No doubt your child will have ideas for where they want their party but before you give any firm commitments make sue you check out the venue first yourself and try and get feedback from other parents.
When considering the location of the venue, consider whether other parents will find it easy or difficult to drop and collect their children from the location. If you are providing the transport you may need to rope in a few other parents/cars.
When contacting the venue make sure you establish:
The cost per child, minimum number of children, maximum number of children. Deposit required?
Are there any activity restrictions based on the age of the kids.
How many adults you are expected to have to supervise or how many supervisors will the venue provide
What the party will include, e.g. food options, birthday cake, party bags etc
How long is allowed for the party activity and how long for food.
Can you decorate the venue?
Are there any insurance issues, e.g. if you are hiring a hall
Make sure you get a contact name at the venue when making your booking. Reconfirm you booking with the venue just before you send out the invitations – just to make sure the details of your booking is recorded correctly.
Planning the Party
When choosing the date, try and make sure it doesn’t clash with another child’s party or an important event, e.g. mother’s day, school sports day etc.
If you need additional adult assistance for the party, check out who else might be available to help you on the day. If you are bringing a large group of young children to the cinema or theatre, you will need additional adults to be available to bring them to the toilets etc.
The obvious – make sure it contains your child’s name, date & times (start & finish,) venue address. It is common to put RSVP (regrets only) on the invitations.
Check with the venue to see if they provide invitations – many do and they can be useful in that they often include a map of the location of the venue.
If particular type clothing should be worn, mention it on the invitation, e.g. many of the activity centres require long trousers.
Make a list with your child of the kids to be invited. If there is more than one child with the same firstname in the class, make sure you have the correct surnames.
If your child is quite young and you haven’t got a class list, check with the teacher or other parents to ensure you are not leaving anyone out.
The Food & Party Bags
If the venue are providing these then you don’t need to prepare anything in advance.
If you are providing the food or cake yourself then you need to ensure that you have a way of transporting the food – will there be enough room in the car with the kids you are bringing. Consider whether it would be worth dropping off the food to the venue earlier in the day. Do you need to bring plates or cups – disposable would probably be best. Don’t forget the candles and matches.
Make sure you have sufficient party bags and a few to spare. Put name labels on them and keep them out of sight till the end of the party.
Make a list of what you might need to bring with you to the venue on the day:
Food & Drink
Cake, Candles & Matches
Large sack bags to collect presents
Camera & Camcorder
List of guests – check off the kids when they arrive & are collected. (If you have a class list with contact phone numbers it can be handy in case you have any unforeseen accidents)
Kids name tags if not provided by venue.
Hankies/wipes for tears/accidents
On the day
Check your list before you leave for the venue
Make sure you get to the venue a little early so that you are there before the guests.
Make sure all children, particularly young ones, know where the toilets are at the venue and who you are so they know who to come to if they have a problem
Attach name labels as the kids arrive.
If there are any ground rules make sure the kids know them, e.g. if visiting the zoo, kids must remain with adults at all times etc.
Depending on the type of venue/outing you might need to assign groups of kids to particular adults. Check if the adults have mobiles in case the groups get separated.
Count all the kids again at the party food time to ensure all are accounted for! At the end of the party ‘coral’ the children until they are collected. Don’t give out the party bags until they are leaving so that you can be confident that all children have been collected