We’re now in our fourth year of throwing parties for the kids at home, and we’ve definitely learnt a few things along the way. Luckily, Harry was born in the summer so garden parties are on the agenda, but Taylor’s birthday is in the middle of winter, so we’re limited to the indoors. Up until now, we’ve always opted for a house party (or more like I’ve just left it too late to book a venue!!)
Hosting a kid’s party at home isn’t for the faint hearted. But as long as you’re organised and don’t over complicate everything, it can be a fun, cost effective and more personal way to celebrate. Here are some things you might want to consider if you’re planning on hosting your own kids’ party at home…
Stick to a schedule
When it comes to hosting a kids birthday party, the best thing you can do is decide on a schedule for the activity and stick to it. Dictating a time slot means that guests are usually prompt to arrive – and prompt to leave (which you’ll definitely appreciate when the time comes!) I find that two hours is more than enough time for games, food, cutting the cake and everything in between.
Put presents to one side
The last thing you want is tantrums and more chaos caused by other kids wanting to ‘help’ open your child’s presents and then play with them. We all know that kids aren’t great at sharing at the best of times, and heaven forbid if something gets broken or parts get lost. You’ll also completely forget who bought what.
Thank guests for presents and cards as they arrive, and then put them to one side away from the party.
Play party games early on (and stick to the classics!)
I find that it’s a good idea to host the party games as soon as everyone’s arrived. The kids will be hyper and raring to go, and it gives the parents some time to grab a drink and take a seat.
There’s really no need to over-complicate the games and sticking to the classics such as pass the parcel, musical bumps, and pin the tail means that you won’t have to teach the kids new rules – chances are they’ll already be familiar with them. Check out this post for more great party game ideas.
Have ‘rewards’ on hand
A kids party is one occasion when you just have to let go and watch your child eat more sweets and chocolate than you’d probably allow in an entire month! Make sure you have plenty of sweets on hand to reward the ‘winners’ of the party games (the Haribo multi-packs are perfect for games and party bags).
We all hate telling a kid they’re ‘out’ of a game, but don’t underestimate how much kids love stickers! Have plenty on hand and tell each kid to come get a sticker when they are ‘out’ and you’ll be amazed at how happy they are about it!
Create a party playlist in advance
Make sure that you create a party playlist in advance for the games, so that you’re not fumbling around on the day trying to find suitable songs. Taylor Swift, One Direction, Katy Perry all work a treat.
Keep food simple
It’s tempting to over-cater and put on a bit of a spread, but the best thing you can do when it comes to the food is to keep things simple. You’re going to be so busy running around, so make everything and set it out in advance so that you can just remove the cling film when the time comes.
Keep sandwich fillings simple (cheese, jam, ham are always popular) and just choose a few items that are easy to serve (crips, sausage rolls, cucumber/carrot sticks, fruit). Cartons of juice are also a good idea to help reduce spillages and time filling up cups.
Accept help from family and friends
It’s a good idea to ask your relatives and close friends to help out and designate them tasks since you’ll be preoccupied on the day. For example, taking coats, putting presents to one side, making hot drinks for the adults, unwrapping the food. This will help the party flow and significantly reduce your stress levels!
Keep areas ‘out of bounds’
The last thing you want are kids in every room of your house, so make it clear which rooms are out of bounds by keeping doors shut and making sure that each room you want to use has a set purpose. Also make sure you put away any toys or items you don’t want to be meddled with before the party starts.
Think of a ‘filler’ activity
It’s a good idea to have an additional activity in mind if you find that the party starts to become a little chaotic. It’s nice to let the kids have a little free play, but we find that too much can lead to mayhem!
At Taylor’s third birthday party we bought face paints and Dad was on hand to put his creative talents to use – the kids were literally queueing up!
Get organised with your party bags
It’s always worth having a couple of additional party bags for siblings who turn up, or for those who turn up at the last minute. Make sure that you have all of the party bags ready for the mass exodus – and don’t forget to include the cake!
We’ve found that you really don’t have to go mad when it comes to the party bags and the cheapest things (think bubbles, stickers and blow outs) are often the things that kids love the most! There are loads of online sites specialising in party bag fillers, but if you’re more organised, a trip to The Works or your local Poundland would be worthwhile.
Have you ever hosted a party at home? What are your kids birthday party tips?