Successful Kids Party Planning

  1. Easy Party Ideas
  2. Kids Party Planning

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Welcome to our list of kids party planning tips.

Whether for a young child, or older child, this list should help you cover all the steps, and make the whole process easier!

It is time...let the planning begin!!

Kids Party Planning

Getting Involved

Get the birthday child involved! He may have some definite ideas, want to contribute making pictures to the decorations, or help you make a guest list. Involve him in the party process and try to make some of his ideas come about. After all, kids party planning wouldn't be that, if not for the kid!!

Party Invitations

Use an invitation that gives all the details, along with setting up the theme of the event! To make the most of your kids party planning, visit our invitation page for some hints and ideas on what to include.

Make Your Own Invitations!
Visit for tips, ideas, and step by step tutorials to create your own handmade invitations.

You may even include funny kids poems to get the kids reading a bit at the next party.

Number of guests

For very small children, the accepted rule is one guest per year of age of the honoree, maybe one or two more. But if you child is used to playing with a larger playgroup on a regular basis, feel free to invite as many as you think you can handle.As children get older, school friends are invited. If the class or school is small enough – all the children from a class may be invited. At our house we started small, and our parties grew each year as our children grew older. And our kids party planning grew too! Do what works best for your child (and you!!)

Welcome Guests

An important part of being a good host is to make all your guests feel welcome. If can’t greet them at the door, assign this job to a helper. After kids arrive, take them to the party area and direct them to an activity. Don't forget the moms! If they are staying, planning for them should be included in your kids party planning! Have a place for them to sit (and make sure you have enough cake for them too!)

Party Helpers

Speaking of helpers, ask a few family members, friends, or even other parents to help with greeting guests, making games go smoothly and serving refreshments.

Decorations and Music

Use as many decorations as you can! Balloons, streamers, anything related to your theme. How about having the birthday child make pictures of their theme and post them at the party site?

The more decorations the better! If possible, play music at your party. It helps set the tone and can get the kids really pumped!

Party Schedules

  • Make your kids party planning really complete! Organize your party activities before the party ever starts. That way you’ll know if you have enough to keep your guests occupied.
  • Important: Once the party starts, be flexible with your times. Things change...go with the flow!

    A sample party schedule – 1 ½ hour long party (for smaller number of guests and younger children):
    1:00 Crafts and Choosing Activities
    1:30 Games
    2:00 Cake
    2:10 gifts
    2:20 piñata
    2:30 pass out favors and say goodbye to guests
    2:35 start planning for next year!

    A sample party schedule – 2 hour long party:
    1:00 Crafts and Choosing Activities
    1:30 Games
    2:15 Cake
    2:30 gifts
    2:45 piñata
    3:00 pass out favors and say goodbye to guests
    3:05 start planning for next year!

    Crafts and Choosing Activities

    When guests arrive provide things for them to do while waiting for others to arrive. If having the party in a backyard, they can climb on the swing set. Set out balls, hula hoops, etc. I usually also provide a craft station such as coloring sheets, making necklaces and bracelets, something to decorate, etc.

    Hint: The important thing to keep in mind when choosing a craft is to choose something that the guests can decorate themselves, using their own imagination. There are lots of great craft ideas to make something following directions, but unless you (or a helper) can oversee the assembling of this craft, it won’t get done. Much easier to give them something that they can design and do themselves.

    One fun idea is to have coloring pages available. Visit for coloring pages that you can personalize by changing the font and text. They are great for keeping kids entertained while waiting for other guests to arrive. You can even customize the text to each guests name, and they make good (free!) party favors!

    For children ages 8 and under, particularly girl’s parties, I provide dress-up items at the beginning of the party. Water-based nail polish, hair glitter, make-up, (have an adult helper on hand to oversee this!) and if appropriate, dress-up clothes that are theme appropriate.

    Stations for Target Games

    If having a large party with lots of kids, you can do some target games during the “crafts and choosing activities” time. Set them up with an adult helper stationed at each. Customize the target games to your theme.

    Games and Activities

    We have a huge list of games for you to select from! Choose from each list and you’ll have a well-rounded number of fun things to do! This list will make your kids party planning easy!

    Prizes along the way

    Rather than giving prizes at each game, I prefer to play games where there is no clear-cut winner. If you pass out prizes, most children will set them down (then the prizes get lost!).If you really want to pass out prizes, how about stickers and bracelets/necklaces? These can be worn immediately and have less chance of getting lost!

    Choosing Teams

    If you will be playing any games that involve teams, you’ll want to divide up the teams fairly. You can have the kids line up and count off 1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2, etc. Or you could give each guest a colored bandana, name tag, bracelet or other item as they arrive to designate what team they are on. 

    Kids Party Food

    You really shouldn’t need food at a kids party unless it falls over a meal time or is an extra long party. In that case, serve something that is easy to eat with no utensils, such as hot dogs or pizza.If you wish, have an ice chest available with juice pouches, little bottled waters and small cans of soda. I usually just sit out cups of ice water. I’ve found that with pouches, bottles and cans, the kids will take a sip and then run off to play some more. Providing disposable cups full of water is much cheaper, and quenches their thirst just as well!

    Cake, ice cream and drinks

    Cakes are very important! Not only tasty, but an excellent time to carry your theme to its fullest! Serve ice cream in individual cups or scooped. Both are great!For drinks, I usually bring out a tray of the same thing for everyone. Juice pouches or small bottled waters do great. Want to try something different? Try serving an ice cream cake, which can be made at your local ice cream store, or a cookie cake. You can also serve ice cream sundaes or cupcakes (let the kids decorate it themselves – they’ll love it!)

    Thinking up cake ideas is one of my favorite parts of kids party planning! What about you?)

    Include Fun Cake Designs in your Kids Party Planning.

    Opening Presents

    It is always fun to see what each guest brought!

    For small children, have an adult helper ready to take the present as soon as it has been opened and put it away in another room. I’ve been to so many parties that involve a small child opening a present, setting it down, and then the guests tear into it, spreading pieces all over the floor. Things get lost in all the wrapping paper trash, and you end up not knowing what piece goes with what box!

    For older children, save opening presents to the very end of the party. Some kids want to see the gifts, others lose interest and go off to do their own thing.

    Birthday presents

    Party Favors

    Party Favors are another way to bring your theme into the party. They don’t have to be expensive, elaborate, or large.

    Thank You Notes

    Don’t forget the thank you notes, get them out as soon after the party as possible! Young children can sign their name or make their “mark” on a thank you note that an adult has written. The important part is getting them into the habit from the beginning!

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