Kids Party Planning Checklist

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When planning your kid party, it can be really helpful to have a party planning checklist. That way you'll be less likely to forget anything!  

This page includes both a shopping checklist and a timeline, so you'll know exactly when to do everything and can stay on track.

Party Planning Checklist - Shopping

You can also use this list as a shopping list. Here are some items that should be on every party shopping list, no matter what the theme of your party.

  • Invitations
  • Thank you notes
  • Camera
  • Tablecloths
  • Napkins
  • Plates
  • Cutlery
  • Decorations, including streamers, balloons, etc.
  • Food you will be serving, if any
  • Serving pieces (ice cream scoop, cake cutter)
  • Cake and Ice Cream
  • Candles and matches (or lighter)
  • Goody Bags or other party favors
  • Any game supplies

    Party Planning Timeline

    So, now you have your shopping party planning checklist, but what about when to do everything? I thought it might be helpful to share the timeline that I use when planning parties. And by the way, this timeline works not only for kid parties, but also for parties for any age group!

    More than 2 months before the party

    2 months before the party

    • Select your party theme
    • Select your party location, and make reservations if necessary
    • Select your party date and time
    • Create a guest list
    • Set a party budget
    • Begin planning party activities. Reserve any entertainment, bounce houses, etc.
    • If your party is going to be during a busy "party time of year" (Halloween, Christmas) send a "save the date" to guests.  

    1 month before the party

    2 weeks before the party

    • Mail invitations
    • Finish making any game and decoration items
    • Decide on order of games and activities

    1 week before party

    • Confirm any venue or vendor reservations
    • Assemble party favors
    • Gather all party items to a central location (or pack them if you are going to a different location)

    2 days ahead

    • Reconfirm with any guests who haven't replied
    • Reconfirm with your helpers
    • Charge the camera batteries 

    1 day ahead

    • Bake and decorate (or pick up) cake
    • Blow up any non-helium balloons and stuff in a giant bag so they are ready to use
    • Review party manners with your children

    Morning of party

    • Set tables
    • Arrange decorations 
    • Set up crafts, games, etc.
    • Set up a place for gifts. Make sure you have a pen and paper to keep track of gifts for thank you notes

    Immediately before party

    • Remind birthday child to say thank you
    • Put away pets  

    The next day 

    • Help write and mail thank you notes
    • Pack away any party supplies you can use again
    • Make notes on what worked well, and what you'd change for next time
    • Share your ideas!  


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