Tips for Planning a Preschool Birthday Party

birthday party planning
Image via Mindi Stavish

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.

party planning
Image via Mindi Stavish

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.

party planning
Image via Mindi Stavish

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

4. Crafts/Games/Activities

5. Party Favors (if needed- that's another blog post in itself!)

Then I make three lists for items that need to be purchased.

1. Food

2. Craft materials for decorations and craft activities at the party

3. Decorations

party decorations
Image via Mindi Stavish

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.

birthday party crafts
Image via Mindi Stavish

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
Screenshot 2015-06-24 23.58.01
Image via Mindi Stavish

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.

party decorations
Image via Mindi Stavish

Decorate

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.

birthday party
Image via Mindi Stavish

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!

{ MORE: Are You Trying to Conceive? 7 Secrets to Get Pregnant Fast! }

How do you pull off a preschool party? Share your tips in the comments.

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Tips for Planning a Preschool Birthday Party

Mindi is a working mom with three boys ages 4, 2, and an infant (born June 2013). She spent her first 8 years of her career in Speech-Language Pathology at a Children's Hospital. She currently works with adults and children in home health. The real fun for her happens when she is at home with her boys, chasing them around and pretending to be a super hero. She blogs about life as a working mom at Simply Stavish. Her weekly feature, Words in the Sand, teaches parents how to grow their child's s ... More

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