Top Tips For Children’s Birthday Parties

Many parents dread the thought of planning their child’s party – the sandwiches must be cut into the shape of teddy bears, the birthday cake must be a castle or racing car, every child must receive an invite, party bag and take away a slice of cake. And don’t forget to account for any wheat, nut or dairy allergies!

No sooner have you considered all of the above you, then you need to think about the party entertainment! It is no wonder that many parents are less than excited about the prospect of planning their child’s party.

Lucy Quick, Principal at Perform comments: “Planning a party for your child doesn’t need to be a headache, it can be lots of fun and stress-free, it’s all in the preparation. Try picking the perfect theme that suits your child’s character, so if they are mad about Harry Potter, make sure it is wizard-themed or if High School Musical is the favourite, why not host your very own talent show?”

Perform’s top tips to planning the perfect party:

1. Planning. You need to decide how many children to invite and then keep a list of who’s been invited and make sure you check off all the replies. Use the same list to make a note of the presents your child receives – then this can double up as a thank you card list later on.

2. Timing. We suggest mid-afternoon, say from 2pm-4pm. This way you can serve up a birthday tea (i.e. snacks and cake) rather than feeling pressured to serve a full meal. Make sure you check any dietary requirements with the parents.

3. Party Food. It doesn’t have to be expensive; everyone is feeling the pinch of the rising food bills and most of the time the food is wasted. Think bite-size portions; this way children can have a little of everything and you won’t have bits of food leftover with two bites taken out! Go for pizza fingers, mini quiches, fairy cakes, sandwiches cut into quarters etc.

4. Costumes. Fancy dress is a very popular option and, if you go for this, making your child’s costume needn’t be time consuming. There are plenty of outfits you can put together with items youalready have around the house.

- Animal costumes are the best. Make sure your child is dressed in a set colour, for example, tiger costume by wearing an orange top and bottom and sticking on black stripes using insulation tape. Cut pointy ears out of heavy card and attach them to a headband, then stuff one leg of a black stocking to make a tail.

- Magician: Dress your child in black trousers, a white top and a black bow tie. Make a black cloak out of an old sheet and add stars cut from tin-foil.

- Pirate: Simply cut off a pair of old jeans at the knee in a jagged line, add a coloured T-shirt, and tie a bandana around your child’s head. Use black face paint or eyeliner to draw on some scars, and even a tattoo!

5. Party Games. Traditional children’s party games like pass the parcel, musical bumps, pin the tail on the donkey etc all work well for this age group. Remember, if you are giving out prizes try to ensure that every child wins something once by the end of the party – also make sure that any prizes are boy/girl appropriate! You might also like to try something like a treasure hunt – draw a map, and leave clues so together the children can hunt for the treasure.

6. Schedule. This might sound a little over the top, but planning out what you’re going to do is a really good idea. Split your 2 hours into 15 minute slots with an activity in each. You don’t need to stick rigidly to the schedule – so if the children are enjoying one particular game, let them play for longer. It’s also a good idea to have some other games planned – in case one of the planned games doesn’t go down so well.

7. If you are having a large scale party and are hiring a venue and entertainer, you’ll need a venue that has a clear space of 7 x7 metres so your children can actually ‘party’ and join in all the activities rather than being restricted by space!

8. Professional Parties: make sure you ask some important questions before going ahead:

- Do they have experience with a) this age range b) this number of children?

- Are they CRB checked?

- What experience do they have?

- If you have a theme, can they will include this in their routine?

- Tell them about your child and their likes and dislikes and ensure that they can work around these in the entertainment. The last thing you want is an unhappy birthday boy or girl!

APPROVED SOURCE: http://www.perform.org.uk/ Perform provide hugely popular theme-based entertainment at over 1500 children’s parties every year from Hawaiian Hula, Fairytale Forest to Superheroes and Chocolate Adventure. Perform Party leaders arrive in costume as the character of the chosen theme and, with imaginative storytelling and music, they’ll take the children on a magical birthday adventure.

Founded 2000 Perform is a different type of drama school. They use a unique mix of drama, dance and singing specially formulated to bring out every child’s true potential. Classes are kept small to ensure lots of individual attention from their experienced teachers – hand-picked for their warmth, energy and professionalism. Perform focus on your child’s enthusiasm and engagement in the activities rather than their precision and will support them every step of the way to guide, inspire and encourage. Perform is constantly growing with nearly 200 venues (by September), which encompass Perform for 4-8s, Mini Ps for 3 month – 3 year olds and Perform Plus for 8-12s as well as Perform Parties, holiday Experience courses and a thriving programme of workshops in primary schools – Perform4Schools.

About Monica Costa

Monica Costa founded London Mums in September 2006 after her son Diego’s birth together with a group of mothers who felt the need of meeting up regularly to share the challenges and joys of motherhood in metropolitan and multicultural London. London Mums is the FREE and independent peer support group for mums and mumpreneurs based in London http://londonmumsmagazine.com and you can connect on Twitter @londonmums

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