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6 Tips to Plan the Perfect Birthday Party

9 min read
kids at a birthday party

So the big day is fast approaching. Your child has been talking about it for since the day after the last birthday party ended and now their next birthday is actually only a few weeks away. What do they want? What do you want? These are the questions to ask, and hopefully, you can meet somewhere in the middle and get that perfect party.

Every birthday planner aka Mom and Dad has different ideas about the perfect birthday party. Some love the totally hands-off where the venue takes care of everything, but the cake (which typically Dairy Queen takes care of) and others like to plan each moment, hand-make the goody bag gifts, bake the cake, and take on the role of entertainer. I personally, have done both and am leaning towards the first option.

To get the right party for your little person, you need to consider these 6 things.

1. Consider Who’s Coming.

Is this party going to be for just the kids or adults coming too? If Adults are coming along for a big event like the 1st birthday, you may want to consider holding it at a larger venue over a longer period so people can come and go as they need to. For the kid-centric parties look at the age of the kids. If they are still nappers, perhaps a 1.5 hour long, morning party will work best. If they are beyond that, a couple of hours just after lunch is a great time. If they’re even older, you could hold an early evening/dinner birthday between 4pm and 7pm. Think about your child, and when they are at their best to get them at a time, they’ll have their best time.

2. Consider Gifting Options.
Parents love getting tips on what to get for birthday presents, especially if they don’t know the birthday-child well, and their own child isn’t keen on picking out the gift.

A trend I’ve encountered recently is the Twoonie party (or other denomination – $5, $10). If your home is already bursting at the seams with toys and you can’t Konmarie anymore out, the Twoonie party is a great solution. It takes the stress off the guest’s parents to find a fun, unique, and budget-friendly gift. It also allows the birthday child to have a choice on what they want their gift to be – which can be something that perhaps you wouldn’t buy for them.

With traditional presents, some planners are now choosing to open gifts after the party, to maximize the play or entertainment during party-time.

3. Consider The Food
When you’re planning the food, it all comes down to when and where the party will take place. Pizza is always a favourite, and the obligatory fruit and vegetable plates help make you feel like you’re giving the kids something nutritious before they fill up on cake and candies. If you want the cake to be part of the activities – make a tray of mini cupcakes, regular cupcakes, or muffins. Frost cupcakes with icing or muffins with cream cheese. Put out bowls of sprinkles, colored sugar, and mini chocolate chips and let the kids dip in to make their own creations.

4. Consider The Goody Bags
Kids love goody bags – from toddlers to tweens, goody bags are a must.

Younger kids are happy with just a couple of pieces of sidewalk chalk, and a bottle of bubbles. Rather than using disposable gift bags, try using an item that can be reused like a small bucket, purse or another container.

For 4-year-olds and older, you may not get away with a bag that doesn’t include candy. But for younger kids, if you want to include food, try adding bags of Teddy Grahams or Goldfish crackers.

Since the number of attendees will likely be smaller for a tween party, opt for a bigger item that is related to the party theme, paired with a chocolate bar. If it’s a spa party put together a little nail kit. For tween boys why not a deck of cards or other game.

5. Consider The Venue
This all comes down to your style of party-planning. If you’re not into doing the home party, there are some great places you can take the kids, and almost everything is done for you. Adult supervision is still required, but the hard work of party setup, and more importantly, clean-up is done for you.

Thompson Community Centre in Richmond just opened a new outdoor party space to allow you to take advantage of the sunny days. TumbleTown on West Broadway, Vancouver is excellent for the smaller kids to be able to get their crazy’s out in a contained environment. Burnaby Village Museum’s parties take care of the entertainment and the food – two big things you won’t need to worry about! Finally, Playland is a great birthday destination for a whole day of fun with a closer group of friends. It’s not ideal for little ones, but once they’re able to go on all the rides, this is a memorable party place.

Party Places

Burnaby Village Museum
Burnaby, 604/297-4565
Kids of all ages can celebrate their birthday 1920s style! Our party package includes lunch at the Ice Cream Parlour and two rides on our 1912 Parker Carousel. Visit our website for details.

