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Share your top tips for children's birthday parties with Cadbury and you could win a £200 Love2Shop voucher NOW CLOSED

(347 Posts)
AngelieMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 25-Jan-16 16:11:11

Cadbury would like to hear your top tips for hosting a great themed birthday party for your DCs.

From pirates to Peppa Pig, baking to science - if you've thrown a great children's party, what theme did you choose and how did you bring it to life? Did you use decorations to set the scene, choose party food to fit with a fantasy world, or tailor activities you knew the kids would love? What did you put in the goody bags to go with your theme? And did you create a special birthday cake?

We'd love to hear about all the different ways you incorporated your child's favourite things into the day - to help inspire other parents who are party planning.

Everyone who shares their birthday party ideas and inspiration on this thread will be entered into a prize draw to where one MNer will win a £200 Love2Shop voucher.

Please note your comments may be included on Cadbury's pages on MN, their social media channels, and possibly elsewhere, so please only post if you're comfortable with this.

Thanks and good luck,
MNHQ

Fortful Mon 25-Jan-16 17:38:08

Have enough space so the lively kids can zoom about and the quiet ones can have a craft table. That way you cater for everyone and don't have to keep telling some kids off and having others upset and overwhelmed.
And don't bother with sandwiches, kids will always prefer mini sausages, crisps and chocolate.
Get several adults to help you if youve got more than 4 kids coming!
DON'T AGREE TO A SLEEPOVER unless you are happy to forgo a night's sleep and have nothing planned for the next day.

Gazelda Mon 25-Jan-16 18:12:52

Our most recent party was a 'party in a box' which was brilliant! A company sent a box filled with games, props, prizes and instructions. We chose 'Roald Dahl' for 7 year olds.
We chose a venue with lots of space and a separate area we could set up the food. Pizza, cruditees and cupcakes was perfect food.
We put a roald dahl book and a pencil in each party bag and added in a bit of birthday cake.
BUdget about £200 for 12 children.

For young kids, I have no experience of older children. I didn't go with a particular theme.

A variety of food - sandwiches (each flavour labelled & cut into different shapes with the large cookie cutters, eg flowers, dolphins, dinosaurs & trains), mini cheese portions, mini sausages and/or sausage rolls. Crisps. A couple of flavours of cupcakes - chocolate and something else, like strawberry, vanilla or orange.

Have an activity area, an eating area, & a quiet area. Relevant group activities for the children, both noisy & quiet. Some organised games, & some free play time.

Somewhere for the adults to retreat to. Lots of tea & coffee, & some nice grown-up nibbles.

Scour Pinterest for birthday cake ideas. Party bags are primarily cake plus bubble mixture & a party blower.

Many balloons, both helium ones on strings, & regular. The helium ones can go home with the guests as part of the party bag.

DinosaursRoar Mon 25-Jan-16 18:27:24

Some themes are easier to do than others, go as broad as possible if you do'nt want to have to spend a fortune on party things from 'posh' partywears places. So "pirates" or "space" is often easy enough, you can get stuff from a variety of places - and the best themes are ones there it lends itself to guests being able to easily dress up - pirates is a good one for that as even if they don't have a proper outfit, just a hat or eye patch will do.

StickChildNumberTwo Mon 25-Jan-16 18:51:14

We've never done a theme, although princesses is looming this year.... In general I've gone for having plenty planned to fill the time if needed but never expecting to get through it all and going with what the kids want to do (which last year was charge around the house and go on the trampoline).

For a theme I think I'd be trying to turn the usual games into themed versions, so maybe musical princess statues where you have to pose like a princess.

CopperPan Mon 25-Jan-16 18:58:59

I don't get too stressed out with food - finger food from the supermarket that you can throw in the oven is fine. Nothing too wet or messy. I don't serve too many sugary foods at the party, to save my own sanity, but I fill up the goodie bags with sweets grin Last year we did a princess theme and ordered lots of cheap decorations and trinkets from ebay - some of it was shipped from overseas so it's a good idea to plan well in advance.

StillNoFuckingEyeDeer Mon 25-Jan-16 19:02:07

We hired the village hall and a bouncy castle, let the kids run riot and gave the parents wine. Everyone had a great time.

Dolallytats Mon 25-Jan-16 19:43:33

I always do 'traditional' parties and they have always gone down well. Homemade fairy cakes, sandwiches, crisps, biscuits, pizza, mini fruit kebabs and party games.

Birthday cake, a mini packet of sweets and a book for the party bag (books are very cheap at 'The Works'.

