Create a themed birthday party your child will love

Theme parties cater to your child’s interests and can help focus the planning process. Here are five tips to create a perfect themed birthday party.

by Leslie Foster

family-fun-guide-birthday-march141. Choose a theme

If your child is too young to help you choose a theme, let their daily play guide you toward a theme. Does your child have a favourite book or toy? Let that be your inspiration. A one year-old who loves to say “moo” might enjoy a cow-inspired theme.

For older children, it’s best to remember that your child’s birthday party is for them, not for you. Enlist their help in deciding a theme. Ask your child what sounds like fun. They will have definite preferences. Being involved in the planning of their party may be as much fun as the party itself.

2. Set a budget

It is difficult to pass up all of the cute or cool stuff. Decide what you are going to include in the theming (invitations, decorations, food, entertainment, party favours) and make a list of items you need. Establishing a plan and a budget ahead of time will help control impulse purchases.

Start early to save money. Running to six or seven stores in the days leading up to the birthday party is inefficient and expensive. If you plan early, you can pick things up when you see them. You can also consider one-stop shopping at a local party place or online via birthday party sites like Oriental Trading Company, Birthday in a Box, or Party Express.

3. Entertainment

Base games and activities on your party’s theme. For younger children, old-fashioned games like Pin the Tail on the Donkey can be lots of fun and are easily themed. Pin the eye-patch on the pirate, a treasure hunt, and a create-your-own-pirate-sword craft make for a perfect pirate party.

For older kids, you might have to get creative. Ball hockey for a hockey theme, create a craft or a collective masterpiece for an arts-based theme, or “learn to juggle” for a circus theme. Ask older children for their ideas.

If you are hiring outside entertainment, be sure to take your child’s age into account. Though great for older kids, long shows might not hold younger children’s attention and some may even frighten them. Even though you have a jungle theme, snakes and tarantulas might not be appropriate for a group of three-year olds.

4. Fun Food

Make food presentation exciting by using colourful dishes, a fun table cloth, and whimsical garnishes. Always exciting for kids is a prep-your-own-food bar, such as tacos, subs, pizza, and ice cream. Fruits, sandwiches and vegetables can easily be cut to complement your theme. You can choose food of a certain colour to work with your theme as well. And simply giving food items cool names can add to the fun.

5. Decorations and Party Favours

Google and Pinterest are great sources of inspiration for choosing a theme and for finding ideas to bring that theme to life. Enter your theme (example: Minecraft, Lego, Princess, Farm Animal, Pirate, Barbie, Dinosaur) + “birthday party” and you will be amazed at all of the ideas that pop up. You will also find a lot of free printables online for your favourite themes and characters. It takes just a few minutes on Google to find some really cool stuff.

Happy party planning!


Photo: © poznyakov