Need the MN definitive guide on how to do a village hall kids' party!

(17 Posts)
PassTheCremeEggs Tue 07-Mar-17 21:36:01

As title says...

Five year old daughter's birthday. At sea in fog of cluelessness. First child so never done this before. She's got a few invitations to classmate's parties but as they're all in the run up to hers and I need to get organised before then, I can't use for inspiration!

Please can you rescue me from the fog!

- two hours or 1.5 for a load of 4 and 5 year olds? It's going to be 11am-ish so will include party lunch.

- how long would you reckon to set up and tidy up (trying to work out how long to hire hall for before and after)

- would you do an entertainer or should I really bite the bullet and organise party games myself (trying to coral 25 kids this age actually terrifies me..)

- if no entertainer - what about bouncy castle/craft table/few games?

- lunch box type affair or more traditional tables with plates of everything

- how do you get people to leave at the end?! (You can see how much fun I am!)

- would you expect all/some/none of parents to stay? And siblings?

If you have the definitive guide to a five year old's party heaven in a village hall please, please share!

OP’s posts: |
Lowdoorinthewal1 Tue 07-Mar-17 21:43:03

Short and very structured.

1.5hrs. Good entertainer who will be in complete control for 45mins, then allow 45mins to transfer to food, eat, sing happy birthday, hand out party bags.

We did go to a party with an immense bouncy structure (more than your average castle) in a sports hall. That worked well for 45mins, then 45mins food.

Make sure you have a good number of adults acting as 'staff' for the duration.

cuddlesandchips Tue 07-Mar-17 21:44:16

Get people to leave by handing out party bags. Get thee to Poundland and do your own party bags filled with crap and sweets.

AndKnowItsSeven Tue 07-Mar-17 21:48:25

Buy party boxes ( like happy meal
Style boxes) from eBay. Fill each box and have the kids eat on the floor picnic style.
Have an entertainer.

Lowdoorinthewal1 Tue 07-Mar-17 21:49:01

Plates down the middle of trestle tables for buffet food. Go healthy or risk eye rolling.

Parents stay- great idea to have some nice plates of adult food and tea/coffee on hand. Most 'at home' parties we went to in the early days involved the offer of alcohol (yes at lunch time, at a kids party- this was the Country House set though).

IME the handing out of party bags signifies the end.

birdsdestiny Tue 07-Mar-17 21:49:49

I would get an entertainer unless you are very sure you have the skills to manage party games etc. It's quite difficult to keep the energy going, it's quite rare for people who don't do it as a job to have the skills. I would rather eat my own head than do it myself. Party bags are the universal sign for please bugger off. I think it would be quite rare for most parents not to stay when they are 5.

foxessocks Tue 07-Mar-17 21:55:45

I went to one in village hall recently which was great. 2 hours. Entertainer did 30 mins or so then break for buffet food which was sandwiches, crisps, cakes and veg sticks. Drinks were little cartons for kids and cans of coke for adults or kids I guess but the adults were drinking them in the main. Jugs of water and plastic beakers also provided. Then entertainer back on for another 30 mins or so. Then cake and singing and handing out cake. Then bags of sweets handed out at the door as people filed out. The entertainer did a goodbye type thing and also handed out a little gift to each child so it was obvious party was over!!


petitdonkey Tue 07-Mar-17 22:01:04

Best party I did at that age was in a hall with a bouncy castle.

11-11:15 - bouncing and running around
11:15 - game of musical statues
More bouncing/running around
11:30 - musical bumps
11:45 - sleeping lions, go to the loo, wash hands
12:00 - food (will list)
12:15 - cake
12:30 - release a single duvet covers worth of blown up balloons into the room and watch the mayhem
12:45 - maybe another game - hand out party bags

I think we also brought a selection of ride on toys (borrowed lots) and had a drawing colouring table - honestly though, kiddies just loved running around like loons.

Food - This is my tried and tested formula!!

Have melon slices, strawberries, cut up apple on the tables for the children to eat from the beginning when there is no other food - they always eat the lot.
Open sandwiches - I hate making sandwiches and there is so much waste so this is what I do.
Half a bread roll each (I do a mixture of brown and white) most buttered but keep some plain. Lay a slice of ham or some pre sliced cheese (nice one) on top - again, leave some plain. Have sliced cucumber on the side and some carrot sticks with hummus
bowls of crisps
party rings and mini rolls

Capri sun or bottled water - can't be doing with paper cups getting knocked over.

I can do party food for about £40 for 25 children (shopping at waitrose so not really being massively budget conscious)

A five year old wouldnt ordinarily eat half a ham roll, loads of fruit, crisps, two biscuits and a slice of cake for lunch! Something about parties makes people massively overfeed!

petitdonkey Tue 07-Mar-17 22:03:58

Oh and have tea and coffee ready for parents (they won't mind making their own) I always did Pimms too! Shortbread biscuits always get eaten. IN the early days I would buy a platter of sandwiches from Waitrose but then I realised it really wasn't expected. I would bake a 'naice' fresh cream Victoria sandwich for the parents though.

