11 articles Tag party

Let’s Celebrate! How To Throw A Perfect Kids’ Birthday Party

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No matter how confident you are in your parenting, there’s one thing that strikes fear into the heart of every parent: your child’s birthday party. Once they graduate from family parties to parties that seem to include every kid they’ve ever met, you know it’s going to be an extremely busy day! But there are definitely some ways that you can make it easier…

Pick A Theme

First of all, pick a theme. This will make the party more fun, and it will also allow you to personalise it for your kid, making it more memorable both for them and for the other kids who are attending. Choose something that your child loves, but make sure that it’s a theme that’s general enough to encompass a lot of different activities. For instance, if your kid loves dinosaurs, you could play a pin the tail on the dinosaur game, you could have the kids make their very own dinosaur tails, you could make dinosaur party hats. The possibilities are endless.

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Get Your Timing Right

It’s important to get your timings right. If your party is too short, your kid may get upset when it ends, but if your party is too long, the guests will get over-tired and fractious. Two hours is a great length for a kid’s birthday party. You should also do your best to keep the timings away from naptime, if your child is a little younger!

Include All The Kids

It’s important to make sure that if you’re inviting more kids than your offspring’s small group of friends, everyone is included. This includes the kids in your child’s class who may have special needs or learning difficulties. It is so important to ensure that they feel included, and chances are, you will have a friend for life in their parents, who will be delighted. Talk to their parents about whatever needs they may have, invite those parents along too if necessary, and make sure they’re included in the festivities.

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Talk To The Parents

It’s a good idea to talk to all the parents, not just those of kids with special needs. Note down any dietary requirements – and get some gluten and dairy free snacks, just in case! It may not be a terrible idea to ask the parents if they want to stay and hang out during the party if their kids are still young – provide coffee and snacks so they can relax and assist with their kid if emotions start to run high.

Don’t Be Afraid To Order In

Remember that you don’t have to do every single thing for this party yourself. If you’re not crafty, you don’t need to create handmade decorations. If you’re busy, why not hire a caterer? If you’re worried about making the perfect cake, look for companies like Anges de Sucre who provide a huge variety of cakes that are much prettier than anything an average parent could create! There is absolutely no shame in hiring a magician or entertainer instead of trying to corral the kids yourself. Don’t put yourself under unnecessary stress – life is far too short and you should try to enjoy the day as well. For the best balloon sculpting Singapore can offer, check local Facebook parenting groups. 

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Plan Out Activities

It’s a great idea to plan out some activities, and to have some contingency plans if they fall through. If you want the kids to spend some time running around in your back yard but then the heavens open and it starts to pour with rain, have a CD of kids’ music ready so you can play musical statues or musical chairs inside. Remember that a dance party is always fun for kids of any age too! 

Make Easy Goody Bags

Costs for kids’ parties can really add up, and you might be surprised at how much cash you need to push into your child’s fifth birthday – don’t even start thinking about that sweet sixteenth… If you want to provide goody bags at the end of the party, you don’t need to go big or expensive. A great idea is to buy a book for each kid – you can get cheaply priced books online. With a slice of birthday cake, this is ideal. You could also provide a few pieces of sidewalk chalk, a small tub of play-doh, or a slime-making kit for slightly older kids. Just remember not to provide anything that stains or that makes loud noises, or you definitely won’t be the most popular parent at the school gates the next Monday!

Kids’ parties don’t have to be as stressful as they may feel – these simple tips should keep it fun!

Host the Perfect Halloween Garden Party for Kids

Halloween Garden PartyHalloween is fast approaching and more and more people in the UK are celebrating, especially families with young children. For American families, trick or treating plays a huge part in Halloween but parents in UK can be a little more reluctant to let their children take part in the door to door tradition. Instead of trick or treating, parents can avoid stranger danger by hosting their very own outdoor Halloween parties instead. Find out how to host the perfect Halloween garden party for kids with advice from the garden specialists at Artificial Grass Direct.

