Party tips

Make your child’s an­nual cel­e­bra­tions some­thing re­ally spe­cial with these prac­ti­cal tips that won’t cost you the earth

Your Baby & Toddler - - Contents -

THE IN­VI­TA­TIONS For some­thing re­ally spe­cial, make party in­vi­ta­tions in the form of CDS. Use Pow­er­point or any other pic­ture and text edi­tor on your com­puter. Scan in a pho­to­graph of your lit­tle one with a big in­vi­ta­tion: “I want you at my party!” You can put the venue, date and time on as well, along with the fun ac­tiv­i­ties you have planned. Pop the CD in a bag or wrapped pack­age and de­liver it.

If you don’t feel like burn­ing CDS, buy empty CD cases, and make a “cover”, on your com­puter of your child’s photo with his name and some­thing like: “I’m a star. Come and be a star with me” and print it out. Or you can make a “band” and write all the mem­bers’ names on the CD: “Louis – gui­tar”, “Danielle – drums” and so on.

Use dot­ted lines to draw a birth­day cake, but only do it half­way. Then write on the in­vite, “Come to my party, you’ll com­plete the pic­ture.”

Write out the in­vi­ta­tion and place it in an ice-cream cone topped with marsh­mal­lows – have it peek out in be­tween the sweets.

Roll up your in­vite and use an elas­tic band to fix it to a sucker.

Make old-school, hand-dec­o­rated in­vi­ta­tions, and get your child to help. Dec­o­rate it with her hand­print.

Write your in­vi­ta­tion on pretty birds or fish you folded from pa­per. You can use words such as, “Swim/fly on over to my party.”

Make an en­try ticket for each guest, with the words “Ad­mit one for tons of fun and sweets.”

Make a list of ev­ery­one you’ve in­vited and make a note of who has RSVP-ED. If you need con­fir­ma­tion, call those who didn’t re­spond two or three days be­fore the party to make sure they’re re­ally not coming, be­cause peo­ple do some­times just pitch up. THE THEME AND DEC­O­RA­TIONS Keep it sim­ple. You don’t have to have the big­gest or most ex­pen­sive party. The most im­por­tant thing is that the kids have a good time.

TV char­ac­ters are al­ways pop­u­lar themes, but you don’t have to fol­low the big­gest trends. Sim­ple themes such as the ocean, cir­cus, flow­ers, an­i­mals and so forth are cool, and you can – depend­ing on your child’s age – think of your own dec­o­ra­tions and make them.

A trea­sure hunt is al­ways a fun theme for chil­dren older than three, as is a tea party for girls.

Re­mem­ber that bal­loons and pa­per dec­o­ra­tions cre­ate a party vibe, and they’re also cheap.

Big shops have plates, cups and nap­kins with themes, so if you’re pressed for time, this could be your saving grace.

Use colour when you set a low ta­ble, and make sure there’s a plate and cup for each guest.

Paint or­di­nary white pa­per cups in bright colours, and fill them with suck­ers and sweets.

Make pretty ta­ble dec­o­ra­tions, such as flow­ers from pa­per and pipe clean­ers, or wind­mills on a stick.

Fix a rope quite low across the room, and hang it with colour­ful bags of sweets. Make sure there’s one for each child, and keep a few ex­tra on hand for those who lose theirs or for sur­prise guests.

Use card­board to make a fun party hat for each child, and dec­o­rate it with pa­per strips, paint and glit­ter.

PREPA­RA­TIONS En­list a helper for the day be­fore and af­ter the party, and get them lined up way in ad­vance. Ask a friend, sis­ter or your mom, some­one who won’t mind help­ing.

Make your home and gar­den com­pletely child-safe be­fore the party – you def­i­nitely don’t want any­one to get hurt. Do a quick check again on the day of the party.

Plan a cou­ple of ac­tiv­i­ties for the kids – take their ages into ac­count. Plan ac­tive as well as pas­sive games.

If you’re host­ing the party at a venue, check if they have al­ter­na­tives to out­door events if the weather’s not so great.

Ditto for a house party – think about what you’re go­ing to do if it rains or is chilly.

Start mak­ing or buy­ing the dec­o­ra­tions a week or two be­fore the party. Don’t leave ev­ery­thing for the day be­fore the party.

Make a list of ev­ery­thing you’ll need, and check off the items as you buy them.

If you’ve or­dered a birth­day cake, phone to con­firm it will be ready on time. Put in a call two days be­fore the party, and then again a day be­fore. Don’t take any chances!

Buy all the food and drinks the day be­fore the party. This way you’ll be calm the morn­ing of the party rather than rush­ing around for the few things you’ve for­got­ten.