RatOnnaStick Mon 25-Jan-16 19:49:09

Going by yesterday's whole class party my son went to, Don't order a bouncy castle fit for a dozen children at a time and then panic when 30+ climb on at once hmm And then don't just squeak when you need them to all get off again before eyes are gouged and limbs are lost - Bloody well BELLOW!

BrieAndChilli Mon 25-Jan-16 20:09:26

I ALWAYS theme my parties and everything fits with the theme from invites to food to cake to games to party bags!
Latest parties I have done are:
Science for 9/8 year olds.
Big blue school shirts for lab coats and made pin on ID badges.
Big silver foil trays to contain experiments which ranged from exploding bags to elephants toothpaste to mentos in Coke.
Games were pin the goggles on the scientist, guess the length of your intestines, musical planets, and pass the brain.
Food was hotdogs, chocolate 'lab rats' and a brain shaped cake.
Party bags were horrible science books and test tubes full of sweets.

DDs frozen party I made invites by printing out and then sealing in a clear envelope with glitter and snowflake sequins
Games included frozen statues, knock down marshmallow (pile of boxes with marshmallow drawn on and glittery flashing bouncy balls to throw) indoor snowball fight (lots of white pom-poms) and pin the nose on Olaf.
Food lincluded snowflake biscuits, frozen themed cupcakes, snowflake shaped cheese on crackers, snowman bits (marshmallows, pretzels and raisins and carrot sticks) coconut ice snowballs etc
I made blue and purple beaded bracelets with snow flake charms for party bags. Party bags were paper bags with a printed out elsa on and some blue snowflake material glued on for her skirt (leftover from making an elsa dress)

FeelingSmurfy Mon 25-Jan-16 20:44:08

Don't assume doing it yourself will save money, its easy to think that when you see the prices places are charging, after all you only need a few sandwiches and a CD player right? Wrong! Once you add all of the little bits up it comes to far more than you expect, and you have all of the stress and jobs beforehand and tidying afterwards.

Ask around, get the best price and then go with someone/somewhere that will do it all for you if you can

MaryPoppinsPenguins Mon 25-Jan-16 20:59:21

I always theme my parties to the hilt... I've done Alice In Wonderland with toadstool bouncy castle, playing card bunting, the Cheshire Cat up a tree, Flamingo croquet, eat me drink me tags on everything and an 'Alice' to visit who also did magic.

I've done a Jungle party with live animals, thousands of leaves hanging everywhere, antique animal crates and even a 1930's radio playing news reports about the birthday girl!

This year it's Harry Potter, with a Honeydukes, hogwarts letter invites, a sorting hat, dragon castle, balloon quidditch and even moaning myrtle sound effects in the toilets.

I always go for as many separate elements as possible to keep the children happy - bouncy castle, softplay, face painter, entertainer and as much to look at as possible.

I always provide alcohol for the parents, I think they're much happier at a child's party if they're holding a glass of prosecco!

I make much more food than I could possibly need, and serve it on platters, as I don't like the lunch box look.

Doing an adult buffet always goes down well too!

And something that saves me time and effort at every party is having the themed birthday cake on display, for photos and singing happy birthday, but to have pre cut plain cakes and put them in party bags way before the party so I'm not spending half an hour in the kitchen chopping.

(I love kids parties grin)

TheyreMadITellYouMaaaad Mon 25-Jan-16 21:35:04

We boycott party bags. Tat! Our guests get a going-home-gift (Book People very good for this) and a piece of birthday cake. Also a balloon, if we've had balloons at the party.

CheeseAtFourpence Mon 25-Jan-16 21:37:17

Looking for inspiration myself! But I've generally thrown traditional parties in the past with a theme. Last one was Disney princesses as requested by DD. Disney princess decorations, cake, balloons and figures for the party bags.

I do like the idea of hiring a hall and doing traditional games, but am tempted to pay someone else to do it all. This year I'm looking at hiring some characters to come along..

anonooo Mon 25-Jan-16 22:23:45

It takes loads of work. I did one around the Yellow Submarine, with treasure hunt, music, film, evrything themed on yellow or submarines, and lots of Beatles refs to amuse the adults, took forever to plan.

purplepandas Mon 25-Jan-16 22:34:07

I am more of a traditional party girl to be honest also. I did do a sweetie bag this year instead of a party bag. That was liked. I am less keen on the Frozen type parties to be honest as not all children seem to like them. Mind you, pleasing everyone is impossible!

