There is a big list of tasks to consider when you plan a party. It's easy to get overwhelmed, leave it to the last minute, and feel in a rush. We put together this Ultimate Party Checklist, which includes our 9 requirements for a family friendly event, to help with the planning of your next celebration.
Planning a party for your child or the whole family in 2020 doesn't just involve baking a cake and setting up a table (we wish it was that easy!) There are many variables to consider, that can easily be forgotten or overlooked. Think about it: a child friendly theme (insta-worthy of course), dietary requirements, safe/inclusive venue, etc... the list goes on and on. A 'family friendly' event might be similar to a usual party but there are still some differences that really need to be considered. We put together this Ultimate Party Checklist, as a go-to guide for the planning of your next celebration. Find our 9 requirements for a family friendly event listed below:
You may think you have plenty of time to plan, but as with most things parenting, it'll sneak up on you! If you are planning a big family event with more than 20 people, start making arrangements about 2+ months ahead. The last thing you want to happen, is running out of time and then having to rush the planning process. If you're organising your child's birthday with an average of 10 kids, you should give yourself about 5-4 weeks time to plan everything out, place orders, send out invites etc. Party/event planners can add extra expense to a party that could otherwise go towards epic decorations or food or favours, it IS possible to plan a great party yourself by setting aside a few hours a week for dedicated planning. Yes we know that the parent life is busy...🤯
A party theme provides a lot of fun, especially for children. But this can also be great for parents if they decide to join the party! It gives the chance to forget the stress of daily life and mingle with other parents because a funny pirates of the Caribbean outfit is always a good ice-breaker. Try to choose a theme that is appealing for boys and girls, if you know that mixed genders are coming. Also don't try to go TOO over the top with the theme, as some parents could find it too much work, if they have to face-paint their children for hours. Think outside the box too, while super heroes or princesses can be obvious favourites, a colour theme such as 'rose gold', or a theme around a country or food, eg 'Mexican theme', can be a more mature option for older kids. Check out this A to Z of Kid's party themes for some great ideas. Once you've chosen a theme for the party, you can build a list of decoration and/or food requirements around it!
This really depends on your theme and how big the party numbers are. If you have limited space and plan a big party, it makes sense to either hire a venue or just do the festivities outdoors, perhaps at a local park, beach or play-centre. Let's say you are planning a pirate themed party, it would be great to celebrate that at a beach or a park with access to a sandpit, that way you're incorporating your theme into the location! Not to mention the ease of cleaning up. If you are hosting your little one's party at home, just bear in mind that there could be loads of kids running around, potentially knocking down anything that comes into their way. Do your valuable TV and prized Chinese vase a favour and relocate them to a safe spot during the party. 😁
As we all know, children are FULL of excitement and energy. And that tends to double when it's party time! Try to organise some fun activities for the kids that go along with the theme. Choose something that stimulates them physically but also mentally. Some of these family-friendly activities could be sporty competitions, craft workshops, magic skills or cooking activities (cupcake or cookie decorating is a great example!) Have a look at these 16 great ideas for family friendly party activities. One major point to keep in mind for any activity is: Safety First! Once you and your child has decided on which activities they want to do, ensure that safety takes priority at your family-friendly event.
There are many children who are different-abled and if your child is friends or classmates with one of these little superheroes, make sure you consider how you can include them in the party too. Is the venue accessible to them? Are they able to sit on the floor with the other kids and get up and down easily or can you provide a chair? Are the activities inclusive or are they able to be adjusted or enjoyed with a bit of help? They may have different dietary requirements you can discuss with their parent ahead of time, so you can provide yummy options for them. Food allergies in particular need to be treated very seriously and the catering for the event planned for. Gone are the days when these beautiful little people were left out or left behind... teach your kids empathy and inclusion. Kindness is cool! And so so essential. For parents with different abled children, it means the world to them and their kids!
Now that you've got a theme and know what sort of activities and games will be included, it is time to create the guest list and invitations. If you're organising your child's party as a surprise, you can ask his/ her teacher to give you some ideas on which kids spend most time with your child during school or kindergarten. Once you start creating your invitations, you can make them in line with the theme but don't necessarily need to. Just ensure to include a RSVP date, so you know how many people will actually be coming. Also ask if there are any special dietary requirements, as some kids might have allergies but not even know about it themselves depending on their age. Hand the invitations out roughly about 5-6 weeks ahead for big parties (20 people or more) and 3 weeks for mid to small sized parties (around 15 people). If you want to go green and save paper, use invitations services like evite to send out electronic invitations.
It's not ideal to run a whole party by yourself, you won't be able to enjoy it as you'll be running around and trying to organise a million tasks. Try to ask some of your friends, relatives, older children or invited parents for help. It will make a huge difference when you have those extra hands for coordinating the party activities, replenishing food and pre-/ post-party cleaning. If you've asked other parents to stay, make sure you provide refreshments for them also!
Once again, these can be planned around your theme, but it's not essential. Because you've asked ahead of time about the dietary requirements, you can plan to be sure that no one will be left out due to intolerances. As different families enjoy different diets, plan to have vegetarian and a non-vegetarian options. Try to go for an option that is easy for you to prepare in big quantities and not a dish that needs to prepared individually for every person (this is a 4th birthday, not a 40th!) Create a shopping-list at least 2 weeks in advance and you'll have enough time to buy everything that you need. Dishes that can be prepared ahead of time and frozen are great time and sanity savers! Here are 20 healthy kids party food ideas. If you are hosting a big family event and are running short of time, it might be an option to consider a catering service, or asking some of your family members or close friends who might be attending to bring a plate. A job shared is a job halved!
Which child or adult doesn't like party favours? Everyone is excited to take a special something home to remember the good time they've had. This could be a photo with a polaroid (love this idea), some extra sweets, small toys or stickers, etc... just get creative and choose something that might go along with the theme of your party. If you have trouble finding an idea, check out these kids goodie bag ideas. Don't worry, these party favour bags are not made to break the bank and only include treats that are easy on your purse. 😉
If you are using the Thumsters app, a party is the perfect opportunity for the birthday child's siblings to get those extra thumbs while helping out and making your role as host a little bit easier! All of your kids can get hands on, to earn additional thumbs up. This could include tasks like setting the table, helping clean the house pre-party, welcoming guests, collecting up the dishes, etc...
We hope that our ultimate party checklist will make your next family event a breeze and let you enjoy the festivities to the fullest. Let us know in the comments below, what your ultimate party checklist points are!