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8 Steps to a Great Children's Party
Every parent wants to give their child a birthday to remember; the difficulty many have, however, is in knowing what will make their little ones happy. It sounds an obvious thing to say, but small children do not have the same requirements as adults when it comes to party time. The mistake I have seen made repeatedly is parents throwing lavish Do’s and ruining themselves in the process, when the reality is that their kids would have been just as happy with a game of pass the parcel in the garden with some ice-cream. When I was a little girl I had a friend whose mother insisted on having her daughter’s birthday in the Claridges Ballroom every year. “Wow” you may think, but in reality none of us thought they were that great: the room was too big, the games too serious and you just couldn’t play musical chairs properly on their over-plumped seats and dressed in the “formal party clothes” the invitation required. Now, if your aim with your child’s party is to impress the adults, then by all means take a leaf out of her book and a second mortgage while you’re at it. If, however, you are going for the Kids’ votes, then take my advice: keep it simple. Embrace the fact that children are easily pleased with great imaginations and would much prefer running around pretending to be in a palace than actually having to sit down and behave themselves in one.
Here are a few helpful pointers to help you throw your Party.
1. Planning: Even when keeping it simple, planning is still essential. If you begin your preparations 4-5 weeks in advance, you give yourself plenty of time for finding supplies, entertainers etc, as well as avoiding any disappointment by making sure your child’s closest friends can make the date. In order to make all of this easier, a great one-stop solution for party supplies is monsterparties.co.uk, where you can get everything from the latest themed tableware such as Ben 10, Dr Who, Hello Kitty, Hannah Montana and Peppa Pig to pre-filled party bags, fancy dress, helium, life-size cut-outs, and decorations. And they have over 5,500 products on-line available for Next Day delivery.
2. Time: Choose a time suitable to your child: If it’s a party for the under-fours it’s a good idea to work around nap-times to avoid grumpy kiddies, whereas weekend mornings or afternoons are better for school kids.
3. Pick a Theme: It doesn’t have to be extravagant- it could even be as simple as
your child’s favourite colour- but kids love an opportunity to dress up, and it will also make your food and decoration choices a lot easier.
4. Food: Remember that children have much simpler tastes than adults. No sit down meal is required, instead go for easy finger foods: small sandwiches, cocktail sausages (my personal favourite), some crisps and a selection of fruit juices. Unless you want to spend the best part of the party scraping small children off the ceiling, take it easy on the sweets and fizzy drinks: if you think one child is difficult to control on a sugar high, try 20!
If you're not up for slicing 40 odd ham and cheese sandwiches, however, a caterer who is sure to be a hit with the kids is Simmon's Creperie. They will come and prepare
authentic, traditional Breton Galettes and Crepes made fresh to order before the children's eyes and topped with their favourite sweet or savoury toppings. The excitement of seeing them made will definitely keep them entertained!
5. Cake: Again, unlike their parents, children are not impressed by elaborate fruit
tarts and brulés: simplicity in the form of a good chocolate cake or jam rolly poly rules the day once more. You will, however, get extra brownie points with funky icing or cool shapes ( I still fondly remember my green dinosaur...). If the task of constructing one of these seems slightly daunting, again monsterparties.co.uk will come in handy with its selection of fun-shaped cake tins and decorations.
6. Entertainment: If you are doing it yourself, make sure every child is a winner. When it comes to the party entertainment, avoid all overly competitive games. Pick ones where every child will get something, such as pass the parcel, or a group treasure hunt with a treasure for all the children to share at the end.
The other option is to go for a professional entertainer. If budget allows, this is a fantastic idea as it is always more exciting for a child to have a clown or magician entertain them than good old mum and dad. If you don’t know where to begin looking, one of our favourites is Blueberry Parties, who specialise in fun-filled musical parties for the 0-5 year olds. Music is one of the easiest ways to get children to relax and enjoy themselves, and Blueberry’s entertainers are adept at doing so with a variety of sing-alongs, puppets, and bubbles and parachute games. The great thing about Blueberry Parties is that parents can relax in the knowledge that their kids will not merely sit passively munching away on sweets, they will actually be engaged and entertained in interactive activities. Blueberry parties are usually 45-minute sessions, and are well priced at £95 for central London or £105 for outer London, which includes name labels, balloons and a birthday present for the Birthday Boy or Girl.
7. Presents: This can potentially be quite difficult as it is often tempting for parents to want to have the birthday girl or boy open their presents during the party. Drawing on my own memories, however, I would recommend you wait until after. The concept of "it's their birthday, not yours" is not the easiest for a small child to grasp, and tantrums may ensue when the other children don't get to open gifts. Additionally, the concept of not telling the present giver that they don't like the gift or that they already have it is not always acquired during the early years. My advice in order to avoid any embarrassment, therefore, would be to keep the gifts until after the party. The benefit of this is that it will also cheer your child up after all their friends have gone home.
8. Party Bags: However small your budget, don't forgo these, they are one of the highlights of birthday parties and an absolute must. Even if it's just a handful of sweets and a slice of cake to take home, they make every child feel like they got something.
Of course, if you want to step it up a notch, you can add little toys and gadgets. Whatever adults may think, kids do not tire of balloons, bouncy-balls and bubble-blowers. If you are looking for somewhere who will make them for you, then once again you can't go wrong by visiting Monsterparties.co.uk, where you can browse their extensive range of over 150 different pre-filled party bags. Best of all, they have supplied a budget range which starts at just 85p!
Finally, don't sweat the small stuff; kids don't care about a bit of dust here and there. It is best, however, to do a minimum of childproofing before the guests arrive: you don't want to spend the party running around grabbing priceless vases and mopping jammy finger prints off your expensive white sofa!
Children pick up on feelings, so if you're relaxed and happy, you're one step closer to making sure your little one has a party to remember. Have fun!
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