When you come to a certain age, celebrating your birthday doesn’t seem so fun anymore, especially not when you imagine or see all those candles weighing down on your birthday cake. I know mine have already started feeling like this, but I can’t say I’m not fond of parties, I love them and if there’s anything I love more than them, it’s throwing them!
Luckily my boys are at the age where they still enjoy parties, and don’t mind blowing out the candles on the cake, so you bet I use their birthdays to express my creativity and have a blast along with them. However, it takes some thought to pull off a party meant for kids that adults get to enjoy too, and things can easily get out of hand in case the kids don’t like something about the party so I make sure I plan well beforehand.
This includes the party supplies too, not just the location but each and every bit of decoration, item or food that finds its place at the event. I’ve had parties with DIY stuff, and as fun it is to create everything, down to the smallest detail, it’s too much work and I don’t always have the time and patience for it. Why would I when I can simply order all the items I need from a supplier, right?
Anyway, details are mostly for grown-ups or at least older kids whose attention span isn’t as short as that of a goldfish, so if there’s an advice I’d like to give before the rest of the planning takes place, it’s to throw a party that’s age-appropriate. If you’re dealing with kids younger than 5, be prepared for a lot of mess and a lot of cleaning up afterwards.
In case you’re out of ideas or you want more activities than the age-old jenga and can afford a professional entertainer, feel free to invite one. Since it’s their profession to handle such parties, they could take the fun load off your shoulders and provide kids with the kind of entertainment that would interest them.
Plan Your Purchase
Before going shopping, it’s important to decide whether or not you’re going to have a theme, following humble or lavish trends, as this would help you out in choosing the party supplies; at least that’s how I deal with this. Since kids love to play games, I always think of activities I could provide them with to keep them busy and active.
But not just any activity would do! While Ethan loves to draw, Noah loves to joke around, which is why for the last joint party I threw them I opted for a bit of both: arts and crafts supplies and bright coloured silly strings.
As soon as they were done with the painting, preceded by pirate storytelling which was also the theme for the arts and crafts, it was time to cover everyone up with silly strings. I don’t need to tell you how much laughter both activities brought about!
What would a kids’ party be without food? As much as you’d like to fill up the table with lots and lots of food, a variety of choices and flavours, not everyone eats the same. To avoid disappointment, hungry kids, or going overboard with certain foods, it’s best to talk to the parents of each kid you intend to invite over.
This is especially important nowadays when there are more people opting for vegan diets, and you’d know in case some of the kids is allergic to a certain type of food. Also, once you’ve set a theme, you’d have to think of the details of some of the food, for instance the cookies, as well as the shapes, designs and colours of plates, table cloths, napkins and the party supplies of the sort.
Last but not least, if you’ve decided to call over a professional entertainer, or you don’t mind dressing up yourself, you could leave the theme-related character show-up for when the cake arrives and it’s time to blow out the candles.
Set the Time
In some punctuality driven cultures, like the German, time is of the essence and it’s nothing unusual to set a time for kids to play even when it’s not a birthday, termin as they call it.
Now I know we’re no Germans but writing great invitations with the time specified as to when the party starts and when it ends, it would make things easier for everyone, you, the parents and even the kids as they’d know how much time they have to play – that is if they’re old enough to understand the concept of time!
Just Have Fun
Sometimes, we get carried away with the preparations that we forget how to have fun. I’m saying this from experience because that’s how I spent Ethan’s first birthday, just preparations and no enjoyment, everything went by in a flash.
Also, forget about what you expect or envision in your mind how the party would turn out to be, it’s kids you’re dealing with and every activity may not happen to be that great for them as you think it would. Remember to enjoy the moment, because time sure flies!