Blonde haired little girl in a fancy blue dress blowing out a candle on a small cake.

Planning Children’s Party: Ultimate Tips for Parents – Part 1

Some parents relish the idea of throwing their youngster a party and others can’t wait to close the door as the last child scurries out the door, talking a mile a minute.


Being organised and putting some time and energy into planning the party can make the difference between ending the day in smiles or tears, and we don’t just mean your child’s! 


Parties can be fun, or they can turn into all out competitions between parents, leaving little thought to what the children actually want. Sit down with your child and discuss it, but always remember to have a few realistic suggestions up your sleeve in case you need to curb their enthusiasm or imagination. 

Planning a children’s party


This can be a stressful item on the list for parents for two reasons. One, money might be tight, but you don’t want your child to know, or two, there is a big competition between parents in your child’s class to put on the best party and outdo each other. 


Both issues can be avoided if you set a budget and obtain your child’s input. Make sure you propose a list of activities that are within your budget and let them choose. As long as they are having fun, they are not likely to notice where you brought your tablecloths from, they’ll look the same by the time the kids are through with them! 


Secondly remember it’s a party and you don’t have to compete with anyone, take the pressure off yourself! 

Set a date 

Between busy schedules and other children’s birthday parties, it can be difficult to find a date when all your child’s friends are free. So, the first thing to do, a few months in advance, is decide on a date for the party. 


Sending out invitations 4-6 weeks before the event usually ensures a good turnout, as well as less chance of their BEST friend having other plans. You could even send out a save the date email, well in advance if you want to be sure. 


Do you want the party to be at the weekend or after school, on your child’s actual birthday or after?  If organising the party in your home will the weather enable you to hold the party outside or will you need to make provision for it to be inside? 


Some schools also have rules about not holding parties on certain days, worth investigating before you set a date! It’s also a good idea to avoid school holidays as many people will be away. 


If you need to book a venue or an activity, it helps to do so in advance to avoid disappointment. Popular venues will book up fast, so avoid disappointment and scrambling by making sure you book in advance. 


If you know someone else in your child’s circle of friends has a similar birthday, why not discuss having a joint party? Remember to check that your child is still friends with the other child and that as parents you have similar planning styles, or this won’t work! This is a good way to cut your budget in half as well. 

Set a time

Deciding how long the party should last, will be dependent on the age of children and the activities planned but as a guide, parties should last about 2 hours. This is long enough for the kids to have fun and not run out of steam or get bored. 


As kids get older and they want to do something more adventurous like have a sleep over, remember you have a lot more hours to fill, so plan your activities accordingly. Not everyone needs to be entertained all the time, but you’ll be amazed at how much more smoothly your party runs if you have enough planned to keep everyone occupied! 


Depending on the age of your child, some schools have rules that the whole class needs to be invited up to a certain age. Check into this before you start to plan so that you don’t get a big surprise at the end! It’s also good to include all the children so no one feels left out. 


When they get older, another way to look at the guest list is one friend per year! 


Decide if you are expecting parents to stay or drop and run! This will make a difference to the amount of food you need to prepare, and the number of extra hands you might need. As a rule, you can assume if a child is under 5 their parents will stay, over 5 it becomes less clear, so make sure you ask OR make a note on your invitations that states either way. 


Siblings is a sticky matter. Strictly speaking the invitation is for the one child, unless specified, but you will have some parents who ask if they can bring brothers and sisters. While a little cheeky, expect this and plan on a few extra children for whatever activity you are planning, for the amount of food you prepare and always have a few extra party bags on hand. 


Make sure you have enough adult helpers to make things run smoothly. An extra pair of hands never goes astray!  


Whether you’re hand delivering, emailing or sending invitations to a Whatsapp group, make sure to include the following details: 


  • Name of Birthday Party Child - Make sure you include your child’s surname in case there is more than one Adam or Emma in the class 
  • Day & Date of Party - Good to include both, just in case! 
  • What time the Party will Start & Finish - Unless you want to be dealing with stragglers at both ends, make this clear! 
  • Where the Party is going to be held - The more information you include here the less questions you will need to answer. If you are emailing, why not attach a Google map 
  • Don’t forget to request an R.S.V.P. – A telephone number is a good idea to also request in case there are any issues on the day 
  • Include an RSVP date - Don’t give parents too long to respond as they are likely to add it to the to-do pile. 

Make sure if it’s fancy dress you let people know on the invitation. It’s never fun to be the child who doesn’t show up in costume! 


Theme for the party 

A theme is an easy way to start your planning, and to help you make your list. Having a theme will help you decide what decorations you need, what activities you can adapt and what entertainment is needed, if any. 


Party themes can be anything from a garden party to a full-on pirate invasion. As children get older, they may be influenced by a TV show or film they have seen. Try to avoid doing something just because someone else in their class or their best friend did it as you’ll either surpass it or it won’t measure up. Either way someone is going to feel lousy!  Think about what your child and their friends would enjoy especially if you have a mix of boys and girls coming to the party. 


Some of the themes we’ve tried and tested include: 

  • Dinosaur  
  • Pirates 
  • Super heroes 
  • Spa Day 
  • Princess 
  • Fairy 
  • Mermaid 
  • Circus 
  • Disney 
  • Unicorn 
  • Outer Space 
  • Frozen 
  • Toy Story  
  • Farm 
  • Jungle 


Other themes have been dictated by the locations we’ve booked and while this can be an added cost, it can also take a load of stress off you on the day, as there are usually staff on hand to help and most of the party is taken up by the activity. 


Some of our favourites are: 

  • Swimming pools  
  • Skating rinks 
  • Cinema 
  • Karaoke & Recording Studios 
  • Bowling  
  • Gym 
  • Pottery classes 
  • Painting Classes 
  • Soft Play Centres 

Check out part 2 of this series here.



    Tinies Locations: