5 Things – That’s all you need for a great kids party.

It seems to be party season around here with my kids coming home with an invitation to a birthday party most days this week! While the kids are thrilled it has raised some angst with the mums – kids parties seem to be a big stress thing for a lot of my mum friends. For others its a very expensive exercise as the ‘at home with cake and games’ type party of my childhood seems to be a long forgotten thing of the past.

Just quietly I LOVE organising my boys parties. It plays to my organising and creative strengths and keeps my brain busy for a bit. I have devised a formula though, as I must admit to can get out of hand very quickly if you spend too long on Pinterest and over estimate just how expensive and time consuming actually DOING all those things is.

My advice is to pick five things and no more that are on theme. Pick a theme, even if its just a colour. Those amazing party places stuffed to the ceiling with colourful party goodness are so much easier to navigate and escape from if you go in with a theme to stick to.

The secret is to pick the same five things to do for every party – then all that has to change is the theme. This is my five:

1. Invitations, I like to set the theme and tone of the party right from the start.

2. Birthday Cake. There must be cake and snacks. I plan parties for before or after lunch so there is no need to provide a full meal.

3. Decorations – usually balloons as they are cheap, easy and nothing says party like a bunch of balloons.

4. Activity – one will do, our favourite is donuts on a string but pass the parcel is a staple too.

5. Lolly Bags or something small for guests to take home.

That’s it. Just do one of each of those and the party is made. In fact for younger children just 2 would do!

I’ve done this a few times now:

Angry Birds Party:

Party 1b

  1. Invitation – designed in Photoshop and printed as a 6×4 inch photo at Snapfish.
  2. Cake – Minion cake made using a slab cake, this minion tutorial and some toys out of a construction set.
  3. Activity – Donuts on a String – no hands allowed.
  4. Decorations – balloons with Minion masks I found here.
  5. Lolly Bags – This was a water party so I made everyone a Squid Gun out of some water pistols I bought at Cheap As Chips using the printable I found here.

Peppa Pig Party:

Party 5b

  1. Invitation – Purchased from Etsy and printed at Snapfish.
  2. Cake – A Peppa Pig family extravaganza I made myself.
  3. Activity – This party was held at the YMCA and included a hosted gymnasium session and a few games of poison ball.
  4. Decorations – As we were in a borrowed space there wasn’t much decorating to do. We had balloons and I made some Peppa Pig biscuits to go with the cake.
  5. Lolly Bag – I went a bit overboard here and made all the kids a Peppa Pig to take home using this tutorial.

Angry Birds Party:

 Party 3b

  1. Invitation – Purchased from Etsy and printed at Snapfish.
  2. Cake – Angry Birds inspired cake inspired by a couple of hours touring Pinterest and this tutorial.
  3. Activity – Like most of our January parties this was a backyard water party. All we do is cover the lawn in blow up wading pools, give everyone a water pistol and squirt them with the garden hose every so often. The kids LOVE it.
  4. Decorations (& another Activity)- We painted some boxes and built a Angry Birds set for the kids to knock down with some Angry Birds balls I bought at Big W. I made the pigs from green beach balls I got on EBay and used some printable stick on vinyl to make the faces. It was a BIG hit (pun intended).
  5. Lolly Bag – I went a bit overboard here and made all the kids a Peppa Pig to take home using this tutorial.

Lawn Mower Party:

Party 4b

  1. Invitation – Designed in Photoshop using a favourite photo and printed at Snapfish.
  2. Cake – Lawn Mower cake – self inspired as Pinterest really wasn’t a lot of help on this one!
  3. Activity – Like most of our June parties this one was indoors! We hired a space at our local play cafe.
  4. Decorations – As we were in a borrowed space there wasn’t much decorating to do. I made lawn mower biscuits from squares of chocolate, M&Ms, and a licorice strap.
  5. Lolly Bag – Being a third birthday the lolly bags were light on lollies, just a Freddo Frog, a Paint with Water colouring book and a little thank you note I printed on plain paper and designed in Photoshop.

Drum Kit Party:

Party 7b

  1. Invitation – This was a low key affair as went all out with the present and bought the boy an electric drum kit – he was thrilled! Invitations were a SMS message to join us for dinner at a local cafe.
  2. Cake -A drum kit cake, of course! I cheated and used a couple of bought sponge cake, cutting rounds for the drums out of one and sitting them on top of the other.
  3. Activity – This cafe is right next door to a Tunza Fun, so we played a few games of Grand Turismo.
  4. Decorations – There weren’t any!
  5. Lolly Bag – Sprinkle cup cakes topped with headphones made out of licorice for everyone to take home.

Backyard Water Party:

Party 6b

  1. Invitation – Designed in Photoshop using some digital scrapbooking supplies and printed at Snapfish.
  2. Cake – This one was tricky as it was a shared party so I created a Lego Friends Minion cake to satisfy both birthday boy and girl.
  3. Activity – A January party again and it was HOT so this one involved water backyard fun and an ice pinata. I froze a heap of little toys and lolly pops in a plastic tub of water, turned it out and let the party peeps at it with hammers and water pistols filled with warm water. They LOVED it and it took ages to free all the goodies.
  4. Decorations – There weren’t any! We order pizzas and served Cornetto ice creams for dessert.
  5. Lolly Bag – Whatever they pried free from the ice pinata!

Bike Ride Party:

Party 8b

  1. Invitation – Designed in Photoshop using some digital scrapbooking supplies and printed at Snapfish.
  2. Cake – Bike cake covered with ganache and topped with a fondant plate holding a bike picture I had printed on fondant to make it easier to sculpt.
  3. Activity – We booked out the local Road Safety Centre and the kids loved it! The hire included bikes and helmets for all the kids (or they could bring their own) a brief chat about the road rules and a room for cake and food. I can’t recommend this highly enough, it was fairly cheap, provided a good two hours of ride time and had the kids begging for more. It did help that we were blessed with some winter sun.
  4. Decorations – There weren’t any but I did make bike cupcakes with bikes I traced in royal icing on the top.
  5. Lolly Bag – Little gift bags with a small torch and a handful of lollies.

So, if you are thinking you have to spend a fortune, be a crafty goddess or an organising guru to host a kids party you really, really don’t. The secret to success is the five formula. Kids are easily impressed and entertained, especially when they are among favourite friends. All that going overboard is secretly just to impress the other parents and totally unnecessary for party success.

Happy party planning!

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