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NOW CLOSED: Tell Chad Valley your best children's party tips - you could win a £100 Argos voucher!

(117 Posts)
NewGirlHelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 15-Apr-11 15:05:20

What has gone down spectacularly well at a children's party you've organised - and what flopped? What great things have you envied seen at parties you've been to with your child, or that other people have told you about? grin

So tips on games, party food, birthday cakes, best/worst themes, party bags, presents, places to go/avoid - we want your children's party know-how.

Add your tips to this thread and one winner will get an Argos voucher for £100.

We'll use a selection of your tips on an upcoming Chad Valley hub [technical speak] on Mumsnet.

Many thanks

PigeonStreet Fri 15-Apr-11 15:16:59

The best activity we have done at a party was cola rockets for ds's 7th party. Cue Dh in the garden with 8 excited 7 year olds, a packet of mentos and 8 bottles of Coke. Then cue me scrubbing down the flags for 45 mins to get the coke off...

The worst was definitely trying to convince 10 three year olds to try "blindfolded find the plastic snakes in the jelly" DH and I ended up armpit deep in purple jelly whilst all the kids buggered off to play in the lounge hmm

Jaquelinehyde Fri 15-Apr-11 15:24:31

The best tip I ahve about childrens parties is NOT TO HAVE THEM!! grin

Hope that helps!

2gorgeousgirls Fri 15-Apr-11 15:27:06

Instead of party bags, I put chocolate coins inside balloons, so that when the balloons pop the kids get a surprise!

ClancyCrew Fri 15-Apr-11 15:29:20

have short party- many goon too long

IAmTheCookieMonster Fri 15-Apr-11 15:29:30

when i was little my mum would have cut out cardboard crowns so that in the awkward beginning bit where people are still arriving every child is busy decorating their own party crown to wear during the party.

stealthsquirrelsawaytheeggs Fri 15-Apr-11 15:30:52

PigeonStreet - we did that as the finale to a 'science party' - it went down a storm - but we weren't at home - which leads to Tip #1 - if you plan on having more than half a dozen guests, do not attempt to do it at home unless you happen to live in a mansion/castle. Investigate everything from church halls to pubs and find the best (priced) option locally.

Tip #2 - a theme transforms what would otherwise be a fairly ordinary party into something special and memorable. We have done (so far and in no particular order): Monsters, secret agents, knights, dragons, science, princesses and pirates, space, and jungle. Theme everything - invites, games, food, party bags. DS's friends sat around at lunch at his last party and fondly recalled all of his previous parties - it brought a tear to my eye as it was concrete proof that it was worth the effort. As party attendees I would also say that the most memorable ones have all been themed.

Tip #3 - if you are going to make fancy cakes for your DC, start simple, as their expectations will rise each year

Tip #4 - when stuck, consult MN! No matter how far-out your party plan is, someone will have been there before and will have advice to offer. I still have (and have forwarded to others) a complete science party plan provided by a MNer.

geordieminx Fri 15-Apr-11 15:38:09

Crispy cakes are much easier to put in party bags and most kids prefer them to shop bought birthday cake covered in 3" of icing.

NotShortImHotCrossBunSized Fri 15-Apr-11 15:38:49

If you're having a party for really little ones (1-3 years) don't try doing any games, pass the parcel etc. They won't want to sit still, they don't get it and you'll just end up frustrated!

Best thing is to hire a small hall for a couple of hours, take some ride on toys and balls, stick some music on and they will have just as much fun just running around playing.

GreatGooglyMoogly Fri 15-Apr-11 15:41:50

Google images is great for ideas for particular novelty cakes.

DramaInPyjamas Fri 15-Apr-11 15:47:30

Have a 'Decorate your own pizza and fairy cake party'

That way they are being kept busy and getting fed at the same time.

PuzzleRocks Fri 15-Apr-11 15:51:02

How long will this be open? DD1 (4) is having her first proper party on the 23rd.

PuzzleRocks Fri 15-Apr-11 15:51:40

DramaInPyjamas, we are doing the pizza thing.

compo Fri 15-Apr-11 15:52:54

Softplay places are brilliant because they organise it all for you, even party bags, all you need to do is turn up with a cake.

Make sure you decide on a budget first . Places like Build-a-bear have hidden costs so you need to be upfront about how much you are prepared to pay.

If you hire a hall have things to entertain the chikdren like a craft table, bouncy castle, entertainer, face painting etc.

Thirty kids just milling around with nothing to focus on will be chaos

foodwise: veg and fruit crudités will most likely end up in the bin, keep things simple with sandwiches, biscuits , crisps, icecream

individual lunch boxes work well - you can order them on the Internet and tie them into a theme if you have one

don't stress too much and have wine in the fridge for later grin

sunchild77 Fri 15-Apr-11 15:54:08

Was trying to keep the party cheap, so relieved on people helping out with face painting, cake decorating etc..

