Are you up to a DIY children’s party? Your child’s birthday party is a really big thing for your child, and should be for you, too, provided you are still in the party mood when the big day arrives.

Good planning helps keep the party animal in you alive whether you do everything yourself or decide to outsource some or all of the tricky bits. A checklist can help you keep a handle on things.

Four to six weeks ahead: Decide on the what, where, when and how of the party. Start by drawing up a guest list so you have some idea of the numbers involved. This will help you decide on the venue, entertainment and how much you can handle yourself. Decide whether to hold the party at home, find a local park or play area, or hire a hall.

Choose a time to suit your child’s age – for the really young, early is better (so the sugar high can wear off before bedtime), while older children would probably hate a morning party.

When it comes to entertainment and a theme, guide your child in choosing one to suit everyone – boys aren’t that into Pink Princess parties, but Princesses and Pirates will keep everyone happy.

As for the entertainment, an experienced party games organizer like WhizzFit could help, keeping your children active with games like Nerf or water wars, dodgeball or kickball, or even getting the children dancing energetically and learning some cool new moves. Everything is supervised. And they will bring the entertainment to you at any venue (or even help you choose one).

Four weeks ahead, send out invitations, including an RSVP request.

Two weeks ahead, chase up on those RSVPs to finalise numbers (including accompanying adults). The cake needs to be ordered (or baked and frozen un-iced) and a list drawn up on what you have and what you need to get this party going. Borrow or hire the bigger things and make a shopping list for the others.

The basics:

  • Tables & chairs; table cloths and napkins
  • Plastic plates, cups, bowls, cutlery
  • Drink dispensers, platters, serving bowls and cake servers; serving spoons, tongs and an ice-cream scoop.

To set the mood, stock up on streamers, balloons, paper lanterns; banners and props. Prepare a music playlist and make sure you have party hats and birthday candles for the cake.

Keep the menu simple and age appropriate, keeping the sugar levels down as far as possible with younger children.

Minus 5 days: Confirm bookings with entertainers, the venue, caterers and costume rental stores.

Minus 4 days:  Stock up on what’s needed. Create imaginative party favours or gift bags for the guests, with a few extras for those wanting to take one home for a sister or brother.

Minus one (and hitting panic stations):  Do whatever decorating and food preparation you can (including icing the cake or picking it up from the bakery). The party’s almost here and you don’t want to leave everything for THE DAY.

Party Day: We have a lift off! Add last minute touches and enjoy an unforgettable party!