How to Plan a Kid’s Birthday Party | CHECKLIST guide!

Marking your child’s birthday, and planning their party is an exciting time and right of passage, BUT, it can also be overwhelming without proper organization.

I’m Zoe, I’ve been a professional kids’ party host and I now have my own little kiddos. I have designed this post to take you through the main stages of planning and help get your head around the process so that everything runs smoothly, and you can enjoy the day and the process to the fullest!

This blog post is a step-by-step plan to help you organize an unforgettable birthday party for your child, with a free PDF checklist of everything you need to think about BEFORE, DURING and AFTER the party. I’ve also got a bonus free PDF of tasks you can delegate (and absolutely should!)

Things to do in Advance

  1. Pick a Venue: Choosing the right venue sets the stage for a successful party. Consider your child’s interests, the number of guests, and the available space. Options may include your home, a local park, or even a rented party venue such as a church hall or community centre.
  2. Pick a Date and Time: We recommend a weekend morning or afternoon. Choosing a time between main meal times cuts down your need to prep food. Typically 1.5-2 hours is enough for little ones, and parents!
  3. Pick a Theme: A themed party adds an extra element of excitement, and it’s our speciality here on the PartyUniverse site. Involve your child in choosing a theme based on their interest, favourite movie, favourite sports or anything else!
  4. Make a Guest List: Think about how many people will fit comfortably in a space and factor in whether you will have parents hanging around or dropping off their kids and only coming back at the end. Also, think about whether you will invite siblings and their friends to join. Check if your child’s school has a policy on whole-class birthdays.
  5. Choose Helpers: Enlist the support of family members or friends to help during the party. Having extra hands will allow you to enjoy the day and focus all your attention on your child and their friends. Check our PDF download of tasks you should delegate during the party.
  6. Send Invitations: Send out invitations well in advance, providing all the necessary details such as the date, time, venue, and RSVP information. Decide whether you will go charming and old school with handwritten ones, or keep things minimal and modern with e-invites.

Things to do a Week Before:

  1. Plan Snacks: Create a menu of simple and well-loved snacks that will keep the children energized and happy. Consider any dietary restrictions or allergies when planning the menu.
  2. Food Shop (or Order): Make a shopping list based on your planned menu. If you use online shopping, now is the time to place the order.
  3. Order Decorations: Order or purchase decorations that match your chosen theme. Balloons, banners and tinsel curtains are my favourite options to transform any space into a festive party zone.
  4. Make a Plan for Games/Activities: We have so many guides and ideas for games and activities for over 20 kids’ party themes, you might as well use these free, pre-devised options. As I said int the intro, I have years of experience planning and running kid’s birthday parties, and these suggestions are tried and tested fun!
  5. Order Game/Activity Supplies: Gather all the necessary supplies and materials required for the planned games and activities. Put them in a box and having it all organised will give you peace of mind.
  6. Prep for Game/Activities: If you have to do any pre-organising for the activities, now is the time to do it, don’t leave it until the last minute when there will be more important things to focus your energy on.
  7. Send Out Reminders/Directions: One week before the party, you might want to send friendly reminders to guests with any additional info that would be good to know (such as directions or details about road closure or how to find the location if it doesn’t show up on google maps)
  8. Choose Child’s Costume: If your child wishes to dress up, select their costume in advance. This will add an extra touch of excitement to their special day and help you feel prepared.
  9. Prepare a Playlist: Create a party playlist with your child’s favorite songs to set the party atmosphere. Music is the best vibe to keep the kids energised and happy. Feel free to choose a ready-made playlist off Spotify too- there are great ones out there and it saves a job.
  10. Prepare Thank You Cards/Chocolates for Helpers: Small tokens of appreciation for the helpers who assisted you during the party will make them feel valued and acknowledged. Spreading gratitude also brings good vibes to the day. It can be very small, it’s the thought that counts.

Things to do the Morning of the Party

  1. Prep food: Get this out of the way early in the day, or even prepare the night before if possible. If you’re going to delegate food set aside some time to fried the helper.
  2. Explain the plan to helpers and delegate tasks: this is possible the most important step. Use our free delegation task checklist to delegate task to people you trust and then you can move on with the rest of the party
  3. Go through the plan in detail with the child: help them know what to expect, check they are excited and be there for any last-minute nerves they might have.
  4. Designate out-of-bound spaces: If it’s in your house, maybe you’ll want to keep children in one space so this is a good time to put a little no-go sign on doors, if you want to.
  5. Put up decorations: (or get helpers to)
  6. Prepare boxes and bins for quick clean up: This is a great tip to speed up cleaning at the end of the party, while you are chatting to parents and saying goodbye to the kids, helpers and other parents who want to contribute a little bit can quietly get on with clearing and packing up. Before you realise it will be half done.
  7. Prep a bag to put presents in: You will need a bad to carry presents home on, or somewhere safe but out of the way to store the during the party. Having this prepped is one less thing to think about later!

Things to do During the Party

  1. Be present with your child: This is the most important thing- and really the reason for all the other prep!
  2. Check your child is having fun: Be flexible. If you plan a game but the children are having great fun dancing or doing something else…let them! This day is all about fun!
  3. Check 2 photos get taken: A whole family photo & a whole group photo. We recommend delegating this but you might want to have it in the back of your mind in case you spot a perfect opportunity for one.

Things to do After the Party

  1. Give away balloons: It’s nicer than having to pop them and children like taking things home.
  2. Put other decorations in a box: they can be used next time or passed on to a friend.
  3. Put leftover food in the fridge: Obvious but time critical
  4. Thank helpers: Also essential and take the time to do this properly
  5. Take a special moment to debrief with your child: Tell them you are proud of them, and be as present as possible in case they crash after all the adrenaline. Help them continue to feel special all day!

Ultimate Party Checklist PDF

Good Luck!

By following this comprehensive checklist and will feel organized, I hope you feel ready to plan a memorable and stress-free birthday party for your child. Being well-prepared allows you to be fully present and enjoy the celebration alongside your child.

So have fun and embrace the day! Best of Luck,

Zoe x

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