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Planning a Children’s Party

Planning a Children’s Party
Arranging a birthday party for your children seems like a very simple thing. You have booked a venue (if you are sensible), chosen a theme and sent out the invitations. But as the day approaches you realise you will have to feed and entertain a group of children for 2 hours or more. Whether you have booked a local hall or are brave enough to host at home you will need to use your imagination to keep them occupied. I have done the whole range in my time: home, hall, swimming pool, 5 a side football, outdoor play area…… so these are some hints and tips to help you through the day. 1. Theme the party – this gives children a chance to dress up and gives you inspiration for decorations, food and games. We have had dinosaurs, fairy princesses, Doctor Who, farmyards, circus, musicals and football. 2. Have at least one other adult there to help you - you cannot supervise the children, organise games, sort out the food and look after the child who has fallen over all on your own. 3. Be prepared: Rule 1 of children’s parties: parents drop their children off 10 minutes before the time on the invitation and pick up 10 minutes later than the finish time. Make sure you have an activity they can do as each child arrives – a good idea is to have an art table where they can colour in or decorate a themed hat. 4. Present opening: Try to open presents when all the children have arrived – you can then take a note of the gifts for sending thank you cards later. 5. Lively games: the first games need to be lively as the children will all be excited. Start with a treasure hunt or scavenger hunt, depending on your theme and the space. If they are slightly older children you can give them written clues to find the treasure and send them in teams. This can be followed by the old favourites; musical bumps, musical chairs and musical statues (we even had to do these games at my children’s 16th parties!) 6. Calm things down: after all this excitement you will want something a bit quieter. Sleeping lions (or dragons, T-Rexes, daleks depending on your theme) is great for this – the person who is quietest wins. Once they have calmed down you can play pin the tail on… (again fit this in with your theme) and a memory game. My memory game was to put a number of different items on a tray and ask the children to memorise them. Then take an item or items off the tray and see who can remember what you have removed. 7. Food time: rule 2 of children’s parties – give them the simplest food possible otherwise you get a chorus of “I don’t like this.” I always try to sit them down and provide simple sandwiches, crisps, sausages, party ring biscuits and buns. Provide plenty of drink, but limit it to squash – fizzy drinks can make them too excitable. 8. Birthday cake: If you are like me you will have spent hours making a themed birthday cake – some have been successful (dinosaur and circus top) others a disaster (dalek). Whether homemade or bought you will need to stick in the candles and sing happy birthday after the food. I usually cut up the cake in the kitchen after this and but a slice in the goody bag. 9. Activity/entertainer – if you are lucky all this will have lasted an hour. If you have an entertainer this is where you need them. We have had a lady doing a Fimo workshop and you can hire in an entertainer, however you could do a karaoke or have a bit of dancing. Older children like some time just to chat, so give them some time to themselves. 10. Pass the Parcel – every party needs pass the parcel, putting it towards the end of the party means you can calm children down again. You can also make it last as long or as short as you like, because rule 3 of children’s parties is that time stands still – it is the longest 2 or 3 hours of the year! 11. Goody Bags – don’t spend a fortune, most of it will just get thrown out. Include mini sweet packs, something linked to the theme (toy dinosaur, princess crown), balloon, party popper, anything you made in the opening activity and some cake. 12. Take photographs – birthday parties are some of the best memories of childhood, so make sure you capture them.