Can you believe it’s already March? As the year gets into full swing there’s going to be busy days ahead. One thing you can count on is your child’s birthday coming around once again. Hosting their birthday party at home is a budget-friendly way to celebrate year after year, but sometimes inspiration is lacking. Here’s some pro tips and 4 themes to get you planning an awesome kids birthday party in your home.
Tips for a smooth party
Most of the important party elements should be planned long before the actual day. Here’s a few ways to keep your event on track.
Short but sweet
Handling tired kids is a tall order for any parent, let alone a party chaperone with a room full of them. Keep the party to a set time that you make clear on the invitation; 2-3 hours is ideal. The worst that can happen is they’ll wish your party could go on longer - a sure sign of success we think.
Prep the cleanup
Plenty of bins = less cleanup for you. Encourage the kids to tidy up after themselves by having bins available near the food station and beside any activity tables that have been set up. It’s also a great opportunity to teach them good rubbish habits by separating recyclables, food and other waste.
Locate the loo
Tiny bladders are more susceptible to bathroom emergencies. Make a point of informing everyone where the toilets are and put some clear signage up as well. You could even elect yourself bathroom fairy for the day and tell them to find you if they need magic assistance.
Rain, hail or shine?
Hosting the party outdoors means you feel less stressed about the kids making a massive mess. But not every child was born during the outdoor-friendly weather portion of the year. You can still achieve a mess-free home party with the help of a garden gazebo to protect from all kinds of weather hassles, plus it can be used for more than one event or more than one year.
If an inside party is your choice then your safety and mess measures should match the age of the kids. For younger kids the best plan is forbidding certain areas of the home with child-proofing gates. Once they are older simply closing doors to non-party areas and setting up signs for no entry is enough.
What about food allergies?
These days it’s very common for kids to have food allergies and it’s your job as host to make sure all your party-goers stay safe. Find out any dietary requirements well in advance of the party and be aware there could easily be more than one. Ask the parents of these kids how well their children understand their special needs so you know how much monitoring will be necessary. This is especially important if parents will not be attending the party.
First Aid For You Director, Mary Dawes, offers her tips to help kids with allergies feel comfortable when visiting family and friends.
Tip 1: Educate your child so they’re aware of the types of foods they can and cannot eat
“Safeguard your children’s friends and their parents and inform your extended family so they know too, give at least a week’s notice for catering for play-dates, parties and family gatherings as it will make it a lot easier and take the embarrassment away from everyone involved,” suggests Mary.
Tip 2: Explain the different types of symptoms and how to identify them
They may experience hives, a rash to the skin, difficulty breathing or swelling to the tongue. Perhaps let them wear an allergy ID bracelet so that at school and other activities, teachers and carers can spot your child easily.
“It’s important to make sure you don’t scare your child, but empower them with knowledge and tools so they're prepared if they start to feel ill. Also, with close family and friends, again explain these to them and for adults, detail medical response tactics, phone numbers and medicines – also show them the medicines to be used, and how to administer EpiPen/anapen,” says Mary.
Tip 3: Don’t be embarrassed! Education is the key
“In our kids first aid course and first aid for families course, we offer hands on workshops that aim to educate children and families, making them aware of how to identify different allergic reactions and what to do if faced with a ‘real life’ drama,” shares Mary.
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4 Easy Themes
Host a movie party
Take your child’s current fave movie and turn it into an easy party idea. Perfect for keeping to a strict time limit since most kids movies fall around 90 minutes long. You can split the party into 3 sections:
- Arrival & food time (1 hour)
Put this at the start to cater for latecomers and give your kids a chance to catch up and expend some energy before settling in.
- Main feature (1.5hrs)
Dim the lights, set the scene and press play. Keep a torch by your side in case you need to act as usher and quiet the kids or escort somebody to the loo.
- Cake cutting & present opening (30 mins)
After an hours quiet time the kids will be more than ready to sing their hearts out. Finish off with the birthday boy or girls big song and cake.
To really snazz it up why not set up a ‘red carpet’ arrival and take a photo of each attendee with the birthday boy or girl. Print the photos and sign the back for a personalised thank-you message the parents will love.
Head under the sea
This theme is great for combining creativity and education all at once. Have 3-4 rotating activity stations and break the party down into 20 minute blocks.
Dress ups - collect everything ocean related from your costume box, reject shops and even homemade. Cellophane streamers can easily become jellyfish tentacles once attached to a velcro waistband.
Beachy scavenger hunt - bury plastic sea toys and soft-edged shells in a backyard sandpit and send them in with shovels and buckets on a rescue mission.
An under the sea quiz - send them home with a head full of ocean facts like how much of the world is covered by oceans? Just so you know it’s 70%.
A draw your own aquarium station - paints, crayons and paper plates are all you need to get the kids making art.
A day at the circus
Dress up your everyday clown with an entire circus themed party! Pull out the hula hoops and clean up the kids trampoline for a home carnival like no other. Collect glass bottles from your drinks a week or two before the party or check out a homewares store for affordable vintage style milk bottles and set up a ring toss game (that isn’t rigged).
For the food we suggest all the classic kid faves from hot dogs to popcorn and even candy apples. To prevent a sugar overload have only 30% carnival food on your table and fill the other 70% up with healthy recipes kids will love.
A carnival of sports
A perfect theme if you’ll be having a large party. Organise the kids into teams of 3-5 and have them wear a coloured t-shirt. You can specify this on the invite e.g. Dress Code: You are on team ‘Fire’. Please wear a red t-shirt.
Then tap into your creative juices for some kid-friendly sports they can play and keep a friendly chart for winners at the end of the day. Think egg and spoon races, tin-can bowling, three-legged races and even mini golf.
Your kids are going to love their next birthday party and hopefully, with a few of these ideas, it will be a breeze for you to plan too!