When it comes to planning parties for kids, there is a lot of planning that needs to take place, and you’ll need to think ahead of time of all the things that can go wrong, so you have a backup plan for occurrences like bad weather, extra kids showing up, or even someone not having enough fun. It is also important to remember that an event doesn’t have to be expensive to be a memorable experience for all. A party for a 4 year old is no different. Here are great ideas that can really help you out when you’re planning one, which will hopefully also save you time and money.
Where do I start?
Before you can get anything else sorted out, you’ll need to know what the theme is. It may seem straightforward to have a birthday based on a character or film, but that may end up costing you extra money. See if you can negotiate for a broader theme that can allow you to find decorations and favors at places beyond the party store. Here are a few examples.
If your child loves superheroes, make sure that the theme isn’t just about one of them. Make it all inclusive, so guests can appreciate their favorite super heroes too. You can ask them to come dressed as their favorite, or bring a toy or item that features the one that they like the most.
If your child likes princesses or fairies, it is also helpful not to be too specific. It is much easier to find things like wands and crowns, than to find branded ones for a certain character. Again, guests can come dressed in dresses and with their best costume bling and jewelry on, for a little more pizzazz.
Now that you have a theme picked out, you’ll be able to determine if the party needs to be held outdoors or indoors. This is also the time to start thinking about what activities or games you want too. It is a good idea to jot down any ideas you have and do adequate research, including asking around your group of friends, to see what other kids are into and will enjoy.
What type can I have indoors?
There are plenty of solutions for having an indoor special day. For one, this is a great option if you have a venue picked out, such as a pizza place or a kid-themed destination. Many places will take care of a few of the essentials for you, like plates and forks and a cake, depending on what you’re willing to pay for. On the flip side, other locations allow you to bring a lot of your own items, but require you to pay a deposit or order a predetermined amount of food.
Another option that is great for indoors is if you want to have the gathering at your house. You can always allow the guests to go outside if they get too rowdy, especially after they finish eating cake and ice cream.
What type can I have outdoors?
If you plan on a lot of tykes coming to a birthday party and you don’t have room in your house for them, you can have it outside in your backyard. You could also reserve a park area or other outside spot to make the day even more memorable. This will also ensure that the partygoers have a place to hang out, and it allows you options for grilling and playing outside games like sports, using bubbles, piñatas, and even scavenger hunt activities. It can also make clean up easier, since you can put some large cans or bags outside for the refuse, and you won’t have to worry about your whole house getting trashed.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to have a backup idea in mind in case you can’t book a venue or the weather is bad, because the unexpected is bound to happen at some point.
What else do I need?
When you have the theme and location set, it is time to narrow down the food and party game choices. Kids eat many of the easiest foods to prepare, and you can make it as healthy as you want, as long as it looks fun. Here are a number of suggestions for food and drink.
- For outdoor parties, keep it simple with hamburgers and hot dogs. If tots don’t eat meat, you can make them something else, like a grilled cheese sandwich.
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are great, either with the crusts cut off, or shaped into shapes via a cookie cutter.
- Cupcakes and cakes are always a hit, which you can serve with ice cream or milk.
- Snacks like pretzels, popcorn, apple slices, or other fruits are items that you won’t have to feel guilty about.
- Cookies, baked goods, and various types of candy can be provided, or placed in the gift bags that the attendees can take home. You can also incorporate these desserts into your decorations, to make the whole thing look more kid friendly. This will also allow for parents to munch on some sweets too, if they want to.
- If you want to stay away from sodas or other drinks with dyes, you can instead get a healthy juice, homemade lemonade, or small bottles of water for the kids to drink. You may want to serve them cider or hot chocolate, if the weather is cold outside.
Is there anything else I need to know?
After you have gotten these three major components together, you can pull everything together to be sure that you have everything you need, especially food and decorations. Here are a few more pointers to help ensure success when it comes to providing a party that people are talking about for years to come.
- Don’t hesitate to ask for help. It isn’t easy to plan and execute any type of event all by yourself. Ask some of your best friends, your spouse, family members, or anyone else you can find to help you do chores that you need to get done.
- Have a little bit extra. You have to plan for extra kids to show up or for the realization that you didn’t put out enough of a certain item. Have a little extra of whatever you can, so that you don’t run out of plates, foods, drinks, or anything else that can ruin a fete.
- Invite some adults. Chances are there is a kid that will be coming to your party that you really like. Take the opportunity to invite that little one’s parents too, so you can get to know them better. If you have enough space, you can invite all the children’s parents, or at least indicate on the invitation that they are free to attend if they want to.
- Don’t try to make everything yourself. It seems like a really good idea to download templates and decorate everything so it looks fancy and homemade, but that is a lot of work and can take months of planning. Buy stuff that is already made when you can, and if you want to hand make some items, go ahead and do that. Just don’t give yourself too much work to do.
- Don’t forget to take pictures. When you’re in charge of anything important, it is hard to remember to stop and pay attention. In this case, you’ll want to take pictures of all your handiwork, and get shots of the kids having fun.
- Have plenty of games. There are so many games that they love at age 4 that you can utilize. This can be anything from painting to dancing to decorating things.
- Know when to give in. Even if your baby likes the activities you choose, there’s no way every child will like all of them. Have a handful of solo activities planned for the children that don’t want to be sociable or like to do certain things only. For example, have some toys around or coloring books to use for them, which may cut down on grumpy behavior.
- Have fun. The point is to enjoy yourself and celebrate a milestone in a child’s life. Be sure to relax and eat some cake. Take this time to notice that you did a good job and that the kids are having fun too.
Planning kid’s parties can be rewarding, but it can also be a lot of work. You aren’t a bad parent if you get a lot of prepackaged items to use, especially if you take the time to make special things by hand too. Keep it simple and have a plan for many activities, even if you don’t get to use them. Most importantly, at the end of the day, remember to not take it so seriously and relax. It isn’t the end of the world if things turn out differently than you expected.