Lisa Thornbury: Party Mummy


10 Tips For Hosting An EASY Party For Kids

Simple, Frugal and FUN!

Start thinking of hosting a kid's party at home, and images of Lord of the Flies and chips forever ground into your carpet immediately pop into parents' heads. But there's nothing to be afraid of, I swear. Okay maybe there will be some potato chip shrapnel and fruit punch splatter, but for the most part kids' parties are harmless and way easier than you might think. 

Here's what to do:

This party had a Christmas theme, but it works just the same for any party: Halloween, Birthdays, Spring Fling, etc.

1. Send out invitations—email is the quickest and it allows you to easily follow up with updates. 

2. 8-10 guests is a manageable number. More than that and you'll need assistance. 2-2 1/2 hours is a good party length.

3. As kids are dropped off, have parents fill out their cell number and email address so you can contact them by phone in case of emergency and email them a follow up thank you with photos from the party. 

4. As kids arrive, direct them to the basement, family room, or playroom, and let them mingle and play until all guests arrive. 

5. Gather everyone at the table. Thick plastic table cloths from the Dollar Store are a good idea if you've planned messy crafts. (Wipe down after the party and reuse.) 

6. Plan four-five crafts or games. Keep them simple and know that you probably won't get to them all. Sit with the kids and help them when necessary. Enlist the aid of an older sibling, grandparents, or a friend if possible. 

At our Christmas party we made simple crafts like these. Make an "example sample" of each and do the finicky bits ahead of time as well, e.g. cut out the carrot noses.

It's also a good idea to put out paper, markers, glues, scissors, and hole punches so kids can make cards or whatever else they can think of. This keeps them from getting antsy if they finish early. 

Instead of decorating cookies, we made an easier, but still fun, version...Sugar Cone Christmas Trees!

7. Have each child print their name on a piece of printer paper. Spread the sheets out on the floor or on a table in another area. As kids finish each craft, they put them on their name to dry. This will keep all of their crafts together in one spot so you'll know whose is whose.

8. In between activities, send the kids back downstairs (or wherever... just somewhere away from you!) for a ten minute break. Think of it like recess. This gives them a chance to get their sillies out, and you a chance to clean up or set up the next activity or snack time. 

9. Keep food simple. Chips, water, fruit punch, cheese pizza, yogurt tubes. 

10. Ask kids to print their names on their plastic cups so there's no confusion when they ask for refills. Also, use the sturdy plastic plates for the food. Wash and reuse as a base to wrap up crafts to go home. It's frugal and green! Just stack crafts, treats, etc. on the plate, and put their "name sheet" inside, too. Wrap in clear cello wrap from the Dollar Store. Tie closed with a ribbon.

Party on everyone!