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The first step to any event is the planning and you should always start with the following list.
- Budget: Work out ahead of time how much you'd like to spend.
- Date: Most people like to host a party on the weekend but after-school parties on a weekday can also work a treat.
- Location: Do you want to host everyone at your own house, or do you have a suitable park nearby?
- Time: Two hours is usually long enough for kids up to age 10.
- Theme: Decide if your child would like a theme for their party. Although most parents know what their kids are into, this can be a fun thing to plan together.
- Guest list: Your budget and venue will dictate rough numbers, and then you can work with your child on the guest list to make it fun and exciting for them.
- Entertainment: If the budget allows, an hour of entertainment can be great for the kids and it also buys you a bit of organizing time. Why not bring in a face painter, magician or bouncy castle?
- Invitations: You can send hand-made, store bought or even custom-printed invites (which can be done quite economically online), but try to send them out four weeks before the date of the party so guests have time to respond. It's also a good idea to mention if the party is a "drop and run" or if parents are required to stay.
- Food: Decide if you're going to DIY or if you will outsource the catering and birthday cake.
- On the day: if the party isn’t at home, don’t forget to have candles and matches nearby. Have a gift table or clearly marked area for gifts as people arrive (decide if you want your child to open presents during the party or after the guests have gone) and if you have an entertainer booked, call to make sure they're running on time.
Once you have the basics down, then comes the fun part – styling the party. Your venue and budget will dictate how much you can do, but Kersten says you can add a lot of fun to a party with some special things from home, and these special tips.
If you go with a theme, start by Googling (and looking at Pinterest) to get your ideas flowing.
Decide on a colour scheme. Three colours is good and you can work them into all aspects of the party.
Set up one table for food - think about having things at different heights and scatter some small jars of flowers for your little girl or arrange a few toy dinosaurs/cars/animals (to match the theme) around for a boy. You don’t have to buy new things, simply have a good rummage around the kids rooms for their favourite things and, if practical, try to incorporate them into the styling.
A drinks station with juice boxes, cups and jugs of water can be made more attractive with some little hand-written signs or picture frames.
Vintage wooden chairs can make great water/drink dispenser stands because they perfectly suit the height of young children. You can string some battery-operated fairy lights onto them or tie a few balloons to catch the children's eye.
Bunting says 'celebration' no matter how old you are, and Kersten shares a simple DIY you can try for your next party:
For a few dollars, you can pick up a few metres of hessian from Spotlight or your local fabric shop. Trace the size of triangle bunting you want onto a piece of card. Lay out your hessian and trace as many triangles as you need for your string of bunting and start cutting.
A regular hole punch will do the trick for making holes at the top two corners and then thread any kind of cord or string you like. Secure the string with glue or tape on the reverse side to prevent the flags from slipping around. You can even stencil lettering onto the hessian with fabric paint to personalize it.
Five Roads Vintage can help you plan and organize your event from start to finish and be there on the day to set up and pack down. Have a browse through the website and contact Kersten with any queries www.fiveroadsvintage.com
These international, award-winning programmes offer a magical world of sensory learning, wonder and exploration for babies 0 -13 months, and are backed by over 35 years of research into child development.