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Organising Children's Parties
Organising a child's party can be fun, providing you plan it well and don't leave things until the last minute. However, for some busy parents, the date approaches with an unforeseen speed and before you know it you've got to spring into action and rustle something together.

This page has been designed to help you consider the various aspects of organising your child's party. We have also put some useful links down the left hand side to help make life even easier.

Remember: This is your community website. If you have any good ideas for party games, themes, food, etc. We would love to hear from you. (email info@thewestdraytondirectory.co.uk)


The first thing to decide is when. Obviously, this will very much depend on the date of your child's birthday, but certain things may affect your timing and planning around day of the week and time of day. Think about the age of the children who will be invited. Will they be at school during the day? Will the party be during the school holidays? If it is, make sure you get invitations out before they break up and try to get responses back beforehand too. If the party is going to take a fair amount of organising, are you going to have time during the week or would it be less stressful to have it at the weekend?

The choice is yours!
Indoors or Outdoors?
For younger children the preference is usually to have the party at home-just remember, this will place restrictions on how many you can reasonably invite (and don't forget that parents take up space too); it's often more difficult to wind the party up by a certain time as parents and children often malinger beyond the planned finish time; you will almost certainly have a fair amount of mess to clear up afterwards and, dare I say it, damage too if children have managed to hive off into various rooms with food, the dreaded felt tip pens, etc. However, on the upside, there aren't the usual costs associated with hiring a venue, nor the shipping about of food, decorations, etc and of course, you can flake out afterwards and clear up at your leisure.

On the other hand, if this all sounds rather unappealing or the children are older, you might want to consider at least hiring a hall or outdoor venue instead. Most halls are fairly inexpensive to hire. Do check on how many the hall will allow, who's responsible for the clearing up and if there are any restrictions on things such as playing music or having disco lights, etc.

Another option is to go the ready made party route. There are a number of venues offering party packages with different themes and services. Many include invitations, party bags and entertainment.

Who are you going to invite? Will it be a good mix of both boys and girls? Will the ages be pretty much the same or very mixed? How many will there be? Answering these questions will not only influence the type of party you go for, but will almost certainly help you decide where you're going to have it.

Checklist of other things to consider

Invitations-Don't forget to buy or make them and get them out in plenty of time. It's often worth chasing up for responses, particularly when you add up the cost of catering, party bags, prizes, etc. Also, you don't want the worry of "will anyone turn up to my child's party?" Make a point of highlighting the party start time and duration - there's always someone who gets it wrong. You want them there on the dot.


Will the party have a theme? This could be as simple as providing matching tableware and decorations, right through to children dressing up and providing themed games and activities.

Food-Will you provide the food? Or will the hall, venue or an outside caterer be doing it for you?

Entertainment-You've got to keep them amused! This might mean bringing in a professional entertainer (good ones get booked up well in advance, so definitely do not leave this until the last minute); organising plenty of varied party games, hiring a disco. This probably won't be something to worry about if you have chosen a venue offering a party package or theme.

Games-Some things you DON'T want to do at kids parties:
" Games which involve long periods of sitting around
" Games where some children are put "out" after a minute, and have to spend the rest of the time sitting around, getting bored, and watching other kids enjoy themselves.
" Too many games with no gaps in between
Follow these three simple rules, and you'll find it much easier to deal with the "but I don't wanna play" brigade at children's birthday parties. Speaking of which, there may come a time where you have to put your foot down and insist that everyone joins in: they'll thank you for it in the end. Try, however, to be sensitive to the needs of the children at the party. If someone really doesn't want to play for some reason, don't force them.


Keeping the kids all in one group really will make your job a lot easier. To do this effectively you need to take a few phrases out of your vocabulary for the duration of the party. Forget about saying "who would like to play?" or "shall we?" Get into the habit of being a bit more direct, with phrases like "right kids; gather round, we are going to..." Take control - you are the boss!

The type of games you choose doesn't matter too much as long as you don't break the rules mentioned at the beginning of this section. The old classics such as musical chairs, pass the parcel etc still go down well, but be as inventive as you like. Whatever you do, though, don't make the prize something edible, or when it's time to eat, they won't have an appetite. Food prizes will also distract the child when you're trying to play theme games, and make them less interested in the goodie-bag you give them when they leave.

Prizes-If you're going to play a number of games, it's usually expected that there will be prizes given out to the winners. Try to ensure that every child wins something, even if it means having joint winners. If you've got a variety of ages or mix of boys and girls, bear this in mind when choosing prizes. Most children just like being acknowledged as being a winner, so making up some winner's medals or badges can often serve just as well as spending a fortune on different bits and pieces.

Themes & Decorations-It might be a good idea to have a theme, even if it's only "Pink or Blue". The choices are endless: from Barbie to Batman, Fairies and Pirates. Once you've decided on the theme, try to ensure that the decorations, balloons, party bags, cake, etc all fit the theme. If you're going to do the decorations yourself, schedule in time for this, particularly balloon blowing and remember if you're hiring a hall, you will need to book it for that extended time beforehand. Another option is to have someone come in and decorate the hall or venue while you get on with other things.

Party Bags-In my experience, there is definately an expectation for these to be given out at the end of the party. I have seen them contain all sorts of things from pencils and erasers, sweets, bouncy balls and of course the obligatory piece of cake.

Don't Forget the Cake & Candles (and something to light them with)!!!