Kids Party Checklist

By: Jennifer Wilke

Planning your child's birthday party is never an easy task; there are just too many things to keep track of. Use this simple checklist to help you begin planning.

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4-6 weeks before your party
If you are planning entertainers, face-painters, bouncy castle hire etc, check out a list of local suppliers and contact to find out how much notice they will need. This may vary depending on the area in which you live, and the time of year you are choosing to have your party. Be prepared to book very early.

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3-4 weeks before your party
Pick the party date and time. Parties usually range from one and a half hours to three hours.

Book any outside services you require, such as entertainers, face-painters, bouncy castle etc, if you have not done so already.

Choose your party theme. Your child should enjoy doing this with you. If they have a particular favorite character this may be an obvious choice. Otherwise, your child could help choose by browsing the partyware themes pages with you.

Create the guest list. Let your child pick out the friends he or she wishes to invite. If you want to restrict the party to a particular number of friends, make sure that your child narrows down the list to this number. In any case, it may be advisable to review your child's list to ensure that no child would feel unreasonable excluded (for example, if all the boys in your child's class are invited, except one).

Order your party supplies, decorations, party favors, prizes for games etc. Be sure to order enough tableware for adults that will be attending too, and additional party bags and fillers for siblings of guests who may arrive.

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2-3 weeks before your party
Send the invitations. It is best to ask guests to RSVP to estimate how many children you may expect.

Decide on activities and games for the party.

Plan your menu. Are their any special dietary requirements? For a kids party, we recommend staying away from nuts all together.

Arrange for extra help on the day of the party from relatives or friends.

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1 week before the party
Order your cake from a supermarket or cake decorator if you are not baking your own.

Let brothers or sisters invite a special friend over for the day of the party.

Confirm booking of any entertainers or outside services.

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2-3 days before the party
Buy the food, drinks, sweets and treats for the party. If you have not already got them, don't forget the candles.

Check batteries and film for the camera and/or camcorder.

Arrange to have balloons filled with helium to pick up the day of, or the day before the party.

If you are making your own, bake the cake.

If your child has a particular outfit they want to wear, make sure it's ready to wear.

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1 day before the party
Pick up the cake from the cake decorator or supermarket, or finish decorating if you are making your own.

If a morning party, pick up helium-filled balloons and/or blow up non-helium balloons.

Prepare the party area by removing furniture, or breakable objects and decorate. (Indoor only, outdoor area is best left to the day of the party).

Prepare any food that can be made ahead of time.

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THE DAY OF THE PARTY
If a late-afternoon or night party, pick up the helium-filled balloons and/or blow up non-helium balloons.

If an outdoor party, decorate, and, if necessary, place balloons etc at the gate to direct guests to your house.

Prepare food and drinks that could not be made ahead of time.

Have your child ready and dressed one hour before the party.

Don't forget to take plenty of photos or video to record the day. If at all possible, try to recruit someone to do this. You'll be very busy with other party things that great photo opps will most likely be missed.

Enjoy the day and plan a relaxing treat for yourself after the party has finished.

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