Here are some of our tried and true tips for simplifying the process so that you and your child can focus on the fun!
1-Serve simple "Finger Foods"-
Finger foods are easy to prepare and serve-including dessert (cupcakes rather than a sheet or layer cake). Finger foods also eliminate the need for cutlery and leave less food wasted. Try pizza rolls or mini pizzas, chicken fingers, or these easy Mac & Cheese Muffins. For healthier (or special diet) options, offer a kid-friendly version of a fruit or veggie platter with dressings or dips. Juice boxes or pouches can be put out in a bucket with ice, and kids can serve themselves a liquid refreshment!
2- Combine an activity with a function- for example, rather than searching for themed pieces for goodie bags, have kids decorate their own goodie bag and then help themselves to a candy or snack buffet or a "Treasure Chest" prize. Or, paint & decorate a canvas, totes, aprons or t-shirts that the kids can take home as a party favor.
3-Eliminate unnecessary decorations- Again, keep it festive yet clean and simple: A colorful candy buffet can be a unique and functional decoration, OR colorful balloon bouquets, tableware and a pretty tablecloth will set the tone. You don't need additional streamers, AND hats, AND noisemakers, etc. too, which sometimes can distract from an intimate small gathering. Focus more on the activities,which is what the kids will remember much more than the decorations.
4-Hold the Party outdoors- Better yet, have a Picnic-themed party at a local playground or park. If the weather permits, this is the way to go, especially with younger kids. Outdoor parties eliminate the added tasks of cleaning up the house before (and after) your party, and will allow for plenty of interactive activities: monkey bars, slide, swings, sand box, tag, hula-hoops, hide and seek, nature "Scavenger Hunts", and more. Don't forget your cooler packed with those finger foods and plenty of small water bottles or juice pouches! The possibilities are endless with this, so run with it (literally) !
5- Plan the guest list carefully- for younger children especially, the more guests the more overwhelmed they will be. A good rule of thumb, is to keep the number of guests to the child's age plus 1. When my daughter was younger, her school required that ALL of the kids in the class were invited-and while I understand why, I just don't think its a good idea for kids to get that over-whelmed or be expected to invite children they may not get along with. Not to mention the additional work/expense to entertain 20 kids. To avoid hurt feelings, I always made sure to make and take some birthday treats into school for her whole class, so no one felt left out. Then, I would call a couple of moms, to drop off the girls for a casual sleepover for the weekend. This allowed her to celebrate with friends, and without the overwhelm or hurting anyone's feelings.
5-Hire a Party Assistant- I cannot stress this enough-as both a mom AND an event designer. This is to give YOU a break -and so you can do what YOU do best-be a mom. Your party helper (or Party Fairie) could be a professional party-tender, or a teenage family member or a neighbor whom you trust. He/She will supply you with an extra set of hands and feet-to pick up trash, keep kitchen clear, food trays full, help with activities and games and assist little hands in getting those straws in their juice boxes. Most importantly, they will be there to allow you to spend time with your child making sweet once in a lifetime birthday memories!
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To hire your very own Eclectic Domestic or Party Fairie, contact Barbara: 215-257-3193