Select date & time
Brainstorm a few dates that suit your family. The earlier you plan the party, the better. Ideally, 4-8 weeks in advance is enough time (especially important for Steps 4 and 5 below).
But don’t panic if you’ve left it to the last minute or you have less than 4 weeks when you book an experienced entertainer (like DJ KitKat!) we’ve got suggestions & tips to support you to make it happen even in the shortest period of time/notice.
Decide on the type of party & theme
What sort of party does your child want? What feels manageable for you as a parent?
- Regular birthday party at home
- Disco party
- Slumber party
- Pool party
Do you want a theme for the party?
- Glow in the dark/Fluro party
- Pop Stars & Rock Stars party
- Glitter & Glam party
- Frozen party
- Trolls party
- Other Disney character party
- Emma Wiggle party
- Superhero party
- Beach Theme/Hawaiian/Pool party
- Fortnite Dance party
- ‘Crazy As’ party
- Geek & Chic party
- Halloween party
- Wigs/Hats party
- Minecraft party
- See our article with a full list of themes here (link: coming soon)
Write the guest list
It’s important to know roughly how many guests you’re inviting for the next step.
From my experience, parties tend to fall into one of three categories:
- Up to 10-15 kids = special group of inner circle friends
- Up to 20-25 kids = standard party size for special friends + a few extras/classmates
- Up to 25-40 kids = the whole class (better have extra aunties & uncles on hand for this one!)
HOT TIP! If you’re having trouble deciding on the guest list, sit down at a table with a pack of Post-it notes. Write one guest’s name on each Post-it note. Discuss each Post-it note and categorise them into “YES” “MAYBE” and “NOT THIS TIME”.
Book entertainer & venue (if relevant)
This is one step not to procrastinate on! Good entertainers and venues book up well in advance.
The Golden Rule is to check the availability of both hall and entertainer BEFORE paying any money or sending out invitations. You’re often able to tentatively reserve a venue so that you can double-check other availabilities (like the entertainer/your child’s best friend/other family members) and then finalise the details of your party. To secure your booking, you’ll likely have to pay a deposit on the venue but check the entertainer’s availability first.
If you don’t want to have the party in your home, consider community halls & churches for hire (check out council websites for what’s in your local area). Community halls are becoming more popular to hire so get onto it early!
If you’re in the Northern Beaches, check out: https://www.northernbeaches.nsw.gov.au/community/community-centres-and-venues
Or ask me – I may know of a good hall near you.
Council or scout hall hire is usually a 4-hour minimum so it’s perfect for a 2-hour party (with 1 hour either side for setting up/clean up).
When booking an entertainer don’t forget to ask them for their Public Liability (PL) insurance certificate. You’ll need to give this to council/scouts to hire a hall.
Send out invitations at least 1 month before
Once the guest list is finalised, send out the invitations. Consider whether you want to send them out electronically or printed and hand them out at school.
Remember, guest lists don’t have to be perfect … you can always send out more later. If you’re having a DJ KitKat disco, we supply free invitations for easy party planning. Check them out here.
The Golden Rule is to send out the invites AFTER you have confirmed the entertainer and/or the venue.
Birthday present(s), card & wrapping
With so many things to do on the day like food, decorations, cake, getting the kids dressed and general running around. Get the birthday present sorted, wrapped and write on the card well beforehand, so you have one less thing to do on party day.
Organise lolly bags, party prizes and/or decorations
Get the kids involved in this! It helps build the hype for the party and lets them feel part of the process.
Lolly bags are fun, easy to prepare and a guaranteed hit with the kids. Check out our Top 10 Lolly Bags Ideas blog. (Link coming soon)
Party prizes don’t need to be expensive or elaborate, but they do need to be cool. Check out the most popular party prizes (the glasses & gloves are an especially big hit).
Decorations can be on-theme (either handmade, from a local party shop or online) or generic balloons/streamers that you can get from supermarkets or party shops (or recycled from previous birthdays).
Decide on the child’s party outfit, dress or costume
Make sure your child has an outfit that makes them feel great! Confidence is important when you’re the birthday boy/girl. Ensure it’s something that can dance and easily move around in, and that is fun. Nothing worse than feeling overheated or restricted on their special day!
Hiring costumes for kids is not common these days because they’re so cheap to buy online or at party shops.
Organise Birthday Cake
Order the cake, or make it in advance. Need a spark of inspiration? Check out our collection of cake ideas. (link: coming soon).
On a practical note, before you announce to the kids that it’s cake time, make sure you have candles, lighter/matches and knife on stand-by. Make sure everything is set up for that special ‘blowing-out-the-candles’ photo. (Remember: if you want both mum & dad in the photo, get someone else on camera duty to capture the family moment!)
Speaking of cameras….
Be camera ready & assign a photographer
Ask someone who’ll be at the party – aunt, neighbour, BFF – who’ll be free to take photos and videos. Remember you’re not the person to do this because you’ve already got enough on your plate. The best person to be the photographer is someone who can roam the crowd without having to worry about anything else.
Make sure your camera or phone is fully charged and also double-check ahead of time there’s enough storage space for photos and a few videos. See our blog post ‘How to Photograph a Kids Party’ for more tips.
Oh, and one last thing
On the day, tie balloons to the front door/gate so guests can easily find the party.
Now it’s time sit back and watch your children enjoy themselves at their party!