The first thing you should do when beginning to plan your kid's birthday party is to think about an age appropriate party. Younger children can enjoy smaller parties, while older children may want to invite their entire school. You also need to plan for the food, games, and other forms of entertainment you wish to offer the party goers. Be sure to include the child’s thoughts and ideas into the party planning.
When planning a party for a one or two year old child, take into consideration that they are too young to understand the concept of birthdays and parties, so you can keep the party simple. This is the time for the easy, cheap, at home celebrations. Invite relatives and a few close friends, but don’t let your kid's birthday become a social gathering for adults. Be sure to invite some children the same age as your child. Purchase a small cake and a few finger foods for the adults to enjoy. Be sure to enjoy the simplicity and cheap budget of these celebrations, since you may be spending the next 10 years planning all out birthday bashes!
As your child reaches 4 to 8 years old, he/she may want a themed party. The theme may be a cartoon character (think SpongeBob!). Look into getting a costume of your child’s favorite character for someone to wear to the party. You could also design the party with a sport or hobby that your child enjoys, such as an art party or a swimming/water party. Be sure to involve your child in the planning, and actually use a couple of his/her ideas. That way he/she will take pride in his/her party, and be more willing to help you set everything up! Be sure to plan a couple of theme related games to keep the kids entertained. You can still invite some family, but also let your child invite some of his/her friends from school. The simple cake and ice cream works well, because most children in this age range are more interested in playing than eating.
For 8 to 10 year old children, throw a slumber party! At this age, most children have a few best friends that they always play with at school, and always talk about at home. Let your child invite them to sleepover on the weekend close to their birthday. Give your child a certain number of invitations (5-7 would be good), and tell him/her to give them to the people they would most like to have at the party. Be sure to have enough fun stuff planned to keep the children entertained until they crash. For girls, plan a movie (maybe something Barbie), makeovers, nail polishing contests, or dress up games. For boys, you could also do a movie (such as Transformers), as well as wacky races, video games, and some outdoor games. Be sure to have enough snacks to last the kids all night.
For older children, birthday parties become too “childish” and many kids just want a couple of presents instead of the whole birthday blowout. Some may want to have a cookout or go out to dinner, and maybe bring a couple of friends. You could also plan a trip to the skating rink or bowling alley for your child and a few friends. After age 10, children begin to care more about what others think about them, and for most, kid's birthday parties just aren’t so cool anymore. Even if they feel this way, it’s still your kid's birthday, so you should still do a little something for them.
Birthdays are special memories that most kids will treasure forever. Planning great parties will help ensure those memories are happy ones. Just be sure that they are age appropriate and full of fun and games, and you will be an excellent party planner!