available to you: 
  • Home
  • Party Room
  • Indoor Playground
  • Restaurant or Banquet Hall
  • Farm
  • Firestation (if you're thinking of a firefighter theme)
  • Outdoors: Park or Cottage (if you own one)

Date and Time...
I recommend Saturday or Sunday after nap time, so usually at 4pm or 5pm.

Food...
Your options are: 
  • Cook everything yourself (my personal favourite because you can decorate a lot with food)
  • Mama cooks, Papa BBQs:)
  • Take out (all or some of the food)
  • Catering (if you're celebrating at a restaurant or a banquet hall, or a party room)
  • Party Platters - great for indoor playgrounds together with pizza or for home
Also, for buffet style food station and drinks, I recommend setting these at opposite ends, i.e. food at one end and drinks at the other, to avoid high traffic and long waits for your guest.

Here are some creative DYI food decorating ideas...
Why not serve healthy and pretty snacks?
Lemon as toothpick collector - so you don't end up with toothpicks all over your tables, seats and the floor!
Birthday Cake...
  • Bake it yourself and buy candles or buy all 
I prefer to bake it myself or ask my mother in law to do it:), especially if you're throwing the party at home; it tastes so much better and you can get creative with the decorations yourself to save some money!

Check out this cool 'Treasure Chest Pirate' cake recipe!
http://www.canadianfamily.ca/recipe/pirates-treasure-chest-cake/

Entertainment...
Unfortunately, this is what's going to cost you the big bucks, but you still have some options for DIY entertainment. Here are some of my recommendations that kids really enjoyed.
  • Magician
  • Face Painting 
  • Mystic Drumz - we hired mystic drumz for entertainment this year and all the kids had a blast... check out their website at http://www.mysticdrumz.com/programs/birthdays/ for more details! I highly recommend it.
  • Lofty Dance Party - you can check out http://lofty.ca/birthday-parties/ for more details
     
  • Animal Critters - cool animals coming to your home - you can check out this website for more details http://travellingcritters.com/birthdays/ 


  • Baking/Cooking Class (if you're going with the 'little chefs' theme) - I know that the Loblaws chain offers these.
  • Clown - make sure your child likes clowns; my oldest is really scared of them, so we stay away from clowns
  • Planned activities by you for the outdoors, such as scavenger hunt where kids have to find certain things, water balloons, mini swimming pool, bounce house, etc.
  • Various DIY arts and crafts stations, for at home parties
  • The Wonderful World of Circus - they have great fun packages - you can visit http://www.wonderfulworldofcircus.com/parties.html for more details 

Stay tuned for my creative DIY theme birthday party ideas!

SESAME STREET...

LION KING...

MICKEY MOUSE... and more!!!

Disclosure: All opinions are my own.

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