gleeful grandiva

creative living for big and little kids

SECRETS TO PLANNING A STRESS-FREE CHILDREN’S PARTY  

 

stress free children's party picture

Planning a party for the little ones? What can possibly go wrong?

The comedian, W.C. Fields knew what he was talking about when he advised; “Never work with children or animals”.

Why? Because they’re unpredictable and you can never be certain of outcomes when they’re involved.

That being said, it is possible to host a stress-free children’s party and these tips will show you how.

 

A STRESS-FREE CHILDREN’S PARTY MEANS BEING ORGANISED

Just like the Scout motto, the best advice is to be prepared.

Being organised is the number one ingredient to any successful party – for kids or adults. It may not protect against disasters, but a well-planned party can go a long way towards avoiding them.

I hosted themed parties at home for each of my three sons until they reached the age of around eight when it became ‘cooler’ to party away from home. Then it became cool to party at home again around the age of 15 – but that’s a whole other story. Maybe a book. Probably a thriller.

Anyway, I also hosted themed birthday parties for my Wacky Workshops arts students as another strand to my business. These parties always, of course, included creating crafts that complimented the theme of the party.

It’s no wonder then that I would come up with reasons to host parties for the Goddesses. Sometimes I have to wonder if I’m some kind of masochist. Maybe I should get that checked out.

Our latest party, an annual tradition, was, not surprisingly, a fairy party.

stress free children's party

What a beautiful little fairy

All four Goddesses were invited, along with a few of my friends’ granddaughters.

The ages range from one to eight, so planning for this is extra challenging.

Oh for a flat piece of lawn that gently cushions little knees during falls. Just kidding. We have happily removed all our lawn and our yard is terraced and full of big, hard bush rocks – the perfect environment for scrapes and tears.

So, in order to try and avoid disaster, I have to cut down on their opportunity to run and to do this I plan like mad.

A STRESS-FREE CHILDREN’S PARTY MEANS PLANNING ACTIVITIES

My second big tip is to keep those kids so busy having fun that you’ve orchestrated, that they don’t have time to get into trouble.

I plan several games and craft projects for children’s parties and estimate in my head how long each activity will take. I allow a little extra time for eating and socialising and ensure it all adds up to the time of the party. For kids in these age groups, I recommend two to three-hour long parties. Anything longer and the kids are tired and stop listening and cooperating.

I love the idea of themed parties. It makes planning easier as you have something to focus on for the games and activities.

A STRESS-FREE CHILDREN’S PARTY DOES NOT HAVE TO BREAK THE BUDGET

These days you can buy matching sets of plates, cutlery, decorations, cups, lolly bags, and so on from party stores. The exercise can become quite pricey and guess what? The kids don’t care about that stuff. They want the food, fun activities, and games.

We often buy that stuff more to impress any adults coming as it is totally lost on the kids. String up a few balloons and they know it is party time.

A friend recently told me the total bill (paid by her) for her grandson’s two-year-old birthday party was $400 – OUCH!

I didn’t even bother with the balloons for the fairy party and all the little fairies had a ball without them.

The only decoration was the big poster fairy picture for our “pin the star on the wand” game.

stress free children's party picture

Pin the star on the fairy wand. The Goddesses had fun helping me decorate this one.

My next best tip is that it really doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Take advantage of the ability to spend less while the kids are little – it’s a sure thing the costs go up as they grow.

I used the colourful set of plastic plates, cups, and bowls I own – cheaper and better for the environment than their matching paper or plastic counterparts.

I put a lollypop, a tiny packet of lollies (we’re all trying to cut down on sugar so that was it for sweets), a balloon, and two little cheap party favour gifts in the lolly bags. By the time the kids left, their bags were full because of the crafts they had made.

I bought about four little prizes – around $2 each from the cheap shop – to give to the game winners, plus several more at the same price for pass the parcel (which I called pass the treasure as it sounded more like a fairy game). The total cost was no more than $20. I paid about the same for food, so the party cost $40 – much better than $400.

