Kids parties should be fun but most times they end up being a lot of work. I usually have a big birthday party for Elle every other year and this year was our off year but Elle had other plans. She was adamant on a party. I explained that we would have a big one (with the elaborate theme she had picked) when she turned 5, she answered "ok mommy but can be have a little one?" I asked her what she had in mind and she said "lots of balloons, bubbles, cake, candy, unicorns, rainbows, bouncy castle, and my best friends!" How could I say no plus she seemed to have it all figured out and knew exactly what she wanted. So I hopped on the amazing beast of online shopping resource that is Amazon and shopped my little unicorn rainbow heart out.
She made is easy and it was in every sense of the word a "kid party". I personally am not a fan of adult themed kid parties. I like fun and colorful kid themes, we previously did circus, Toy Story, and this year unicorns and rainbows. I actually think these themes are easier to decorate.
That's my two cents about kid parties and here are some easy tips and advice on planning and throwing one.
Keep it small as far as the guest list. Invite the kids your kid actually wants to party and play with. This means the kids in their age group that they enjoy playing and interacting with normally. This helps plan age appropriate activities and keeps injuries in the bouncy castles to a minimum. Don't feel bad about excluding older kids because I'm sure they do not want to hang out with the younger ones anyway and the younger kids don't know so its fine. When you have less kids you can also splurge more on party favors and snacks and food since you have less to buy.
Keep the activities fun and simple. I don't have to tell you that kids are entertained with the simplest of activities. You don't need to spend a lot to keep them entertained, visit your local dollar store and stock up on bubbles, play-dough, and washable markers and paint. Have a bubble blowing area in the grass, set up a table for play-dough play, and area with large cardboard boxes for decorating and imagination play. Let's not forget the a party essential, the bounce castle! Kids love these and they are a great way to work off all the excess sugar consumption .
Decor and dollars. This one goes with what I said earlier about picking a kid's theme. The more colorful - the easier because everything matches and pops! Focus your decor budget mostly on the main table, this will serve as great back drop for pictures and video. For Elle's unicorn and rainbow themed I used disposable table cloths in a variety of colors to simulate a rainbow and just taped them to the wall with heavy duty double-sided tape. I then strung white balloons over top to look like clouds and cover the tape. I used lots of balloons to decorate the sides and found "Happy Birthday" letter balloons to use as the center focus point. Your cake, food, and snacks will cover most of the table so make sure they compliment it. I made a rainbow out of chopped fruit and also a big jar of skittles sorted by color to look like a rainbow as well, this was the most time-consuming project of the entire party but Elle helped sort and I like the idea of her being involved. Oriental Trading Company & Amazon have great and inexpensive disposable decor and don't forget to check your local dollar store.
Use your resources. Even the smallest of parties take a lot of effort and help. Ask for some. Use your talented friends & familyto help build, craft, and create. Your friends & familywant to help and they love your child too. People enjoy and party when they were a part of the process, let them help.
Document the memory making. Don't forget to take lots of pictures and video but also don't forget to enjoy the moment with your child. Ask friends and family to take your pictures and video so that you can focus on the party and memory making. I still like to take my own but it's really nice to see candids and other angles after the party is over.
Import what's important. Last but certainly not least don't forget who the party is for and what's important, your child! Make sure it's what they wanted not what you think your guests wanted. Invite the people that will make the party fun and light, don't invite those that you feel obligated to invite but don't actually care about. You will feel less stressed and the vibe will be much lighter. Your child will be happier with way less than you think so do not worry about center pieces and details. Happiest of birthday parties to you and yours!