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Kids party ideas – your ultimate guide

by Christine

Kids parties – we all want to celebrate our children’s birthdays whether it’s with family, a few friends or the whole school class. We also as parents need to work out a budget, how many kids are manageable, will parents need to stay and help supervise their own kids (do I need to feed the parents too), kids party food, dietary requirements, theme and so on. It can become a stressful event to organise and plan for. Here are some kids party ideas to help you prepare and stay relaxed.

kids party ideas cupcake
Your kids party will be fun and easy to manage with a little planning and creative thinking.

Kids Party Themes

Walking into the party section of a big store like Big W, and letting your child pick from one already advertised theme that has everything available, is going to be your easy way out. Otherwise you may have kids like mine that like to make up their own theme or want different things so you may need to get creative and think outside the box.

It might be something as simple as “The Little Mermaid” only wanting an Ariel party like my four year old just had, and then going shopping for supplies only to find no one has the Ariel balloons anymore or items you actually need! This is where ONLINE SHOPPING saves the day.

Close enough is good enough! With The Little Mermaid – Ariel party I managed to find The Little Mermaid themed cups and a table cloth online. I bought green and turquoise party balloons to match the colours, so even without having the big Ariel balloon she wanted she was still stoked with eight green coloured party balloons like Ariel’s dress.

You don’t need to buy branded kids party products to match the party theme. Even just matching the colours works well.

Etsy was the game changer… I found an awesome kids cake topper for $15, personalised with my daughter’s name, age AND Ariel from The Little Mermaid so I was winning!!! It then didn’t matter what birthday cake I got, as the topper was going to make that cake look amazing!

Whatever the theme is, it will be worth the effort for your child’s face on the day. Here are a some more popular kids party themes to get you thinking.

  • Disney Princesses
  • Cars
  • Sports
  • Fairies
  • Newest movie characters
  • Minecraft / Roblox
  • Zoo Animals
  • Clowns
  • Wiggles
  • Mermaids
  • Unicorns
  • Barbie
  • Teddies
  • Fancy Dress
  • Halloween (my eldest has her birthday at the end of October and this has worked so well with all Halloween decorations & themed lollies already in every shop)
Kids party theme ideas

Kids party cake ideas

Kids party themed figurines: A little hack I often use for cakes is to buy small figurines if you can of the theme to sit either on top of or in front of the cake. This way they also get a toy (not just a cake topper that’s used once and thrown away). If Big W, Kmart, Target or toy stores don’t have any, Ebay usually will. Cake toppers (even Coles ones) will dress up a cake. Ebay and Etsy have so many to choose from and on a nice cake stand… voila.

A kids party birthday cake doesn’t need to cost a lot, unless you are having a lot of people and it’s a much bigger celebration (such as a first birthday party).

kids party cake topper
Adding figurines to a cake is a cheap and easy way to match your kid’s party theme.

Kids party decoration ideas

Balloons. I’ve always loved some balloons at a kids party to give it a “party” feel. Small balloon table toppers are also cute and not over the top.

Paper Tassel Garlands. Make a paper tassel garland in the colour theme and hang them up. I’ve done that for an Emma Wiggle kids party (Yellow and black) and also many mermaid kids parties (blue, greens, purple etc). They’re super easy to make and look great.

I order the coloured tissue paper for the tassels off Ebay. Paper tassels are also good for the younger parties, since the little kids will keep asking for a balloon, or play with them and pop them.

wiggles emma kids party theme idea
Having a theme for your kid’s party doesn’t have to break the bank and will delight the children.

Kids Party Backdrops and banners. I bought a personalised backdrop/indoor banner from Vistaprint that was in the colours I needed to match my daughters party theme and it looked so good! Just check turnaround times and order in advance.

Personalised or themed cookies. I love kids party themed cookies, or personalised with your child’s name and age and individually wrapped to display with the cake or party food table. They look great and go home with the guest as a thank you instead/or with the party bag.

Matching theme plates, serviettes, cups and tablecloths. I will usually get a plastic party themed table cloth or colour coordinated from the dollar shop that covers any table I’m using. It can then be wiped down easily and used again for a paint mat at home later. With the older kid’s party making less of a mess I use some glitter fabric I bought from Spotlight, and pop that over a white tablecloth. Then I can shake it off and wash it and always makes the table look party ready.

kids party decoration ideas
Adding little touches like matching tablecloths will tie your kids party theme together.