GUESTS AND DURATION Don’t in­vite too many chil­dren. A first birth­day party is usu­ally for the par­ents. Don’t over­whelm your child with too many peo­ple; let him en­joy it! About four 1-year-olds are more than enough!

As your child grows older, you can in­vite more guests, but eight friends are enough for a 6- and 7-year-old.

Sched­ule the party for a time your child is well rested. If you know your child be­comes dif­fi­cult by noon or in the late af­ter­noon, rather throw his

party in the morn­ing.two hours is a per­fect length for a chil­dren’s party. Af­ter that, the kids be­come tired and grumpy.

Make ev­ery guest feel wel­come and at home, in­clud­ing the par­ents if they come along. Also re­mem­ber to say a spe­cial thank you for each gift, no mat­ter how small.

A sleep­over party isn’t a good idea for chil­dren un­der 8. You’re just look­ing for trou­ble, be­cause Tom or some­one’s go­ing to phone his Ma to come and fetch him tonight … And small chil­dren start fight­ing when they spend too much time in each other’s com­pany.

THE FOOD En­sure a good mix – savoury as well as sweet. Make sure the chil­dren won’t choke on the food you serve. Avoid peanuts, raisins, pop­corn and hard sweets.

Make sure there’s also some healthy stuff on the ta­ble. Not all chil­dren are sugar slaves.

Chil­dren al­ways find mini piz­zas, hot­dogs and burg­ers ap­petis­ing. Also make some pretty sand­wiches. Cut up some fruit for the ta­ble. Make the birth­day cake the cen­tre point of the ta­ble. When the can­dles are blown out, make sure all the chil­dren are to­gether, so that they can feel part of the rit­ual.

Make sure there’s enough to eat for the par­ents if they’re coming along.

AC­TIV­I­TIES One- and two-year-olds won’t re­ally play; they’ll be more in­ter­ested in the eats. Give each one a bal­loon, but keep an eye on them.

From three years old, you can play some cool mu­sic and get the chil­dren to dance.

For a sum­mer party you can switch on the sprin­kler, and the kids can run through it, or ask them to bring their push­bikes and then they can cy­cle through the wa­ter. (Of course only if wa­ter re­stric­tions al­low.) Avoid a swim­ming pool at all times.

Get a heap of sand, and get the chil­dren play­ing.

A jump­ing cas­tle is al­ways a hit – but choose it ac­cord­ing to the age of your chil­dren, and al­ways keep a watch­ful eye.

A clown usu­ally doesn’t work for chil­dren un­der three – they’re of­ten dead scared of the clown.

From five years, kids can start play­ing games such as sack races and pass the par­cel.

From three years you can do crafty ac­tiv­i­ties such as hav­ing each one paint a cup or plate, or ev­ery child can dec­o­rate a bag for sweets.

A tent is al­ways a good place to play. Fill it with cush­ions and things like pots and pans.

On a rainy day board games or a DVD are the an­swer. Also sup­ply crayons and pa­per.

Sim­ple games are al­ways the best – games such as duck, duck, goose, hide and seek and so on are more than ideal for four-year-olds and older chil­dren.

GEN­ERAL TIPS Make it clear in your in­vi­ta­tion if you’re go­ing to get down and dirty, so that the lit­tle ones don’t wear their Sun­day best to the party.

You can ask ev­ery child to wear a cos­tume – but make it clear par­ents shouldn’t spend lots of money and that it’s not a com­pe­ti­tion.

If there are go­ing to be kids of var­i­ous ages, make sure there are suit­able ac­tiv­i­ties for ev­ery­one. But try and stick to one age group as far as pos­si­ble.

Get a helper to as­sist with the dishes and clean­ing up af­ter­wards.

Al­ways keep your cam­era handy and charged – you want to cher­ish the spe­cial mo­ments for­ever.

If your child has re­ceived a lot of gifts, have him choose two with which he can play im­me­di­ately, and put the rest away, so that he does not be­come over­whelmed. Take them out as time goes by.

Stick to your bud­get – it’s the fun that counts and that your child will re­mem­ber. It’s no use eat­ing crack­ers for the rest of the month.

Don’t in­vite kids your child hardly knows (and whose par­ents you don’t know) – rather keep it in­ti­mate.

Send ev­ery guest a thank you note af­ter­wards and tell them how much your child is en­joy­ing the gift.

And re­lax – your party doesn’t need to be bet­ter than the Jones’. YB

Snowflake’s Easy Mixes and Cre­ations range is the quick­est and most con­ve­nient way to bake a flop-proof cake. Get yours for R35 at all big su­per­mar­kets.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.