Confession: I absolutely love planning parties.
I get all excited thinking about things to go with my theme and super fun new desserts to try. I love thinking up silly and wacky games to play or how to put a spin on an old classic.
Every time I host a party, my friends are full of questions as to how on earth I pulled it off. The truth is, I have them fooled. On the outside, it looks like I have amazing crafty talents and that I spent an eternity preparing and planning. But it simply isn’t true! Planning an awesome party really is quite SIMPLE and I promise you can do it, too!
Simple Tips for Planning an Awesome Kid’s Party
Step 1: Pick a theme—>
The best tip I can give you is to pick a simple theme.
A good theme will provide much needed guidance for your party planning. For example, when I threw a horse themed party, I automatically knew that the games would be horse related. I knew that the colors would be pink and brown, my horse-lover’s favorite cowgirl colors.
The theme makes it so much easier to think of activities, crafts, food ideas, favors, etc. Plus a theme turns the seemingly simple idea into a really cool one. For example, I made a Shark Bait candy bar for a 5 year old boy party. The candy bar itself is a fun idea, but when I added the theme, it rocked!
When I had the Disney Cars Party, I got the free banana boxes from Costco. We painted them and then the boys put the “cars” on and ran around the back yard having races. Of course boys love to run anyway, but when you add that little theme touch to it, the game becomes so much more exciting.
One word of caution about themes. Don’t get too narrow. Picking a “Kentucky Derby” themed party instead of “horses” might really complicate things. Be sure you can get enough ideas around a narrow theme before you commit to it. You just don’t want to make it so narrow that you have a difficult time finding things to go with your theme idea.
I usually pick my theme around a hobby or interest that my child has and I typically avoid characters or popular movies (mostly because that gets expensive). Among some of my favorite parties in our house are the art party, the doll tea party, and a Peter Rabbit themed tea party (for a 5 year old).
I try to pick a theme as early as possible and then I start a Pinterest board for that theme. As I’m poking around the internet or on Pinterest, I pin related ideas to that board. Then when the party gets closer, I have tons of ideas at my fingertips.
You can find theme ideas here:
- Spaceships and Laserbeams is a great resource FULL of boy party theme ideas
- 40 birthday party theme ideas based on children’s books
- 24 Clever birthday parties for kids
- 120 Kids’ birthday party themes
- Evite also offers a great list of theme ideas in their planning section
Step 2: Create a simple invitiation—>
I know you like those pretty paper invitations and so do I, but if I’m being honest, they get looked at a once before going into the trash. That’s a lot of effort and expense for something that isn’t going to last.
A few years ago, I moved to Evite. At first, it was hard for me to give up those pretty paper invites, but it didn’t take long for me to see the amazing benefits of Evite.
- Evite sends an invitation to each guest so that they can respond in a convenient way.
- It’s a much easier way to manage the guest list, giving you an up to the minute count of how many guests will be attending.
- Evite also provides a way for guests to note what they might be bringing if your event calls for that.
- An awesome reminder is sent out a few days before both to you and your guests!
Step 3: Plan a semi-homemade menu—>
When it comes to throwing a party, there is absolutely no reason to mill your own flour. Know what I mean? I don’t feel like this is the time to show off my incredible culinary skills, if the skill will go unnoticed.
Instead I make one featured dessert or dish that really shines and then the rest is usually semi-homemade. Basically, that just means that the recipes start with a product to make them a little easier. I’ve perfected a fabulous moist cupcake recipe that starts with a box! I also have a go-to cookie recipe that has 6 simple ingredients and can be made in any flavor imaginable: strawberry cake cookies.
For my daughter’s music mystery party (pictured below) we dipped long pretzels into white chocolate and covered them with sprinkles. They were “drumsticks.” See, the theme really makes the ordinary so much more fun! The pretzel drumsticks were a hit. In fact, I think they were the spotlight of the party. And I think it took all of 5 minutes to make them!
Of course, I’ve learned a lot from the queen of simple and elegant semi-homemade, Sandra Lee. Her Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies were a huge hit at my daughter’s birthday party last week and we used this Mini Breakfast Pizzas when they woke up from the sleepover.
For the music mystery party, I made sandwiches in the shape of a piano and a Kit Kat bar piano. Both were simple and took only a few minutes, but the girls loved them. Once for the doll tea party, I bought pre-made brownie bites from costco and piped cream cheese icing on the top with sprinkles. It makes me giggle that my daughter still talks about those!
When you are planning a menu for kids, think fun and simple. And remember that kids never eat much, especially at a party. They probably won’t be impressed with our culinary expertise, but they will love the little sprinkle covered drumsticks or brownie bites!
Step 4: Plan games and activities—>
Party games and activities are really much more simple than we make them out to be. If you start with a theme, any game is fun. For example, in the shark themed party, we played hot potato. Sounds exciting, huh? Oh, but it was. I simply called it “hot shark.” The kids tossed around a small stuffed shark and I played some “scary” classical music. It was a hysterical blast!
Another fun game we did was at the Peter Rabbit birthday party. I sent all the kids outside and told them that they were Peter. Then one of the adults was Mr. McGregor and chased them all around the yard. The game required no materials at all and was really just a bunch of kids running around in the backyard, but my daughter STILL talks about how fun it was 4 years later!
The key is to think of simple and fun party games that you enjoy and just twist them to fit your theme. For the music mystery party we played musical chairs. Except that there were 11 kids and I didn’t have 11 chairs in my house. So, I got colored paper and made that the “chairs.” Then I put a twist on the game, since it was with children ages 9-12.
The game started just like music chairs, but when the music stopped, I called out a body part that had to hit the paper first in order to stay in the game. Of course, we did the simple things like toes, feet, knees, and hands. And we did the silly things like nose, tongue, eye, bottom, and elbow. The best by far was when I called back or stomach. We played this game for over an hour and no one wanted to stop.
Step 5: Use simple decor—>
Probably the best party tip I’ve ever been given is to let the food be your decoration. Beautifully displayed on a table, the food serves as the focal point and it doesn’t cost you anything extra! Throw in some simple paper products and you’ve got an amazing tablescape.
I buy all of my party supplies online. Nothing saves more time and money than skipping the stores! One click of a button and google shows you all the options available. It’s so much easier than spending hours driving from store to store around town looking for just right items.
I like to stick with solid colors when it comes to paper products. Celebrate Express has a great selection of paper products to choose from. I also like to shop the $1 bins at places like Target or Michael’s for fun things to dress up the table.
For the music mystery party pictured above, we got notepads for each girl attending. They were super cute on the table, served as guidance for where they should sit, and it was something nice to take home with them.
Planning a party of your own? Check out this great party planning board…
Also, be sure you enter this great giveaway—>You can win a $2,500 ultimate party compliments of Sandra Lee and Evite! Enter today! This giveaway runs until June 30th.
This post is sponsored by Savings.com. All opinions and ideas are my own.