Don’t host it at home
Yes, it’s all very well having a big garden for thirty of your child’s classmates to run around in. The previous year the sun shone and everything was brilliant. But this time it will rain, and suddenly you will have all those thirty children crammed into your living room, for two hours. You will play a few disastrous games, and then, as a last resort, turn on a DVD. From personal experience, this does not work. Hire a community hall instead, where there’s plenty of space inside if it rains. You won’t regret it.
Don’t serve a meal
Time the party so that it falls either before or after lunch, so you don’t have to provide any real food. Ideally, 2-4 in the afternoon, so that there is absolutely no doubt that you will not be providing a full meal. Simply set out bowls of snacks and let the kids graze throughout the party. Of course, there has to be cake, but don’t serve it at the party. Save yourself some washing up and pop slices into party bags for the kids to take home instead.
A bouncy castle solves all your problems
I’ll only say this once: hire a bouncy castle. If you do nothing else, please do this. You can thank me later.
Provide a variety of activities
Yes, hiring a bouncy castle is fantastic (it’s almost all you need for a successful party) but there will be some kids who won’t want to jump around and get sweaty. Set up a colouring station with plenty of paper, pens and pencils where kids can chill out if they want. Have a Lego corner; we have loads of Duplo that always gets played with at every party. Also, have a box of toys on standby. Not a random box of mixed up toys, you understand, because the kids will fight over them. No, I mean a box full of one variety of toy. This time we had a box of cars. They were the surprise hit of the party; kids were zooming them all over the floor.
Treat the adults well
Finally, the best tip of all. Set up a separate table for the adults with all the good stuff on it, like a cheese board and decent crackers, proper coffee, tasty treats, and even alcohol. Remember, these grownups are spending two hours at a kid’s birthday party, against their will, so be kind to them.
What are your top tips for hosting a kid’s birthday party?