At Bull City Craft, we’ve hosted hundreds of birthday parties and we’ve learned a lot about how to have a party that is fun for kids and stress-free for adults. September through November is always our busiest birthday party season, and Frances’ birthday is also in the fall. As we plan all of these parties, we wanted to share our tips on hosting parties for kids.
1. A Grand Entrance
Remember that moment when you walked into your wedding reception and all your friends and family were waiting and applauding your arrival? You can recreate that amazing feeling for your child on every birthday by having him or her arrive after the guests. Arrange to have someone bring the birthday child a few minutes after the party starts. The grand entrance gets the party off to a fun start!
2. Time of Day
Start early. Our most frequently booked party time is 11:00am. All the sugar and excitement that comes with parties can be a road to meltdown city for some kids. Younger children especially fare better in the morning before they get too tired or hungry.
3. Length of Party
Keep it short. At parties for younger children, the kids might have the stamina for a three hour tour, but the parents will be ready to go after an hour and a half. For older kids who will be dropped off, parents are happy to let the party go on! Save your own sanity and don’t make it too long.
4. Number of Guests
It depends. Does your child seek out quiet corners by herself, or does she love to be the center of attention? Is your son going to get lost in a party of 25 kids? Would he rather just have his core four or five friends at his party? Some of the best parties at Bull City Craft have been a smaller groups. Also consider that until age five, most parents stay at the party with their child and may also bring siblings.
5. Pacing the Party
Provide a balance of structured activities and time for open-ended play. Whether at Bull City Craft or at home, we like to start parties with simple activities that need no guidance, like play dough or toys. Once everyone has arrived and had time to greet each other and acclimate to the party atmosphere, then we move on to more structured activities like a game or craft. Save the cake for last, and don’t forget to take a group photo before the sugar takes effect!
6. Special Touches
You don’t have to plan a Pinterest-perfect party to make your child’s party fun and memorable. Think back on your childhood parties– what you really remember is that feeling of excitement and having all your friends around you. Choose just one thing and make it really special– a spectacular cake, a funny game, or handmade party favors. For us, it’s our personalized “happy birthday” chalkboard signs (pictured here throughout the years). You really don’t have to go overboard on every aspect of the party.