Ten Top Tips for having a successful kids party at home.
Handy Ideas To Make a 6 to 10 Year Old’s Kids Party Go Well At Home
Many parents are put off by the idea of having a party at home. It’s a shame, but there it is. Whether it’s the noise or the mess, the chaos or the crowd, some will prefer to spend more money on a venue party rather than invite their child’s friends round for a party. However, with a venue party there is almost as much stress, in fact sometimes more, as you’ll have less control over a venue party when it doesn’t go quite as well as expected.
So here are our tips on how to have a (successful) party at home.
1. Don’t invite too many children
This is a must, don’t be tempted to invite too many. By this age they’ll have grown out of all inclusive class parties. They’ll have begun to form firm friends and as long as those friends are present they’ll be happy. In fact they’ll be less concerned about upsetting a child they barely talk to at school than you are, and their parents will notice less than you think too. A good rule of thumb is to invite roughly as many children as your child’s age.
2. The invitations
Hand out the invitations with consideration. You’d never invite a friend over to dinner in front of another friend, so don’t expect your child to do it without repercussions either. Teachers often say how heartbreaking it is to see children being excluded, so find a time away from school. Texting or emailing to a parent is perfectly acceptable, and to be honest is most likely to get a quicker response. Or set up a closed Facebook event, this is great because parents can see that others have replied and will give them a push.
3. Prepare. Prepare. Or have it already prepared for you…
Have a chat with your child in advance about what type of party they might like if you were to have it at home. Don’t do this so far in advance that they have grown out of the idea before you get to it, 2 months is plenty (at least you won’t have to book the venue). Find out whether they would like party games, and which are their favourite ones, get them to make a list. Do they want a themed party? Do you? Here’s a list of good themed party ideas.
What would they like to do between the party games? Would they like to be creative and make something that their friends can take home? There are plenty of ideas online – check out Red Ted Art or SOHOSonnet, and Pinterest. Hobby shops often stock kits or will have lots of the materials you need. With only a few children, using your own kitchen table is very do-able. Try to avoid anything with glitter unless you really don’t mind, or have a fantastic hoover. Cooking or making something edible is nice and always goes down a treat. Again there are many kits you can buy online, from making chocolate lollies, to perfect pizzas. You can always hunt for a good simple recipe, print, laminate and get the children to measure out their own ingredients.
Can you hook the party onto an event at a particular time of year, Easter, Halloween or Christmas? Is it possible to go for a hike planning a treasure hunt around it? In hot weather kids can play with water for ages, just provide enough water pistols and buckets of water, and maybe play some games. Be prepared for slips, tears and a bit of a mucky floor; all the same, kids love it. Remember children quite like time for ‘free play’ and can entertain themselves perfectly well… up to a point, have something ‘put by’ in case they either get out of hand or become bored.
Here’s one of our blog post with some fun party game ideas.
Would it be possible to have a camp out, or a tea party outdoors? Could the children each bring something along that would fit in with a theme? Would your child like them to come in fancy dress? There are also murder mystery style parties for children, or you could look at our Acting the Party audio parties, of course which includes entertainment around party games if you think your child would enjoy a bit of role-play fun.
4. Keep it short
2 hours is perfectly acceptable, don’t be tempted to make it longer. You will not win brownie points; wave them goodbye wanting more.
5. Leave any pets you have with someone else for a couple of hours
Pets get frightened with noise and sudden movements; it’s really not fair on them or the children to put them together. Hoping you can lock a dog in another room won’t be enough – children will want to ‘go see’. Err on the side of caution and keep them apart.
6. Have fun with the decoration
..but don’t go overboard, this is for your child, not for Instagram. Balloons, whether you like them or not, are a bit of a must. Realise that the first 10 minutes will be the hardest as you will be greeting parents and retelling them the end time of the party. At this point some children will be shy, and some over excited. Have something your child can do with their guests that doesn’t require you standing over them and is inclusive. It could be setting something to set out for later, a game (filling a piñata for example) or puzzle, preparing the party table, or even allowing them to ‘shop’ for their party bags and putting their name on it. Where’s the rule that says you can’t cheat? Anyway, a little task at this point is a good mayhem staller.
7. Keep the food simple
If you are having lunch keep to sandwiches or wraps, crisps, a healthy alternative, some fruit and bought in cakes. Perhaps an evening teatime meal could consist of pizza or an easily prepared pasta dish. Ask parents whether their child is allergic to any foods or have any food phobias – with my children that would be anything green! Allow approximately 20 minutes for eating, younger children maybe even less time as their concentration goes.
8. Party bags
Again, keep them simple. Usually the favourite part of a child’s party bag is the sweets (tip: a good filler is the rainbow rice sweets). A balloon, a small toy or two, perhaps a small book, and you could include something you’ve printed up yourself, like a dot-to-dot or a puzzle found online. Oh, and don’t forget the slice of birthday cake that will most likely be eaten by the parents. Cut it into squares and wrap in a serviette. Or an alternative to cake is to have cupcakes instead.
9. Opening presents.
Remember, if you want your child to open their presents at the party it can take quite a long time, at least 10 – 15 minutes. The other children may get bored if there are too many to open, or they will want to play with your child’s new presents who may take exception to it, worth baring in mind. Keep a notebook and pencil handy to write down the presents and the names of the people who gave them. This is something I forget to do myself every year!!
10. Keep a camera handy.
Try and take a good picture of each child, or your child with each gift. Then to thank each child’s parent personally you can just print out a copy, after adding a ‘thank you for coming, and for the present’ and get your child to sign it – something that’s personal and easy.
Yes, it will be noisy, yes a child will no doubt do something that you couldn’t possibly prepare for, but ultimately, this is a great way to watch your child interact with their friends. Keep calm, remind yourself you are the one in charge and don’t be surprised that you feel uplifted when your child and friends say it was the best party EVER!
So there they are, our ten top tips on how to have a successful party at home. Thank you for reading. If you’ve had a great kids party at home and have some new tips please tell us what worked and what you liked about it. Please let us know with comment below – we love to share (except chocolate).