Birthday Parties at Playland
Vancouver, 604/252-3663
Celebrate your child’s birthday at Playland! Take the party outside and leave the preparation and fun to us! Birthday packages are for up to 10 guests (including adults and children) invitations, lunch, access to over 30 rides, attractions and more.

Thompson Community Centre
5151 Granville Avenue, Richmond
All Bookings are made online only.
Have an Indoor or Outdoor Birthday Party at Thompson Community Centre! Parties include either a fully decorated hall or privately fenced outdoor playground, Decorations, Games, Face painting, and a Party Leader to assist in set-up and taken down. For more information or to book a Party at Thompson, please visit richmond.ca/thompsonbirthdays.

TumbleTown Movement
Education Centre
Vancouver, 604/357-7355
TumbleTown’s custom-built facility allows for instructed play, full of action and excitement, and the facility is perfect for cake and party time! Birthday parties at TumbleTown are guaranteed to be full of laughter, games, and play your child will never forget!

6. Consider the entertainment
If you have chosen to have a home party or to rent space at a community centre, party entertainment is a must! There are many options out there. You can invite an entertainer to come and put on a show. There are princesses, clowns, and my favourite – a Mermaid. Mermaid Danielle can take your birthday party to the next level in or out of the water.

New to Vancouver, My Studio Party transforms your home with red carpet and props and lets the children become the stars. They record their own song, learn some choreography and get the full star treatment. Evolve Camps is also new to Vancouver and they bring their own twist by getting your kids moving, skating/riding, having fun, learning new tricks and making lasting memories.

Setting another stage of sorts, and coming a long way from the sleepovers of my time, My Little Bash provides you with all the equipment to give your child a truly magical night. If an afternoon party is more your thing, Bricks 4 Kidz brings all the equipment to keep your kids entertained and learning at the same time.

Party People

Bricks 4 Kidz
778-872-STEM (7836)
Bricks 4 Kidz uses motorized LEGO® Bricks provide the ultimate entertainment while fostering creativity, teamwork, and fine-motor skills. We work with you to decide on a flexible and customized option for the big day!

Evolve Birthday Parties
Forget about mini-golf and face-painting… Evolve’s Skateboard/Scooter Birthday Parties are totally rad and unique. Our parties are perfect for kids who have never skated before as well as for kids who are already skaters and want to introduce the hobby to their buddies. We will have your kids moving, skating/riding, having fun, learning new tricks and making lasting memories.

Mermaid Danielle
Instagram: @mermaid.danielle
778 939 7552
Add a splash of magic to your next event with Mermaid Danielle. With over 10 year’s experience of games songs and stories for children, Mermaid Danielle is a fin-tastic addition to your next pool party birthday party or other aquatic-themed occasions.

My Studio Party
Ages 3-17
The best at-home kids’ parties ever! Kids sing and record a song, learn and perform a dance choreography, wear fun accessories, walk the red carpet and pose for the camera! With our quick hassle-free setup, we’ll be up and running in no time so parents can relax and enjoy the party!

My Little Bash
We aim to spark joy and originality in children parties by styling and staging unforgettable themed sleepover parties. Our sleepover packages include teepees, comfy mattresses with cotton sheets, stylish decorative cushions, breakfast trays, night lights, decorative rugs, garlands, and more…

Party Facts

Just so you know you’re not the only one
$300 is the amount an average parent spends on a party. (only 12% of parents spent under $100.)
65% of children open gifts at their party, as opposed to waiting until after the guests have gone home.
$10 to $25 The amount the average parent spends per gift for other children’s birthdays
Only 15% of parents invited their child’s entire class to their birthday party.
48% of parents splurge on their kid’s birthday cake. 42% splurge on entertainment.
44% of parents spent $1 to $5 per goody bag for their child’s last birthday party.
73% of parents sent paper invites for their child’s last birthday. 34% sent electronic invitations.
30% of kids’ birthday parties include 4 to 8 children

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