Step One: Party-Proof the Garden

Children + face paint + copious amounts of sweets = carnage. A Halloween garden party is a lot more forgiving on the home than a house party but there are still steps you can take to ensure easy clean up. Re-home all breakables (including ornaments and potted plants) for the night and cover furniture to protect it from spills. If you have natural grass in your garden, we recommend covering it with blankets or tarp otherwise you could run the risk of little monsters tearing up the turf. If you have artificial grass, this will require less maintenance as it is much more durable and can easily be wiped clean!

It’s important to keep guests warm and dry so double check the weather on party night and consider using a gazebo or similar cover if it looks like it might rain. You can also use a patio heater or fire pit to regulate your garden temperature but make sure to protect your garden and your guests (especially if there are young children attending) from the heat.

Set the Scene

Now you’ve party-proofed your garden you can focus on making it look the part. A quick and easy way to set the scene is to pick up a couple of cheap Halloween themed fairy lights and decorations. You can save money on these by buying at local pound shops and discount stores as opposed to name-brand supermarkets. From fake cobwebs and spider decorations, all the way through to bat bunting and life-size plastic skeletons, these decorations might look a tacky but that’s the spirit of Halloween! You can even go all out and carve a couple of pumpkins, if you have time, as a fun pre-party activity to do with the kids.

Spooky Snacks

Bring the trick or treating tradition to your own back garden by setting up sweetie stations with a variety of treats. You can buy plenty of themed sweets this around time of year including gummy worms and eyeball candy or you can make your own. We recommend cake pops since they are simple to make, fun to decorate, and easy for little ones to hold.

Halloween doesn’t have to be unhealthy, though. If you’re worried about the sugar content of store-bought sweets swap them out for healthy alternatives. A couple of chocolate chips can turn a regular banana into a ghostly ‘Boonana’. Another option is to sandwich apple slices together with peanut butter before adding mini marshmallows to make mutant mouths with terrifying teeth. There are plenty of healthy Halloween snack recipes out there on the internet, a quick search will yield plenty of ideas and inspiration!

Gruesome Games

Finally, no party is complete without a little entertainment. Depending on the age of your audience you can’t go wrong with a good old-fashioned horror story but there are plenty of other options if you’re worried about giving your guests nightmares. Bobbing for apples is a classic Halloween party game (just make sure to supervise at all times) and little kids will enjoy activities such as scavenger hunts or cupcake decorating. You can even host pumpkin carving contests for older children.

Family Fun: Every Child Deserves an Amazing Party

Getting everyone together for a party is an excellent opportunity to reconnect with family and friends while creating lasting memories. If it is your child’s birthday or other special occasion, planning the best party may be your top priority–something for everyone to talk about before and after the event. Unfortunately, the grand idea often falls short of those expectations. That’s okay. An amazing party doesn’t have to be a budget-busting experience. It is a time when your child, family, and guests have a great time in the company of each other.

A solid foundation to start your planning process will make the experience go much smoother. Here are some tips for planning an amazing party for your child:

Make the Invite List

Before making plans for the party’s theme and location, get an idea of who will attend. Younger children may be content with a family party, but those in school may want their friends along for the fun. Determine your potential guests as a starting point.

Create a Budget

Maybe you want to throw your child one of the best parties ever. That mindset could quickly empty your wallet. By setting a reasonable budget before making any plans, you know exactly what your finances allow. Even if you don’t have a lot of money to spurge on the party, there are creative, inexpensive ways to play games, decorate, and feed your guests.

Pick a Theme

Talk with your child about the desired theme. What are his or her current interests? Does your child have a favorite book, toy, show, or movie? Once you agree on a theme, involve your child in the planning process. This could mean picking out party favors, decorations, or helping prepare food. Your child’s input helps build excitement and anticipation of the big day.

Select Your Location

Now that you know your budget and theme, it’s time to select a location. If you have the space and resources, you may pick your home as the best location. Some families enjoy cooking, decorating, and throwing a party at home. Other families like to take the party elsewhere like a local amusement center or bowling alley. They prefer professionals to take care of the party details and want to avoid the inevitable after-party clean up. There are pros and cons of each option. The choice of location is ultimately up to you.

Keep the Food Simple

Though you may think food at the party is a big deal, most of the kids will focus on the games and fun of the party. Save the elaborate dishes and desserts for the holidays. At a child’s party, finger foods and snacks are easy to put out and don’t require a lot of work. Try to include some healthy options, and make sure you know if any guests have food allergies. An allergic reaction in the middle of a party could really put a damper on the festivities.