What worked the best - Pre filled party boxes, with a picnic for each child - Cheese sarnies, pkt crips, small sausage rolls and sausages, a treat size sweetie, saved on leftovers

What flopped - trying to do all the party entertainment myself, I started to lose my voice after trying to organise 30 kids to play statues... Was exhusting!

Bert2e Fri 15-Apr-11 15:54:50

Don't bother trying to wrap up the cake in napkins for the party bags as it goes all sticky, squashed and thrown in the bin when the children get home (or is that just me?!!) cut it at the party and serve it as dessert instead.

SomethingSuper Fri 15-Apr-11 15:58:09

Buy lots of those little tattoo transfers and set up a little table and chair area to put them on. Super cheap and keeps them occupied for for 5 mins!

justshootmenow Fri 15-Apr-11 16:05:46

Pay everyone else to do the hard work.
Google everything

I'm planning my sons 5th at the end of next month and its at home some say I'm mad but I have easy clean floors, walls, furniture and a big garden,
I have googled party game ideas, like mummy wrap and pin the tail on the donkey, I have searched ebay for ready filled party bags. Sainsburys are doing a childrens platter and I googled to find someone to make a lego cake.

nometime Fri 15-Apr-11 16:06:43

Keep food simple because they really don't eat a lot.

One thing I do for DS's (not done for a party yet but can't see it not working unless somebody tells me I'll poison somebody) is put those yoghurt stick tubes in the freezer - healthy yoghurt lollies.

Becaroooo Fri 15-Apr-11 16:10:26

Instead of apple bobbing we do marshmallow bobbing in a large bowl of rice love it but be warned...its messy!

Also, balloon keepy uppy...keeps them occupied for AGES!

We organise badminton games/quick cricket/tennis etc...If the weather isnt great then you can do scalextric/wii/xbox tournaments.

Those big bubble wands are good too....everyone loves bubbles! grin

Games like "traffic lights" and "snakes in the grass" are fab too.

Dont Spend ages making hot food...they will be far too keyed up and excited to eat it and you will throw most of it away! sad

Dont spend 2 days making a b day cake your darling d/s then refuses to eat because its "wonky" sad

Do Keep it to sandwiches, sausage rolls, crisps, pizza, garlic bread, veg sticks and dips, jelly and ice cream. If you provide sauces and toppings they can have their own "mini ice cream factory" and make their own desert.

Do Get kits from e bay to make personlised party bags...much cheaper than doing it yourself!!!

Do buy b day cakes from local will save your sanity!!!

craftynclothy Fri 15-Apr-11 16:10:37

Party bags - buy big (cheap) packs of things and split them between the bags. At dd1's party everyone got pencils, notebook, sweets, lollipop, balloon, eraser, glitter glue, cake and whistle and the bags came in under £1 each.

Craft Table always seems a hit.

Biggest tip is don't leave sorting pass the parcel to dh. He will (1) not finish wrapping the parcels before the party starts and you will end up doing it in a rush while trying to hide from everyone and (2) lose track of who has 'won' and look at you to tell him who else needs to win despite the fact you have been preparing food for half the game and picking up paper for the rest hmm

nometime Fri 15-Apr-11 16:14:06

Sorry should have added that I think most party bags are an expensive waste of time.

I got to the cheap bookshops / toyshops etc supermarket bogof offers etc and buy one going home present instead. My eldest DS is 12 and over the years I have got sooooooooooooo fed up with those little men on plastic parachutes that he has to lean over the banisters to launch into orbit!!!! To date for both DS's I have done going home presents of books, bubble sets, playdough, crayons, origami kits and planes to make etc etc and although you might think that's a lot of money for a going home present if you add up the cost of a party bag I think you'll find if very close or at least better value. Best one was last year when I went into a large toy chain and they had decent kites for £1.99 each!

twirlymum Fri 15-Apr-11 16:14:20

Keep the birthday cake with the candles for later (ie the adults grin) and give the guests cupcakes to take home.
You can get great individual boxes for them from the internet/ebay, even personalised ones. It's much easier, and you don't have to remember to take a knife to the hall/soft play area etc.
It's also easier than trying to divide a small cake amongst 20+ children!

nometime Fri 15-Apr-11 16:16:42

When we do pass the parcel there is a sticker in each layer that they put on as they unwrap their layer. Helps you see who has had a go at unwrapping. End layer can then be an honest "back's turned/eyes shut" go.

notnowbernardImBoilingTheBunny Fri 15-Apr-11 16:18:20

My best tip is to bin the party bags. For one party we did everyone got a Pound Shop sticker book thing at the end which was a big hit. Most party bag contents rarely leave the car, let's be honest...

Sleeping Lions must always be played at the end for a pre-school age party

Another tip: if you're going to do a pinata make sure there is enough inside to go roundblush. And be prepared to flex your muscles because if you leave it to the kids you'll be there until nightfall...

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