The time has finally come - and you’re planning a birthday party for your grandchild! What FUN! I LOVE party planning and I’m happy to host a party for just about any occasion. The whole idea of planning the party is a lot of fun and also exciting, while at the same time it can be a little overwhelming. If that’s the case, follow along as I share some ideas to guide you in planning the perfect birthday party while keeping the process as smooth as possible for you.
Select a birthday party theme and style - It’s not a bad idea to sit down and spend some time with your grandchild letting them be involved in helping to choose a party theme. However, don’t be surprised when they change their mind half way through the planning process! Having said this, you may want to simply offer them just two options you know you can deliver on. If they’re very young, here are several party themes that work well for celebrating their birthday:
Jungle or Safari
Classic Story Book
Having a party theme will really elevate your celebration, help you decide on food, decorations, invitations and will really showcase the birthday girl or boy. Having a theme will also help to keep the look and feel of the party coherent. Keep in mind, that there really is no right or wrong birthday party theme. You can certainly keep the party simple, which is great or you can get as creative as you’d like!
Set the party date and time - This can be tricky because, setting a good date as well as the time is crucial for any party or get-together in regards to attendance. Most parties take place on the weekends, however time of day is an important consideration. Keep in mind, if the child still naps, perhaps a good start time would be morning or late afternoon. Another tip you may want to consider is avoiding holidays because many families will be away or have their own plans. Depending on their birth date, it might be worth waiting a week or two in order to get a fuller guest list. Our oldest grandson's birthday is December 10 and our youngest granddaughter is December 28! There’s always a debate on the date and time to host their parties due to everyones busy holiday schedules.
Decide on a budget - There are lots of things to consider when budgeting, such as a possible
venue, food and drinks, decorations which would include the ever popular balloon arches, invitations, entertainment, party favors, and the birthday cake. Planning fun activities don’t have to break the bank either. Check out this article on 26 Birthday Party Activities That Won’t Cost You a Dime, linked HERE. Gigi Susie created this adorable maze on her computer, as an activity for her granddaughter's 6th Princess Birthday! How sweet is this?! Pro tip: if you're really wanting to have a balloon arch, consider creating one yourself as this can easily save you a couple hundred dollars by having to hire out! Be sure to check out YouTube videos to learn how to create one. There are plenty of how-to videos out there.
Think outside of the normal treat bag filled with candy when sending guests home with a goody bag. For our granddaughters third birthday, my daughter purchased Little Golden Books on Amazon, titled I'm a Unicorn, and attached a bubble wand with ribbon! The books were around $1 and went perfectly with her Magical 3rd Birthday theme.
For a boys birthday you can do the same with The Mighty Avengers, Little Golden Book and bubble wand. Sending the guests home with a book will last long after any candy ever will.
Create the guest list - One of the first things I like to do is make a list of all the people I want to invite. Of course, keeping in mind the space and venue costs which will be a big consideration as they become part of your budget. Some parties may just be for friends only with a separate party for family members. How big or small you prefer the party to be is completely up to you and your budget.
Decide on party food, drinks and cake - I like to keep it simple. Of course you can always order pizza’s because who doesn’t love pizza, right? However, depending on your theme, the possibilities are endless and you can get as creative as you’d like within your budget. Here are several party food options you may want to consider:
Peanut butter and Jelly Uncrustables with chips and yogurt
Crock Pot Mac N Cheese
“Baby Buffet” with foods like cheese cubes, mini sandwiches, crackers, bananas, muffins, yogurt, applesauce packets, and lean proteins such as bite size meatballs.
Finger Foods like chicken nuggets, fruit on skewers, or bagel bites.
Little party guests are usually so wound up that they typically don’t eat as much, so try not to go overboard with spending time and money on the meal. When it comes to dessert, I love to make it extra special. Of course serving your birthday child’s favorite flavor of cake is always top priority and allowing them to make a wish and blow out their candles, but you may also want to consider a small cake for the birthday child and then also serve themed sugar cookies or look into renting an ice cream cart or create your own ice cream sundae or waffle bar with toppings! Be sure to check out Etsy for some adorable cake toppers, we love ordering from Etsy but again just don’t forget to order early!
Select a location - When planning a party for your younger grandchildren, a home party seems to be your best bet! I love the idea of having a ball pit, bounce house or a soft play centre to keep them busy. However, at around age 5 there’s many more options to consider such as an indoor playground, bowling alley, As You Wish Pottery, rock wall climbing or Build-A-Bear is always a huge hit!
Choose the Party Entertainment - My biggest tip is to BOOK EARLY! Good companies get booked up earlier than you think and its always a good idea to ask for recommendations. I would suggest booking the entertainment such as bounce castles, ball pits, bubble machines, characters, etc. before you mention it on the invitation. My daughter and her husband own and operate a White Bounce House business that also offers the increasingly popular ball pits which provide the perfect entertainment for kids 5 and under. Our granddaughter was literally having a ball at her third birthday party celebration!
Send out birthday party invitations - Now that you have a fun theme, decorations and entertainment booked it’s time to let everyone know about your birthday celebration! I have always felt that the invitations will set the mood for the party. Because of this, I prefer paper invitations and I will save at least one or two invites for myself to preserve the memory by scrapbooking. Having your grandchild help with putting stamps on the envelopes creates excitement for their upcoming party and provides the recipient with the invitation on their refrigerator in plain view as a reminder. If you prefer you can always send out a Facebook invitation or an Evite. We’ve always had a lot of luck with finding adorable custom invitations on Etsy to match our theme. Just be sure to order them early and send them out no later than one month in advance so everyone can save the date and mark their calendars.
Pulling off a successful birthday party takes a little planning, and I hope this checklist helps you to plan a party that’s truly memorable for your grandchild. To be honest, when its all said and done it’s the memories that will last a lifetime.
Happy planning and may all their birthday wishes come true!