Simple parties are making a comeback, with many parents ditching soft-play centres, laser gun battles and pricey entertainers for home baking, balloons and good old-fashioned party games.
Here are 10 tips for throwing simple, fun-filled parties your kids will love!
At a glance
- Cram activities into a short time frame
- Sneak in healthier options into the food choices to avoid an intense sugar rush
- Consider other parties or key events happening around the time - you want the guests to be able to come
Keep it small
Small, quieter parties are often easier for parents and children alike. And with less people to host, you’ll have more time to lavish on your toddler, giving them that special attention they really love.
Get the timing right
Keep it short – even the quietest of parties are wildly stimulating for kids, so it’s best to stop before they get tired. And make sure the party fits in well with toddlers’ nap schedules – well rested kids are much happier guests!
Dodge the sugar rush
You can still serve much-loved party food, but avoid an all-out sugar rush with a few healthy options sneaked in too. It’ll certainly make for a calmer event - the holy grail of children’s parties! Carrot batons, grapes and cheese cubes will soon be snapped up. And vegetable crisps, jelly made from smoothies, or lollies made from fruit juice will go down a storm!
Bring on the games!
Good games can be great icebreakers, so best to start any party armed with a list of great indoor and outdoor games kids love. Really simple games like ‘Simon says’ or musical chairs will be a huge hit – and all children everywhere love playing with balloons or chasing bubbles.
Plan well ahead
There's nothing worse than planning a great party, only to find none of your children’s besties can make it. So check dates with key families first, dodge other children's birthdays and check the diary for big school events too.
Choose a theme
You can add a lot of fun with a great theme – tailoring the decorations, food and party games to suit, and even asking guests to come in costume too. Why not look for great ideas in your children's favourite books or films? Or make life easier by seeing what’s available in your local store or online.
Cheap venues and the great outdoors
If it’s warm, why not picnic in the park, or for winter birthdays, you can often hire local halls quite cheaply – then bring them to life with balloons, decorations and a fun theme.
A joint party means you can halve the cost and effort, and double the fun. Why not ask local friends whose kids have birthdays around the same time?
Find a secret entertainer!
Hiring a magician, mad scientist or ballet teacher for a children’s party can keep kids happily entertained from start to finish. But if you want to keep costs down, why not ask a friend or relative to release their inner children’s entertainer – surely every family has one! Just provide a costume and suggest a few popular party games like What’s the Time Mr Wolf?, Blind Man’s Bluff or Pin the Tail on the Donkey. Kids will have a whale of a time at a tenth of the cost!
Dodge the cost and hassle of party bags with treats children make themselves to take home. They could ice ready-made fairy cakes - covering them with sprinkles and smarties. Or you could buy undecorated gingerbread men and let children bring them to life with an icing pen. Or grab a box and go for the much-loved Lucky Dip. Just pop little toys or sweets in a box full of shredded paper for the children to rummage through. They’ll love finding the present, and you only have to give them one gift each. Result!