Birthday Parties Tips

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What is important to remember when planning party games for kids?

When Planning Games, Remember Your Age Group

It is important when planning a party to focus on the ages of the invitees. What may seem like an extremely simple game to an adult could prove to be quite complicated to a small child. Remember that the simple, repetative games are often the most popular for kids because they are familiar with the routine and experience a high success rate. The party games should focus on enjoyment for the entire group and not only on providing competition for one or two winners.

What is the best way to purchase inexpensive party supplies?

Shop after Holiday Sales for Basics

After Holiday Sales in grocery and department stores can save you a considerable amount of money. There are always incredible sales in grocery stores after the holiday has passed and often times the money you save can be in the hundreds of dollars. As a party planner, I am always looking for good sales that I can pass on to my customer. Last Halloween, I was able to purchase over $500 worth of Halloween decorations for $35. I happened to be in a grocery store that wanted to sell all of their Halloween decorations as quickly as possible; they offered a sale of $5 for a bag of decorations, whatever you fit in the bag, you paid $5 for the whole thing. I was able to buy hundreds of napkins, silverware, tablecloths, candles, decorations, etc. The colors were in black and orange but that is not a problem. Many party themes, in addition to Halloween, use these colors so I will have more than enough opportunity to utalize all the items that I purchased.

What is available in the way of birthday balloons?

Types of Birthday Balloons and Balloon Accessories

When it comes to birthday balloons, the choices are vast. The balloon market is thriving and experts are always coming out with new designs. Go to birthday party supply stores for ideas and prices. Here are some examples of different types of balloons on the market, courtesy of

  • Jewel tone
  • Assorted colors of round and heart-shaped mylar balloons (mylar is a thin strong polyester film)
  • Red hearts
  • Clear latex
  • Assorted colors as well as onyx black and gold and other metallic colors
  • Neon animal print
  • Yo-Yo - fill with water and use as a yo-yo
  • Punch - rubber band handles allow one to punch
  • Balloon face
  • Animal shaped
  • Hanging balloon chandelier
There are also balloon accessories available such as:

  • Spirals for the tail
  • Neon decorative balloon weights
  • Mini plastic air pump
  • Balloon string
  • Balloon cups with string
  • Multicolor balloon sticks with cups
  • Balloon clips

Why should I plan early for birthday parties?

Planning Keeps Things Simple

Planning ahead is the key to a successful birthday party. Here are some things you can do ahead of time, according to the experts, that will ensure your birthday party runs as smoothly as possible.

Stock up now on birthday party supplies! A few weeks ahead of time, purchase matching invitations, banners, cups, napkins, plates, and favors. Craft and party stores should carry almost everything you need.

  • By starting early, you'll have time to order a cake that matches the plates and invitations and overall theme.
  • You will put your mind at ease if your supplies are packed neatly in your home instead of spread out across several aisles in a store waiting for you to find and buy them. You will also be able to take inventory and have time to run out for those last minute items you have forgotten or decided are a must.
  • Party dates, especially those on weekend, book far in advance. Ensure that everyone is able to come to your party by deciding on a date early and spreading the word.

  • What are some ways to get around birthday party behavior that is unruly or potentially embarrassing?

    Birthday Party Etiquette

    You are knee-deep in birthday party planning. You have decided on a theme, you've bought the party invitations, the party balloons, birthday banners and other decorations. As the party date approaches and everything comes together you worry about the things you can't control -- such as guest behavior and your child's response to presents he or she doesn't like. Here are some common questions parents have and worry about before a child's birthday party and some answers for how to deal with them, courtesy of Scholastic, a global children's publishing, education and media company.

    • Do I have to invite everyone in my child's class to her birthday party? The answer is no. Just make sure your child tries not to talk to much about the party at school and don't let her hand deliver the invitations.
    • Should I call people who didn't RSVP to find out if they're coming? The answer is yes.
    • How do I make sure my child is gracious to guests? A 4-year old child should be able to greet and thank guests and by first grade say goodbye and thank you without prompting. If you child is younger or needs prompting, don't be afraid to do so.
    • Are competitive games a bad idea? The answer is no, but make sure everyone goes home with a prize and you don't make grand prizes of coveted toys everyone would want.
    • What do I do if someone brings a sibling or a parent stays unexpectedly? The answer is, there's not much you can do except squeeze in another chair. Keep extra goodie bags or favors on hand just in case.
    • A child is being unruly. How do I handle it? The answer is, try to distract the child with a task or make him feel special with extra attention. Ask another parent to take him under her wing. If all else fails, warn the child you will have to call his parents to pick him up if he doesn't settle down.
    • What if my child hates a present? The answer is, you can avoid this by not opening gifts at the party. There is a movement by parents toward this in recent years.
    • Are thank you notes necessary? The answer is absolutely. It teaches responsibility, politeness and a respect for others.

