Planning the Best Birthday Bash Ever
It's amazing how time flies, is not it? Seems like just yesterday you had six of Tommy's very best friends over to track cake all over the floor and spill punch. Now little Tommy is a whole year older and it's time to celebrate again.
With a little planning, your party can go much smoother this year. Here are a few things to think about when planning the Best Birthday Bash Ever:
No Need to Party Like the Joneses
OK, so little Susie next door had 150 guests and live ponies for her third birthday party. She also spent most of the time in tears, over-stimulated, over-caffeineed and over -ulated. Trust me; you do not need to keep up with the Joneses on this one. Save yourself approximately $ 2500 and plan an age-appropriate party for your little one. Everyone will be much happier. One of the best parties we ever had was a water party in the backyard. Cost: $ 25, including the hand-made invitations and cake.
Age is Everything When Planning the Guest List
What number are you having the bakery write on the cake? Take a good hard look at it, and plan the party accordingly. If Jenna is turning two, think about what is reasonable for a two-year-old. Experts typically say to take the birthday child's age and add one. That's how many party guests you should invite. So for a two-year-old, three guests plus the birthday child is the max. Any more kids than that and you'll have a room full of toddlers melting down faster than the ice cream.
Minors must be accompanied by an adult
If you are inviting very many children, you may want to consider inviting a parent or chaperon to come along. There's always at least one accident-prone kid in the group who will hurt himself even with safety scissors. Then there's the kid who just can not sit still to watch the clown make balloon animals, and decides he'd rather see if the new Matchbox cars Tommy got break plate glass if he throws them hard enough. Having parents around will help cut down on party accidents and keep everyone involved in party-specific activities. It will also give you (and the clown!) A much better chance of saving some shred of sanity.
Theme or no theme?
If the child is too young to demand a Princess Party or a Cowboy Extravaganza, then this one's up to you. There are tons of great party ideas on the Internet or at your local party store and you can buy everything from princess napkins and goo-die bags with crowns, to cowboy bandanna invitations and lasso games.
A theme can make planning easier, since it can help narrow down invitations, games and party favors. And it can definitely have a cool factor. If your little one is a real hipster, a party might just have to be based on the latest Disney heart-throb or newest cool action figures.
On the other hand, a theme can dampen creativity by making you stick with one idea. Do some brainstorming with the birthday child, and see if you can come up with some cool ideas of your own. A theme party can be fairly expensive if you're using licensed character stuff – all those royalties have to help pay for the pony parties of the Disney executives' children.
These should be sent out two weeks in advance. It's better to mail or hand-deliver them instead of taking them to school. Unless you're inviting the whole class, feelings can be hurt.
If your child is old enough, it's great practice to have him fill out the cards himself. Just double-check them before you mail them, or you might find party guests on your porch at 6 am, instead of 6 pm.
Age Appropriate Activities
If you have arts-and-crafts planned, have the birthday boy or girl do a test run a week or so before the party. Those graham cracker and frosting animals look really cute, but may prove almost impossible for little hands to create. Avoid frustration and make sure that the craft activity can be easily completed.
The same goes for games. No, two-year-olds really can not play Pin the Tail on the Donkey. Turn them around twice while blindfolded, and they'll just throw up on your rug. Again, test the games out on your child, first. If she does not puke, you've got a winner.