Ever since Sophia had her fifth birthday Grace has been so badly wanting her own party. So when her 3rd birthday finally rolled around we got to planning her unicorn themed celebration!
We decided to host it at my parents’ farm again as there’s plenty of space to run around and there’s loads of ways to keep kids entertained. We had pony rides for the kids and a jumping castle and a birthday fairy so we ensured that Grace’s friends were always occupied with different activities. I think that’s always the key to hosting any kids’ party—plenty of entertainment!
We incorporated lots of colour throughout the day in keeping with the unicorn theme. We had colourful cupcakes, a unicorn cake with sprinkles and balloons and bunting in different colours. I think as with most birthday parties though, the cake (complete with unicorn topper) stole the show.
When it comes to food we always like to keep it simple. We had a sausage sizzle lunch and cheese and fruit platters for the kids and adults. There were also a few treats for the little ones like fairy bread and some lollies.
It was a lovely family day and it was nice for Grace to be able to spend it with so many of her friends. It’s safe to say the unicorn theme was a raging success and Grace had a thoroughly magical day.
Every year I’m faced with planning a birthday party for Sophia and Grace’s birthdays. And as any parent who has planned a birthday party of any sort can attest it can be a stressful experience trying to pull an event together for several children. To avoid stressing myself out every year I’ve managed to hone my party planning down into a simple strategy that will enable me to get a party off the ground without too much drama. Here are some of my tips.
Keep it simple
I’m not one to throw a huge party. Often the girls’ parties will include just close family and friends so it’s a manageable guest list. Also we will streamline things so we’re not dealing with a lot of decorating or multiple activities or an over the top menu that will require hours to be spent in the kitchen.
Have a theme
I’ve found theming a party to be a great way to provide some parameters to work within for the party. So I’ll often have a particular theme and then just base any decorations, activities and food around it. I’ve found this makes it easier as without it, there are just far too many options which can be stressful in itself.
Incorporate some entertainment
Having some form of entertainment for the kids is crucial for keeping them happy and occupied. In the past we’ve had games and I’ve hired a birthday fairy who does everything from singing songs to providing activities at the girls’ parties. If you can hire someone or have a friend or relative who you can rope in to entertain the kids, definitely do it as you don’t have to worry about what the kids are doing and where they’re running off to on the day.
I pre-prep everything and tend to buy all the groceries I’ll need to cater online. This way it just shows up on my doorstep and I don’t have to deal with the supermarket on top of everything else. I’ve also found that buying everything else online like party supplies and decorations is great as it means I don’t have to hit the shops and therefore it cuts down the time I have to spend on party prep.
Don’t get fussy with the menu
Try not to double cater if you can and just have one menu for both adults and kids. I avoid anything fancy and just stick to finger foods or we’ve had a BBQ in the past. This gets around having to spend a ton of time in the kitchen and more time just enjoying the party with your little one.
What are some of your tips for throwing a kids’ party?
As most parents will attest kids’ birthday parties can sometimes snowball into a big production that can involve a whole lot of stress. From decorations to food to entertainment, the list of things to organise can be quite lengthy and often there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get it all done. Having organised parties for both Sophia and Grace I’ve managed to hone down my event planning to a few key things that ensure an enjoyable but more importantly stress-free event. Here are my top tips:
Keep it intimate
I’ve made the mistake of having a really big kids’ parties in the past and based on that I now make a point of trying to keep the numbers small and host a really intimate event. You don’t have to invite everyone under the sun! I think inviting the people that you’re going to enjoy having there the most such as close family and friends help make the day even better. Now that Sophia’s old enough, she can invite her own friends to her parties which often helps shape the guest list and makes it a lot easier.
Grace’s first birthday cake
Catering doesn’t have to resemble an episode of Masterchef
The first kids’ party I ever threw I double catered and had kids’ meals and adults meals and by the end of it I thought this is ridiculous. Now when it comes to catering I serve up things that kids and adults can eat. I do big fruit platters and cheese platters that include carrot sticks and celery sticks so it’s a winner for both the big and little guests. Both are really easy to put together and can feed a lot of people. I find serving a variety of sandwiches is always a winner so I’ll do fillings such as chicken, ham and cheese and Vegemite which I know most kids will eat. As a treat I’ll also do sausage rolls and meat pies. I don’t like serving too many sweets so I keep it limited to the birthday cake and maybe some additional cupcakes and popcorn as a savoury treat.
Do most of your prep in the days before the party
I usually compile a list of everything I will need and do a big grocery shop before an event so I have all the ingredients I’ll need. I’ll aim to have ingredients chopped up ahead of time and if I’m making something like chicken sandwiches I’ll make the filling the night before and just buy bread in the morning so it’s fresh and put it all together on the day of the party. The more that you can do ahead of time the easier it will be on the actual day.
Sophia’s farm themed third birthday party
Have a theme
Having a theme just makes pulling everything together so much easier. Whether it’s a farm themed party or princess inspired having an overarching theme can guide everything from decorations to games and party bags and the birthday cake. One thing I do when I’m decorating a venue is to designate one area for the big photo moment when we’re doing the cake cutting. I’ll have balloons (a number balloon is always a nice touch) and some bunting to make the space fun and festive and this will be the backdrop for most of the photos on the day.
Plan group activities/entertainment
When you have lots of kids running around it’s a good idea to organise activities that they can do together. This helps keep the kids in the one spot and also keeps them all entertained. For Sophia’s last birthday we hired a birthday fairy and she kept the guests occupied which is a must when you’ve got to keep track of a group of three-year-olds who all want to venture off in different directions. If you don’t want to hire someone you can just have a line-up of classic games such as pass the parcel, pin the tail on the donkey and musical chairs and have all the kids get involved. Having games or entertainment is a must! Most of the time this keeps all the kids happy and at the end of the day isn’t that what it’s all about?
What are some of your tips for throwing a kids’ party?