Kelly the Culinarian: Lessons Learned During my First Kids' Party

Monday, August 1, 2016

Lessons Learned During my First Kids' Party

I love planning parties. Even in college, my roommates and I would host chocolate fountain parties where we supplied the chocolate and all our friends brought different ingredients. I never thought I'd be planning a kids' party, but here we are. Z wanted a unicorn party this year, so off to Pinterest I went. I figured the same rules applied for parties for the younger set: lots of food, activities a plenty and forced mingling set you up for success. What I didn't anticipate was a heat advisory which forced all our activities inside. We got creative and made this thing work. Here's what I learned:

1. Start with Dollar Tree. We got all the cutlery and plates there, along with table cloths, favor bags and the candy that went in them. I also got wrapping paper, birthday cards and supplies for one of our crafts there.

2. When that fails, Amazon Prime hooks it up. I couldn't find a unicorn pinata, but Amazon had it, along with a giant bag of pinata filler and a pin-the-horn on the unicorn game. It was a hit:

3. Costco cake can't be beat. For less than $20, we had generous slices for everyone. Plus, it was personalized and delicious. Life hack - you can get a chocolate cake and chocolate filling with white icing. You just have to ask.

4. Snacks, snacks, snacks. Over feed people. You can't go wrong with offering too much food. Move what you can to a cooler with ice to avoid kids standing in your refrigerator, and label what cans are where so guests don't have to riffle through cold water to find the right beverage.

5. Set up a kid-specific snack station. These healthier munchies and juice boxes were easy for the small ones to grab and go. The dollar-store snack cups let them take their munchies with them. In retrospect, we should've gotten actual juice boxes, since the straws on the pouches are tough for small fingers.

6. Plan more activities than you think you'll need, because you need them. We set up a craft table in the basement, which meant no one would congregate and stay in one area. It was also the coolest part of the house in spite of the heat. As kids arrived, they made their own unicorn horns. Once we had a quorum and they were getting squirmy, we did the pinata, then moved inside for pin the horn on the unicorn. When they were inside and done with that, we did pizza, cake and presents, then finished it out with a unicorn ornament craft.

7. Dressing up the dog in themed apparel is always a good idea.

8. Space out gifts, and take notes for cards. It can be overwhelming for kids to open everything from their friends, family and relatives in a single go. We let Z open one from my mom the morning of the party, then she had gifts from her friends. The next day, she opened stuff from her grandparents, and on the morning of her birthday, she opened items from us. It helped us all enjoy the process more. With the notes we took on who got her what, she worked on her thank you cards in batches of four or five. That was about all she could muster, and when we said she could play with her new toys if she finished four thank you notes, she was in.

What did I miss? What else have you learned from hosting kids' parties that I should know for next year?

1 comment:

Maggie W said...

Aww, this is so sweet :)