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How to Plan a Birthday Party: The Ultimate Guide to Throwing an Awesome Kid’s Party

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Wondering how to plan a birthday party for your child? Follow our step-by-step guide for stress-free party planning, including a free printable checklist!

How to Plan a Birthday Party for Your Child

How do you throw a perfect birthday party?

Birthdays are special occasions that children look forward to all year long. As a parent, you want your child’s birthday celebration to be a memorable and fun experience they will cherish for years to come. 

However, birthday party planning can be daunting, especially if it is your first time throwing a party and you want it to stand out!

In this party planning guide, we’ll break down the process of planning a birthday party into manageable steps, from deciding on a budget and selecting a party theme to ordering the cake and sending out invitations. 

We’ll also give you a timeline to help you stay organized and ensure everything is done on time.

With our tips and advice, you can plan a stress-free and memorable birthday party that your child and their friends will love. 

So let’s start making your child’s next birthday the best yet!

How to Throw a Kid’s Birthday Party: Making Decisions

Throwing a birthday party for your child can be a fun and rewarding experience. 

Still, it can also be overwhelming if you don’t have a plan. 

Here are some important decisions you’ll need to make when planning your child’s birthday party:

  1. Decide on your budget: Before planning your child’s birthday party, knowing how much you can afford to spend is essential. Consider the venue cost, party food, decorations, party favors, and other expenses. Everything soon starts to add up. Set a budget that you’re comfortable with and stick to it.
  2. Choose a party theme: A party theme can make your child’s birthday party more fun and memorable. What does your child love to do? Do they have a favorite toy, TV program or book? 
  3. Write out the guest list: Determine the number of guests you can invite based on your budget and the venue size. Make a list of your child’s friends and family members. Think about whether a friend’s siblings will be invited too.
  4. Select a date: Choose a date that works for your child and your guests. Consider school schedules, holidays, and other events that might conflict with the party. Weekends are usually a good choice but book the venue early if you plan a party during peak season.
  5. Decide on the time of day: Determine the length of the party and choose a start and end time that works for your child and your guests. For toddlers, you will want to avoid nap times for example. Remember that younger children may cope better with shorter parties, while older children prefer longer ones.
  6. Book a suitable venue: Decide whether you want to have the party at home or at a different location, such as a park, community center, or party venue. Make sure the venue suits your child’s age group and party theme, and book it well in advance.

You can plan a successful and enjoyable birthday party by making these important decisions early on.

6-8 Weeks Before: Planning Your Child’s Birthday Party

With the basic decisions made, it’s time to start planning the details of your child’s birthday party. Here are some steps to take 6-8 weeks before the party:

  1. Plan entertainment: What activities and games can you include to entertain your guests? Consider hiring a magician, DJ or other entertainer. Plan age-appropriate games and crafts that your child and guests will enjoy.
  2. Decide on the menu: What food, drinks and snacks will you serve at the party? Consider your child’s favorite foods and any dietary restrictions or food allergies of your guests.
  3. Research decoration ideas: Look for inspiration on Pinterest, Instagram, or other websites for decoration ideas that fit your party theme. Make a list of the supplies you’ll need to purchase or order.
  4. Book entertainment: If you’re hiring an entertainer or other vendor, book them early to ensure their availability on the party date.
  5. Order food from caterers: If you plan to use a caterer, place your order early to ensure they can accommodate your party size and menu preferences.
  6. Book other vendors (if required): Book them early to ensure their availability if you’re using different vendors, such as a photographer or videographer.
  7. Order the birthday cake: Place an order with a bakery or plan to make it yourself if you’re a skilled baker.
  8. Make a party supply list: List all the party supplies you’ll need, including tableware, decorations, and party favors.
  9. Order invitations: Order or create birthday party invitations that match the theme. Include crucial details, such as the date, time, and location and the RSVP date. Visit our store at Sullivan Street Party Supplies for easy-to-edit invitation templates. 
  10. Order party favors: Choose fun, age-appropriate party favors for your guests and order them early to ensure they arrive on time.
  11. Order tableware and decorations: Order or purchase all the tableware and decorations you’ll need for the party, such as plates, cups, napkins, and balloons.

By taking these steps 6-8 weeks before the party, you’ll have plenty of time to plan and organize all the details for your child’s special day.

4 Weeks Before: Finalizing Party Details

With the party date approaching, it’s time to finalize the details. Here are some important steps to take 4 weeks before the party:

  1. Send out invitations: Mail or email the invitations to your guests.
  2. Create a food/drink shopping list: Based on your menu and guest list, write a list of all the food and drinks you’ll need for the party. Be sure to include any necessary ingredients for the birthday cake if you plan to bake it yourself.
  3. Plan music playlist: Create a playlist of music that fits your party theme and is appropriate for your guests. Consider including your child’s favorite songs to make the party feel extra special.

