Kids parties. I bloody hate them. I die a little bit inside when the kids come home waving an invitation for some Saturday afternoon
hell fun at a soft play centre. I die a little bit more inside in the weeks leading up to the kids birthdays where they start asking if they can have a party. We had one a couple of years ago for Harrison’s 5th birthday, with just a few very close friends and our family. A friend came and did some face painting and my brother and dad set up their DJ decks to give us a bit of background music. Thankfully, the weather was nice so they all played out in the garden. As far as parties go, it was relatively stress-free.
How To Throw A Stress-Free Kids Party
- The Venue
We’ve had all of the kid’s parties so far at home because we’ve managed to get away with only inviting a handful of really close friends. Now they’re at school, they’ll be wanting to invite the whole class, and I can’t cope with 30+ kids running about my house. Soft play centres and leisure centres can often cost an arm and a leg, so look for places like church or village halls. They’re usually a lot cheaper, you can do your own catering and there’s plenty of space for the kids to run around.
- The entertainment
This often goes hand in hand with the venue. If you’ve organised one at a soft play, well, it’s all there for you. If you’re doing it at home/in a hall, you need to think about how you’re going to keep a bunch of kids on a sugar high amused for a couple of hours. We had a face painter and our own little disco, but you could look at hiring a professional kids disco from someone like Captain Fantastic Children’s Discos. Magicians, mascots and entertainers also go down pretty well at parties as well. Or, if you’re doing it on a lower budget, why not try some good old-fashioned games, like pass the parcel, or musical statues?
- The food
Quite often this is one of the most expensive and stressful parts of organising a kid’s party, but it really doesn’t have to be. When we had Harrisons, we bunged a load of frozen chips in the oven and served them with hot dogs and pizza, with a couple of bowls of crisps dotted about, followed by jelly and ice cream for dessert. Drinks were big jugs of squash. It was cheap and it was easy. The boys have been to parties recently where the food has been served in little individual boxes (think Happy Meal style) with a sandwich, a packet of crisps, a carton of juice and a cake bar. Really simple!
- The Party Bags
I hate the traditional party bags. Plastic bags full of balloons (my pet hate), plastic choking hazard crap (hello landfill!) and sweets. I love that more and more people are moving away from these and are doing things like sweet cones instead. You could get really creative and buy some cheap plain white t-shirts for them to decorate with fabric pens and take home (something for them to do at the party as well!), plant a seed, or buy some little packs of cheap notebooks and pencil crayons. The kids (and their parents!) will love them much more than a bag of rubbish!
- The cake
It can be really tempting to have a beautiful, handmade personalised cake made for your child, but this usually costs a lot of money. If you’re a keen baker, have a go at making your own, but there’s no shame in popping to the supermarket and picking up one from there. Some supermarkets do big sheet cakes on which photos can be printed, which are really good value for money.
What are your top tips for throwing a stress-free kids party?