Top 10 Tips for a Successful Birthday Party

Birthday parties are a BIG deal!  Turning a year older is exciting, especially for younger children. For many of us, birthday parties are some of our favorite childhood memories. With good planning, birthday parties can be enjoyable for everyone involved, including the parents.  As one of the most popular birthday party entertainers in the Portland metro area, here are a few tips I’ve gathered from years of performing!

Here are my top ten tips for a great birthday party:

Birthday Party Checklist

#1 – Have a Plan

Start planning your party early. You can avoid a lot of stress by planning ahead! Begin planning at least 4-6 weeks in advance and use a checklist to make sure you don’t forget anything…like ordering the cake! If you’re booking an entertainer and/or a party venue, call them first as the popular ones book up early. Something I’ve learned from being a Portland magician is that indoor venues often fill fast due to unpredictable weather!

#2 – Be Flexible!

Even the best plans should include some room for unexpected changes. Guests may arrive late, uninvited siblings might show up and activities might take more or less time than you think. Have backup plans ready just in case you need to make last-minute changes. These might include things like additional games, another venue (in case of inclement weather, for example), and having extra party favors on hand.   Don’t stress about little inconveniences, your child won’t notice. Just roll with the punches!

Be flexible when planning your birthday party
kids at a birthday party

#3 – Choose a Theme First

One of the first steps in planning a birthday party is to sit down with your child and find out what type of party he/she wants. You don’t need a theme, but it makes the planning easier! The theme can help you in choosing birthday decorations, the cake, goodie bags, giveaways, and party activities. Choose a theme that reflects your child’s interests, or the entertainment you have planned. Don’t worry about everything fitting the theme, all you need are a few items that represent the theme. The rest of the items can match in colors.

#4 – Involve the Birthday Child

In addition to helping choose the theme, it’s fun to involve the birthday child in most of the planning. After all, it’s their special day! Sit down with your child and discuss the choices (be prepared with some ideas that might help steer them in the right direction). Let your child help with the guest list, invitations, food, decorations, games, etc. Spending time planning the birthday party together will strengthen your bond with your child, help teach them responsibility, and make the big day more special an personalized for them!

birthday child
birthday party games

#5 – Plan Plenty to Do

There is perhaps no greater destructive force than a group of excited young kids with nothing to do! Make sure there is something for the kids to do from the moment they arrive until the time they leave. While kids are arriving, try having some toys out, reading a story, a simple craft project, or even having small games going. While you don’t need to run a boot camp here, the more structure and planned activities, the less chance of chaos.

#6 – Have Age-Appropriate Food

Don’t plan too much time for food, kids these days inhale food as fast as it comes! Plan 10-20 minutes max for the kids to have cake and/or some finger foods. Times are changing from the days where pizza, Kool-aid and Cheetos were a great meal to have at a party! Nowadays many people are eating healthier. The best thing to do is offer a wide variety of foods so guests are sure to find something they like, as well as something their parents will approve of.  Remember to keep the food simple. Easy party foods to serve include things like pigs in a blanket, sub-sandwiches, string cheese, fruits and vegetables, and other finger foods.

birthday cupcake
get help planning your birthday party

#7 – Get Help

You can’t be cutting the cake, leading musical chairs and taking pictures at the same time! Enlist a spouse, other parent, or even a responsible older sibling to help with the party. Delegate specific responsibilities to them so they know exactly what to do. If your children are young, enlist help from the other parents who stay for the party. They’ll be understanding and more than willing to help!

#8 – Capture the Memories

Make sure you have your phone/camera ready, with plenty of memory and batteries. You don’t want to miss any of the fun or special moments. Pass the camera to someone else to make sure that you’re in some of the pictures. Also, remember to take at least one group photo at some point during the party. You can send a copy to each child with the thank you note.

picture of presto with kid
kids birthday party

#9 – Remember the Reason

Remember, the birthday party is for the benefit of the birthday child and his/her friends. Your primary goal should be to make the birthday child feel special. Your second goal is to ensure that everyone has a good time. Your child and their friends will remember whether they had fun, not whether your house was spotless!

#10 – Have Fun and Enjoy

Each birthday only comes once, so take the time to enjoy the celebration of your child turning a year older. Don’t worry if everything doesn’t go according to plan. Sometimes, the unplanned moments become the most memorable! Take some time during the party to simply look around and see how much fun your child is having. After all, that’s what it’s all about!

kids laugh at a birthday party

Portland magician “Presto the Magician” performs at nearly 200 birthday parties in the Portland/Vancouver metro area each year!

Book Portland’s favorite birthday party magician for your kid’s birthday
by calling 800.388.5567 or filling out the form below!

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