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Help me organise a party for my dd who is almost 4, please

(28 Posts)
lucysmam Mon 03-Jan-11 10:14:30

I've never organised a kids birthday party & have no idea what to do!

I can't remember any party games from when I was a kid & apart from the fact that she'd like a numberjack 4 cake (made by me so will be wonky grin )she's not very helpful with anything else she'd like!

HELP HELP HELP, I want to be ready to hand out invitations when she goes back to nursery next Monday as her birthday is 25th so figured parents would want about 2 weeks notice

Any help would be great, thank you smile

jkklpu Mon 03-Jan-11 10:24:30

Pass the parcel is always a winner and you should introduce it when the kids are at peak volume/energy to get them all to sit down. Put a sweet into each layer of wrapping paper so everyone gets something.

And do you remember musical bumps/statues? They're quite accessible for 4yos. Also, pin the tail on the donkey/the wart on the witch's chin/the fiery breath on the dragon or any take on whatever your dd is into at the moment.

Get the kids to do some of the work for you. For example, bake a round of fairy cakes in advance and get them to ice 2 or 3 each, giving them a choice of colours of icing and sprinkles for the top. I did this for my ds's 5th birthday and they all loved it, especially the boys. A friend of mine also got the kids at her dd's 3rd birthday to put together their own party bags.

But let them have lots of free play as well and have as much space as possible free of other clutter/stuff you'd mind if they got into.

Have a great time.

purepurple Mon 03-Jan-11 10:25:01

You need a plan, so that you know exactly what will be happening next.
I normally plan parties this way (I work in a nursery so have done loads)
start with games
such as
musical bumps
best dancing
pass the parcel
musical statues
farmers in his den

then have food
sing happy birthday
home time with party bags and cake
aim for 1 1/2 -2 hrs
hope this helps

lucysmam Mon 03-Jan-11 10:28:55

Yeah I remember musical statues, think I need to sit down with a pen & paper later on & get my brain in gear.

Is about 1.5 hours enough?

By "free play", do you mean let them raid the toy boxes & play with what's in those?

Would a picnic lunch be alright for 3-4yo's? Or will they need to be sat round the table do you think?

Thank-you for the ideas, it's much appreciated!

lucysmam Mon 03-Jan-11 10:30:13

purepurple, yes that helps immensely! Thank-you so much

I'll definately be back with a pen & paper after bed time & make a plan

lucysmam Mon 03-Jan-11 10:32:35

What do you put in the party bags? I seem to recall a bit of plastic tat, few sweets and cake when I was younger. Is it about the same now? Or is the 'present' expected to be something better than that these days?

purepurple Mon 03-Jan-11 10:34:40

I think for 4 year olds structure is probably better than free-play.
1 and 1/2 hours is perfect
picnic food is fine, use disposable everything, just watch out for spilt drinks, as it is so easy to knock over a cup that is on the floor rather than on the table
love the idea of icing cakes

MrsPickles Mon 03-Jan-11 10:35:56

Most 3/4 yr olds birthday parties I have been to have given a 2 hour time slot so everyone knows what time they will be leaving by.

Would add face painting to that list if you have an adult friend or relative who is prepared to sit in the corner doing it - 4 yr olds girls are very happy with amateur butterflies - easy to do.

Make sure you put a mobile number on the invites for easy text replies and be prepared to chase chase chase for replies! I find it helps if you give out the invites personally to the parents with a smily, do let me know if you're coming or not so I can do the right amount of party bags! Hard to ignore then!

How many children are you expecting to invite? Its always good to sit kids down for a bit of calm to eat if you can, but not everyone has the room. Is fine to provide picnic lunch but don't expect much to be eaten and you might get a lot of food spread round the house. Unless you do a military style picnic lunch, put a rug out on the floor with place settings and insist everyone is sitting nicely before the food comes out!

Good luck!

purepurple Mon 03-Jan-11 10:36:17

plastic tat and sweets/cake is fine for the party bags (unless you are into competitative party-bag giving)

ZhuZhuhell Mon 03-Jan-11 10:43:12

sorry to hijack a bit but i am planning a party for same age expect the parents to stay? i would prefer if they didnt but how do i say this and is it ok?

lucysmam Mon 03-Jan-11 10:45:17

I was going to put a large blanket on the floor for the picnic. The carpet's knackered so it doesn't really matter about spilled drinks.

Was thinking maybe 4-5 children including dd1 (dd2 will be about but not counting her because nana will be coming to help out & possibly my best mate if he's off work).

I rarely see any of the other parents as dd is as a daycare type nursery & most of them work & have already dropped their kids off by the time we arrive. Will stick my mobile number on the invites & ask dd's key person to hand them out maybe

What sorts of food do you suggest? DD's idea of a picnic is some kind of sarnie in shapes, crisps, fruit and maybe some sweets of some kind if there's some in the house. (She has a 'picnic night' when dp goes to footy & loves sitting on the blanket to eat)

lucysmam Mon 03-Jan-11 10:46:46

ZhuZhuhell, how about something along the lines of "While parents are welcome to stay, children will be fully supervised and you are welcome to take advantage of the peace & quiet if you'd like to"

lucysmam Mon 03-Jan-11 10:48:21

This has made life so much easier, Ill be back later on (think I best get myself and dd dressed, only dp and the baby are dressed so far blush , and get something useful done)

ZhuZhuhell Mon 03-Jan-11 10:51:11

thanks lucysmam i will use that it sounds good. good luck with your

MrsPickles Mon 03-Jan-11 12:16:35

I would expect to stay at a 4 yr old party but if there was something on the invite as Lucysmam has suggested I would take full advantage (if DD was happy to be left, I think she would but can imagine some children at this age would not, if they had not been to the child's house before).

lucysmam Mon 03-Jan-11 13:48:33

I'm fully expecting to be over-run with grown ups rather than children & have parents to supervise their own children. I don't mind either way though tbh, am not very good with other people's kids so appreciate all the help I can get!

