Birthday celebrations for me are so emotional and all. Marking mine feels like what they literally say ‘jumping a year’ or ‘ kuruka mwaka’. But marking my son’s feels all so special. May be its due to the fact of not believing that they actually grow so fast and one day we just may not enjoy their birthdays like we used to. Birthdays are milestones that mark another year of growing, another year of change. But for many us organising a birthday party requires the effort of having to put it all together just so your son or daughter enjoys their day (with their friends or cousins or siblings). Now that we are on a 2 month break, make this your opportunity to plan just the ideal party before the year ends.
Here are 10 tips and tricks that I think can make it all so easy for you.
Get your child’s input
Ask your child several weeks before their party how they’d like to celebrate. After all it’s about them . However give them something to work with based on your time, preferences and budget. With their interests in mind , you can then determine how to have that party worked around this.
Consider the Options
Think about it. hosting the party at home is always cheaper. You can decide to do the cooking and decorating all by yourself or hire an outside caterer to do it. If you time and design the party yourself, the possibilities are endless. Another cheaper idea is to plan their party in school. But now that schools are closed, you could opt for Sunday school. For children, a birthday party is about eating cake with their friends. So instead of inviting the crowd over, you can opt to carry the cake and snacks to their gathering and have a party…cool!
Make a manageable guest list
The number of children you’ll invite will depend whether you’ll be hosting indoors or outdoors. if the weather allows , a number of 15-20 children is manageable. And if the party is indoors you can keep the number to less than 15.
Timing is key
Keep the party between 2-3 hours and 1.5 hours for children under the age of 4 years (not a rule). The trick is to keep a list of activities you are planning and the length of time which is more like a timetable of activities. Allow for both quiet and active play. Children guests should be given time to warm up to your setting, release their energy and settle down before they can go home once the party ends. Since the children will be arriving at different times , try to keep them busy with toys, or cartoon films so that you have room to invite other guests.
Decide on activities
Consider the number of children coming, their ages and whether to keep it to indoor or outdoor games. Choose game that are easy to explain, fun to play and involves all the kids. It’s also important to be considerate. Don”t insist on a game that’s too mature for some kids or the girls can’t participate in as well as the boys and vice versa. Take notice of when the kids get bored and move on to something else. You can decide to take something as interesting as the bouncing castles which most kids enjoy. Footballs, hula loops and bikes are a good choice too for outdoors.
Have a child-friendly menu
If you can , do have a menu that sticks to kid-friendly basics such as pizza, chips, burgers, sausages and vegetable rolls. Try and keep away from the usual pilau, ugali and mukimos which lean more towards wedding menus. Unless it’s for the parents or relatives. If your the type of mum who likes to keep it healthy, you can relax. Remember birthdays come but once in a year, so let your birthday boy or girl enjoy. Make the cake special perhaps with their favourite cartoon character. My son loves ‘spider-man’ any day. You can make it even cheaper by baking cupcakes at home and have the children participate in icing their own cakes. Now you have cake and an activity all in one.♥
Ease up on decor
Chose party favors that are fun but inexpensive. You can get themed hats and the napkin sets sold in most supermarkets. Simple decor can also go a long way. Blow a few balloons and fold crepe paper into interesting patterns to make you feel in the party mood.
Ask for help
If you are thinking of hosting at home, ask you 2 or 3 friends or relatives to come and help. If there a no willing volunteers you can ask around for a teenager, the guys who’ve already cleared exams and will be happy to make an extra coin. Chances are they’ll appreciate to earn some money and enjoy the party as well.
Pick a party entertainer
Get references form friends and relatives or from a party planner. You can ask your entertainers the following questions:
- what services they offer
- if they can work towards a particular theme
- their timings
- their charges
- any references they have of clients serviced
DON’T FORGET THE PHOTO SESSION
Have a professional camera man or a friend who can come over to take pictures. I mean you’ve gone to great lengths to make a great party only for you to forget the memories of it. In case you are planning on a themed party, remember to mention it to the other parents in case of a costume or clothes to wear.