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3rd birthday party booked - now what? Please help me :)

(35 Posts)
hotCheeseBurns Sat 18-Oct-08 17:50:17

I've booked a "bouncy castle and soft play" party for ds's 3rd birthday at our local leisure centre. Couldn't have it at home because our house is tiny and it's winter so can't really use the garden.

This is the first birthday party I've had to arrange, I thought that doing it at the leisure centre would mean all I had to do was turn up but it's a bit more complicated than that! It's £7.50 per child with food included for a minimum of 12 children which is a whole lot of money for us to find. I now need to sort out a cake, decorations, balloons, table decorations and party bags on a shoestring.

At the last party ds went to his party bag contained a couple of plastic toys which literally fell apart within minutes. I'd love to do something a bit more classy for party bags - maybe one nice gift and a piece of cake.

If anyone has any ideas of how to do this cheaply and make the kids happy I'd love to hear them. Where's a good place to buy decorations? And can you think of anything I could bring in case the bouncy castle and soft play aren't popular with all the children?

Please help me!

shhhh Sat 18-Oct-08 18:02:16

Table decorations like balloons buy off ebay etc. You tend to get good deals and cheap.

Ask at the soft play area as some places may blow the balloons up free iykiwm (heilium)

I wouldn't bother about other plans in case lo's get bored with bouncy castle etc. They are there for a party as provided and imo its up to the parents to deal with.

You may want to do a pass the parcel with inbetween gifts of mini choc etc..?

For the party about stickers, necklaces,hair clips etc for girls..

not sure on boys as I have a 3 yr old girl but ds is only 20 months so yet to get there iykiwm.!

shhhh Sat 18-Oct-08 18:03:25

cake, bake your own or buy one..? You don't need a massive one and they are only around £6 ready made..?

Majeika Sat 18-Oct-08 18:03:58

Go to the Book People and get a big pack of books which can be split and given as presents as well as cake.

Go to a 99p shop and get other party stuff.

onepieceoflollipop Sat 18-Oct-08 18:05:46

We did a "lucky" dip rather than party bags, but some of the children still asked for their bag! We basically bought a range of small books, felt tips etc for around £1 each. I also got mini choc bars so each child took one parcel plus one or two lollies/chocolate bars.

If you have a Wilkinsons, Asda or big Tesco try there for decorations. Personally I have never seen table decorations at a child's party in s soft play place - honestly I wouldn't over worry about decorations.

denbury Sat 18-Oct-08 18:07:55

school link also do great book offers. mr men books are great. also ask anyone if they read the mirror and collect the lego things. don't know about age on lego though.a packet of balloons and give a balloon per child.i would would prefere a couple of things than a bag full of crap

hotCheeseBurns Sat 18-Oct-08 18:42:08

Hadn't thought of pass-the-parcel, are they old enough at 2 or 3?

It's not actually a soft play place, just a hired room at the leisure centre with bouncy castle and "soft play" so I'm worried it'll be a bit bare without any decorations or balloons.

Thanks for the ebay/pound shop/book ideas! I'm writing a list!

shhhh Sat 18-Oct-08 18:55:17

We went to a 3rd party at a hired hall and the parents had brought along a variety of toys from neighbours and friends etc. There were little things for the girls & boys.

I know the little boy through dd's music/singing group and the parents had the singing lady there iykiwm. (they had paid her but it was a good idea imo).

We did do pass the parcel and it was fine..dd went to a party at 2 and ptp was not the best due to age BUT it fills time which believe me you will be desperate to do with 12 toddlers winkgrin.!

Remember lo's aren't bothered about "decorations" just toys and things to keep them entertained..grin.

What about empty boxes for them to play with..? Maybe take some pens along and get them to design their own box..? into a car or house or bed..? Just an idea hmm....

Oh, I remember now...they also had a table with play doh etc....dd loved that as in our home playdoh is for "big girls" so she only gets to play with it when ds is in bed or out of the way grin.

pardon Sat 18-Oct-08 19:13:35

How about helium balloons as decs and they get to take one home instead of a party bag? My 3 yo loves them!

hotCheeseBurns Sat 18-Oct-08 21:29:56

I like your thinking pardon! Recycling decorations, genius.

