We do our own kid’s parties, mostly because I can’t bear the thought of paying out hundreds of pounds to a soft play venue, which is my personal idea of hell. However, kids love soft play and if this is what you do by choice then go for it. No judgement here, I promise, but if you like the idea of a DIY kids party, but have always been put off by the idea that it’s too much work, then I have a few tips for you.
Firstly, a word about ‘Pinterest Parties’ because I will definitely be referring back to that. These are the perfectly styled in every detail parties that we all look longingly at on Pinterest and wonder how we can ever match up. That’s not really the type of party we do. I love a theme and I love Pinterest and I’ll go on to talk about why, but I can’t live up to the standard I see on some blog posts. Hats off to those who can, but don’t be put of doing your own party, simply because you don’t think it’s going to look good on the Internet!
Whilst I’m all for doing a party myself, I don’t want it going on in my house! A small space is fine, preferably with a kitchen and if it has outdoor space or a playground near by that’s even better. I’m thinking community centres, village or church halls. They are often relatively cheap to rent for a few hours, ours costs £30 for the time we need it and that’s a price I’m willing to pay to be able to have my home stay party free.
Have a theme
Children love a theme for their party, something they can really grasp hold of. Don’t be put off by a theme, it can really help you. It takes a lot of decisions away. If you know you’re doing a Pirate Party, then you can very quickly and easily stock up on pirate plates, cups, invitations and party bags. However, you don’t have to let your theme rule you. We always have pass the parcel and musical statues and they are basically the same whatever your theme might be. No child will turn their nose up at your party just because you haven’t themed every aspect.
Start with a craft or sit down activity
Crafts are an absolutely brilliant way to start a party. They give the children something to do while everyone is trickling in. Your birthday boy/girl can greet their guests as the others get on with their craft. It’s also excellent for giving the shy children a chance to get used to their surroundings and they can be with their friends without having to interact straight away. This is the best reason to do it. Don’t worry about the complexity of the task. It could be something as simple as decorating their own party bag or a cut out hat that you’ve got ready beforehand. Avoid paint and glitter, for obvious reasons, but glue sticks, stickers and feathers are a perfect non-messy alternative.
Pinterest is your friend – no really!
So, remember what I said about not having to keep up to the standard of a ‘Pinterest Party’? Well, that’s important to bear in mind, because, if used the right way Pinterest can really help you. It is absolutely jam-packed with ideas for games, cakes, decorations and themes. Take the bits you want, leave the bits you don’t. We have got so many ideas from Pinterest, that we have then adapted or simplified based on what we actually feel we have time to create.
This one is really key, as it will totally take the stress out of the whole process for you. Plan what you want to do and then make a big shopping list of all the things you need. Then, settle down with snacks, a cuppa and a computer open on eBay and order everything. You don’t even have to leave your house to prepare for a DIY party. eBay is brilliant for craft supplies, themed stickers, party bags. I get a big box out and throw everything in it, as it arrives.
Remember who the party is for
Whilst Pinterest and many fantastic blog posts can be an excellent resource when planning your party, they can also make you feel like one huge fat fail. This is where I like to remind myself who the party is for. The guests are going to be somewhere between 4 and maybe 8. They are not going to notice every little detail. An area I like to keep this in mind is food. I don’t make food fit with the theme of the party, with beautifully caligraphied labels, when on many occasions the guests can’t even read. I always make a cake, because that’s me, that’s what I do and always have, but the rest of the food is a few sandwiches, party rings (because what is a party without party rings) some crisps. Oh, and number biscuits. If you follow my Instagram, you will know that everyone gets number biscuits on their birthday, even those with very big numbers.
Kids are kids
We always have a few basic, traditional party games up our sleeves to fill time if we need and ever since Mini Mck was five, I’ve wondered if kids still like pass the parcel, musical statues and the like. I can assure you, they really really do. Despite the huge range of entertainment that kids have at there fingertips in today’s world, they are really not so very different from us when we were their age. They still love a really simple party game, the noisier, the better.
So, these are a few of my tried and tested party planning tips. I urge you to give it a go. The buzz that my kids get from having a birthday celebration that’s unique to them really is worth the work. If you already do your own DIY parties for your kids, do you have any tips to add in the comments? I’d love you to teach me something new that I should be doing?