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10 tips for throwing a great kid's party...
15 Nov 2016

10 tips for throwing a great kid's party

I now have six birthday parties under my belt, and I finally feel that with this most recent one, I was able to nail so many things that I missed in parties previous. So for those of you with mini celebrations in your future, here are my 10 tips for throwing a great kid's party...

10 tips for throwing a great kid's party

1. Serve handheld foods. If you can avoid having food that requires utensils, you can make eating-while-partying easier on everyone. I've had salads, mac & cheese, fruit salad, and plenty of food that required utensils in the past. But, for this last party, my rule was no utensils and all hand-held and bite-sized foods. We even had donuts instead of cake to cut down on the time it takes to cut and serve a cake. I spent more time being able to enjoy the party and easily maintain it throughout the two hours, rather than having to worry about cutting cake, serving food, or running out of forks and knives.

10 tips for throwing a great kid's party

2. Have food ready as soon as party starts. One year, our food showed up an hour and a half late due to the delivery truck breaking down. And the only snack I brought was a few bags of popcorn that were quickly eaten by hungry guests as they waited for lunch to be ready. Even if your party starts early, before you think your guests are ready to eat, people need something to do to keep themselves busy at a party and they like to grab small bites even if they're not ready for a full meal yet. So, this year, we had all of the food ready to go and out on tables right when the party started and it made a world of difference for everyone's energy level.

10 tips for throwing a great kid's party

3. Paper plates and cups. This might seem obvious, but serving food on disposable plates and trays makes for super easy clean-up. We even had the food served on disposable trays which made clean-up at a public park so much easier!

4. Have lots of trash bins available. One thing that is always missing at a lot of parties is that people always forget to bring is more than one trash can/bag. If you can set out at least 2 large bins, you won't have to worry about having to empty/refill it during the party. And, guests can more easily dispose of trash on their own if they see bins out.

10 tips for throwing a great kid's party

5. Activity stations. The activities don't have to be fancy, but it's nice to have a few different things for kids to do at a party. The exact activities will depend on the ages of kids at the party and also if you want to tie activities to a theme. But I like a mix of a couple of sit down activities with a couple of things they can simply run around with (like balls and bubbles!).

6. Make your music playlist in advance. These days, there are so many great music stations (Apple music, Spotify, Pandora) that you can play music from your phone to a wireless speaker in no time. And music for a kids' party can be something you whip up on the spot. BUT, if you have 15 minutes the night before the party, I like making a playlist the parents will love and one the kids will love. Then you can play them at different times during the party or just mash them together at random.

10 tips for throwing a great kid's party

7. Have dual parties while you can. If you have kids who have birthdays in the same month, save yourself the trouble of having two celebrations when you can have one big one! From what I hear from most parents who do this, their kids actually love it for a long time, but eventually as they get older, they want their own separate party (totally fair!). Just make sure to have activities for both ages and have two cakes and two birthday songs so everyone feels special ;)

10 tips for throwing a great kid's party

8. Cover tables in paper instead of table cloths. I rented little kid tables for the first time this year, and those made a world of difference in getting kids to actually sit down at a party. Also, we covered them in white kraft paper (and simply taped the ends underneath). It made for an easily solution to a table cloth that doubled as drawing paper. And, it was a breeze to clean up afterwards taking any spills or messes made with it.

10 tips for throwing a great kid's party

9. Themes are fun. While you don't have to have a theme, it's a fun way to have your kids be involved in an idea for their own party, and it helps you focus on activities, favors, a cake, or other things that fit into that theme. It doesn't have to be complicated. One of my friends once did a theme that involved all round things and had donut holes, oranges, and balls. If you're doing a joint party, let each kid come up with a part of the theme and join the two ideas together. Another friend mixed her son's and her daughter's ideas to come up with a Doggie Diamond theme—totally original and fun!

10 tips for throwing a great kid's party

10. It doesn't matter how big or small it is. You don't have to have a birthday party every year. It doesn't have to be big or fancy, it's just about however you want to celebrate your kid's big day. It can be just your family, 5 friends over for cake, or 50 kids in your backyard. All that matters is that it's fun for them, and not too stressful for you.

{Photos by Casey Brodley} 

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