Hosting a birthday party for your child at home can be a great experience and save you a bundle of money. But it can also go off the rails and become a social disaster if the kids have a lousy time, not to mention the possible nightmare if furniture, fabrics, and dishes are damaged.
How do you throw a memorable party and keep the house from falling apart? Follow these simple guidelines to make sure your child is smiling, and your house and sanity are intact at the end of the day.
Are you having five children at your house, or 25? Establishing how many kids you need to entertain and feed is an essential first step. Send invitations – they’re fun, plus they allow you to track RSVPs. Make sure to check the date with your child’s best friend(s)!
Plan a theme
It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Does your child have a favorite movie or TV show, animal (horses, dragons, etc.), or activity (sports, music, etc.)? You can establish a theme with two or three well-placed posters, plus a smattering of related props.
Adding color is essential to creating a party vibe. Balloons, paper plates, napkins, and streamers transform a dull room into an exciting setting.
Like adding color to your ears, background music creates a mood and makes everything feel more fun. Your child’s favorite band or appropriate children’s music is as easy as a Spotify playlist.
If the weather confines the party to indoors, you’ll want activities that keep the young ‘uns engaged and contained. Hand out toy musical instruments and form instant bands with four or five kids at a time as they play along to a song. Have a contest to guess how many gumballs are in a jar. Set up a face-painting station.
If budget allows, you can also hire a magician or caricature artist.
If the weather is nice, bring the young guests to a nearby park to work off excess energy. This is best done earlier, so they can be settled for food and cake.
When it’s time to eat, your Transformer Table becomes the perfect place to seat all the children while allowing you to serve and monitor them. Extend it to its full length to give them plenty of room to manage their food without knocking over cups and plates (although it may still happen).
Remember to protect your Transformer Table’s hardwood finish with placemats and a tablecloth.
As for seating, a solid Transformer Bench is a much better option for children than individual chairs, which can tip over or be thrown all over the house.
For a fun and easy party memory, set up a photo station. Include a selection of funny hats, fake nose & glasses, and various props for kids to put on. Photo booths can be purchased, or you can take the pics on your phone and print them on an office printer.
If you have to invest in one item, make it the birthday cake. Gathering around a cake at the dining table is not only a party’s most photographed moment, it’s also a key food item. Have it designed for a theme and make sure it’s delicious!
There’s no rule that presents must be opened after the cake in front of the guests. If you go the traditional present-opening route, don’t focus on individual presents, which creates awkward comparisons. Gather around the sofa, keep the music playing and make sure the thank-yous are equal for all gifts.
Thanks for coming!
Make sure you indicate an end-time, so that everyone knows how to pace themselves and you’re not stuck with a few bored stragglers.