I officially have had 8 kid birthday parties under my belt. We’re hitting that phase where I’m not sure I’ll be hosting a ton more of larger parties, and I have to say — I am a bit relieved. It’s not that I don’t love planning a party, because I do, but I hate stressing about leaving people out and not having enough food. I’m looking forward to smaller gatherings just with my kids’ friends!
Thankfully, I have learned a ton along the way as a host and as a guest, and I want to share my knowledge and see if any of you have things to add!
10 Tips For Kid Birthday Parties
- Mail invitations. I’ve tried the email invite thing. The fact is, people forget it soooo much more versus when they have a paper invite hanging on the fridge. Opt for the real deal for the best turnout.
- Keep the timeframe short, and keep things moving. You are potentially taking up a part of someone’s weekend. Not only should you be aware that they may have other things on their agenda, but also kids tend to have short attention spans. Feed them, give them cake, open presents and let them play. Two-hour parties are most manageable from my experience. Anything beyond that and kids start going crazy waiting for cake and presents!
- Cater where you can. I love cooking, but when I am having 40+ people, I prefer to make everything I can, and order the main course. My personal party favorite are subs from Walmart. They super affordable and taste pretty darn good!
- Two words: Costco cake. I love to splurge on custom cakes when budget allows, but if Costco has a cute cake that will somewhat match the party theme, go for it. They have the best cake ever and it’s $18.99. Did I mention it feeds 48 people?! You may have cake for days! Or you can just send it into work and make others happy. Because cake rocks.
- Shop the Dollar Tree. I love shopping at the Dollar Tree for all of our plates, silverware and decor. They have almost every color of the rainbow, so it’s easy to match to your parties theme. It’s also the perfect spot to grab fun little items for goody bags.
- Leave yourself plenty of time to get ready. It never fails — I am always running around doing last-minute things before a party. I try to do everything I can early in the morning so I can shower and take my time getting ready and then have just a small amount of time to grab a drink and do the last touches while guests arrive.
- Have alcohol if you’re inviting parents. I won’t lie — kid parties are not my favorite things to attend, and it can be awkward if you don’t know everyone at the party. Serve some beer and people will mingle better…Trust me 😉
- Don’t go crazy with theme stuff. People go crazy for kid parties inspired by Pinterest. Don’t get me wrong — I love a good theme, but unless you have tons of time and money, kids don’t really care if you have every food the hungry caterpillar ate in the book. All they want is cake, ice cream and goody bags. Save extravagant themes for adult parties, where it can be appreciated.
- Set a budget. I am so guilty of buying last-minute things that don’t get used or I forget I even have. Figure out how much you want to spend, and stick to that budget while planning.
- Ask someone else to take photos. I feel like I never have many great photos from my kid’s birthday parties and it’s usually because I am our family photographer and when I host gatherings, I never am near my camera. Ask someone ahead of time to help pitch in. And remember to offer when you go to other parties, too!
Let me assure you…All this kid cares about is the cake, clearly!
BONUS: Let someone else do all the planning! Check out my list of 80+ places to go for a kid party in southeast Michigan.
How do you survive kid parties? What tips would you add?