|cardboard unicorn head and pony...homemade cake with star cookies|
Birthdays are magical days for children, and I wanted to make my daughter's 7th extra special! She requested a Unicorn Party (with capital letters) which caused me to immediately begin party re-con on the internet.
I got a little party-envy at seeing the hundreds of parties being documented on the web. Some were so amazing it can make a mom feel a little worried that her little princess (or prince) may not get the party they deserve. Or it can make mom give up before even sending out the invitations!
Here are some tips for throwing a successful (and realistic) birthday party:
- Decide on a theme, a budget, and a time frame & date, don't spend too much time on Pinterest!
- Plan ahead - depending on what you'd like to offer at the party, you may want to start a month or two beforehand
- Create a party wish list, write it down, then cut out 80%. You cannot do it all. I promise!
- Things to remember about children's parties: a) kids don't eat as much as you think they will, b) kids love activities, just not too many, c) if you have more than four children at the party you will need a helper, d) you can't always find party items in the chosen theme so be prepared to order online or make it yourself
|hand stamped tags are perfect anywhere|
- Don't you love it when your friends call and ask you what kind of gift to bring? Suggest they go with the theme of the party (ponies, unicorns, princesses for us), or if you know a specific toy or art supply they need/want
- Try to have almost everything prepared before the day of the party. That way you will not be exhausted. Do a little bit each day a week prior to P-day. (Not like me, I baked all the cupcakes, the cake, and prepared the food on the day - yikes!)
|cupcakes are easier to make than you might think!|
- On P-day have an activity already happening that as the tiny guests arrive they can just go join in. This helps with any separation anxiety and establishes a bond between the party goers. For example: a bounce house, a movie, a game, an art project etc.
|decorating unicorn "horns"|
- Have two or so projects/games planned and one physical activity (at least). A mini schedule would look like this: guests arrive and go straight to the welcome activity, next transition to a seated project that would include arts and crafts, decorating cookies, etc., then move on to either the snack/lunch/picnic/food part of the party, then transition to the physical activity which could be more bouncing, water play, ball games with other parents, board games, hide and seek, etc. While they are having their (hopefully) outside time it will give you a breather to tidy up a bit, chat with parents or to prepare the final activity - such as face painting, food fun for the kids to take home, making bracelets or necklaces etc. When the last activity is over you do present opening and serve cake and then let them play. Two hours should have passed and parents will be ready to go home and collapse as their children run off the sugar high from the day
|unicorns are so cute dressed up!|
- Get help. Don't do it all on your own, unless you're like me and don't mind cleaning up half-eaten hot dogs hidden under pillows, or rinsing lemonade off all the outdoor furniture, or re-organizing my daughter's bedroom because the toddlers got in there and pulled out every single book and toy
|remember, not every moment will be picture perfect|
|Holland posing with her cake|
Final thoughts on parties for your adorable child: create boundaries where children cannot play, such as bedrooms, have a few friends to help corral and run activities for you, use paper goods so clean up is easier (you can find recyclable plates and utensils now), and create a space for the parents to hang out while the kids are partying - and have coffee, tea etc. for them too, they love that.
So, our Unicorn Party was a complete success and the new seven year old said it was the "Best Birthday Ever!"
That's what I was going for.
(I better remember all these points for next year!)