There is something magical about birthdays when you’re a child. The excitement builds up over the weeks beforehand. Or if your child is anything like my children, the party planning starts the day after their previous birthday!
As a parent or carer the pressure to whip up the party of your child’s imagination can be immense! Don’t fear though! I’ve put together a Party Planning Checklist to help ease your stress and help you enjoy the party planning with your child.
Party Planning Checklist
One to three months before
- Discuss with your child what kind of party they would like – A theme makes it easier to plan a party and helps to narrow down ideas for decorations, games, food etc. Do they love Dinosaurs, Unicorns, Princesses, Superheroes?
- Decide who to invite – If they’re at nursery or school you can ask for the class list and then work from that to help your child decide. The type of party your child wants may dictate the amount of people that they can invite.
- Decide whether you’re going to host the party yourself or hire an entertainer – Squidgydoodle provide Party Boxes, which contain everything you need to run an art and sensory party. You just open the box, set out the materials, step back and enjoy! If you’re looking for an entertainer make sure you book early enough in advance. Netmums have a list of entertainers you could use. Check reviews or ask on Facebook forums for recommendations.
Four weeks before
- Set a date for the party – You may want to check with your child’s best friend that they can make that date first, to avoid disappointment.
- Send invitations – Make sure you include the date, time, venue, your contact details, an R.S.V.P date and whether parents need to stay with the children. If you order a Squidgydoodle Party Box you will be sent a free printable invitation which you can use.
- Plan the party activities – Parties usually run for 1 hr 30 – 2 hours. It works well if you have a mix or energetic games and calmer activities. For example Squidgydoodle Party Boxes include 4 calm art activities and some themed game ideas, which allow the children to run around. It usually works well if you have the calm activities at the start of the party, stop for food whilst the activities are tidied away, then play some games.
- Have a back-up plan – An outdoor party may end up being an indoor party if the weather is bad. A party game you think will take a long time may be really quick. So, have a back-up plan so that you’re prepared.
- Make a list of supplies – Game equipment, music, tables, serving dishes, tableware etc
- Organise party bags – There are loads of options to choose from, e.g. themed party bags filled with toys and sweets, craft activity bags, baking activity bags, books, puzzles.
- Plan the menu – If you want to keep it simple pizza or finger food works well. Or you could match the food to the theme if you’re feeling really creative! Pinterest is a good place to look for ideas.
Three weeks before
- Line up some help – Ask friends, family, parents of the children for some help; setting up, tidying, replenishing food/activities, then you can have more time to enjoy your child’s special day.
- Follow up on R.S.V.P’s
- Order the cake – If you’re buying a cake make sure you order it in plenty of time.
- Order decorations – Or enlist your child in making some. My eldest had a Dragon and Princess party with a school friend and they helped to make shields and flags to decorate the room. They loved being involved.
One week before
- Go food shopping.
- Prepare the goody bags.
The day before and on the day
- Pick up cake if ordered.
- Set out food.
- Set out party activities.
- Enjoy the party.
- Write a thank you letter list – of who gave which present. Squidgydoodle Party Boxes include some blank thank you letters which your child can use, to make your life a bit easier!
I hope that you find the Party Planning Checklist useful and manage to enjoy the magic of birthdays with your child.