Hey There... Last month I shared my stance on magic, and the two camps most magic shows fall into...classic (silks, canes, corny jokes), and the Cool Kids club. I'll be sharing a few more clips over the next few weeks (including other magician's stances on the two camps). Yes the age of the children is a factor in who you choose to invite to share in your VIP's big day, but that doesn't mean children need to be pandered to.
Case in point...
See ya next week.
How's your week going? Last week I briefly introduced an idea of 2 camps as it relates to magic shows, classic magic vs cool kid magic. And yes entertainment is subjective, but I hope that sharing with you thoughts from this side of the stage, I arm you with critical information for any entertainer you hire. This week I want to focus on the age of the audience.
I typed "magician" into Google Image search, and got this...
Even the two non stock photos in there aren't doing themselves a favor. Look, magic isn't as cool as juggling, but we're WAY better than mimes. Take THAT into your invisible box.
If you think of kid shows (I know you don't), you'd think of the rabbit from the hat, etc. It's a weekend afternoon, you don't care if "the blocks changed
colors". But if you haven't seen your friend in a few weeks, you want to catch up. I get it.
Check it, all I'm saying is..before you watch any entertainment (or book an entertainer), watch some of their videos. See if you find them entertaining and engaging (with the skill..juggling, magic should be top notch as well). If not move on, and if so..find out more.
Expect the Unexpected
The hardest thing to plan for at any birthday party is the unexpected. Here's what you can do to keep chaos at bay:
Finally, remember that following guidelines is all well and good, but as every parent knows, sometimes the rules simply have to go out the window. Just as long as they don't all go out at once.
As an added thank you for trusting me to help you plan your party, please download some additional free gifts here. But if you are like me, and would like something to hold in your hand instead, shoot me an email here and I'll send you a copy of my birthday party planning guide in the mail.
The Party’s over, now what?
You got through the party, there were no melt downs, the kids have been picked up, and your house isn't in shambles (overflowing recycling bin aside).
Thank You Cards
They're a gracious touch, and learning this early is a nice idea. Young kids can draw a picture of the present, then you fill in the words yourself. An older child can sign his name and, by age 6, should be able to write his own note. Don't worry about the spelling.
Lost track of who gave what? Don't mention the gift specifically—thank your guest for coming and being part of your child's special day.
Last Minute Preparation Hints
The planning process becomes the most overwhelming the week leading up to the party. Have a checklist to remind yourself of all of the last-minute details:
from the setup to food deliveries to getting your family there. No detail is too small! Confirm with your various vendors. If you have time, set up
a mock table with how you want the paper goods and table décor arranged and take a photo. This will save you a ton of time on party day.
The day before the party, grab a shoebox or bag and put your camera, batteries, candles, the cake knife, matches, a permanent marker, pen and paper, and scotch tape in it.
Put children’s names on cups with a permanent marker. This will save on paper supplies.
Have a list of all the attendees so the helper mom can write down the name of the gift when your child opens it up.
Be prepared for your child or another child to become overwhelmed with all the activity and need some quiet time. If you see a child that seems to be withdrawing, pull them aside and check in with them. Have a quiet area for anyone who needs it.
Planning and thinking through the different components of a birthday party can help you and your child enjoy their day.
Relax—it’s a party. Although it should be obvious, when you're in the thick of it, it’s hard to remember that parents are supposed to be having fun, too. Some parents feel like their child's party needs to be the BEST, but if you celebrate your child in a fun environment, it will be!
Next week I'll be sharing a planning checklist to print out and implement during the planning stages. Later in December will be some fun decorating
The Party is over, and we're waiting for parents to come pick up their children. Let's tie up some loose ends.
You don't need to spend a lot of money to have a successful party. This is a party for your child and her friends — not for other parents. Save the fireworks display for your next adult gala. The kids just want to play. Controlling expenses also means that you should not feel obligated to send home goody bags full of expensive toys. While some stickers or a craft make nice souvenirs, most parents agree that it's time to start saying no to elaborate party favors.
Kazoos, bracelets, and plastic puzzles may be junk to us, but they're treasure to a 4-year-old. Stick to your guns and a budget, though. Any more than $5 per goody bag is ridiculous.
Think outside the bag as well. How about sending everyone home with a packet of seeds to plant in the garden, or some colored modeling clay? One mom I know simply handed out a small box of colored sidewalk chalk to everyone at the end of the party. Most kids sat right down to draw on the patio. Cost for all this bliss: 90 cents each.
Q. Should my child open presents at the party?
A. It's a split, with some parents enthusiastically for it and others strongly against it. Those in the "no" camp believe that opening gifts can send already excited kids over the edge, resulting in a frenzy of torn paper and discarded cards and hurt feelings about slighted gifts.
