Friday, February 18

5 Easy Ways to {A Great Birthday Party for Kids}

So I have two kids, both born in February, but one is a one year old little boy and the second a just-turning-four-next-week Miss. I was not going to have two birthday parties so I came up with a big joint party inviting all their friends over (= 35 kids and counting...).

Let me share with you my tips to a fun party for both parents and kids... on a budget!

1. DECORATION: choose pretty decorations that you can recycle or reuse for another purpose. This time I got plenty of Chinese paper lanterns and I am going to use some of them to decorate my daughter's room as seen here. I absolutely LOVE decoration made of paper, so I also got some paper garlands while in Chinatown (in a party shop at People's Park Center).

Get some flowers in tune with your color scheme (if any) to decorate the tables but make sure they are in a safe place.

The party took place at the function room 
of my building (not so easy to decorate)

2. FOOD and DRINKS: most probably my favorite subject after decoration... Always go for healthy yummy food, and cater for the parents too! If you are good at it, spend some time baking cookies, muffins, cupcakes, bread, pizza etc... everybody will appreciate it and you will get in return tons of compliment that will make YOUR day! There is lots of stuff that can be prepared in advance (biscuits) and frozen (think ice cream birthday cake here). You can purchase frozen puff pastry, or pizza dough, or even use half muffins to make little pizzas.

This is what was on the menu for my kids party (sorry I don't have pictures of all the food available):
- I baked biscuits a few days before and decorated them with my daughter (*one afternoon activity for her*)
- I baked chocolate cupcakes (kids and parents favs) garnished with a spoon of nutella and decorated with smarties, candies or fruits = easy and cute
- I baked a huge pizza (made the dough myself too) and a vegetable pie
- we had hummus and crackers, dry sausage from France and cheddar cheese, olives and some marinated meat that my hubby cooked
- fruits: banana, apple, watermelon, grapes... I did not cut in advance as it's often wasted...
- for the first time I had candies and marshmallows, because it's a party and everyone (including me!) likes lollies... Presented in glass containers with pretty ribbons, it was part of the decoration too.

I also made the birthday cake (sorry no good photo to post here) which was another chocolate cake (can you tell we are addicted?) from a recipe by Nigella Lawson here. Gorgeous cake, it will win you compliments for sure!

Go for a couple of fruit juices (apple, cranberry, orange) and lots of water. And don't forget that adults will enjoy the party as well and it will relax a bit with a few drinks (white wine, beer or cider are ideal).

Cover your tables with plain color table clothes, 
have pretty plates/ tray to present your mini cupcakes, 
sprinkles decorations on the table; choose fancy cupcake cups, 
and have little cups to hold servings of candies (less likely to fall on the floor)

3. MUSIC/ ACTIVITY: it all depends how old are your little guests, but bear in mind that they will need to be entertained at some point, or at least make sure there is room for them to run, dance and have fun. I often have a dress-up, make-up corner (it would be fun to have a photo boot) and music. You can play musical chairs, get them to dance etc...
I am lucky that the playground is just steps away from the function room, so they will always spend some time there too.
If you are having a small party, you can have a craft, or even a cake decoration session ( a bit like what we had for Christmas... here).

The birthday girl getting an "arm make up". 
Older girls loved looking after the younger ones and did all the job!

Birthday boy Mathias loving to be the center of attention...

4. PHOTOS: I can't stress out enough that someone (a friend, your husband...) should be in charge of taking pictures. You won't have time to take any as you will have to look after your kids, your guests and make sure everyone is having fun... that is especially true if some parents are new to your group of friends, or if your kids friends don't necessarily know each other (= same for the parents). 
I don't have as many pictures of the party as I wish I have because I didn't delegate and then didn't have time to room around with the camera...

5. FAVORS: my daughter is attending quite a number of parties a year, and brings back home goodie bags full of candies, chocolate and cheap plastic toys that often get lost, broken or thrown away. 

I decided to make something different and more personal with some meaning into it. So I got a big heart cookie cutter, and then I started baking some more... I then found a pretty idea online at Creature Comforts (free printable here) for the bag topper, printed as many as needed and wrote the little guests names one by one... quite some work, but well worth it!
Doesn't it make a difference to you?

"We love you guys, thank you for being our friends!"
That was the meaning behind it...

Oh, and yes I have one more {important} tip: keep records of what you have done, how much it cost you and where you shopped for next year! I am planning to get a cute notebook and write down in details and with pictures the planning of this party... Next year is going to be easy peasy!!



Cookie Cutter said...

Oh my, you baked all that goodness! Everyone should credit you for the effort. They look beautiful and I'm sure they taste yummy too!


What a lovely post! This looks like a perfect birthday party to me.
Wish you a great weekend, Marie!
Hugs, Nina

Marie Maglaque said...

Thank you Ladies! it was a labor of love, but I enjoyed it and had fun in the process (and learn so much too!) I would do it again no matter what...

Olivia said...

Marie, you're such an inspiration! I mean doing all that, and have fun with it! You are way too creative (can you hear the jealous tone), I felt like throwing a party myself! This is a great post! They are very blessed and lucky to have you from Dom, to Chloe and Mathias! Bisous

Aline said...

Que d'inspiration!! c'est magnifique et ça donne manger bien sûr mais aussi de se lancer dans la réalisation!!! mon BDay approchant je vais songer à faire quelque chose chez moi!!! Love you all

mélia said...

Très beau boulot ma belle, ils sont gatés tes enfants! bisous

Marie said...

@Olivia: Thank you darling! if only you could move hear, imagine all the parties that we could have ;)

@Aline: ben en voila une bonne idee! tu peux trouver plein d'inspiration sur le net, et sur mon blog bien sur. Haha.

@Melia: est-ce que je ne me serais pas gatee au passage aussi? parce que le bar a bonbon, j'en ai bien profite ;)

Merci a toutes pour vos commentaires!

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