Kids Parties Made Easy

Wednesday, 10 February 2010


I have a thing for kids' parties. Love them. Other than that, I also love decorating, baking, wrapping and crafting, so that pretty much leaves me in personal nirvana each time I throw a kiddie shindig.

The problem, as time goes by however, is that I am getting busier and the time and energy I have to invest in my children's birthday parties subsequently becomes a little more scant. That, and the fact that they're reaching 'that age' where parties start to really subside and it's just more about hanging with their homies.

I'm about to embark on a pirate party for Riley's 7th birthday, but I wanted to make it super easy and a little bit different, so I'm instead throwing a pirate treasure hunt. I will get all the logistics sorted well in advance so that I'll remain freer than normal during the party - and the boys can essentially entertain themselves.

You could adapt some of the following easy-party ideas to suit whatever theme you're having - and you'll also be pleasantly surprised to see they'll save you money AND take you away from the rather grating 'generic', pre-packaged, matchy-poo-poo party look (that I hate so much).

INVITATIONS

I make these on my computer. I print them off and stick them to cardboard. In the case of this pirate party, I'll be printing them on treasure maps and rolling them up, securing with string or black ribbon.

You can make simple flat invitations look glam by inserting them in a small cello bag and stapling a tag to the front top to keep it closed. You could also fill the bag with a little something - if you're having a beach party, you could add a little sand. For a pirate party - a few choc coins, for a fairy party - some glitter, etc.

THEME

Choose a main 'logo' for your party theme. I have chosen a little fat pirate in a red and white striped tee because those are the colours I chose - red, white and black (with a hint of gold, of course! - harr!). If you choose a basic set of three colours, you will be amazed how easy it is to get the party looking really fabulous.

If continuing your theme with an elaborate pirate and his highly detailed parts freaks you out a little in terms of all the cutting and pasting you might want to do, think simply. Why not feature a simple X (x marks the spot on a treasure map!) instead. Easy to cut out and glue onto goodie bags, plates, balloons - even a big red x at your front door. Apply these more simplistic design elements to other themes.

FOOD

Shop for one-colour plates, cups, napkins and cutlery. You can then decorate the cups with your theme's logo or add appropriate embellishments to the rims of plates and bowls.

Serve food in unusual containers like noodle boxes, bags, cups, baskets.

Don't hesitate to rely on takeaway. Nothing wrong with Dad nipping out for a batch of fries or nuggets to dump in noodle boxes and serve.

Kids DO NOT eat a lot at parties. Keep it simple. Stick with your colour and theme and there's absolutely nothing wrong with bowls of lollies and chips, skewered fruit, sausage rolls and little savs - it's a party!

Signage on food can be great fun - instead of serving long sausage rolls, serve 'walk the planks'. Kids will find this a hoot.

Ice cream bars are brilliant fun and so easy. Just provide several tubs of ice cream and bowls filled with an assortment of toppings from sprinkles to smarties. You can also use milo, jelly crystals, diced fruit, choc chips, nuts (if no allergies), crushed choc bars - so many options. Don't forget liquid toppings (as if the kids would let you forget).

GAMES

I am going to organise a lengthy treasure hunt where the boys have to read a map and also have to solve clues to find the next clue. I'm hoping it takes them at least 30 minutes! leaving me time to get food ready for their hungry savaging.

Piñatas always go down a treat and you can read more about my piñata tips here.

GOODIE BAGS


Shop as early as you can for favour items and don't forget $2 shops for lollies (make sure candy is the wrapped kind). Think thematically, both by theme and colour.

Don't be tempted to provide a bunch of junk in the bags - it all gets tossed out and is a waste of money. Use the money you would have spent on a lot of cheaper stuff and instead provide them one or two better quality items - a foam sword, a hat, a pot of goop - something they'll actually enjoy rather than a stack of useless plastic.

Invest in a a bunch of little cello bags which can be used for so many of life's projects, and present your goodies in a clear bag tied with the appropriate coloured ribbon or string or yarn.

Cheap as chips.

If you're computer savvy, you can take close up shots of each party guest, head to your computer and crop their faces into a ready-set-up picture. I will be cropping heads onto the body of the little fat pirate and printing them off to send home along with goodies bags.

No one eats the cake. Or they just maim it. Why not cut the cake, serve just a teensy bit with jelly and ice cream, then wrap up a nice fat piece of cake for the child to take home and enjoy when they're not overloaded with lollies? I remember we always took a piece of party cake home as a child. It's charming and will save you a fortune in padding out goodie bags.

I'll be posting the results of Riley's treasure hunt pirate party right here in a few weeks' time.

1 comment:

Posie Patchwork said...

I too love Children's Parties, yes please, love it!! I do great goodie bags/ lolly bags (not quite full of lollies but craft)/ party favours, i think i was born to do it. Party sounds like a tonne of fun, your baby is 7??!! When did that happen?? My baby is 6 next month, love Posie

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