Best Practices for Planning a Kids Birthday Party

Planning the party can be an exciting time. Your child is getting older but you can make their day amazing. It does not need to be elaborate, your child will be happy as long as they feel special on that day.


Getting Started

Start with creating your guest List and selecting a party date. These two are very important because activities, location of the party, food all come back to the guest list and date.
When creating your guest list, ask your child whom they want to come to the party. Children typically want to invite everyone they know but you can always narrow down after you ask them who each person is. It is best to consider age when creating your guest list. The older the child gets, the less family members and more friends are typically invited.
As for the date, if there is someone that is important to be there, you can ask them what works for them. If that person is open or if there is no one that you need to ask, schedule the party for what works for you. If it is going to be at a birthday facility, you may have to consider changing the date based on availability.

Birthday Theme

Involve your child. Ask them what they want for their party. Kids know what they like and they are not scared to let you know. Once you decide on a theme, research it. Whether it is a TV show, movie, comic book, game, etc. – learn about it. The more you know about it, the better the party will be.


Once the theme is picked out, it’s time to finalize the details. Design or pick out invitations that match the theme of the party. Be sure to put start and end times, date, address and if there is anything the child should bring (swimsuit, etc.).
Always find mailing addresses for the kids and do not hand out invitations at school. Kids who are not invited with have hurt feelings. It is also best to ask your child to minimize any in-school discussion about the upcoming party so as not to make anyone feel left out for not being invited.


Decide which route you want to go with décor. Do you want elaborate or to keep it simple. Are you renting, purchasing or making items?
You can always purchase items at your local party store retailer, but you can find much of what you need online these days. There are many DIY tips, themed websites and don’t forget about using and for inspiration. If you are crafty you can replicate much of what you see by either purchasing directly from the site or trying to recreate it locally by a professional or on your own.


Kids must be kept entertained. They is the key to the success of a child’s party. Setting and keeping a steady pace at a party is also important. Whether you hire an entertainer, organize games, have food, or open gifts it should all be planned out as to what will happen in order from beginning to end. Keeping the flow going and keeping the kids entertained will make for a great party.

Do not be afraid to go “super” theme-oriented. If you’re having a Super Hero party, have the kids spray the bad guy with silly string. Rather than hitting the piñata with a bat, have them “Hulk Smash” it.
If there is no particular activity you can relate to the theme, then keep it simple. Play kick ball or relay races. As long as the kids are engaged and having fun, whatever the activity is will be a hit.
For older children, there will be less structure to the party. Older children know what they want and typically it is not Mom and Dad planning activities for them and their friends. If they express this, don’t worry. They will make their own fun and you can sit back and relax. Just be prepared to offer suggestions in an unstructured environment so kids don’t become bored or destructive.

Party Food

When it comes to the food, the one thing is very important and timeless- birthday cake. You have to decide will you bake one or buy one? How will you decorate it? What flavor should you get? There are so many choices when it comes to the cake, plan early so you can make sure the cake is done on time.
Offer more than just cake to avoid sugar rush. Provide snacks or a meal. Popular selections for kids include sandwiches, chicken tenders, pizza, macaroni and cheese, hot dogs, burgers, veggies and dip, and fruit. Make food fun by putting it on a stick. Kids love corn dogs and fruit kabobs.

Don’t forget the drinks

Soda, lemonade, juice and water are all pretty standard selections. If the party is outside, a cooler filled with these drinks would be greatly appreciated as well as easy to get to. Make sure to keep the kids hydrated, especially if they are doing something highly active like playing a sport.

Have the cups (generally plastic cups) displayed where the kids can see them and easily get to. Be prepared for lost cups – have the kids write their names on their drinks. Also, have back up cups just in case. A favor cup or drinking bottle can be a great way of providing something to use as well as something for the kids to take home as a keepsake from the party.

Party favors

Often once a child leaves a party, the favor gets played with for a few minutes then quickly discarded. Be creative with your favor. Whether you make the favors yourself or have the kids make the favors at the party, make it something the kids look forward to and perhaps is reusable long after the party is over.

If the children are making the favor, you could have this as your first activity – typically when they start to arrive to the party. Keep the favor related to the party. For example, if the theme is a Super Hero party, have the kids create capes with each of the children’s name on the back for personalization.

Plan the goodbye

If you are hosting a drop off party, make sure that the host parents have parent phone numbers. There might be a chance they’re running late or need to send someone else to pick up their child. Establish a plan so that every child stays safe in your care.

Make note of each child that leaves. Make sure that the birthday child says their goodbye and that the child departing gathers their belongings as well as their party favor. Make sure that the child is with an adult that you recognize.