    What are some ideas for celebrating a 100th birthday?

    Celebrating the Centenarians

    Today there are more than 60,000 men and women who are more than 100 years old, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. By the year 2010, that number is projected to be 129,000 and by 2050, that number will be 800,000. Experts say the increase in numbers is due to advances in medicine and an increased awareness of healthy living.

    With all these Americans living longer, birthday parties for centenarians will be on the rise. You will find that some birthday party supply stores are more well-stocked than others when it comes to celebrating a century of living. But there are certainly plenty of birthday party supplies on the market, including birthday balloons, paper plates, napkins, birthday banners, birthday invitations and other decorations in the 100 theme.

    Fun activity ideas for a 100th birthday party are:

    • Get ahold of the music that was popular through the decades of your guest of honor
    • Head to a library to make a print-out of the front page of the newspaper the day he/she was born and have it framed
    • Do a photo collage of the guest of honor shown doing something special in each of the last 10 decades.

    How can I plan an inexpensive party for my child?

    Planning Early Can Save You Money

    Always pay attention to the special interests of your child. In our house, birthday party themes are planned well in advance, this early planning allows me to take great advantage of clearance sales, special prices and discontinued items. Pay close attention to end caps and clearance sales when in department and toy stores; a great deal of money can be saved just making a quick check the toy clearance isles during a shopping trip. It is taking the time, often just an additional few minutes to look for sales that can make all the difference in your budget. So many people tell me that they don't have the time, but when you consider all the money that you can save, how could you not make the time.

    What are the popular types of food baskets out right now?

    Birthday Baskets in the Form of Gourmet Food are Sure to Please

    There are plenty of gourmet food baskets on the market that make wonderful birthday gifts. It's easy to send a birthday basket your loved one will remember. They come in many prices, shapes, forms and themes. The most popular baskets right now, according to Gift Basket experts at Gourmet Gift Baskets are:

    • Barbecue baskets: including marinating and grilling sauces
    • Italian baskets: including Italian bread sticks, vegetables and pasta
    • Snack baskets: including pretzels, chips and dips
    • Breakfast baskets: including pancake mix, maple syrup and bacon
    • Chocolate baskets: including chocolate bars, truffles and cookies
    • Tea baskets: including teas, teacakes and cookies
    • Fruit baskets: including fruit, nuts and preserves

    What are the most popular birthday party themes for first birthdays?

    Popular Ideas for First Birthday Parties

    If you are looking for ideas for a first birthday party, there are plenty of ideas on party supply Web sites and in party stores. Here is what experts say are among the most popular themes and activities:

    First birthday party themes:

    • Baby Einstein
    • Care Bears
    • Cars and trucks
    • Clifford the big red dog
    • Fairy Princess
    • Noah's Arc
    • Winnie the Pooh

    You can find birthday balloons, birthday banners, birthday invitations, birthday party favors and other paraphernalia that relates to all of these themes and more.

    Whether you choose a first birthday party theme in Care Bears or Baby Einstein, you may be concerned about fun activities for all the parents who attend. If you are looking for activities for adults at your child's first birthday party, here are some ideas:

    1. A game called "Our Baby Can..." Divide the adults into two groups - the "can" and the "can't" groups. When you call out a task such as "use the potty" or "eat with a spoon," your guests move to the side of the room they think is the correct answer based on whether they believe your baby can or can't do that task.

    2. Time capsule: before the party, decorate a coffee can, oatmeal or tennis ball container. Provide pen and paper. Encourage your adult friends and family members to write a special note to your baby to be read by them at a later date.

    3. Fill a jar with Cheerios. Make sure you count how many Cheerios are in the jar. Your guests will each write down their name and best guess as to how many Cheerios are in the jar. The person who is closest wins a prize.

    What are some good ideas for throwing a Harry Potter birthday party?

    A Harry Potter Birthday Party

    J.K. Rowling's infamous Harry Potter books have sold more than 250 million copies. It's an understatement to say that children love Harry Potter. "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" was the fastest selling book in history, with more than 8.9 million copies snatched up within the first 24 hours of its release.

    Therefore, it shouldn't surprise you if your child wants a Harry Potter birthday party. Nor will it be hard to stick to the theme with all the ideas and party supplies available on the market. Here are some ideas for a very Harry Potter party, courtesy of Anita M. Smith, author of "Theme Birthday Parties for Children."