Opening presents after the party means you get to avoid all of the above. It also extends the celebration for the birthday child and allows him to wind down a bit before tackling a pile of gifts (and you get to keep track of who gave him what!).
However, most kids will tell you that opening presents is one of the best parts of a party (next to the cake that is). In the end, it's up to you to decide. Take into account the size of the gathering, the kids' ages (children under 4 are less likely to be able to sit through opening a slew of gifts), your own child's personality, and the current level of chaos.
Next week we'll go over a list of last minute tips. The week after that we will close out this series with some extra bonuses.
When hiring ANY entertainer, gather references from other parents as well as children's museums or local libraries. Yelp is also a great resource. Before you invite anyone into your home, make sure you see a video or two of their performances.
Also a rule often skipped is, ask your child if they want an entertainer.This goes back to working together to ensure a great party. When you call a potential entertainer, ask what age group the show is designed for before you mention your child's age. While magicians are classic for kids' parties, there are lots of other kid-pleasing options:
1. Balloon artists (their creations double as party favors)
2. Mobile petting zoos
3. Choreographers or dance teachers4. Face painters
5. Professional storytellers
Next week we'll explore Goodie Bags and Presents.
We're around the bend. The party is happening in three weeks. The next few blogs will be dedicated to the nitty gritty. To minimize the stress, let's start with the supply box.
That's it. We're heading into three large holidays back to back. Now is the time to start collecting.and some last minute tips.
Fun Birthday Party Ideas & Activities by Age Group
Don't restrict your party to games, think of activities as well. At one party they set up a couple of chairs with a white sheet as a backdrop and left a bucket of props for a make shift photo booth, The mom said she raided the dollar store and found some neat things like plastic glasses, and other fun odds and ends. The pictures make a nice party favor after.
Scavenger hunts are great fun for kids. The level of difficulty can be raised or lower depending on the age of the children. They can also be adapted to a variety of themes (Pirate treasure hunt, a princess scavenger hunt, find a pumpkin scavenger hunt). Simply make sure that there are prizes for all the children
Next week we'll explore a supply box and what should be in it (This one tip has saved many parents planning birthday parties).
I just spoke with a mom planning her first party, and she asked how many kids she should invite.
The general rule, often ignored: age plus one. That means four friends for a 3-year-old's birthday. For toddlers, it's best to invite at least one friend he or she sees a lot and feels comfortable around. (If your child goes to daycare or preschool and is used to being with a large group of kids, she can probably handle a few additional guests.)
On the other hand, grade-schoolers have definite ideas of who they want to invite, so you can use the opportunity to teach them to be considerate of others' feelings. Explain why inviting 10 out of 12 kids in the class is bad form. Better to invite everyone and hope for some no-shows. Inviting 4 out of 12 kids, however, is more a matter of discretion and will work better if the bash isn't held immediately after school. In that case, the invitations should then go out by USPS or email.
Teach your child not to talk about their upcoming party around those she didn't invite (and then cross your fingers), says Parenting.com
Also, be sure and write your first name on the invitation so guests who RSVP won't have to ask for "Billy's mom".
Ask for RSVPs, but Don’t Worry About Stragglers. It’s always handy to know how many people are going to show up at your party, especially when guests arrive with siblings. But a few RSVPs are bound to get lost in the parenting chaos. Plan on a few extra portions of food and don’t worry about it.
Next week I'll share some activities to get the creative juices flowing for your party (even if there isn't a theme).
Welcome Back. So you chose a date, the best friend is available and you've checked for allergy restrictions. Now we'll cover how much you want
to spend for a clean house. Huh? Let me explain...
If you decide your home or apartment isn't suitable for a children's party, there are several off-site options that come with obvious advantages (including being able to come back to a clean home after the children have been picked up). For a small fee, you can often reserve space in a community recreation center or local park. Kid-friendly restaurants, gymnastic centers, fire departments, and hands-on museums are also popular. Parties away from home usually work better for children over five since younger children may be overwhelmed by unfamiliar surroundings.
There are also the self-contained venues such as Chuck E Cheese, Golfland, Etc.These are a great idea for older children, but they usually cost a bit more than you’d think. You know your child better than these venues do. But, they are classics for a reason. However, for younger children, and for a smaller group it's nice to have the party on their home turf.
For groups of seven or less children, a few games, a dance party, cake, and presents (more ideas on this in a few weeks) can be a fun day and not too overwhelming.
This completes the foundation for having a stress free party. Over the next few weeks we'll cover RSVP's, goody bag do's and dont's, activities, entertainment, and a special offer ONLY for those that have requested the cheat sheet.
Next week we'll get into the fun part of the planning.