After having a few parties at home I find the easiest thing to do is to have it around lunch time (usually starting at 11am) and doing a BBQ with a few nibbles and drinks. That way I'm not preparing heaps and heaps of food. Works really well, everyone's happy.
Have you written out the time line? High light the important things, the food, cake, presents, those should happen bang on the time you set.
One party I hosted, I got carried away with the games (you think it wouldn't take long to play a few games, but trying to organize a big bunch of over excited loud kids can drag a simple game out lol) I ended up having to rush the cake and presents at the end as parents were arriving and wanting to leave with their kids.
Be prepared to have at least 1 kid not want to join in the games, I found boys parties needed more first aid supplies such as band aids because the boys played a lot rougher then the boys, have a realistic time frame for party games they don't last as long as you might think, like pp said label cups, have another adult there to tag team supervision, unless it's a ice cream cake napkins work well instead of plates, don't go crazy on decorations they don't really get noticed and get plenty of sleep the night before because that 1.5-2 hours will be the longest and most exhausting ever
Sounds like you are all organised, My Beloved Ones. Have a great time!
For DS's birthday we had a slip n slide set up, tamp and swing set in back yard, i had paints set up, i did a treasure hunt (just $1/$2 toys), i set up a table with milk arrowroot bickies, icing and toppings and the kids made their own bickies! Set up a table of food and drinks and let them go wild.
I really dont like it when the kids dont get to open pressies at the party. People really like seeing their pressie get opened.
Def have a time frame 2 hours is plenty.
Oh and ive never done loot bags. I figured they had a toy from the treasure hunt so its all good. Im not a fan of loot bags. Whats the point of then anyway???
I am agreeing with the presents at the party thing. I like seeing the child unwrap the present. Also, while I agree with children learning about charity, I really think birthday presents are important for kids. It teaches them about giving just as much as giving to charity does. If not more as money doesn't really mean anything to kids. Perhaps the birthday girl/boy might like to give double ups or two or three presents to charity afterward? Not sure what the best way to go would be. I just think there's nothing wrong with it being all about the birthday kid for a day.
We have had a few big parties here and enjoyed them, I agree on writing down a rough time line and sticking to it. It can be a rush to do the cake at the end otherwise.
The only advice I have to add is if the parents are dropping and running, make sure you have their mobile numbers for contact just in case. If I haven't got them from a rsvp text I ask them to write it down before they leave.
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