What they did at a party I went to recently was get all the kids to sit down on the floor. A very tall Dad held the pinata on a rope and dangled it down to the right height. He went over to each kid, got them to stand up and have 3 turns and then go and sit down on the other side of the room. They never actually break from hitting them - you have to normally rip them apart at the end and pour the contents out onto the floor. It was much more civilized than at my DS' party! Might be a better way of getting them to take turns than standing in a line. Or you could get them to sit in a line one behind the other - either way works.
My friend did a mixed party for a 3 and 5 year old and it was fine.
I have held 2 birthday parties so far.
1 for 55 kids and 1 for 30 kids. Both were very chaotic. For the 55 kid one I had a bouncy castle (nightmare unless you can get an adult to man the bouncy castle at all times and make sure too many don't get on all at once. We actually had a nose bleed due to having too many on at once). I also had an animal man which was £90 for an hour (Fantastic, however I think 55 kids was too many. They lost interest because they were having to wait too long to get a turn at touching/holding an animal.)
For the 30 kid one we had a dance class party in a dance studio. This was £75 for an hour in the dance studio and an hour in the food area. My DS really enjoyed himself but a lot of the boys wouldn't join in because "dancing is for girls" A disco with a DJ probably would have been better.
Next year we plan to have a multi sports party. The local secondary school hires out it's school gym plus a room for food for £42.50 for 2 hours in the gym and 30 minutes in the food area. They provide the sports equipment so you can either do the games yourself or do what I will do which is hire a sports coach for £50. You can get 8 x medals for 99p in the 99p shop to give out at the end.
Our local leisure centre also does cheap parties, so it's worth looking at yours.
I also know of a DJ that does 2 hours for £50 and does a disco, bubble machine and party games.
Venues around here cost £20-£50 for church hall, community hall, school hall etc.
Also ask local dance instructors or zumbatomic teachers if they do parties. I looked into this and if I sorted my own venue they charged £25-£35 per hour.
Music Bugs (you have to arrange your own venue) - for up to 20 children - 30 minutes = £65, 45 minutes = £80 and 60 mins = £95.
However ask around as I found a self-employed lady who wasn't part of a franchise that did sessions very similar to Music Bugs and charges £30 per 30 mins for parties.
Private hire at a soft play near me is £100. It's double that at another local one, so try different ones.
Another idea for a cheap party I've had is a cooking party. If your venue has cooking facilities get them to make their own cookies/gingerbread and decorate them.
A big hit at both parties was hiring a mascot. We have had Mickey Mouse and Jake and the Neverland Pirates. It was £25 for 30 mins including a gift and the kids loved dancing with them each time.
If you plan to have a pinata (always a hit with kids) make sure they all line up to take their turn and stay in the line. I tried to do this but then all the kids got out of the line and crowded round the pinata. How we didn't have another accident I don't know and I felt it was quite dangerous. Also the kids were all fighting over the sweets so what I would do next time is put in 30 party bags closed with elastic bands with some sweets, 1 x punchball balloon and 1 x bottle of bubbles so there's one bag each rather than putting the sweets all in loose and some kids getting loads and others having none.
For decorations and plates, bowls, etc pound shop, 99p shop, Asda and Wilkos are really good. Don't bother with cups as you always get loads of spillages. Also so you don't get loads of wastage put the food out on the plates ready and give them out.
Sausages Veggie fingers Potato wedges Cheesey nibbles Raisins, grapes and strawberries Aldi yoghurt tubes (9 x 40g for £1.19) Malt loaf (50p per loaf in Asda - cut into 8) Funkee Monkee cup drinks with straws
For dessert I always do:
Giant cookies Birthday cake Ice lollies (but only if you have a freezer to store them in obviously)
For pinata/party bags:
Bubbles (9 x tubs for £1 or 10 x bubble wands for £1 in Poundland) Punch ball balloons - Play.com do 50 x punchball balloons for £4.02 with delivery Glowsticks - 20 for £1 in Poundland Sweets
An idea we have for a rainbow party next your is to make your own food rainbow. So we will go round and give each child some lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, red peppers, yellow peppers, orange peppers, sausage slices, veggie fingers, red onion, purple lettuce, sour cream etc and they have to arrange it into a rainbow.
Sibling tip is an excellent one!! Thank you! I'll be very careful. Not inviting yet, as 4yo has just started reception and we have no idea who she likes, so I have time to research. Great to hear your 4&6 worked well - up to now, the littler one has just been a guest with her big sister's friends. Which is quite mean.
If mainly girls then craft is popular - something that older ones can take more time on but younger ones can still do. Boys do enjoy craft too. We did joint 4&6 yr old and it worked well. Depending on religious mix of school you could do Christmas/ seasonal craft - e.g buy mini candles and decorate with sharpies etc. Are the younger ones reception or yr 1? By yr1 you can do similar games with both age groups - e.g don't eat timmy's smartie, wink murder, stealing keys without being detected, treasure hunts etc.
One thing to be aware of is if there are siblings one if whom is invited and another isn't. Usually I don't think it matters if siblings are invited, but I think that for joint parties you need to be more careful - for example if isabelle is 13th on dd1's list so not invited she might still be dropping off her younger sister and see all her friends turning up to the party. I said that they could invite 10, and saved 2 places on each list to add in siblings from the other child's list - as long as the child wasn't a bully etc.
Hi, I was just looking for general advice, really. Does anyone have any experience of this? Would you recommend strongly against it? I'm too broke to give two parties and they have nearly the same birthday 2 years apart. It will be about a dozen guests for each age, so 20-odd 4-7 year olds, mixed but mostly girls, in a little hall, not my house. December, so cold, a little hard space outside. Are there any games that would work for both ages? Is there a nifty way of segregating or doesn't it matter? Thanks for any tips.