Make it a Point to Enjoy Yourself

You may have high expectations for the party, but chances are your child just wants to have fun and see everyone around him or her happy. Don’t get stressed if the elaborate games you planned take the backseat to kids playing a game with the balloons you intended as decorations. Ease up on the expectations and enjoy the time together with family and friends. You don’t want to be remembered as the angry type-A parent grumbling in the corner of the party.

By following these tips, planning your child’s party will be easier and more focused. Just remember to relish all the smiles and laughter as everyone enjoys the party you planned.

What To Put in Party Bags

Sausage is now in year 5 at school which means that we’ve been to, and thrown, more than our fair share of birthday parties in that time. Party bags are an issue of great debate, with some parents choosing to go down the sweetie cone/pre-packed bag route, making it as low-effort as possible and there’s no denying that the kids love this type of party bag. There are, however, a lot of parents who’d prefer their kid didn’t get sent home with ten different types of sweet and nothing else, so I thought I’d make a list of all the things we;ve included in our bags or have had in bags we’ve received which have gone down well with both kids and parents:

ONE bag of sweets!

Most parents resign themselves to the idea that at least some sweeties will be consumed on the day of a party, but we find that sending home just ONE bag or Haribo sweets or similar is much better received than a whole selection. It gives the kids a treat without upsetting parents and makes the whole thing more economical in the long-run.

Erasers

I don’t know if this was just a trend with Sausage’s friends but one thing that they absolutely love getting in party bags is erasers, which I’ve discovered come in not only a huge range of shapes and sizes but also SCENTS! Buying multipacks of novelty erasers means you can open them and put just one or two in each bag, making it a cheap gift which goes a long way.

Books

When they’re smaller, buying packs of books is another thing which seems to be loved by both parents and kids alike. Keep an eye out in catalogues for multi-packs of card books or miniature books – this works especially well if your party is themed with something like superheros and you can get books on the theme.

Friendship Bracelets

Something that Sausage and I love to do together is make friendship bracelets and they make a really nice inclusion in party bags. We buy embroidery thread in bulk and make them in all different colours, depending on what her friends might like and they always go down a treat. It’s another thing which works well if your party is themed as you can make bracelets in the party’s colour scheme which will help your friends to remember a great day.

Hot Chocolate Bags

This works especially well at Christmas or if your child has a winter birthday – get plastic cone bags and layer hot chocolate powder and mini marshmallows – add a paper tag or even some antlers for decoration and you’ve got a gorgeous party favour which everyone will love.

How to Throw a Costume Party on a Budget

Costume parties are great fun for all ages, instantly setting a mood of revelry and excitement. Yet adding costumes on top of other decorations, food, drink and games can really add up. Whether you’re thinking of throwing a themed birthday party or a Halloween bash, use our tips to save money on your next costume party.

1. Get the timing right.

No matter what type of party you’re throwing, if children are involved you should set the time during the magic hour between 2 and 5 in the afternoon. Why is this the magic time? It falls in between meals so that you don’t have to worry about full catering. Your guests will already be full from lunch, so a few snacks will suffice. However, if your guests are still young enough to take afternoon naps, you should shift this to the morning and provide coffee and treats instead.

2. Start planning early.

If possible, plan your party as early as you can. Shop around for supplies so that you have time to compare prices, rather than dashing out the night beforehand and panic-buying overpriced plastic plates. Ideally, your party supplies should include a mix of pre-used decorations and supplies you buy when they’re on sale. Keep this in mind now if you’re planning any holiday parties, as well!

3. Dip into your kid’s dress-up box.

Children love to play dress-up, so you can create a whole activity out of this for your next party. Set up a photo booth area in one corner of the home. This doesn’t have to cost very much money at all – all you need is an area with good natural lighting or a lamp, a simple sheet as a backdrop, and a handful of props and costumes. This is where the dress-up box comes in. From a power rangers costume to old princess tutus, all of these bits and pieces can be used by guests to create something silly and new. Snap digital photos and send them to the guests afterwards as a souvenir!

