How to have an amazing "kids" birthday party in 7 easy steps.
1. Don't have it at your house
2. Pick a party location where you don't have to do the set up.
3. Or the clean up. Especially the clean up.
4. Have an awesome looking cake or cupcakes. Bonus if it tastes good too.
5. Have food. i.e. pizza, hot dogs, nuggets. Have drinks, Kids love juice and orange soda at birthday parties. And parents love when their kids come home on a sugar high.
6. Make sure there is a physical activity involved to tire those little buggers out.
7. Don't have it at your house.
Can you tell I'm in birthday party mode? Kid #2 has his birthday party this weekend and kid #1 has his at the end of the month. Having 2 winter babies makes for a very expensive December and January around here!
I do actually love to party plan, but I have a tendency to get carried away. I like there to be a theme and I like everything to coordinate around that theme. So let's say I'm planning a pirate party... we must have pirate plates, cups, and napkins. Pirate party hats. Pirate eye patches. Pirate invitations. Of course a pirate cake. The party favors must be pirate-themed (maybe little treasure chests for everyone with chocolate gold coins inside?), the guest of honor must be dressed as a pirate or be wearing a pirate shirt. You see where I'm going here. And although it's so much fun to have a great theme, it does get extremely pricey.
So yes, I am still going with a theme for my little guy because I just can't resist (Blaze and the Monster Machines!) but I have scaled back, especially on the party favors and decorations. And for my older son, the "theme" will only be represented by the cake and invitations.
Now, if you're wondering about #1 and #7 on my list, let me just say this. If you like cleaning and stress and mayhem, you should totally have the party at your house. But if you don't like these things, DON'T!! OK, I'm kidding (partially). So far, we have had 1 kids party at our house. And while my son absolutely LOVED it, it was a TON of work for me. It was a ton of preparation and cleaning, and then cleaning up afterwards. The kids were INSANE. Some of them hung out much longer than they should have. And in the end, I spent just as much money (if not more) than I would have if we had it somewhere outside the home. So for me, it is much less stressful (and more enjoyable) to do parties at a "party place" where everything is taken care of for us. Of course, as the kids get older and maybe want smaller parties with just a couple friends (and I am no longer going theme-crazy), I am open to having parties at the house again!
In the end, I know neither my kids nor their friends will remember or appreciate the wonderful theme parties I created. All they want is to run around and have fun, and maybe eat some cake. Oh, and get presents of course.
What are your tips for having a great kids party? Do you like to have a theme? Can you help me overcome my theme compulsion?