I think I'll sort out a pass the parcel then, and have a think about other toys we could bring...

shhhh Sun 19-Oct-08 09:40:24

see if friends can lend you toys..? a paddling pool filled with balls, a play house, ride on cars.. etc

hotCheeseBurns Sun 19-Oct-08 17:59:01

Don't really have any friends shhh, let alone ones with small children.

shhhh Sun 19-Oct-08 18:22:50

How about seeing if a toddlers playgroup can lend stuff..?? do you attend one..? OR does the place you are hiring know anyone iykiwm...

or have you got "hard wearing" toys you can take along..?

hotCheeseBurns Sun 19-Oct-08 20:24:40

No, I work full time, the children I'm inviting are from the nursery that ds attends three days a week, plus some neighbours - I'm hoping to make some friends!

We do have a few large toys we could take though, a ride on and a rocker and a car garage. I'll find out what they're providing and maybe take those. And maybe some play dough or whatever. Thanks for the idea!

shhhh Sun 19-Oct-08 21:26:01

lovely profile pic btw smile

Hmmm...........if you have or can buy a cheap paddling pool, fill it with balloons..another fun cheap idea.

How about asking the nursery if you can borrow some items..? on the promise of returning in the same condition..? are you friendly with the nursery, enough to borrow some bigger toys..?

Take along a sterio/cd player/ipod to play music. DD loves music and would happily dance away.

thing is, just having a large empty room is enough. Gives them space and a place to run and let off steam.

you could also decorate the room with pics of your ds,friends & family (and the other lo's if you have any..or their parents can give you one)
Again, dd loves pics and loves looking at ones of herself or mummy,daddy,ds or nanna/grandads....

hotCheeseBurns Mon 20-Oct-08 20:39:09

Thank you, some lovely ideas, I now have a massive list of things to dig out of my deepest cupboards/find on ebay and loads to organise! I'm getting quite excited!

shhhh Mon 20-Oct-08 20:47:47

I love organising things...loved both dd&ds's christenings...only select few BUT I so enjoyed planning table favours,balloons,cake,meal etc....

Hope the plans and the day go well, keep us updated. Take lots of pictures to remind yourself of what a good job you did grin.xx

hotCheeseBurns Mon 20-Oct-08 21:44:25

Oh your profile pics are beautiful!

shhhh Mon 20-Oct-08 21:52:35


shhhh Mon 20-Oct-08 21:53:53

thankyou though grin

hotCheeseBurns Mon 20-Oct-08 21:57:16

So pretty, almost makes me want to get married!
Don't tell dp!

neolara Mon 20-Oct-08 21:59:59

Resist the party bags! The kids don't need them. Other mums will love you because it means they won't feel pressured into having them too. (Well that's what I always think.)

PortofinoPumpkin Mon 20-Oct-08 22:14:02

I'm with neolara. I did party bags when I did dd' s party at home, but she went to a friend's party at soft play and just came home with a balloon - and more than happy. I think they just had cake, squash and charged about a lot. Great success - I will be booking for next year!

shhhh Mon 20-Oct-08 22:20:41

Thanks hcb smile
Marriage is worth it imo, if not only to get to be a princess for a day..grin.

Yeah,im starting to agree about party bags..not environmentally friendly either..guess once home they just get binned and I guess along with their contents..?

How about buying one item to replace the party bags...and attach it to a balloon...have girl's balloons and boys balloons and a gift attached to each and have it like a lucky dip..?

So a small tub of playdoh attached to a balloon or a pack of hair slides or necklaces etc..? lets the lo's pick one themselves..?

Makes it different, not expensive and the lo's get a gift in a unusual way..?

hotCheeseBurns Mon 20-Oct-08 22:31:06

Ds has been to three birthday parties and they all had party bags so I feel like I have to do something! But it definitely won't be a flimsy bag full of haribo and plastic. At the moment I'm thinking balloon, slice of cake and a small wooden toy - a bead bracelet or toy watch or little train...
Has anyone seen anywhere selling nice paper party bags? That's a nice idea about attaching the toy and balloon together!

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