4. Turn decorating into an activity.

Invest in a few arts and crafts supplies for your costume party and you’ll be able to get DIY Decorations as well as a time-killing activity. For example, if you’re planning to throw a Halloween party, you could set up an area for your guests to decorate their own pumpkins when they come in the door. Put these on display and you’ll add to your ambience, no further decorations needed.

5. Go paperless.

Paper invitations look nice, but let’s face, how many of us end up chucking them in the bin as soon as we’ve RSVP’d? Don’t bother spending money on paper invitations and thank you notes. Instead, keep it digital and you’ll save money as well as a few trees in the process.

Make sure that your guests have a great time without going broke in the process by following these top tips, and you’ll throw a party to remember!

Quirky Party Ideas For Birthday Boys And Girls

Not too sure what kind of party to organize for your child”s upcoming party? No problem; I’ve got your back! Here are some quirky ideas that won’t seem like any old birthday party. Every child will definitely have a whale of a time when you host one of these!

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Pamper Party

This is one for the girls, but some boys may enjoy it as well! Why not treat your little darlings to a pamper session? Lots of mobile beauty therapists now take bookings for children’s parties. They can come around to your house and give all the kids manicures, massages, and apply glitter tattoos. Lots of families are now having hot tubs from specialist companies so if you have one in your garden, you could take the party outside for a bit of a spa experience!

Cinema Party

Does your child love movies? Then why not turn your living room into a cinema for the evening! There are now lots of smartphone adapters that you can buy which you can use to project videos onto a wall so you can watch your chosen film as if it were on a cinema screen. You can see these cool types of projectors online at sites like www.prezzybox.com/smart-phone-projector.aspx. You will also need to make sure you have plenty of yummy drinks and popcorn so that everyone has plenty to snack on during the movie. If you are having your cinema party through the day, remember to draw all the curtains so that the room is as dark as possible. This way, you will see the film better!

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Karaoke Party

Older kids will love showing off their vocal talents at a karaoke party! There are various ways you can organize this. If you can’t be doing with the hassle of having a load of kids singing their lungs out in your own home, you could see if you could host it at your local karaoke bar. Most bars with karaoke features often hire out singing booths for parties. However, if you want to keep your party budget as low as possible, you will find it very cheap to host at your own home. You can buy or hire a karaoke machine for use in your home.

Storybook Party

This is an excellent party option for those of you with very young children. Even though they may be young, I’m sure they will all have their favourite books already. When you send out the party invites, make sure you include a note asking everyone to come dressed up as their favourite book character. It will be so fun to see all the kids turn up in cute fancy dress and costumes! You’ll be able to take some gorgeous pictures and upload them to your Instagram for all your other mummy friends to swoon over!

Don’t waste too much time thinking about the different options for your child’s party. Hopefully, the tips above will have given you plenty of food for thought!

 

Waitrose Party Food – A Family Review

At this time of year, one of the things that I love to do is try new food and recipes and I can usually be found watching some Christmas-themed cookery show or another, such is my obsession. However, this year I’ve decided to dial back the stress and try to have a more chilled-out festive period, which is why I was particularly interested to try out the Waitrose Party Food range. One of the main appeals is that everything that needs to be cooked goes in at the same temperature, so although you have to get your timings right, you don’t have to wait for an oven to heat or cool between cooking sessions, which made life SO much easier when prepping it all. Here’s some of what we were sent:

Waitrose Party Food

  1. Waitrose Christmas 12 Bourbon BBQ Pork Waffles 230g (£6.00)
  2. Waitrose Christmas Cheese Toasties Selection 110g (£5.00)
  3. Mixed Mini Pie Selection – Chicken & Gravy 400g (£6.00)
  4. Mixed Mini Pie Selection – Beef & Stout 400g (£6.00)
  5. Waitrose 1 chipotle 4 chilli sausage rolls (£2.49)
  6. Waitrose Party pork crackling straws 130g (£4.00)

We were also sent Christmas olives with snowballs 320g (£5.00), Waitrose Chai Spiced Chocolate Nuts 220g (£4.99) and Waitrose Maple Caramelised Cashews 175g (£4.99) but they got devoured by my lot before I could take a picture! We have a bit of a family ritual of going to my MILs on a Saturday evening and either cooking or having a takeaway together, so I took the party food with me to get some varied opinions and basically everything went down really well!