    Party invitations: use tan or yellowish parchment paper or computer paper with a scroll design on it

    Decorations: there is a lot to choose from in birthday party supply stores. Hang scarlet and gold or red and yellow birthday balloons and streamers. Prop broomsticks around the house. Place a black cauldron near the door with candy in it for arriving guests (there is even Harry Potter candy such as Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans available at some candy stores if you really want to stay in theme). Hang pictures of trolls, owls, cats, mice and unicorns around the house. Suspend a stuffed owl from the ceiling and attach a rolled up letter to its feet. Use signs to name your basement the "Dungeon,"‚ your back yard the "Forbidden Forest" and your kitchen "The Great Hall." Cover a large book with a piece of paper that reads "Magic Spells" and place prominently on the coffee table.

    Activities: as guests arrive, ask them the magic password upon entering. If they can guess a password used in the books, give them a piece of candy. Place temporary tattoos in the shape of lightening bolts on guest's foreheads upon entering. Let kids create Muggle magic wands. Have broomstick relay races, a Harry Potter trivia contest, have guests take a crack at a spider-shaped pinata and do amateur magic tricks after looking them up in a book or online.

    Food: try to follow the classic British boarding school menu, which includes roasted meats, boiled, roasted or fried potatoes, boiled carrots, Yorkshire pudding and ice cream and cake for dessert. For drinks, serve goblets of soda or juice.


    Saddle Up for a Mr. Ed Party

    A horse is a horse of course of course ... and if the guest of honor's name is Ed, all the better! Make Mr. Ed buttons with a gadget like Badge-a-Minit, or go take the easy trail with self-laminated Mr. Ed tags. Why not have someone show up in a jockey uniform? Place little plastic horses at each place setting, and scatter photos of Ed along the tables. Photos are always conversation starters. You'll definitely send your friends home with a stable of memories!

    What are some fun birthday party planning using photos?

    Birthday Party Planning With Photos

    Birthday party planning is a snap with all the ideas available on the market. If pictures are your forte, here are some ideas from the experts.

    • Create a collage of pictures that traces the birthday person's development. Include embarrassing, as well as flattering, images. Place the collage on a prominent wall at the party.
    • Use a big piece of paper and markers to draw a diagram (kind of like a genealogy) of how the birthday person knows everyone. Include some pictures here and there of the birthday person with some of these friends. During the party, have guests tell funny stories about their friendship with the birthday person.
    • To commemorate the party, hang a colorful backdrop and use a Polaroid to take a photo of the birthday person with each guest. Give the photos to the birthday person in the form of an album or online album.

    How do I go about planning parties?

    Entertaining Party Ideas - Take Lots of Pictures

    Find someone to take pictures, especially if you plan to be involved running the activity. This way you can make sure everyone is having fun, you included without trying to capture the moment. Later, you can look at the pictures. A digital camera is great if you have one, but you can still get pictures developed in an hour.

    How do I go about planning parties?

    Planning Parties Early

    It's never too early to start party planning, or at least thinking about the party. If you write down your thoughts you will often times come back to them adding, subtracting and expanding your ideas. This will give you and idea of how big the party will be and provide information on the potential cost of the party.

    How do I go about planning parties?

    Planning Party Celebrations

    It wouldn't hurt to put some sort of schedule together (that means writing it down). If lots of things are happening, it could be hectic. Do you want the children over for a swim just when the pizza shows up right after the clown shows up only to find you forgot to pick up the cake in the morning?

    How do I go about planning parties?

    Saying Thank You

    Everybody likes to hear a thank you. Everybody wants to be appreciated. Say that thank you right away – and make sure its not phony. Make sure you follow-up with a phone call or thank you card in the next few days. No, not in one week or one month. Now don't you feel good?

    Do parents have to plan holiday birthdays on holidays?

    When Your Child's Birthday is on a Holiday

    Just because your child was born on a holiday doesn't mean he/she is doomed to forever share the spotlight with Santa Claus or the Easter bunny. Studies show parents are skirting this issue by celebrating their child's birthday separately from the holiday.

    A poll asking parents how they celebrate a child's holiday birthday indicated that they take pains to separate the holiday from the birthday celebration. Twenty percent of nearly 5,000 parents polled said they move the birthday celebration to a different day. And 52 percent said they make a point to celebrate both separately.

    How do I go about planning parties?

    Kids Party Planner Idea

    When planning your child's birthday party, allow plenty of time to get the details organized. Organization and pre-planning take the stress out of hosting a party and make the entire process enjoyable. Always allow at least six to eight weeks to plan and prepare for a successful event.

    How do I go about planning parties?

    Party Celebrations for Kids

    What do you do with your other children who are too young to jump in the car and get lost, or stick around and help? Telling them it's not their party, stop whining and suck it up just isn't going to cut it. It's better to have them co-run an activity with you. Grandma and Grandpa are a godsend in this situation, as if you aren't stressed enough about the party. This will have you jumping up and down throwing your hands up while the children wonder what's the matter with you. Or, just maybe have they seen this somewhere before?


