Tips for throwing a Kids party
My daughter Arabella turned six last week and I threw a rather large party for her this weekend. Having never done a party this big before (30 kids and all the parents and our family) I thought it would be good to run through my tips (well basically the mistakes I either made this time or have made in the past) an why it is key to avoid them.
Organising your own kids party is stressful (I’m not going to lie about that) BUT if you do it yourself you will end up with much more for your money, and a much more ‘special’ occasion for your little one.
So here are my top tips:
- Organise it early
Send those invites out early and make sure you give a way for parents to RSVP. You need to make it clear on the invite that if they don’t RSVP there won’t be a place at the party for their child. This avoids the numbers being completely out on the day. I sent Arabella’s invites out two months before the party, firstly to make sure that the most important friends were able to be there and secondly to kick start me in to starting to organise things avoiding the panic of last minute ordering and hanging out of the front door waiting for the postman on the morning of the party because he’s bringing the party bags!
This year is the first year I actually considered using a caterer to provide the sandwiches, but I’m going to let you in on a little secret here. DO NOT GO NEAR CATERERS. I was quoted £45 + Delivery for 30 sandwiches (and that’s not fancy fillings, that’s ham, cheese and jam) To make 8 loaves worth of sandwiches it took me two hours on the morning of the party, I bought fresh bread from Aldi that morning that cost me 55p per loaf. Turn up the radio, get your little production line going and do it yourself. Caterers will absolutely rip you off for something that is really quite inexpensive and lets face it easy to do.
My other sandwich tip is making sure you always butter both sides of the bread. I have no idea why I don’t do this naturally anyway (perhaps I’m just lazy) but by habit I only butter the side that the filling is going on. When you are making sandwiches that need to not fall apart on a tray it is key to butter that second side. They will stick together nicely and the bread won’t dry out half as quickly.
You may think some cake and party hats would be enough but from experience I can tell you it’s not. Kids need entertaining (always) so make sure you have some entertainment, i have never used ‘paid’ entertainment in the form of a person but there is always some kind of attraction. We have done, various pets, racing pigs (battery operated don’t worry) disco with a mic so we can play various games with them, a bouncy castle twice and various planned party games at festive parties. The one party there was no entertainment and we had riled parents and bored children so that’s not something I would do again!
- Don’t open the presents on the day
You can imagine it now, thirty children all running round, screaming, eating sugar and loud music. That is not a place you want presents to be opened, they won’t be appreciated, cards get lost, nothing gets written down and it’s a free for all with all the other children. I was really strict (much to Arabella’s frustration) that we weren’t going to be opening any of the presents at the party and we would open then a few days later (or consecutive days later as there were so many) with a pad ready for the thank you cards in a calm environment where she actually has half a chance to take in what she had received.
- Attach the cards to the presents if they aren’t already
As a parent that attends a lot of parties this is my pet hate, lots of people don’t attach their card to the present which basically means you have a lot of nameless presents and a lot of separate cards. I stood with a roll or cellotape and every time I spotted a present with a precariously balancing card I taped it down. This means that every present has a person attached to it. I would personally hate someone to think I had forgotten the gift!
- Provide something for the parents
In all honesty how much fun are kids parties for parents? Exactly. So they need something to get them through. I wouldn’t recommend gin and tonic, unless you have a huge budget, but making enough food for the parents to be able to eat and providing them with caffeine (either in the form of tea or coffee) makes a huge difference to how bearable a loud kids party is. I know if I’m sat down with a cuppa I can dull out the noise and catch up on social media for a couple of hours.
- Make more party bags than you need
We had a little hiccup this year. It’s easy to forget that with the invite for a child it does mean their siblings could also end up coming along. I hadn’t allowed for siblings when I made the party bags so we were two short at the end of the day which brought tears and all sorts of upset. Always make about five extra and you won’t be let down, you can always give any leftovers out at school the next week or save them for friends that weren’t able to come. Believe me it’s a much better alternative to feeling like the worst person in the world when they realise you haven’t got them a party bag.
- Check for allergies
Always worth a check, one of Arabellas school friends has a severe egg allergy. Luckily her parents emailed me and let me know the things she did eat. I made sure all the food was labelled so her parents knew what she was safe to eat. I made her a special egg free sponge cake and labelled it for her. They actually ended up taking the rest of the cake home with them which was so nice. Allergies or not no one wants to be left out at a party.
- Shop around for party ware
Being a complete Amazon prime addict my searched naturally started there, once I started to shop around online and in shops I started to realise there were cheaper options I ended up looking all over for the best price. I put a lot in my basket on Ebay, working through a list I had made of what I needed. I then went to the Poundshop and looked at what could get from there saving on the postage then the rest ordered from various shops on Ebay, the only tip I would give for doing it this way is make sure you allow time for things to arrive, the dates they give you for delivery aren’t always what you get!
- Take lots of pictures or get someone else to do it
I had my big photography camera at the party for taking pictures of the kids on the princess castle backdrop but when it came to actual pictures of the party, the parents and the set up, I failed miserably. I got caught chatting to a lot of people and topping up various sandwich plates and to be completely honest didn’t have time to even think about picking up my camera. If I could do it again I would definitely ask a friend or family member to take some photos for me as I have barely any memories to save from this party.
So there you have it, my top ten kids party tips. If you have any others please feel free to leave them below.
Thanks as always for reading!