One Week Before the Party
Draw up the party schedule including party games and music
Divide your available time into segments so that you can vary the pace of the party.
- Start with some Icebreakers and Circle Games to ensure that all the guests are settled into their new environment, and the less outgoing children feel secure.
- Move onto some Team Games, Games with Prizes and Running Around Games before the Party Tea is served.
- Serve the Party Tea and cut the birthday cake.
- Use Quiet Games and perhaps some of the Games with Prizes to wind the children down again before they go home.
Don't forget to schedule in a toilet break for each child before tea. Often children can be taken to the toilet one by one once they are 'out' of a game such as musical chairs
Have a video to hand to play while you're waiting for parents to pick up their children. It is best to choose a video containing a number of short stories/episodes rather then a long film, so that the guests have an obvious departure point!
Plan the menu
The food you serve for the party will vary according the age of the children, but simple finger-food is usually the best and simplest to serve, especially if you're preparing it yourself.
Good party staples include:
- Open sandwiches (ham, cheese etc.)
- Sausages on sticks
- Cheese and pineapple/grapes on sticks stuck into an orange 'hedgehog'
- Mini pizzas
- Vegetables and dips (carrots, cucumber, red pepper etc.)
- Fairy cakes
- Chocolate crispies
- Ice-cream and jelly
Make a list and highlight any items that can be made in advance and frozen or refrigerated. Make the food colourful and appealing. You could even run a 'pizza decorating' activity for older children at the start of the party and allow them to design their own toppings.
For your own sanity, go easy on sugary, fizzy drinks and stick to diluted squash, fruit juice or even water. You may want to think about protection for carpets, etc
Also, don't forget to think about food and drink for the party helpers!
Confirm party helpers
Ask your party helpers to confirm their attendance so that you've got time to look for other volunteers if some of your original team has forgotten or are no longer available!
Order your cake from the bakery if you're not making it yourself
Make sure that you leave enough time to order your cake if you aren't going to bake it yourself or buy from a supermarket.