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Party Planning Print Now

Top Tips for Planning Kids' Parties

No matter which kids’ party theme appeals to you, there are general party planning ideas to always keep in mind as you plan from invitations, to the activities, to the thank you notes. Although your party themes will change, these top tips will work no matter what you are planning year in and year out.

Looking for party inspiration? Visit the cookie cutter aisle at your local store to decide on a party theme and to pull your party together. A cookie cutter can be used to create your party invitations, make crafts during the party, and serve up a thematic party menu. A simple cookie cutter can inspire the entire party!

When writing your kids’ party invitations, always use thematic language to get the party guests in the mood for your party and to begin the fun.

One of the best decorations for kids’ parties is to use large, medium, and small cardboard boxes. These can be transformed into fun thematic decorations that can be used in crafts, games, or to simply serve as décor. You can find these boxes at your local grocery or appliance stores. Simply ask the store and often there will be no charge for these boxes.

In advance of your party, make sure to line up party help. Do not expect that parents will automatically help if they are staying at the party, as often they will not.

A classic game to play at any party is the traditional piñata.

  • Select a piñata that your child likes. Follow the directions on the piñata as to where and how to insert treats and toys. 
  • When children swing a bat to break the piñata, have them count in Spanish, “Uno, dos, tres.” Option: To avoid pushing and shoving when the piñata breaks, fill the piñata with favor bags pre-labeled with each child's name. 
  • You may also want to consider a pull-string piñata for younger children or in smaller party areas where swinging a bat may not be safe. Instead of hitting the piñata, children pull strings attached to a hidden door that opens the piñata and releases the candy. Most piñatas can be converted to a pull-string style.

An alternative to a piñata is a party box:

  • Paint a cardboard box your birthday child's favorite color. 
  • Cut trap doors in the bottom of the box and attach a thematic picture and a ribbon to each trap door. 
  • In the box, place confetti, streamers, stickers, candy, a ball and jack set and a small toy (you may need to use a small piece of tape to keep the trap door closed, but make sure the children can open it). 
  • Hoist the whole box into the air. 
  • As children arrive, explain that the best party people will get a prize behind the trap door (of course, everyone should get a prize, so make sure there is a trap door for each guest). 
  • At the end of the party, have each child pull a ribbon, one at a time, to reveal the party favors!

Tips for Your Party Start:

  • Greet your guests as each one enters the party. 
  • Make sure to have an activity for the kids to enjoy while they wait for all guests to arrive, e.g. a craft or activity book is often a great activity during this time. 
  • Play a simple game that can easily be adapted to more and more children joining the group. 
  • As the children arrive, take pictures of each party guest with the birthday child as another activity.

Tips for Present Time:

  • Ask everyone to bring their gifts and sit in a circle holding their gift. 
  • Start playing the music. Everyone must pass the gifts around until the music stops. When the music stops, the present the birthday child is holding gets opened. When the present is open, the music begins again and the remaining presents go around. 
  • This is a fun game that adds order to the chaos of gift giving. 
  • Make sure the birthday child says "Thanks!" for each gift. 
  • Tip: Have one of the hosts record the gift giver's name and gift contents for organized thank you note writing later.

Tips for Your Party End:

What to do at the end of the party when all the kids are waiting to be picked up?

  • Watch a thematic video. 
  • Take out the activity book sheets for the kids to use. 
  • Have your goody bags prepared and lined up for easy hand-out as the guests depart. 
  • Have the birthday child thank each guest as the children depart.

Remember to send thank you notes to all guests who attended. Including a picture that was taken during the party is an added party memento that will be appreciated.


By Lisa Kothari

In our effort to make the place to go for information and great ideas about planning your child's next birthday party, we've teamed up with Lisa Kothari, one of the true experts in planning kids' parties.

Lisa Kothari

Lisa Kothari, party planning expert and author, has a passion for planning creative and entertaining parties! Drawing from all of her gained knowledge and her brilliant imagination, Lisa has organized her excellent tips and original ideas about throwing a wonderful celebration for any occasion onto her website and in her book: Dear Peppers and Pollywogs...What Parents Want to Know About Planning Their Kids' Parties. Her main party planning belief is that no matter the budget or amount of time a parent has, an incredible party can always be thrown, keeping children cheerful and parents stress-free during their wonderfully planned celebrations! Her passion is helping parents achieve this with minimal time and effort.