But I will give them the option of taking advantage of the peace & quiet, I know we appreciate the few hours we get off a week.

ZhuZhuhell Mon 03-Jan-11 20:39:50

the main reason for not wanting parents to stay is we dont have alot of room.also im not very good with people.i always feel i am being judged.if my dd was going to a party i would rather leave her as i find when i am around she just wants to hang around me rather than other kids.i have also noticed this with other kids.

RoadCraftGuru Mon 03-Jan-11 20:44:29

ZhuZhuhell (just read your name properly grin) parents have stayed at all the 4th birthday parties I've been to recently (lots!). However DD has a friend who is a year older and I noticed that this year many more parents didn't stay at her 5th birthday party.

Greythorne Mon 03-Jan-11 21:01:28

My DD turned 4 in December and we had a lovely party for her (if I do say so myself )

First, make sure you put a start and finish time on the invitations....and 2 hours is plenty at this age.

Second, as a PP said, have a written plan that you can refer to, so you know exactly what's happening, keep the rhythm going, so no boredom / poor behaviour sets in. My feeling is that they like structure at this age and are not really big enough to play on their own in a big group without arguing / causing major havoc to your house.

This was our plan:

Arrive: issue each child on arrival with a sticker (normal address label type sticker) with their name on it for them to decorate. Few felt tips needed, nothing major. Gives them something to do immediately, then they wear the sticker so you know who is who (assuming you don't know all their names)

Hunt the thimble / bobbin / whatever: I hid dozens of thread bobbins all over the lounge / dining room (I had been collecting them for ages, but you could use anything), they were not very "hidden", just placed on tables, chairs, under the telly etc, so it was v easy to find them. Every bobbin = sweetie. We did this whilst waiting for everyone to arrive.

Pass the parcel x 2

Musical Statues

Musical bumps (which was more popular than statues, FYI)

Magic Number: I bought a giant die for this game, but you could use a normal size one or even bits of paper with numbers on them in a hat. On the floor, I put A4 pieces of paper numbered 1 - 6, plus some blanks. The children had to walk around from number to number, then I threw the die, whoever was on the number which came up won a sweetie.

Dancing competition: have lots of child-friendly songs at the ready (Abba etc)

Then, to wind down a bit before the party tea, we got a very large piece of card (A1 size) and got each child to draw round their hand with coloured felt tips. It was fun and then after the party, we pinned the poster up in DD's bedroom, she's delighted with it.

Party tea: sandwiches, jelly, fairy cakes, crisps etc. all eaten as a picnic on the floor. I made tiny fairy cakes, using the very little cases that are sold for truffles; they are about a third of the size of usual fairy cake cases and are quite big enough for little ones. Plus, instead of doing 12 normal sized fairy cakes, you can make about 36 tiny ones, it gives a lovely visual effect, especially if they are all decorated nicely.

Then cake with candles and singing happy birthday.

The we got all the kids to lie on the floor in a kind of sunray configuration, I stood on a chair and took a photo of them from above and then afterwards we printed off the photo and sent a copy to each child with the thank you note.

Final dancing competition which meant the two kids who had not yet "won" any prizes / games could win one.

Good luck, hope it goes well.

lucysmam Mon 03-Jan-11 21:33:06

Greythorne, that sounds fantastic! Think I'd have enjoyed it if I'd been there blush

I don't know many of their names so will definately use the name tag idea. I'm going to print this at the library tomorrow instead of hand write all the ideas and then sit down with dp when he comes back from his mams to make a plan of our own

I especially like the 'sunray' picture idea, would make a lovely reminder of the day & I have my fantastic new camera to use from my very generus Secret Santa. I've hardly put it down grin. Think everyone's starting to get bored of me with it now but I've not had any decent pics in ages so am putting it to good use

Maternelle Mon 03-Jan-11 21:43:06

Brilliant thread. I am having a party for my 4-year old DD on Saturday. Perfect!

colie Sat 08-Jan-11 22:36:03

I am having a party for my 3 year old dd on saturday 15th. Thanks for ideas everyone,

whoneedssleepanyway Sun 09-Jan-11 11:12:19

For DD1's last birthday we did a picnic tea in the kitchen and had a mat on the floor and I bought those little disposable cardboard boxes and put food for each child in one of those (a few sandwiches, packed of pomme bears, little cheese, a few mini sausages, a frube and a satsuma) we then had cake after and cartons of drink. it worked really well and the children loved having their only little food box and all sat round really niced eating it and we didn't have big plates of food that didn't get touched.

Wendyhendy1 Tue 11-Jan-11 11:26:42

If you are worried about hosting a party for the first time I find this website really useful. Free party planning advice for parents You need to organise lots of games and keep them busy if you don't want complete chaos. Hope it goes well!

OhYouBadBadKitten Tue 11-Jan-11 11:28:21

I think the main thing is to remember to plan twice as many games as you think you will need. They can get through them ever so quickly if you arent careful!

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