The waffles were definitely a hit and the smoky, almost sweet barbeque sauce added a lovely flavour to the softness of the waffles. The cheese toasties were lovely little savoury morsels that I probably could have eaten about ten of, all by myself! My Sausage found the chipotle sausage rolls to be a tiny bit too piquant for her taste, but the rest of us loved them so just beware if you have chilli-wuss kids! The pork crackling straws were like an amazingly delicious alternative to a breadstick and went beautifully with the apple sauce, but BEWARE if you have any dental issues – they’re really hard and crunchy and only get harder and crunchier as they cool, so definitely not or anyone prone to breaking of teeth!

The only thing which was a little hit-and-miss were the mini pies – the beef and stout ones were really tasty, with a rich gravy and crisp pastry, but the chicken ones were less of a hit – not bad or unpleasant, just not really a flavour that any of us found massively appealing.

Largely, we were really impressed with the quality of Waitrose Party Food and the ease of cooking, and for a small family gathering it would be ideal as party nibbles, however I’m not sure that the individual prices would be ideal if you had more than around 10 people to feed. Having said that, people usually shop at Waitrose for the quality of their items, not in order to get a bargain, so maybe this is a moot point?

Everything was sent to us about three weeks ago, right when the family was in the middle of a nasty bout of gastroenteritis, and I was able to freeze everything which is also a huge bonus, meaning that it would be really easy to buy ahead of time and bring out for cooking closer to Christmas, and I’m actually planning to go and get us all a few bits for New Years Eve as they’re ideal for a casual evening at home with Jool’s Hootenanny and a few bottles of fizz!

Have you tried the Waitrose Party Food? What did you think? Leave me a comment below.

Tween Party Ideas

Sausage will be 8 in August and has decided that she doesn’t want to have a party this year, which is fine by us as we’d rather plan a nice family day out for her (and we have a big surprise planned!). However, I’m sure this won’t be the end of parties for her forever and I was thinking the other day about fun tween birthday party ideas of her age. Here’s a few things I came up with:

Garden Tea Party

If we had been having a party this year I think we would have opted for something along these lies as we have such a lovely big garden now and her August birthday usually means it’s nice weather. Setting up a few tables with cake stands and teapots (bought from charity shops and bootsales) would be fairly simple and decorating the garden with bunting would really finish the look well.

Photo Booth

OMG Photo Booth Hire is really popular these days and you can completely see why. I reckon Sausage and her friends could have HOURS of fun with a box of dressing up gear and sole use of a photo booth. It’s a really unique idea for a party which I absolutely love and could be complimented by a buffet and music for dancing to.

Sleepover

Sausage is getting to the point where she’ll be old enough for sleepovers soon (god help us all!) and I think they can be a lovely way to celebrate a birthday. Go old-school with films, popcorn, face-masks and pyjamas and the party more or less makes itself! If you’ve got kids who aren’t keen on sleeping away from their Mum and Dad, you can always offer the option to take them home later on in the evening.

Lido Party

A few weeks ago, we went to my mother-in-law’s house for the afternoon and she’d set the garden up with a huge paddling pool for the girls, water toys, a buffet lunch for us and loungers/umbrellas set up for us to use. I remember thinking at the time that this could actually be a really fun party for youngsters – we might not be rich enough for a full swimming pool in the garden but we can do a good job of faking it!

Sushi Party

Sausage has actually had two different versions of a cooking party, one in a test kitchen making cakes and another in a pizza restaurant but a way to drag it into the tween era could be to have a sushi making party! If they don’t like fish, they could use cucumber, peppers or strips of omelette, and I even saw FRUIT sushi in the supermarket recently!

Big Girl Birthday Party Ideas

Birthday PartySausage is at an age now where the average soft-play birthday party just won’t cut it anymore. In 2014 she had a Pizza Express party where guests made their own pizzas and then ate it all once it was cooked, and last year she had a party at our local Waitrose test kitchen – both of which were lovely parties, but these days I think she needs something a bit more…rowdy! I thought I’d take a look at some of the viable ideas for Sausage’s 8th birthday, which may be 8 months away but it can’t hurt to be organised!

