The BEST Kid’s Birthday Party Hacks
Over the years, I’ve thrown a variety of children’s birthday parties from over the top Pinterest perfect to backyard simple and I’ve learned a few things that make it easier for everyone!
Time To Party
I know, this seems obvious, but I’m constantly surprised at how people don’t consider the time of day when scheduling a party. For example, hosting a party during your child’s naptime probably means most other little party guests generally nap at that time as well. A group of cranky preschoolers in an unfamiliar setting, hyped up on sugar and overstimulated is a recipe for disaster.
Mid morning has worked well for us when our kids were toddlers and even through the elementary years. For slumber parties, I think Friday nights are the way to go. Kids have had a full day of school and even though they’re excited on a Friday night, they tend to fall asleep a lot faster than after a Saturday spent following their parents around asking how much longer until the party starts. Also, be sure to end the sleepover between 9a-10a on Saturday morning. It’s a given no one got enough sleep and the crankies set in which is not a good way to end a birthday celebration.
Drink It Up
I only serve clear liquids. My thought is that lemonade, apple juice or flavored water is far easier to remove when things inevitably are spilled on the carpet or furniture. Even if your party is outside, the clear drinks eliminate many of the super high sugar options, red rings around the mouth in all the party pics, and when someone spills down the front of their clothes, your fellow moms will thank you for the easy stain removal.
Be careful how many structured activities you plan. I’ve spent tons of time prepping games, crafts, etc. and never even used half of them. Two to three activities MAX seems to be the magic formula. Preschoolers and toddlers aren’t as interested in games as they are in checking out your kid’s playroom and really lack the capacity to understand competition and rules for games. Setting up an area for free play will keep the youngers happy and a large group physical event, like a bounce house, waterslide, or sprinkler keeps the older guests busy.
What to serve the guests? I avoid foods with residue, like Doritos, Cheetos, BBQ chips. It’s no fun scrubbing orange smudges off of walls, carpets, and furniture. Pretzels, crackers, and Goldfish leave crumbs but vacuuming is better than scrubbing in my book. And although there are thousands of simply adorable ideas out there for the food table, use caution with things like kabob skewers, glass mason jars/milk bottles, or the candy you present in a candy bar that may be a choking hazard for young children.
Decor On A Dime
I mentioned above that I’ve thrown a few over the top, extravagant kid parties and while I did enjoy most of the prep work, it was not inexpensive. Here are a few ideas that helped cut costs:
- Use quality, heavy weight wrapping paper that complements your theme, in lieu of tablecloths, to line all the tables. Securely taped to the table tops, it is unaffected by wind and there’s no chance for little hands to accidentally yank a tablecloth off.
- Use items on hand that support your theme. Platters, dishes, toys, or home decor items that coordinate with your theme are great additions to the staging. Shop your house for fun accessories that’ll add a unique twist, like stacks of hardcover books, draped with a pretty tea towel, as a pedestal for a bowl of snacks or jars of silverware.
- Invest in neutral pieces of party ware that function regardless of theme: clear glass drink dispensers, white platters/trays/pedastals, service ware, etc. I sometimes splurge on items I know will work as home decor and for holidays, showers, parties, or other events, knowing I’ll be able to use them over and over again.
Planning Pays Off
Sketching a brief outline of the party schedule helps me to stay on task and keep things moving. I recommend setting an end time for the party and creating an order of events. I’m not into a strict every 15 minute time schedule, just a general overview:
- Guests arrive, can use coloring sheets, look at books that are set out
- Group craft time
- Large group game
- Free play/bounce house/ snacks & drinks available
- Cake time
- Presents or more free play
- Big group thank you & goodbyes
Want other GREAT Kids Birthday Party Ideas? Check out Ultimate Kids Birthday Party Round-up and Giveaway!
We’ve got EVEN MORE great Birthday Party Ideas on Pinterest: