Fabulously Festive

Entertaining insight for hosting children’s parties and seasonal fetes.

Looking to plan the perfect children’s party? There are a few tried and true tips that can help you create a fun, festive and fabulous fete all while staying cool, calm and collected. There are also wonderful ways to entertain children, as well as their parents. And you don’t have to compromise any of the energy or creativity of a great children’s party just because you opt to throw the party in your home. With some careful planning, you will be poised to put together an event that children will cherish for years. You can also enhance the party with chic and stylish yet cost-conscious décor.

Party Planner Basics

  • Begin planning your party four to five weeks in advance. This affords enough time to decide your theme, the activities and the appropriate number of guests. It also allows time to invite the guests and enlist any friends or family members you may want to help.
  • Pick a theme. Whether it’s elaborate or simple, a theme is the common thread that helps you decide what food, décor and invitations work best for a particular party.
  • Don’t over-think the food. As kids remember what they did at a party more than what they ate, it’s unnecessary to fuss about the food. Keep it simple and don’t sweat the little details. You and your child will have a much better time.

Fun Family Festivities

Even though it’s a child’s party you’re throwing, you can still host the fete after hours and get some parents involved. What’s better than families celebrating together? A party truly can be an enjoyable time for everyone; it’s just a matter of picking a theme and activities that you think the kids invited will love, with some adult appeal for the parents. Some suggestions follow.

  • Pizza Making Party: Simple, yes, plus parents and children adore making personal pizzas. (The dough can be store bought or from your favorite local pizzeria.) Separate all the ingredients in stations, invite the little chefs to bring their own aprons and assign each family a medium-size pizza. Or, while young chefs work on preparing the pizzas with some adult supervision, host a wine tasting for the other adults in attendance. Lead some contests and games while the pizzas are baking. And when the pies are done cooking, everyone gets to savor a yummy dinner. Some attendees can even make a chocolate pizza for party-goers to share for dessert.
  • Family Photo Party: Set up some activity stations for children, such as with doll houses, blocks, coloring books and Play-doh, and prepare some easy finger foods that suit both parents and children’s tastes. The activity stations and foods can occupy families while a local portrait photographer does ten-minute black-and-white photo sessions with each family invited. Designate a room or outdoor area where each family can go and get pictures taken away from all of the other activity. The families can each buy a DVD of the pictures for a small price from the photographer, and you know every time they look at the pictures it will remind them of your child’s birthday party.
  • High School Performance Party: Children today love sing-along movies like High School Musical. Consider getting a karaoke machine and having teens in a neighborhood high school theater department come and perform for and with the party attendees. After the high schoolers perform, the children— dressed like their favorite characters— can put on mini-shows. Create a stage area for the performances. And because young kids love being around older kids, the teens can help the children in creating dynamite scenes to put on for the crowd. Simply remember to set a timer for each group performing. You want show time to be fair and guard against stage hogs. 

Simple Spring Party Décor

When you’re inviting children as well as parents to a party, easy elegant decor lets the kids realize it’s a special occasion while it showcases your pizzazz for style. Think less paper and plastic and more natural and seasonal; it’s less expensive and happens to be eco-friendly. Here are some suggestions.

  • Party Tree: A week before your party, cut some tall twigs from bushes and trees. Bring the twigs indoors and place them in a large vase with water. In a few days, green leaves will sprout. Once they do, decorate the branches with brightly colored ribbons tied in bows.
  • Painted Paper Trail: Help your child paint colorful pictures. During the creative session, you should paint the letters that spell “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” with each letter on an individual sheet of paper. String ribbon up a stairwell or across a mantle or bookcase. Then, using clothespins, clip the pictures to the ribbon and spell “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” with your single-painted sheets of paper.
  • Balloon Bouquets: Instead of just floating helium balloons on the ceiling, tie bunches of balloons together and attach a rock to a vibrant ribbon connecting all of the balloons. Place the rock and the tied ribbon inside a clear glass vase or pitcher. You’ll still see the colored ribbon, and the balloons will be blooming out of the vase.