A lot of work goes into preparing for a children’s party and it is understandable that faced with so many decisions, worries and potential chaos that it is often easier to opt for a hired venue. With the average party costing more than £135 (or, depending which source you read, £500) the costs can often seem daunting. However, hosting a party at home can be a lot of fun, and full of excitement for your child, as well as more unique. I collaborated with OnBuy to come up with some tips to help.
Don’t invite too many children
Unless you’re forced to invite the whole class, keep it small. Fewer children is more intimate and less overwhelming. Start the invitation list ahead of time and also double check with your class teacher that you’re not inadvertently missing someone.
Use e-mail or text for invites
I’m told that 73% of parents said they’d sent paper invitations for their child’s last birthday party, and anecdotally that seems reasonable. Texting or emailing can be much more effective, or we’ve found a Facebook message to be the quickest way to get a response!
Decide on the theme
Start talking about this weeks in advance, to allow for lots of mind changing. We’ve done a pizza party, a flower party, maybe a dressing up in Cinderella or Aladdin fancy dress would be fun. We’ve been to an art party and a science-themed party complete with experiments. Consider both your child’s interests, how messy you want the place to get and your budget before committing, but the good thing about a theme is you can take it as far as you want (or have time for!)
Planning, planning, planning
Theme decided for the party, it’s time to begin the preparation. I start a spreadsheet where I can compare costs, aiming to spend no more than a specific amount per invited child. I also save bits and pieces in my various online shopping baskets to compare prices and then aim to buy things over the two months prior so all the money isn’t being spent at once.
We also make a lot of decorations and I keep a big box in my study full of decorations we’ve used in previous years so that we can put out the same happy birthday sign and so on. I also always put up our wedding bunting which I handmade. We get paper napkins and so on every time we go to Ikea and save them until we need them, and fake flowers make good filler decor!
What to eat?
I have to be honest, we often try to have the party mid-afternoon and get away with only having a cake. This year we upped that to crisps, sandwiches and scones, but in my experience simple food is the way forward – we did upgrade to smoked salmon sandwiches because those are Pip’s favourite, but ham or cheese or cucumber is always well received. Party rings are also great and don’t need any work to look pretty on the table.
Two hours sounds nothing until you have to try and entertain a room full of kids. No matter that your child wants it to last all day, keep it shorter and everyone will be happy. Two hours, max!