Photographer

If it’s not a major milestone and you don’t have a professional photographer coming to the kids party, make sure someone else is taking photos! As a mum trying to juggle greeting parents, entertaining guests, checking on kids, getting things organised etc you do miss a lot of good photo opportunities and end up with just a cake photo (I’m guilty of this).

Kids Party Food Ideas

I ALWAYS do a fruit platter. If the kids don’t eat it, the parents (or I) will. These look great in a bamboo tray or on a platter board. I like the grazing table look. I’ll add in some pretzels and a few little chocolates. I’ll also do some easy dips for parents (hummus is my go to) with crackers.

Some more kids party food ideas:

  • Mix of fruit, carrot and cucumber sticks
  • Cupcakes
  • Hot chips
  • Fairy bread (use cookie cutters to do shapes like unicorns)
  • Kids Party themed cookies
  • Cake pops or even marshmallows dipped also work
  • Chocolate crackles (an old favourite of mine as a kid)
  • Brownies (nut free) cut up into small squares
  • Coloured popcorn

If I’m doing lunch (which I try to avoid):

  • Easy wraps or finger sandwiches (Subway is good if catering)
  • Sushi either bought or made (Woolworths sell the packs to make it yourself, super easy)
  • Most Coles and Woolworths now have catering items like deli platters, wraps, meat and cheeses, salads all pre ordered and made for you.
  • Pizzas are my favourite kids’ party food. I find everyone will eat it and I’m not wasting time and effort on finger foods that the kids aren’t interested in.
  • I try to do minimal lollies and junk foods. Then you still have an assortment of food for most dietary requirements covered.
kids party grazing platter
A mixed grazing platter at your kid’s party looks great and is guaranteed to get demolished!

Kids Party Entertainment Ideas

Home parties can be a cheaper option, and when everyone leaves you can relax and you’re already at home. Closer friends and/or family can stay longer if you’re not being rushed out of a kids party venue in a hurry.

Does your kids party need an entertainer to keep the kids busy? Someone to come in and play games and keep the kids occupied? I usually don’t see my child for most of the party but everyone is entertained and has lots of fun. (Less supervision and entertaining for you)

Some great kids party entertainment ideas:

  • Favourite dressed up character
  • A fairy
  • Face painter
  • Balloon twisting
  • Magician – they used to be so popular growing up
  • Ponies!!!! Pony parties were my favourite parties as a child. If you have a big enough backyard the ponies come to you and the rides can be done in the yard
  • Farmyard animals come to play and the children can pat and feed them.
  • Wildlife/reptile show: I remember going to pick up my daughter after one and having to wait a little further back while they removed the snake from around her neck that was freaking me out but she totally loved it!
  • Bricks For Kids Mobile party at your home
  • Build A Bear Mobile party
  • The good old jumping castle will entertain the kids an oldy but always a fun time and gets the kids tired out which is a win/win.
  • Pamper parties are super fun and can be anything from nails, makeup to coloured braids
  • Sleep overs: TeePee party – they come to you and set it all up.
  • Art & Crafts: I ALWAYS add an activity – either paint your own cookies, decorate your own jewellery boxes, jewellery making, decorate your own mask et.c to any party that then keeps the kids busy doing something and gives them something they can take home.
  • Easy sticker activity or colour in for smaller children or temporary tattoos in the theme of the party.
  • Disco parties are super easy either in your living room, garage or a hall which I’ve done quite a few times in the past when inviting the whole school class. With some carefully selected tunes saved to my phone and a Bluetooth speaker the kids are pretty much set. If you wanted to go all out and spend more you could hire a DJ and have a smoke machine. Then you can incorporate games like limbo and musical statues or musical chairs and for the older kids, dance offs. Who doesn’t enjoy music and like to dance?

My older kids are into the easiest of all parties: Pizza & A Movie Party at home. The kids literally eat and watch a movie. It’s SUPER easy and stress free and I’ll even throw in a piñata for them to fill up their lolly bags.

Kids party idea - pony rides
If you have a big enough backyard, your kids will love a pony ride at their birthday party.

Kids Party Hire Venue Ideas

We’re truly spoiled for choice in Sydney for kids party venues. There’s literally an activity for any age group. Here are some great local kids party hire venues to check out for your next kids party.