PARTY CRAFTS

As an arts and crafts teacher, I have the advantage of having a lot of supplies on hand. However, even if you have to buy everything, the materials for the craft activities are not expensive.

We made fairy wands using sticks collected from outside, wire, beads and ribbon. You can get the instructions in my post, How to Make Fantastic Castles and Wands, Fit for a Fairy.

We made flower fairies using artificial flowers, pipe cleaners, foam balls, and wool or dolls hair plus googly eyes.

stress free children's part picture

Beautiful little flower fairies. Want more Tuesday Tips? Follow me on Facebook.

Then we made mini fairy gardens using teacup sized bowls (bought at the cheap shop for 50 cents each), potting soil, cuttings from existing succulents growing in my garden, and recyclables. You can find out how to make these in my post, Four Funtastic Gifts to Make for Christmas.

stress free children's party picture

The Goddesses with their fairy creations

Other ideas for inexpensive craft activities include decorating ‘treasure’ rocks with old nail polish and glitter. You could then use them as a game by hiding them in the garden for a treasure hunt.

I hid a bunch of tiny trolls and told the fairies the trolls had strayed away from the fairy garden, into the front garden, and were lost. I put a smiley face on little pieces of paper with markers matching the colour of the trolls’ hair (red, yellow, green, purple, pink) and had the kids pick a piece of paper randomly from a bowl. Their mission was to find the troll with hair that matched the smiley face on their paper.

If they saw a troll that didn’t match, they needed to stay quiet about it. This was such a hit I have had to play the game with one of the Goddesses every week when she has her ‘Grandy’ day.

stress free children's party

Rescuing trolls.

Older children may enjoy making flower pens. I made one for each of the fairies before the party and had them ‘pick’ the flowers out of the garden as they were leaving. These only require artificial flowers, pens, glue and ribbon. You can get the instructions in my post, Make a Flower Pen Project.

stress free children's party

Fairy flower pens waiting to be picked.

STRESS-FREE PARTY GAMES

Aside from the troll game, the kids played musical toadstools (same rules as musical chairs). This was challenging for the younger fairies who became a little upset when their toadstool was removed, but it was a wonderful, safe environment for them to learn the ropes of party games.

They played pin the star on the fairy wand. I bought a large sheet of cardboard and drew a simple fairy figure with a wand on it. Then, I cut out little star shapes and put each child’s name and a little bit of Blu-Tack on them. We twirled the little fairies, blindfolded, and led them towards the picture. The one who placed their star closest to the wand won a prize.

Pass the treasure was a big hit that even the one-year-old enjoyed playing.

She didn’t miss out when it came to the crafts either. I used her supplies to demonstrate to the other fairies how to make the crafts, after which the creation was hers.

As the older kids in our group get beyond some of the games, I’ll enlist their help to assist the smaller ones. This always worked wonderfully during my Wacky Workshops classes.

I make sure to have everything little thing ready for the craft activities, plus the games and food (come back on Wacky Wednesday to check out my fairy party recipes) the day before. This way I am not rushing around stressfully hours before the party.

We managed to get through the party with only one minor injury – a stubbed toe – proving, that when the kids are kept busy with supervised and fun activities, it is possible to host a stress-free children’s party.

Happy planning and be sure to share this post with anyone you know who hosts parties for little ones.

Wishing you a gleeful week, Tamuria.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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28 Comments

  1. It has been years since I planned a child’s party; however, I still get invited to a few. It almost seems as though parents are competing to see who can throw their child the most elaborate party these days. Like you, I love theme parties (heck, we still have those at my adult parties).

    • It sometimes does feel like parents are competing and it’s really a waste as the kids don’t care – they’ll have fun anyway.

  2. Tamuria,
    A great article and the pictures of your children and having a nice birthday that they can enjoy and remeber is so important for them and you. It’s fun to do things with your children and they are appreciative of it as well.

