Let's Get Digital

Tricked out tech for your next fiesta.

The holiday season is just gearing up. With school, work, and juggling the family schedule, it can be hard for parents to find the time or extra help to creatively plan a birthday party. So, in a world where digital tools can aid in a time crunch, the best thing to do is take your planning online.

Here are some great tech tips to help you make the most of party-planning activities.

Host with the Most

Some parents can’t find a moment to get into planning mode with kids at play in the background. In these times, enlist their help! Let your child become the main planner for his birthday bash. Discover fun ways to send guests visual invitations online. With so many interactive, digital invitations to customize through an array of companies, like PercyVites, Evite, Paperless Post and more, it’s easy to get your child involved in the planning process. He can choose from any number of invitation designs, whether they include cartoons, are interactive, or showcase personal photos.

Inviting partygoers via the Web also ensures you don’t have to make any return trips to the post office if you accidentally leave someone off the guest list. Plus, keeping track of responses is a breeze thanks to built-in programs at many invite sites.

Still a traditionalist at heart? Use a site like Zazzle.com or Snapfish.com to put together and print creative cards. Pick a pre-made graphic or upload pics of the birthday child.

Remember with Pinterest

Even when we’re super busy, we always find some time to surf the Net, so make sites like Pinterest.com work for you! This DIY haven has tons of ideas for party games and activities. View thousands of ideas for whipping up simple and affordable decorations, must-have menu items, and take-home treats.

With Pinterest, you can also keep track of the party ideas and resources you like on a virtual inspiration “board.” Once you’re ready to pull everything together, you’ll have quick access to your digital concept kit. Worry no more about where you last saw that cute cake recipe you loved, or the party outfit your child adored!

Themed for Ease

It’s always easier to decorate when there’s a theme! If your child is older, he’s likely to already have a sense of what characters or topics he most wants his party to include. Whether you’re looking for paper goods relating to dinosaurs or a beloved TV personality, you’ll find shopping online can not only secure the best prices, but also obtain the widest variety of options.

“Printables” in the chosen theme offer another way to personalize your child’s party. Search on sites like www.pbs.org for popular characters, such as Caillou and Arthur, and download images to print for party hats and decor. Suggestions for birthday bash activities may be found there, too.

Putting together a Halloween or 1950s party? Sites like The TomKat Studio and Catch My Party additionally have creative printouts to decorate the cake and dessert table or liven up party favors.

Name that Tune

It’s always a party when there’s music around! And at a kids’ party, it’s more fun when you don’t have to worry about inappropriate words blasting into the ears of young party guests. With music easy to seek and download online, parents can create a select list of specific tunes or even the kid-friendly versions of popular songs.

You Ought to be in Pictures

Who doesn’t like seeing himself in pictures having fun? All parents have several disks worth of images saved of their kids playing with friends and at gatherings. Be creative and reuse those images in a slideshow that plays continuously in a room where the guests gather.

Thanks to Bluetooth technology, parents can also hook their cameras up to a portable printer, such as the Canon Pixma iP100, and print images of guests within minutes of taking them. More of an eco-friendly family? Send a photo compilation video via e-mail to guests post party.

Food on the Go

Sometimes parents just aren’t sure what to serve during a kids’ party. If there are parents and kids joining in, it’s easy to offer go-to favorites, such as pizza and macaroni and cheese. If you have time, get creative with food decisions! Refer to sites like Spoonful.com for ideas. Try recipes for snacks like fruit kabobs and heart-shape, mini sandwiches — things that can be easily held by little fingers.