Article: Ideas for Birthday Parties

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It is sometimes diificult deciding what to doHappy Birthday Balloon for your child's birthday, particularly when they are very young, as it is important to mark these special anniversaries with the right balance of fun versus money!

It may be that you decide not to do anything big for the first few years other than hold your own private family celebrations, or you may decide that you want to organise something on a bigger scale. If you chose to organise a birthday party, there are several options available to you, and we have tried to summarise some ideas below on possible venues, along with some suggestions for party games and party bags.  

Ideas for party venues:
Hiring a community centre
Most areas have some form of community centre for hire, whether it be a village hall, church hall, or similar. You will normally need to book in advance and the cost will depend on the location, although
it is generally cheaper as you are usually only paying for the hire of the hall itself. The advantage of this is that you are able to cater for and tailor the party to a theme that you want, and the cost is not based on a per-child basis which enables you to invite a larger number of children. It also allows you to hire in outside entertainment if you so wish, such as a disco, bouncy castle, face painter, photographer, entertainer etc, or simply organise your own party games (see below for ideas). The down sides are that aside from the hire of the hall, the party is left to you to organise - this includes providing food and party bags, setting up tables, ensuring outside entertainment is paid for and turns up, and clearing away at the end.

Hiring a soft play area
These come in all shapes and sizes and are usually found either as part of a hotel/pub or as a separate entity. They will normally offer some form of party hire and the cost will be dependent on the venue. However, these places normally charge per child and there is a limit to the number of children allowed (normally between 10-20). The cost per child usually includes entry to the venue, a choice of meal/selection of food and drink, and a basic party bag. However, you will normally have to provide the birthday cake yourself, and you may have to pay quite a lot of money extra if you want exclusive hire. You may also be limited to certain times of the day where the time is regimented (i.e. you have between 1-1.5 hours play, followed by a limited time for eating (30-45mins), although you will not have any clearing up to do after the party finishes. Some leisure centres also have soft play areas for party hire which also include a private function room, although you will normally have to provide your own food and party bags (and clearing up).

House party
Your own (or someone else's home) obviously costs nothing to hire out, but does depend on the size of Presentsdwelling and how brave you are feeling! The benfits are that you can tailor the party to your own times, themes or activites, but you will obviously have to arrange any outside entertainment yourself (e.g. disco, bouncy castle, face painter, photographer, entertainer etc), and will need to provide food, drink and party bags yourself. You will also be left to clear up at the end, and there is always the risk with small children that furniture/carpets may get damaged or stained. You can get round this by holding the party in the garden, although this depends on the size of garden you have, as well as the time of year. You must also make clear whether you wish parents to stay throughout the party, otherwise you will have to take responsibility for other people's children.

Trip to a zoo/aquatic centre/amusement park
This will normally involve some form of travel for party-goers to get to the venue, and will no doubt be more expensive than anywhere else in terms of entry cost or party package. The age of the child will also need to be a consideration, as many of the rides at amusement parks for example are not suitable for very small children (usually under the age of three). You will need to keep a close eye on children at these sorts of venues to ensure they do not run off and you will almost certainly require parental assistance if you have a large group of children. Whether or not food/party bags are included will be dependant on the venue, although this will almost certianly be based on a per child basis.

Ideas for party games:

Pin the Tail on the Donkey
Simon Says
Trasure Hunt
Musical Statues
Musical Chairs
Pass the Parcel (ready made or make your own)
Hide and Seek/Sardines
What's the Time Mr Wolf
Egg and Spoon Race

Click here for more ideas on party games.

Party bags:Party Bag
Contrary to belief you do not need to go to any great lengths or costs to make up party bags - simple goodies are often the most appreciated and young children really won't know the difference between expensive or cheap toys at this age. It is entirely up to you what you decide to include in the bag, but usually all you need is a piece of birthday cake, a few sweets/lolly, a balloon, and a small toy or activity. There are a range of very reasonably priced multipacks of party toys which you can pick up for any supermarket or high street store, such as dinosaur models, fairy wands, mini pots of modelling clay, pin-ball games, puzzle books, stickers etc.


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