Davina here: It was Elfie’s fourth birthday recently and I had BIG crafty plans! I love making lots of decorations and going all out for her parties. But then reality sunk in and I realised I had a tiny baby who doesn’t like to nap much and wakes several times every night and so the chances of even having enough energy to sort out materials, far less make decorations, were slim to none. I started to panic about how I could give Elfie a special party without making lots of things for it and then started to consider taking her somewhere for a special experience instead of trying to 'make' one.
Elfie loves going to the theatre so when we found out that the Unicorn Theatre, which is our favourite kid's theatre in London, hosted kids parties we were super excited. They offer a package called a Party Box in which you get 10 kids tickets to the theatre, 4 adult tickets, cake and juice for the kids and a dedicated space to celebrate your child’s birthday before or after the show. They also offer to theme the party for you - we chose gold at its Elfie’s favourite colour at the moment. This made my life so much easier - I can't tell you how much. It was especially easy as for half the party we were watching the show so all the kids were fully entertained and focussed and I could just relax and enjoy the show!
10 Tips to a Stress Free Kid’s Party:
- Let your child make the invites. Elfie's are above - they are super simple - she just stuck a button on each one using washi tape and printed a message using my Trodat stamp. (I pre arranged the letters, she just had to stamp, it self inks so no messy ink pads. We LOVE the Trodat stamp!).
- Keep the numbers small - there is a golden rule to invite as many kids as the age your kid is turning but we allowed Elfie to invite 9 so there would be 10 kids in total. You could keep it even smaller to reduce the cost.
- Just do cake and tea/ juice (tell parents to feed kids before) so ideally set the party early afternoon.
- If making a cake then make it with your child - this will be fun for them but also mean that you don't have to worry about it looking professional in any way! See Elfie's cake below - she decorated it.
- Keep it short - 2 hours is long enough!
- Use a colour as a theme to simply bring it all together - we used gold - see photos below. For example you could buy napkins and balloons in your chosen colour.
- If you can financially justify it book a child entertainer or take the kids to an event - we chose to take the kids to the theatre. A music show, cinema trip, or dance show would also work. If this isn't possible then think about a focussed free activity you could all do for example a treasure hunt, planning nature bingo using our free printables or an old fashioned game time. Ask the parents to run one game each to take the stress from you!
- Buy/make one simple little present for guests instead of making party bags. This year we made button jars (mini jam jars filled with buttons)- last year we gave every one a jam jar filled with soil and sunflower seeds - see picture below. One of my good friends Aoine this year gave everyone a bath bomb - brilliant! Another friend gave a small bag of sweets and another a stuffed toy.
- Plan every minute - like a lesson plan! Cake time, activity time, free play time if appropiate, present opening time, game time, even toilet time! (if going to an event, toilet time first! Take it from us!).
- If you play Pass the Parcel make sure everyone has the same gift and that there is one for each kid! It sounds obvious but some people don't count gifts before wrapping.
Some photos from Elfie's party at the Unicorn Theatre
If you have any other ideas on how to keep a kid's party low stress and easy please do let us know as we'd love to share it with our readers.
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