Tips for Planning a Preschool Birthday Party
I'm three kids, 6 years, and 12 birthday parties into motherhood. It's safe to say I'm pretty efficient at planning a birthday party. I'm still at the point of where we hold our children's birthday parties at home. It just seems more personal to me. I like decorating the house and seeing their excitement when they come downstairs on the morning of their birthday.
We have a February, April, and June birthday so the first six months of the year are quite busy. You can typically find a hot glue gun, crepe paper, and my Silhouette Cameo sprawled out on our dining room table for much of these six months. Planning a successful themed birthday party in your home is not something you can throw together in a night. It can be done in a week though, if you plan to give up a few hours of sleep.
Here are my top tips for planning a successful preschool party.
Pick a Theme
Picking a theme is probably one of the hardest parts to planning a party (for me). The nice thing about the preschool age is that the guest of honor can pick a theme. Be careful though, they tend to change their mind one million times! About a month or so before the party, I hop on Pinterest with my child and we brainstorm themes. Once they pick a theme I start building a Pinterest board with ideas they liked. I may not use all the ideas, but this is where I do my initial brainstorming.
Here is an example of a Pinterest board I used when planning my son's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle party.
Make a List
In order to stay on top of what needs to be done, purchased, and created, I use a large sheet of paper and break up my lists. I am sure there are at least a dozen party planning apps, but I like to visually organize my thoughts on paper. Here is a list of the different items I include on my planning sheet.
1. Invitiation/Guest List
2. Food Menu
3. Party Decorations
5. Party Favors (if needed- that's another blog post in itself!)
Then I make three lists for items that need to be purchased.
2. Craft materials for decorations and craft activities at the party
Purchase and/or make decorations
Generally I like to create a personalized birthday banner and a few other decorations for the party. My favorite decorating trick that is super easy is to decorate paper lanterns, using a big of hot glue to decorate them to match the theme. These make a big impact and are rather inexpensive. Crepe paper and balloons are other easy decorations that can be used in a variety of ways.
Plan Games and Crafts
I find that 3-4 quick games and one craft is the perfect amount of activity for a party. Pinterest is a great place to find ideas for both games and crafts. Over the years some of the kids' favorite games have been:
- some type of treasure hunt focused around the party theme
- musical chairs (or some variation of it). For my son's Lego themed birthday, the kids played musical Lego, where they passed around a Lego brick.
- dress up/pretend play centered around the party theme
Shop for food and prepare
Since I am the world's biggest procrastinator, I normally shop for the party food the day before the event. That night, I make what dishes I can prepare and refrigerate. I also lay out all the serving dishes I have the night before. Then, in the morning I begin putting together food.
I also like to decorate for the party the night before. It makes the party day a lot less chaotic (if that's even possible). When the decorating is done, I finally crawl into bed.
Party and Enjoy!
The hardest part about planning a birthday party is stepping back and taking in the actual party. I find myself worried about the small details, instead of being in the moment all the time. When I remind myself that my son will have a great time no matter what, then I feel more relaxed. If you find yourself observing the party from behind your lens, hand your camera to someone else. Better yet, think about hiring a professional photographer to do that job. You won't regret it!
How do you pull off a preschool party? Share your tips in the comments.