Hopezibah Mon 25-Jan-16 22:55:49

Over the years it really feels like we've done it all! I remember having a Peter Rabbit themed birthday where i bought a pre-iced white cake and made peter rabbit out of icing to put on there and spent ages making cute handmade peter rabbit invites.

We've had a pizza making at home party. Self-explanatory.

We've had peppa pig where i had two cakes - one i decorated with icing to look like peppa pig, the other we bought little peppa toy figures for so my son could keep them afterwards to play with.

I made my own peppa pig treasure hunt and we had a pin the tail on type game too.

For party bags - two of my kids have birthdays around easter so i tend to bulk buy lots of easter eggs and give those out instead of party bags.

One year we had under the sea theme with blue and green balloons and blue and green ribbons hanging down like sea weed.

Another time it was teddy bear picnic theme and everyone brought their teddy ~(not recommended as I was worried about special bears getting lost!) and i made teddy bear themed food like cheese cut into bear shapes, sandwiches cut with bear cutters too. etc.

We've also had 'space' theme with a shimmery moon cake i made and dressing up as buzz lightyear.

Probably lots more too but those are the main ones that come to mind.

down2earthwithabump Tue 26-Jan-16 00:21:04

We did a girl's 6 year old Pirate Party. Invitations were messages in a bottle. Boys and girls were invited and wore pirate gear with wellies and waterproofs.

Usually we have parties at home, but this particular year the house was undergoing building works so it was a bigger party than normal. We held it in a barn (wildlife trust) in some woods with a pond.

So the pirates went in search of treasure (hidden gold chocolate coins), played games (Captain's coming), walked a plank (wooden plank over a ditch) and pond-dipped the pond seas with the help of the wildlife trust kit, before having party food all labelled and themed along the pirate theme with cutlass cheese and pineapple, crows nest cakes, catch of the day (cheese puff fish) etc Food ideas were old family children's party favourites adapted to the theme, and some inspiration from Pinterest.

Goody bags were along the nautical theme and each contained a bandana and eye patch.

We had pirate bunting (homemade) and pirate cups and plates. We had a huge homemade pirate ship cake cake with candles coming out of the sides.

It was a fabulous party.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Tue 26-Jan-16 06:22:05

We have had a number of different themes, usually based on favourite books/films from Madagascar to Harry Potter. Party bag favours emerge over the course of the party - e.g. wands, potion bottles, mandrakes to take home.

Top tips are - for big parties have a second cake already cut up in party bags - then cut up and freeze the show one for packed lunches.
For younger dc just rename traditional games so What's the time Mr Wolf becomes What's the time Mr Alex etc
Google, Google Google, someone somewhere has probably blogged on the chosen theme.
Don't agree on theme until have done the previous point. Still scratching my head to decide how to tackle TinTin theme.

allthingsred Tue 26-Jan-16 06:24:35

As said b4 finger food from supermarket. Is fine, remember they will mostly be running around wanting to play.
Instead of tat in a party bag. Try making your own sweet cones. Really simple to do & much cheaper

asuwere Tue 26-Jan-16 08:35:39

Might not be the right answer but I've found easiest way is to hire somewhere that will do the whole party! Just send invites then turn up, no stress smile

ButterflyOfFreedom Tue 26-Jan-16 12:25:33

I've not done any themed parties yet (DC are only 3 and 1) but we have held parties both at home and at a soft play centre.
I must admit, the one held at the soft play centre was far the easiest!!!

Top tips:
- party bags seem to be a must - kids LOVE them, no matter what is in them!
- maybe get 2 cakes - one (cheaper / simpler one) that can be cut up in advance saving the main cake for the candles / photos then for family
- traditional party gamesa are good fun, pass the parcel, musical bumps etc. ANd can be enjoyed by all ages
- ensure the adults are looked after too. They'll also want feeding & watering!
- balloons & bubbles are very cheap yet very much loved by children - we always make sure we have lots of both to hand!

CMOTDibbler Tue 26-Jan-16 12:34:57

Do what you can cope with - if your mum is around to help, then a self catered buffet and a shed load of kids in a village hall is great. If its all down to you, its a recipe for a stressed out nightmare.

Better a very few children where you all have a great time eating pizza, going bowling or whatever than knocking yourself out.

BornToFolk Tue 26-Jan-16 13:33:33

Don't overplan activities, especially for the littlies. A village hall, with plenty of toys and, crucially, balloons will provide all the entertainment they need!

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