    Make Your baby's first birthday party simple and fun

    Keep your 1-year-old's birthday party simple! Invite a few families he's familiar with. This will ensure that he -- and you -- won't get overwhelmed. Plan party time for your little one's happiest time of the day. Decorate to your heart’s content, keeping decorations up and out of the way of little hands. Let him tear open his presents and, most likely, play with the colorful bows and boxes. Just go with the flow and take plenty of pictures. When it’s time for cake, seat him in his highchair and let him dig in. When he flashes his toothy grin through layers of icing, laugh and celebrate! Joyful simplicity is the key to making your baby’s first birthday easier and more fun.

    Why is birthday party spending on the rise and how can I save?

    Ways to Save on Birthday Party Spending

    Birthday party spending has risen in the past few years as parents try to come up with creative ways to connect with their kids.

    According to MSN, parents are sparing no expense on their children's birthday parties -- no matter what the state of the economy. Party planners attribute it to parents having kids at an older age and therefore having more money to spend. Some parents admit to throwing these parties as much for themselves and to outdo their neighbors as for their kids.

    Whatever the reason, party supply companies are happy to oblige. And the birthday balloons and streamers are flying off the shelves.

    However, MSN gives these tips for curbing costs if you find your party budget is getting a little out of control:

    • Host the event at your house
    • Set up areas for arts and crafts
    • Keep favors and decorations simple
    • Bake the cake yourself
    • Hire teenagers or get volunteers to paint faces and help with games instead of hiring entertainers

    How do I go about planning parties?

    Party Planning With Kids

    Take time out when you tuck your child in the night before the party to express your expectations. Make sure you talk up the party. How great it is going to be. How big they have grown. Wow! 5 years old already! Practically married and out on their own! This is when you lay down the rules. Don't go in here. Don't do that. Of course you are going to do this with love in your heart and a smile on your face. Yes, and again on the day of the party when they did what you asked them not to!

    How do I go about planning parties?

    Having Party Celebrations

    If you use a lot of solid party ware such as forks and spoons, it's always good to have some around the house. The themed party ware is best purchased closer to the party date. Occasionally you will have a child who changes their mind once or twice – or give new meaning to a revolving door. Try not to get into the hassle. Talk up how great a choice your child made and how the other children are going to love it. Then unplug your TV set.

    How do I go about planning parties?

    Children's Birthday Parties

    When planning a young child's birthday party that includes games, always plan more games than you think you will need. Overplanning is an invaluable resource; actual play time for some games is much faster than instructions often state. It is better to have more games planned than you need rather than to have too few activities for the chldren to enjoy.

    How do I go about planning parties?

    Party Planning Idea

    There is a tremendous amount of books written about party planning, ideas, activities and games. Surfing the net or heading to the library will give you plenty to work with. Trim it down to where you can work with it. Be careful. You are going to find and overwhelming amount of information. Don't try to take it all in. And don't forget Saturday morning cartoons. Watch what your kids watch.

    How do I go about planning parties?

    Advice on Planning Parties

    The best advice for party planning is to allow yourself enough time to get everything done. The best parties are not planned overnight. Allow at least 6-8 weeks to plan and prepare for any party you are hosting. Big parties require even more time to generate ideas, decorations and deliver invitations. Parties that are planned at the last minute do not have a high attendance rate because guests are often double booked. Make sure to invite guests early to allow for them to schedule your event and attend.

    Ideas for a 1st Birthday

    Construction Party Theme for Kids Birthday Party

    Party decorations can include orange safety cones, construction zone streamers, hard hats and aprons (ask your local home store if they'll donate.

    Food: Chocolate cake inside the back of Tonka dump trucks (bake the cake first and place slices in the truck)

    Play: cardboard blocks, Legos, Lincoln logs and trucks

    How do I go about planning parties?

    Advice on How to Plan Parties

    Planning a party requires organization, a clear objective and a timeline. The first step is to determine the date, time and location for your party. The second step is to establish a theme or color scheme for decorations, inviations and serviceware. The third is to create a planning timeline to complete each step of your party preparations.

    How do I go about planning parties?

    Food for Parties and More

    Have fun. Enjoy the moment. Have a piece of cake. Carrot cake for me, thank you.

    How do I go about planning parties?

    Birthday Cake Decorations

    Don't be afraid to ask Grandma, Grandpa or big brother or sister to maybe pick up the cake while Dad cleans up the yard and mows the grass.

    How do I go about planning parties?

    Fun Kids Birthday Party Themes

    Are you bringing in music, clowns, and ponies? Better plan ahead. Have plan B if you are planning to be outside or inside. If it rains, do you want the pony in the living room?

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    Guru Spotlight
    Carma Spence-Pothitt