Thursday, 19 September 2013

Part 1 of Taking The Hassle Out Of Organising A Children's Party - Party Orginisation

Everything you will ever need to know regarding party orginisation

The stresses and strains of what to cook, buy, bake or make at home are all taken care of here for you.

What will I need, how will I set it up, its all here.
There is plenty to choose from, but only you know your budget, so there are plenty of options for you.
Choose options that suit your lifestyle.

Here is some crucial information

The time of the party

If you've been foolishly generous enough to have scheduled your party to spread over or run into anything approaching lunchtime or teatime, then you'll need to put on a decent-ish spread. If you've timed your party for the early morning or early afternoon, however, you can probably get away with drinks and a few snacks, but do make sure the childrens parents know what you're planning.

The number of children coming

Generally speaking, the more children you invite, the less complicated your birthday party needs to be. Burger and chips for five is do-able; burger and chips for 25, no thanks.

A rough rule of thumb is to invite the same number of children as candles on the cake.

The age of the children

Any Mum will tell you that the official ratio of healthy party food to sugary/junk , rubbish changes with each year of age. 
So, while a birthday tea for babies or toddlers (with their mums) should include several nods to the existence of vegetables, there's absolutely no point whipping up anything too worthy if your party guests are over the age of five

The party venue

If you're having the party at home, you may be able to sit everyone at a table - meaning you can serve the food on (unbreakable) plates and get everyone to pass things round in a (relatively) civilised way.

But, if space (and chairs) are limited, you may have to spread a tablecloth on the floor and produce a birthday 'picnic', in which case dividing the food up into individual servings can save on mess and washing-up, and ensure nobody hogs more than their fair share of the lollies.
If you're having the party away from home (in the park, for example, or at a hired venue), food boxes or pizza delivery boxes really are the way to go. Unless, of course, the venue comes with (inevitably chicken-nuggety) party food as part of the deal, in which case you can gratefully abdicate responsibility for everything except, of course, the birthday cake.

Choose A Theme

Though it may seem unnecessary, having a theme will help you know what decorations to buy, what food to prepare, and what games to plan. Character parties are popular (think Spongebob or Scooby-Doo), but general themes work, too (pirates, fairies, princesses, cowboys, etc.). Unless they want something that just isn't appropriate, allow them creative freedom. 
Sit down with your child at the table with a pen and paper and write down all the ideas you both like.
Some themes will obviously be more difficult than others.
Go with your child to a couple of party stores and see what's available. It'll be easiest to pick a theme based on what you have at your disposal

Your own domestic-goddess factor

Last but certainly not least on your things to consider before you start list is how keen you are to put on your apron and get cooking/slicing/baking/icing yourself.

Be honest, now: would you rather just get shop-bought food for them to eat before they play, or would you feel guilty if you didn't put in a little time at the oven?
Of course, it really doesn't matter too much which way you go, as long as, time, energy and general stress-wise, you're not biting off more than you (and your small guests) can reasonably chew.
We will cover a complete guide to food in Part 3, so check it out there are heaps of ideas there to help you through.

Party Drinks

Lemonade, small party drinks and juice are all pretty standard. But if you'll be outside a lot, a cooler filled with bottles of water or cans or bottles of fizzy drink will surely be appreciated and a lot easier for you as the host, especially if it's hot outside.
And, of course, milk goes great with cake. 
If it's autumn or winter, have the kids play outside and come in for hot chocolate and marshmallows to warm them up.
Have plastic glasses and plastic cutlery that are not only safe for the kids to use, but can be thrown away at the end, with no washing.
Things may get broken  and they generally, so don't break out your fine china, use your old stuff, the children won't care.
Be prepared for a mess


Make sure you have ample games to keep the children occupied, because there is nothing worse than a houseful of bored children, see my list of games on part 2, there is enough there to keep 100 children occupied, and something for all budgets.