    Lori English

  3. That purple fairy costume the young goddess is wearing is just so precious! Just love the wings 🙂

  4. What wonderful fairy parties your goddesses will remember.
    Joyce Hansen recently posted…How to plan for brain productivityMy Profile

  5. Planning a party. What could possibly go wrong? THIS got me, Tami. I could have used these tips when my kids were young. I’m going to keep this tucked away for my grandkids (when they arrive). I so appreciate how creative kids are these days.
    Tandy Elisala recently posted…52 Weeks Of Happiness: Week FourMy Profile

    • We’ve been lucky, after hosting hundreds of parties over the years, we’ve never really had a disaster, Tandy. I think a lot of that can be credited to good planning.

  6. Hey Tamuria 🙂

    What great ideas for making sure planning for a stress-free party for kids goes as well as possible! Makes it so much easier 🙂 Thanks for sharing!!
    Joan M Harrington recently posted…How To Make Money Blogging 10 Lessons You Need To Learn To Be SuccessfulMy Profile

  7. You are helping so many new mamas with fun tips and suggestions!

  8. This sounds like a party I would love to attend, Tami! I would say that many people want stress-free parties, yet don’t ignite their creativity to do the kinds of things you talk about. As someone who loves fairies, this sounds like such a sure-fire way to get young children to engage. After all, they still believe in and love all things fairies. Anytime we take the time to engage a child’s imagination, of course they will take part to the max. I am trying to remember some of the things we did for my daughter’s birthdays when she was little and honestly can’t remember. We did play a lot of musical games, I think air guitar was popular back then, and kids love that too! Thanks for sharing all these amazing ideas and I do hope adults with young children in their lives will take a lesson from you. 🙂
    Beverley Golden recently posted…Healing is an ArtMy Profile

    • It would have been great to have to here for it, Beverley. My boys used to love air guitar – fun times. The fairy party was a great opportunity to inspire the kids’ imagination and creative skills.

  9. The part I hated the most about parties….. people and their lack of respect for other people’s time (RSVPing and not showing or not RSVPing and showing) and then the weather, of which we have no control… so I always had a plan B… makes for less stress! lol

    • That used to drive me absolutely NUTS, Kristen, when people were rude about RSVPing and showing up. It’s still a thing that now drives my DILS crazy. Not so bad for me anymore as the kids I invite are grandchildren of close friends who would never be so careless with me. Always need a plan B for the weather.I should have mentioned that in my tips but it’s something I take for granted people will do.

  10. Love your troll scavenger hunt game. What fun it must have been for all your little fairies. Your creativity is showing
    Alene Geed recently posted…The Pisces Personality and Gemstone ConnectionMy Profile

  11. Thank God, I do not have this kind of problem. I love your ideas on how to keep the children busy. I have a friend who recently organized a slumber party for her child and friends. She too had to use her creativity to keep them all involved. It took some preparation indeed.

  12. Like you rightly mentioned, planning activities and keeping the kids busy is the best way to have a stress free kids party. Your tips will be very helpful to moms and parents.

    • Hopefully, these tips will help others. A lot of people don’t spend the extra time planning and it can make all the difference.

  13. I don’t have children of my own, but I do entertain and plan charity events regularly, so I think that your point about being well-organised is totally on point. Unless it’s a really informal gathering, having a plan will make everything so much easier and a lot more enjoyable for everyone attending.
    Jennifer Quisenberry recently posted…The 89th Academy Awards – 25 Pieces of Trivia for your Oscars PartyMy Profile

  14. I have two boys 11 and 4 and have NEVER put myself through the stress of a birthday party. We use it as a time together with family. As an introvert who is a people pleaser perfectionist, I just can’t put myself through the stress of other kids or parents. These are great tips though on how to brave a full blown traditional birthday party!

    • Quality time with family can’t be beaten, April. When I hosted parties for my own kids, I found dealing with the parents the hardest part.

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