Skating Party

Sausage attended a skating party a couple of months back and it was a slightly mixed success – many of the kids had a great time, but one girl actually broke her arm and Sausage spent more time on her bottom than she did on her feet! It may have helped if she’d had some practice and a pair of Proline Skates, so I won’t rule out this kind of party for the future!

D.I.S.C.O!

Sausage’s favourite parties are usually ones which allow her to just spend a couple of hours dancing with her friends, and if the D.J. also interects with them and does games, that’s even better. Just last week she attended a party with a fab entertainer who also had a snow machine and plenty of sweets to give as prizes, and the kids all loved it! Take a look at That Sweet Gift for some lovely gift ideas for kids.

Garden Party

Sausage is lucky enough to have her birthday in the summer and this year we’ll probably opt for a garden party. We’ll do something a bit ‘grown-up’ in terms of some sort of Afternoon Tea…but we’ll probably also hire a bouncy castle which will give the kinds plenty of opportunity to burn off all the sugar they’ll consume!

Animal Experience

A few years ago, Sausage went to a party where a company brought along a whole host of reptiles to meet the kids. As well as being a learning experience and a chance to get hands on with animals that they might not usually meet, having a whole bunch of photos of the kids with tarantulas on their heads or holding massive snakes and lizards was a HUGE plus point! There are also companies who bring along softer, more cuddly animals if your kids prefer softness to scales!

BOUNCE!

Trampolining seems to be the new craze amongst the young’uns, with activity centres opening up all around the country which are completely filled with trampolines. Sausage’s trampoline got a bit battered by the weather and wasn’t really in good enough condition to bring with us when we moved, so something like this would probably be really popular with her after missing her own trampoline for so long!

Interplay Fairy Princess Craft Party Review

A few months ago, Sausage went to the birthday party of her best friend (I swear, that kid has a better social life than I do, I’ve literally lost count of all the parties she’s been to this year!), which was hosted by a company which provides dress up clothes and accessories (princesses and pirates in this case) and then provides crafts for the kids to get involved with, like painting plaster-of-Paris ornaments and colouring in. All of the kids had a marvellous time, so when Interplay got in touch a while ago and asked if we’d like to review one of their party in a box kits, I had a feeling it would go down well.

The kit we were sent is the Interplay Fairy Princess Craft Party kit, which gives you everything you need for six little ones to be able to make and decorate a crown, a fairy wand, and a pair of wings. The activities are expected to keep the kids entertained for up to an hour and a half and are an absolutely brilliant way to plan a party on a budget.

Fairy Princess Craft Party

We’ve not got around to hosting our party yet, between the masses of birthday parties, all of our recent hospital appointments and half term now being upon us, but we’re really excited about putting it all together. The kit itself costs between £20 and £24, so even if you wanted a party for 12 kids, you could effectively host a party at home for under £50, if you were to buy snacks cheaply (and let’s face it, what kids want at a party is nuggets, cake and juice!). As Husband and I are ALL too aware, birthday parties for little ones can be prohibitively expensive and coming up with a new thing to do every year can be a nightmare, so Interplay have provided a really cost effective way to host, whilst providing kids with a decent amount of entertainment.

The other good thing is that the kids can take the crown, wings and wand away with them at the end of the party, which takes care of the party bag gifts, too. The set is aimed at 5-8 year olds, and Interplay also make sets for kids who are Mad About Ponies, as well as Treasure Box making and Pirate parties, which means you could have mixed parties for boys and girls if the dudes didn’t want to make wands and wings.

I can’t express enough how much I love these kits – Sausage is so excited about planning her little soiree (which will no doubt involve some pink cupcakes) and I really think the kids she invites will get a lot of enjoyment out of the contents. Providing a budget option in the current financial climate means that kids who may have been unable to have an expensive party could now have a great little birthday treat for them and their friends, which doesn’t seem like a glaringly cheap option, and will allow their parents to do something nice for their kids without breaking the bank.

Interplay get serious props from the whole family for making these kits, for the ‘fun for kids’ aspect, as well as giving adults a break when it comes to cost, which really does make them an all-round winner in my book.

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