There are many places that prizes can be bought at, 

  • KMart
  • Warehouse
  • $2 Shops
  • Supermarkets
  • Online
  • Toy Shops
  • Book Shops
Shop around for $10.00 you can buy loads, I'm talking about things like these

  • Rubber
  • Jewellery
  • Makeup
  • Chocolate Bars
  • Lollies
  • Bubble blowing kits
  • Trinkets
  • Toys
the list is endless, and obviously if it is a boy's party you will need boys themed prizes like
  • Swords
  • Eye Patches
  • Sling shot
  • Knuckle bones
  • Cards
  • Chocolate Bars
  • Small Racing Cars
Again use your imagination, you know what your children are into at their age group, buy things with that in mind.


Once you have them picked out, it's time to finalize the details.
Check your schedule to make sure there are no sports or work meetings during the time you're thinking of.
On the invitation, put the start and end times, address, what each child should bring (swimsuit, etc.) and if there will be a meal so parents can plan accordingly.
As for guests, a good rule of thumb is the child's age plus 1.
And if parents can come along, great! It's best to have a couple others to help with monitoring and cleanup.
Have your invitations in the theme of your party. 
The other children will probably get excited, too.
Your child can hand them out at school (if possible to do it discreetly) or you can give them to the parents if your child is too young (or forgetful!).
Your child shouldn't hand them out in front of those not invited as it might make the others feel bad. 
Give them to the teacher to put in the take home folder or have your child put them in desks or lockers.

Boys & girls Ideas


For everything from tablecloths to pinatas, a party store is your best bet or one of the cheap emporiums or else you'll end up bouncing around town for days looking to for everything and trying to piece it all together. And if they don't have a specific something, ask! 
They may be able to order it for you.
It's always an option to make your own if you're DIY handy. 
And your child can always help. 
As an alternative idea, a few children can come over a bit earlier to make decorations themselves, if they'd like to.

Something for the parents that stay with their children

If any of your guests are under five, that generally means they come with parents, too.
So they will stand around in groups looking anxious/falsely chirpy/bored but, above all, awkward.
Which means you may feel duty bound to offer them something to eat , or at least, drink.
If it was me
  • I wouldn't expect any food, but always grateful for a cup of tea.
  • I have done crisps and dip with wine for adults in the past. Then normally let them eat the leftovers when the children are finished.
  • If you really feel you have to (and people don't expect it in my experience), pass round some crisps or adult biscuits.
  • I would just provide something very simple - dips, cheese and crackers and crisps would be perfect. 
  • But, then, I would try to ensure that I had enlisted enough helpers that the other parents didn't feel they had to hang around. 

Party Favors

Party favors can be interactive, instead of giving them a bag of small toys that will get played with for three minutes and then shoved in a drawer, have them make the party favors themselves!
The children will feel more involved and like they were a part of the party.
They could make potato print t-shirts, simple masks, jewelry, fishing rods, badges, the list goes on and on and on. 
This requires a bit more forethought, but will pay off in the long run.
You could have this be the first activity, so children that come earlier have something to do and keep themselves busy with while the others slowly file in.
Any late arriving child can take the necessary materials home with them if they'd like.
Let the kids take home the decorations, this is an easy and quick idea if you have something with a general theme, like princesses or baseball. And it allows for minimal clean up!

The Farewell

Give the other parents your cell phone number on the off chance that they're running late, early, or sending someone else to pick up their child.
Establish protocol for the safety of every child, dietary requirements, allergies, toilet arrangements etc etc.
As the child leaves, take note of it.
Have them say goodbye to everyone, gather their things, their party favor, and mentally check them off their list. 
Never let the child leave on their own or with an adult you don't recognize.

Clean up

Depending on how your party was themed and the activities you planned, your cleanup hopefully will not be too bad.
But just remember it is not how much was spent organising the party, it is the fun that was had while they were all there.
no price can be set on happiness and memories.

Party On !!!

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