- Party theme: Determine what kind of party your child wants. Do they have a favorite movie or TV character? Favorite animal? My daughter's first birthday was a "farm theme" because she seemed to connect with animals. We had pigs, cows, horses, and ducks - things somewhat familiar to her!
- Your budget: Before you get carried away, and believe me, it's easy to do! What is your budget? Don't worry about your child wanting live pony rides & real, human clowns. The main goal is to make the birthday child feel SPECIAL on his or her special day. Chances are they won't even notice how clean the house was or if you carried the theme down to the tiniest detail. Kids just want to have FUN!
- Guests: Next, how big or how small do you want the party? How many guests will you have? Is it a family gathering or are you inviting friends? We kept it to "family only" until my oldest daughter's fiftth birthday. Then we branched out and let her invite a couple friends. Manners: if inviting classmates, it is considered rude to invite only a few friends from school. If you have a select group or want to limit the numbers, please mail the inviations to keep it more appropriate.
- Location: Do you want a party at home, at a park, at church, or scheduled at a particular location? Here, it is important to remember the age of the birthday child and the number of guests! Also consider some places charge by the number of guests, don't allow outside food, etc. It is important to ask questions when scheduling a party at a location.
Plan, Plan, Plan
- You will need to plan plenty of activities to keep kids busy. Depending on your theme and the time of year, this can vary greatly. Keep somewhat close to a time schedule as far as what time to eat, when to open gifts, etc. Activities can be used at any time you deem appropriate.
- Don't go at it alone at home! At the party, elicit help from other parents. Someone can help with the food, cake, & ice cream. Another may help with the pinata. Someone may supervise a game of pin the tail on the donkey, etc. You can't be everywhere at once. If you plan a party at a location with a place to play (ex. Imagination Station) you still need some help supervising and keeping the kids safe.
- Safety is so important! Rules may need to be established. For example, no running in the house please.
- Loot bags: Do you plan to give out party favors to the guests? This decision is totally up to the family but if given, please make sure they are age appropriate.