We recently asked our readers for their best kid’s birthday party planning advice. We have some of our favorites below! For more birthday party ideas, check out our article, A Party for Every Personality and our party guide for some awesome, local party resources and venues!
Birthday Party Advice from our Readers
Let your kiddo take the lead! Maybe a Lego unicorn pirate party IS their idea of a good time! It’ll make for great photos and even better laughs during the wedding slide show. – Ginger C.
Go to a place where you don’t have to clean up before or after. It saves you so much time and stress and let’s you enjoy the birthday fun, they will only be that age once. – Amanda B.
Keep it simple so you can enjoy your child having his big day. Or if you really want to go big, have/hire help. Remember, a crazy stressed out mommy is no fun at a birthday party. – Adriana C.
Make a budget and stay within it. You don’t need everything themed! Save some money by buying the expensive themed cake plates your child really wants but everything else – napkins, pizza plates, etc. – a solid coordinating color. – Alison T.
Plan for every minute of the party, but be flexible. If something does not work, go to the next activity. If kids are having a great time doing something, let them continue as long as they are happy. – Cheryl H.
Pick a theme and start planning early! I love throwing elaborate birthday parties for my kids so I really take a lot of time and don’t rush it. They are only little once! – Amber S.
Have someone take pictures for you because you won’t have time and you will want to capture the special day! – Tina K.
Always have more of what you need and remember it’s only one day they get all eyes on them so don’t let the small stuff get to you. It’s their special day and make them feel special. – Amber W.
Make the invite list in advance so you don’t forget anyone! – Ana M.
Plan around nap time, or the times when kids get the most tired, so that they have the best energy to have a great time. – Amanda C.
First would be to have a budget. If it’s going to be nice on the day of the party, I would suggest throwing the birthday party outside at a park and also bring a pinata. Include games where kids can win small prizes. Hmm, maybe have everyone dress up as their favorite superhero. – Xiomara R.
Plan simple craft stations and classic games like musical chairs or the “freeze dance.” – Beatris G.
Find something that the child likes or is into and make that the theme. My son liked cars at age 6. We had the kids make their own “cars” out of boxes, paper plates for wheels, and had a demolition derby in the driveway. – Brenda L.
Have fun with it! Remember yourself as a kid–do you really remember how the food table looked? How creative the invitations were? What was in the favor bags? No, of course not! You remember the fun games and times you had with friends. Don’t stress about the event details that are really only about impressing other adults–keep the perspective on the kids having fun and enjoy yourself. – Christine G.
Use goody bags as balloon weights. Then you can automatically send a balloon home with each child (and save on balloon weights!) – Cristen Y.
Keep your guest count to even numbers so everyone has a partner in the bday fun! This is especially true for laser tag, sleepovers, craft events and gaming. – Cristina Lucas
Let the birthday child help plan the party within reason. After all, it’s their day! Not too many sweets and enough activities to keep the fun going. Don’t make the party an all day thing. Put a start and end time on the invites! Have fun! – Barbara F.
Keep it simple and utilize facilities that match your child’s interests so that clean up is minimal for you, the partygoers stay active without tearing your living space apart, and a good time is had by all. Gymnastics gyms, karate dojos, county and private mini golf and/or pools, all have birthday packages. The price tag upfront may seem pricey for some of these places but there seem to be multiple facilities across many price points in this area and that cost is not as much as if you had to spend time and money setting up, having a party and favors, and cleaning up before collapsing in exhaustion. Also, when using these facilities, please tip the person(s) hosting your party. – Erica M.
We always had some sort of “make-your-own” food station that makes sure there is something each child likes to eat. Tacos and ice cream sundaes were always favorites. Make your own pizzas are great with smaller groups. – Gloria F.
I love planning kid’s parties! My best advice is to keep it fun and entertaining! I make sure to have lots of activities planned so kids aren’t bored and I always tie them to the theme of the party. Kids love to create so I make sure at least one activity allows them to exude their creativity and is also a fun take away for them. Instead of a goodie bag filled with chocolate and cheap toys, I’d rather have them design a bag or bake and decorate cookies and take those items home. – Guiomar O.
Make it a creative party for the birthday child. Make it “fit” for the birthday child no matter which venue the party is at. – Jequita
Do something your child really loves and invite parents so you have extra hands to help when things go crazy – Aubrey M.
Games, treasure hunts, outside activities if possible…mini golf, frisbees, soccer, etc. – Julie G.
Don’t have it at your house. That way the mess is somewhere else and the time is limited. Keeps things moving the kids are entertained. Everyone has fun. Best party we had was a bowling party. – Judy U.
Make it fun for the parents as well. Have a designated parent area where they can hang out and have coffee, relax, etc. while the kids are being kids. – Joel W.
Make it fun for the parents as well. Have a designated parent area where they can hang out and have coffee, relax, etc. while the kids are being kids. – Kaija J.
Let your child be the party planner. It’s their special day and they come up with the most creative and magical ideas! – Dorothy W.
Don’t overdo it. Remember what it felt like to be a kid, sans technology, and give the space needed for creative play. Also take into account the birthday child’s personality, likes, favorite foods, games, crafts, etc., and incorporate that into the event.
Have a rough agenda for the party, a few age appropriate games and activities the kids can enjoy together, as well as a few activities for the parents to do together that doesn’t only involve alcohol and awkward conversation. If the weather permits it, plan for some time outside, even if it’s just a walk to the neighborhood playground. – Lauren A.
Let you child plan the details – talk about who they want to invite (set your limit), let them pick out the decorations (it will not match), food, games. Your child gets to have fun with you picking out their favorite things and planning their celebration. – Jacqui S.
Identify your theme, check sites like www.washingtonfamily.com for venue ideas, and Pinterest for decor ideas and plan ahead. – Maya L. (Thanks Maya!)
My advice for throwing a kid’s birthday party would be: Make it fun for all age groups who attend. For my daughters birthday we didn’t make it “over-the-top” but everyone had a blast. Beach balls, bubbles, a large area to run, a variety of food & music. Plan ahead so you don’t stress last minute. Once the party starts, stay on schedule, but make the most of the time. I do believe in goody bags. After all, it shows you and your child’s appreciation for those who took time out to attend. – Traci C.