By taking these steps four weeks before the party, you’ll have plenty of time to shop for supplies, finalize your plans, and make necessary adjustments. 

1 Week Before: Final Preparations

With just one week until the big day, it’s time to finalize all the party details. Here are some important steps to take 1 week before the party:

  1. Confirm venue: Confirm the date, time, and location of the party with the venue, and make any necessary payments.
  2. Confirm entertainment: Confirm the date, time, and details of the entertainment or activities you have planned for the party.
  3. Confirm all vendors: Confirm the date, time, and details of all vendors you have hired for the party, such as the caterer, photographer, or videographer.
  4. Chase any RSVPs: Follow up with guests who need to respond to your invitation to confirm attendance.
  5. Complete any DIY projects: If you plan to create any DIY decorations or activities, complete them in advance so they’re ready for the party.
  6. Shop for food and drink: Purchase all the food and drink you’ll need for the party based on your shopping list.
  7. Pick up a helium tank for balloons: If you’re using helium balloons for the party, pick up a helium tank from a party supply store or rental company.
  8. Fill favor bags: Fill a goodie bag for each child with the items you’ve purchased or made.
  9. Print signs or activities: If you plan to use any signs or activities for the party, print them out in advance.

1 Day Before: Last-Minute Preparations

With just one day left before the party, it’s time to make the final preparations. Here are some steps to take one day before the party:

  1. Inflate balloons: Inflate all the balloons you’ll use for the party and store them safely until tomorrow. 
  2. Cook food that will keep overnight: Prepare any food items you can make in advance and store them in the refrigerator overnight, such as dips or casseroles.
  3. Collect the birthday cake: Pick it up from the bakery or remove it from the refrigerator if you made it yourself.

By taking these steps one day before the party, you’ll be able to ensure that everything is in order and that you’re fully prepared for the big day. 

Day of the Party: It’s Party Time!

It’s finally the day of the party! Here are some steps to take on the day of the party:

  1. Cook any remaining food: Prepare food items that need to be cooked on the day of the party, such as pizzas or sandwiches.
  2. Decorate the venue: Display your decorations to make the party space festive and fun.
  3. Set up the food table: Arrange the food items on the table, along with plates, utensils, and napkins.
  4. Set up the gift table: Set aside a table for the gifts and a pen and paper to record who gave what.
  5. Set out activities: Set up any games, crafts, or other activities you have planned for the party.
  6. Test the music system: Test the sound system to ensure the music is playing and the volume is appropriate.
  7. Display the birthday cake: Place it on a table in a prominent location so everyone can admire it.
  8. Welcome the guests: Greet each guest as they arrive and show them where to put their coats and gifts.
  9. Enjoy the party! Once everything is set up and the guests have arrived, it’s time to relax and enjoy the party with your child and guests. Have fun, take lots of photos, and create special memories your child will cherish for years.

By taking these steps on the day of the party, you’ll be able to ensure that everything runs smoothly and that everyone has a great time. Remember, the most important thing is to have fun and celebrate your child’s special day!

After the Party: Wrap-Up and Thank You’s

Once the party is over, it’s time to clean up and wrap things up. Here are a couple of things you should do after the party:

  1. Return rented items: Make sure that everything you borrowed, hired, or rented is returned in good order to their owners.
  2. Send personalized thank you notes: Take the time to write a thank you note to each guest, thanking them for coming to the party and any gifts they may have brought. Your child can help with this task, too, by drawing a picture or writing a special message for their friends.
  3. Write online reviews for vendors: If you hired any vendors, such as a caterer, photographer, or entertainer, take a few minutes to write an online review for them. This will help them get more business in the future and give other parents an idea of the quality of service they can expect.

By taking these steps, you can wrap up the party and thank everyone who helped make it a success. 

Conclusion: Happy Birthday to Your Little One!

Throwing a birthday party for your child can be a lot of work. Still, with some planning and organization, you can make it a fun and memorable experience for everyone involved. 

By breaking down the party planning process into manageable steps, you can take the stress out of the equation and focus on enjoying the day with your child.

From deciding on a budget and selecting a party theme to ordering the cake and sending out invitations, each step of the planning process is vital for throwing a successful party. 

By following the timeline we’ve laid out, you can ensure that you remember everything and that everything runs smoothly on the big day.

Remember, having fun and celebrating your child’s special day is the most important thing. 

By planning ahead and creating a fun and festive atmosphere, you can throw a party your child will remember for years. 

Here’s to a successful and stress-free party planning process!

How to plan a birthday party for your kids - the ultimate planning guide!