It can be hard, if not impossible to avoid so expect that at some point, you will be hosting birthday party with small guests of different ages. However, rather than assuming this is a big no-no or will be a stressful event, take a look at Party Bags and Supplies eight tips to a mixed-aged kids’ birthday party…
#1 Planning + Preparation = Little, if any stress on the big day
Like any birthday party at any age, the key is in the preparation. This way, you have thought of the majority of things that need to be covered and if something unexpected does arise, it takes only a matter of seconds to be able to deal with it – rather than the feeling of being run ragged from the start of the party until the end!
#2 Games, games, games!
Have plenty of ideas for games up your sleeve too so when you can see that your guests are getting restless of out of control, you can restore order with some group games.
People worry that if they have a mixed-aged party that the older children will find the games meant for younger children boring or unimaginative. Think about this for a moment – who doesn’t think Pass the Parcel is not fun, at any age?
The truth is that children tend to become involved at all levels, with older children understanding that the games may be aimed for the younger ones, an eminently more successful approach than trying to get the smaller children to understand a game that is too complex and beyond their abilities.
#3 Different set ups
When you have a mix of children, you will have a mix of abilities that vary considerably across the age range. There are times during a party when this may not be apparent but older children tend to be able to socialise and play unsupervised in a way that is safe and socially acceptable, more so if they are of school age.
That said however, you can encourage this breakaway faction with different areas that allow different age groups to play or create crafts etc. You do need to take care however, to bring the party back together as a whole, otherwise you could be making yourself more work with 3 or 4 mini parties to supervise!
#4 Extra pairs of hands
Having plenty of adult helpers is a great way to encourage a mixed-aged party to run smoothly. This way, smaller groups can have someone to supervise and watch over them, as well as introduce them to the activities specifically meant for them.
#5 Have a theme
Deciding on a theme is also a great way of creating a party atmosphere that includes all your guests. Having a broad theme can be more helpful, as this means that your dressed-up guests have more opportunities to create their own unique take on a theme.
For example, a ‘people and creatures that enjoy the sea’ is far more age inclusive than a mermaid party. Get the idea? Have an umbrella of a theme, rather than something too specific.
#6 Great party food
If there is one thing that draws guests together at a party, it is the food table. With younger guests, you can have pre-packed food boxes and so on that make eating at a party far more exciting and entertaining.
Older guests can appreciate a little more freedom and can be encouraged to fill their own plates with tasty treats and so on.
#7 Party bags
One area of a party that you can differentiate between the ages is what can and should not be included in a party bag. Clearly, for younger guests you want to avoid the additions of any toys etc. that could be a choking risk.
Include treats and a hefty slice for birthday in all the party bags for all ages, but don’t forget to include some age appropriate things for the older age group too.
#8 Enjoy it – and involve the older children too!
Many hosts worry about a party in which they have a mix of ages. You may ask the question, when do parties of this ilk not work? Clearly, if you have a large variation in the ages then you may find that you need to do some more preparation to ensure you have suitable activities for both the younger and the older guests.
Don’t forget, older children can also be useful in helping the party go with a swing. Some younger children find parties a daunting prospect socially, and thus a bigger, older guest to help them out is good for them and for the older child too.