It’s that time of year again. You look forward to it with a mixture of delight and excitement, tinged with a hint of dread – the children’s birthday party.
A balancing act of emotions and diplomacy, not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings by being left off the guest list and making sure your child has a great time, but is not swamped or over-whelmed. Who would have thought that hosting a child’s party could turn into such a nightmare?
And then there is the party theme. With everyone trying to outdo the last party, putting on a simple party can seem a little too easy. But children’s parties should be just that – two hours or so of fun, fun, fun!
So, deal with the next party with confidence, creating a great backdrop for your child’s birthday using one of the ideas below…
The Afternoon Tea Party
Age: from 6 years and upwards
Venue: ideally local park and/or woodland but keep dry venue on hand in case weather is wet
Guest numbers: a great way to celebrate with a handful of friends
Budget: low to medium
Afternoon tea was not introduced into Britain until the 20th Century and was a way of having a ‘snack’ in the most genteel way possible as dinner was usually served late at around 7 or 8pm. Over time, it has come to be a way of spending a few hours with friends and family, enjoy tasty morsels – and the birthday party is the perfect time to do it.
Invest in cake stands and pretty serviettes, along with other matching party accessories. Either have chairs and table in the sunshine, or eat on the grass, enjoying finger slices of delicious sandwiches and other savoury snacks.
Don’t forget the birthday cake – to keep in with the theme, have special muffins made and make one an extra special one (add a sparkler) for the birthday girl or boy.
Age: from 7 upwards (must be confident in water)
Venue: Local swimming pool
Guest numbers: as many as venue or your budget will stretch to!
Budget: medium to high
Many local swimming centres set aside a part of their day or weekend to host swimming parties with a difference.
You can choose from a range of activities, such as water balls where you try to walk on water (harder than it looks!), or use the underwater machines that pull you along. Many also have inflatable adventure centres too, where kids climb up, slide down and jump etc.
Room hire is usually included (always check) so all you need to do is provide your own food and drink. You do a basic tidy up after the party has ended. Great for high octane parties and something different that children may not have tried before.
Age: any age
Venue: your back garden
Guest numbers: as many as you want or can comfortably handle
Budget: low to medium
With imagination, creativity and flair, turn your back garden into a funfair!
All you need are games like coconut shy’s, apple bobbin’, create your own stocks, hoops in cones and so on, and you have a great venue for a birthday party.
As well as sunshine, food off the BBQ and a bouncy castle, make sure you have plenty of games up your sleeves to keep party guests entertained. In some ways, the younger the guests, the more party games you may need.
These parties often look effortless and unstructured, and yet flow so that everyone has a great time. The truth is that in order for this to happen, there needs to be a lot of planning and preparation beforehand.
You also need to be on hand to make sure everyone is supervised, and have plenty of adult help too.
Age: Babies and toddlers
Venue: Your home or other
Guest numbers: limited as parents included too
The first birthday party is important but many parents find their little one overwhelmed by everyone and everything, so keeping it small is important.
Have some party games up your sleeve that babies and toddler love and make sure that it is a time that positively reinforces social skills at this young age.
Keep food really simple and don’t assume that a two-hour party is too long; most parents will tell you that an hour to an hour-and-a-half is long enough.