  • Putt Putt Golf
  • Laser Tag
  • Indoor rock Climbing
  • Good old McDonald’s Party
  • Flip Out
  • Kids Day Spas/Pamper venues
  • Time Zone (love these as the kids have time in the photo booth to snap some shots with their friends and take home and remember the party by)
  • Horse Riding Schools usually have pony parties available onsite
  • Movies
  • Bowling
  • Ninja Party Venue
  • Bricks for Kids Venue
  • Build A Bear Venue
  • Inflatable world
  • Local Pools
  • Local kids indoor play centres
  • Park/Picnic/Playground: these can be done up so nicely and a team can come and set up a picnic with mats, cushions, low picnic tables. There are quite a few companies are doing these now, and they’re not hard to find in your area. We’ve done this at home with a few older girls for a picnic and movie afternoon. Parks are also a perfect venue for a scavenger hunt.

Kids Party Game Ideas

Musical statues: The easiest with least amount of effort and planning (which I hate being the judge of and having to tell the poor child to their face that they are out when they truly believe they aren’t).

Musical Chairs. This game is a classic for good reason. The child knows they are out but need to watch the game and make sure it doesn’t get too competitive, and no pushing other kids off the chairs.

Pass the parcel. When I was a kid, every second or third layer had a prize. It was suspenseful and everyone watched on to see if the child opening the paper had a small prize or nothing and the very last prize was a bigger and better prize. YES some kids got nothing that was the game. BUT since my kids have been going to parties, EVERY open is a prize.

One year when they wanted to play pass the parcel at their own party and I agreed to it, it was the VERY last time. I had 30 kids RSVP so there I was wrapping 29 small items up after 1 special one. So every child got a prize. No one got two, it was even, everyone would be happy. Well.. the party starts, parents brought their siblings along, kids show up that didn’t RSVP and before you know it I’m running around stressed out knowing this pass the parcel game isn’t going to end well with all these extra kids and not enough prizes wrapped up. I ended up having to throw lollies and items from the spare party bags on the floor for kids who missed out.

What’s in the box. I love this one!!! So do my kids. Get a few old boxes and cut a hole in the top just big enough for a hand. Label the boxes 1-10. Everyone has a piece of paper and has to put their hand in the box and feel the item (only a few seconds in each box) and not tell anyone else while they write down what they think it is. The person with the closest answer wins. Make it tricky like a lime (most kids would think a ball), peeled grape, cooked spaghetti, slime, cotton balls, canned corn spears.

Snakes on a string. Jelly snakes are threaded onto a long string (10 snakes per string) held by two people and the children have to stand with their hands behind their backs and try to eat their snake up the fastest for a prize. It’s not as messy or sticky as donuts on a string.

Pin the tail on the donkey. Not a fan (sorry) there is always that one kid that cheats and can see and walks straight over and gets it spot on, or the kids that feel the paper and don’t follow the rules.Y ou have kids waiting for a turn, kids that have already had a turn and it starts to get boring.

Duck, Duck, Goose. Patting each head and picking someone to race around the circle back to the spot. Just remind the kids they can’t keep choosing the same person and to give others a turn. I’ve seen some stacks so make sure it’s played on grass or carpet (kids will be skidding and sliding quickly to their spot if they are competitive like mine).

Scavenger Hunts. These are awesome in a park or backyard, and the first person/group to find all items on the list wins a prize.

Egg and spoon race. Make sure one hand is behind their backs and watch their little faces concentrating on not letting that egg fall off.

Piñata. Make sure you have something stronger than the plastic stick most piñatas come with. They do nothing. Try a broomstick or child’s bat and make sure everyone stands back at a safe distance. Give the kids empty lolly bags to fill up and that’s their lolly bags done.

Kids lolly bag ideas

  • Bubbles are such a great throw in for a lolly bag and pretty much all kids will use them
  • A mini notebook and cute pencil/pen
  • Lollipops
  • Themed cookie
  • Sherbets or whatever lollies you choose

I generally do less lollies because I feel for the parents who are getting their sugar high kids returned to them after a kids party, and sent home with a lolly bag which no doubt they will be eating on the way home. Remember the age of the children (no choking hazard toys/really small bouncy balls etc).

little mermaid kids party cake topper lolly bags

Whatever the party theme or kids party venue remember they are KIDS!

They are just there to have fun with their friends so it doesn’t have to be a massive or stressful event. Try and enjoy the kids party and have fun with the kids. Spend some time just watching your child interact with their friends and having an amazing time. Be in the moment. These years fly past way too fast and before you know it they’ll be telling you they are too old for the party you want to organise for them.

I always joke to my girls and tell them next party is a Cinderella party and everyone is coming over and cleaning our house (wishful thinking)!

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