Parietal Tue 07-Mar-17 22:09:11

I've never had an entertainer. for 3 yrs I did a bouncy castle which worked. craft is fine for 9/10 year olds but needs too much supervision with younger children. My best game is always a treasure hunt - lots of printouts of pictures on the party theme stuck around the room, each child gets a pencil & a page with mini pictures. they have to find the right picture & tick it off. But that can be hard in a village hall if there aren't good hiding places.

Other good games - musical statues / limbo / pass the parcel / follow the leader / sleeping lions

25 children is a lot. I try to limit it to 10 (less for younger kids) so I can keep them all under control.

entertaining the adults is a job in itself - I invite my siblings and give them that role.

PassTheCremeEggs Tue 07-Mar-17 22:29:33

These are all brilliant, thank you. Particularly petitdonkey - this is the kind of minute by minute hand holding I need grin

Any ideas on party set up/tidy up time? The hall isn't the cheapest to hire so don't want to overdo the amount of time I book it for before and after.

I know 25 is a lot but I'm kind of stuck on whole class as it seems to be the thing to do. Plus I would really like to let her invite everyone.

OP’s posts: |
MrPoppersPenguins Tue 07-Mar-17 22:30:34

Allow 30mins at least for set up and same to clear away. We did own party games for 28 five year olds and it was HARD work!! Even with both of us used to teaching/public speaking (i.e. Not shy!) it was hard. Parents all stayed (some brought grandparents??? Why???) which made the hall noisy with people chatting and it was hard to make ourselves heard. I would arrange some sort of entertainer in the future (or smaller party!). We did big buffet but in reality the more straightforward I've seen elsewhere is food boxes with standard selection of food in each, already made in advance. We did ours really cheaply from Aldi but a lot of food was left. Tea/coffee for parents. We had a lot of help from friends/relatives for making refreshments and helping to organise and it's a good job we did! Don't forget bin bags then you can just sweep all the debris and leftovers into bags. I bought plastic cups along our theme with lids to avoid spillages but any other bottle of drink would be more sensible than open cups.
Provide drinks for the kids from the start too as my son always gets really thirsty at parties and often there are no drinks provided until the food at the end. Went to bouncy castle party recently but they couldn't persuade kids off the bouncy castle to play any party games!!

cuddlesandchips Tue 07-Mar-17 22:41:03

Not sure about set up and clear time as our local hall you only pay for the actual party time. We allowed an hour to set up and 40 mins to clear but depends and the quantity and quality of helpers (saw PP noted about inviting your siblings/parents/friends to help too)

PassTheCremeEggs Thu 09-Mar-17 22:13:45

Thanks so much everyone for incredibly useful advice.

Last question - I'm going to book an entertainer. I am most definitely not capable of running party games etc for 25+ children without losing the plot. For a two hour party, would you have the entertainer for the whole two hours or only one? Do they generally do a "performance" or is it games, magic etc and general entertaining kids for the whole party? (If that makes any sense..) I suppose - will the kids have the chance to run around like loons if I book her for the whole two hours or will they be expected to be sitting and watching the whole time?

Seriously - I am totally clueless. So please humour me! blush

OP’s posts: |
birdsdestiny Thu 09-Mar-17 22:26:06

Ha no entertainer I have ever seen has got them to sit down and watch for 2 hours. They will be feral you do know that don't you grin. I would say an hour's entertainment is the limit. What he does depends on the type you book. Also I have never been to a party the kids didn't enjoy, it will be fine.

isittheholidaysyet Thu 09-Mar-17 22:39:47

Only done one party like this.


1)Bouncy castle.
2)Craft table at the other end (bought from baker ross) paper crowns, scratch art, pre-made hand puppets and a shed load of stickers and glue and bits to glue on.
3)Borrowed the toddler group toys from the hall we were in. Ride ons, box of duplo, slide.

Parents all stayed. (Be aware which kids haven't got a parent with them)

After 1 hour sat them all down for food. Sang happy birthday, then they went back to playing whist we tidied kitchen and put cake in party bags.

Most food I had made and put on platters at home. (Sandwiches, crisps, sausages, salad sticks (cucumber peppers carrots cherry tomatoes) melon, grapes, tube yoghurts, biscuits, fairy cakes)

WhatWouldTheDoctorDo Thu 09-Mar-17 22:45:41

I always did something along the lines of petitdonkey. If you're feeling adventurous, you could theme the party games and food and lose hours of your life to Pinterest searching for inspiration.

I sometimes had a crafty table for anyone who didn't want to get involved in a game / give them something to do when they were 'out' / something to occupy them while you waited for them to turn up. So when we had a pirate party there were things they could decorate with sticky 'jewels', colouring sheets, plastic jewelled rings, pre cut cardboard swords and hats to colour and decorate etc. Check eBay for supplies.

Ah, I miss throwing themed parties!

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