Now that Riley’s 1st Birthday Party is over I can now say that I have successfully planned and executed my 1st Plan the Perfect Kid's Birthday PartyKid’s Birthday Party….Whewwww. This may have been my 1st kid’s birthday party, but I can assure you it will not be my last! It’s a good thing that Party Planning is one of my absolute favorite things to do! 🙂  I thrive on creating a vision and then seeing that vision become a reality; however the planning process can definitely be stressful, so as I recollect on Riley’s 1st Birthday party I thought it would be a great time to share some of the things I’ve learned about party planning and how to make the planning process less stressful and more fun. I’m going to focus on “Planning a  Kid’s Birthday Party” ; however this outline is applicable to most all parties, so whether you’re planning a kid’s party, anniversary party, bridal shower or wedding the steps outlined below will help get your planning process started right

Party Planning Process – Outline

Step 1: Determine your Budget  – This is going to be a huge factor in how you are going to proceed with planning your event. After you decide on a Number then you need to decide what the top MUST Haves are for your event. That will help you determine where you want to allocate your cost. For me, Decor is always one of my absolute top priorities; however I am able to save money by doing lots and lots of DIYS (as I’m sure most of you already know:-) ).

Step 2: Party Theme / Color Scheme  – When determining the theme for a Kid’s Birthday Party you should take into consideration the interests of the celebrant. Do they have a favorite movie, sport, sports team, animal, etc. If you can’t think of one particular “thing” that the celebrant loves you can always use a color scheme that emphasizes the celebrant’s favorite color. You can do this by asking a few questions 

1. Why is the party taking place? Kid’s Birthday

2. What does the celebrant like? For a Kid’s Party a few examples would be movie themes or characters, hobbies, sports, animals, etc. (Frozen, Cowboy, Princess, Dinosaurs, Mickie Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Owls, etc;

Now it’s time to start gathering party theme ideas! Thanks to Pinterest we now have the ability to get unlimited ideas and inspirations for pretty much any kind of party theme imaginable. If you haven’t decided on a party theme/ color scheme I would start by creating a Pinterest Board where you can pin any and every party idea you like and after a few days or even just a few hours of pinning you will most likely have an idea as to what theme/color scheme you want to go with for your Kids Birthday Party.

I’ve included a few Kid’s Birthday Party Theme Ideas below

 Rainbow Themed Kid's Birthday Party

Rainbow Themed Birthday Party 

Lego Themed Birthday Party

I love how they incorporated Chevron into this Lego Themed Birthday Party

Vintage Cowgirl Themed Birthday

I absolutely LOVE this Vintage Cowgirl Themed Birthday Party!! 

Ice Cream Shoppe Birthday Party

This Ice Cream Shoppe Themed Birthday Party is a fabulous theme for an outdoor party!! I love the pastels!

John Deere Farm Themed Birthday Party

How cute is this John Deere Farm Themed Birthday Party!!!

Choo Choo Train Birthday Party

Red and Blue Choo Choo  Train Themed Birthday Party

Frozen Themed Birthday Party

Of Course I can’t forget the Biggest Disney Movie Ever….Frozen! What little girl wouldn’t want a Frozen Themed Birthday Party!

Mermaid Themed Birthday Party

This Mermaid Themed Birthday Party is Stunning, I love the chevron, ruffles and gold accents!!

Ballerina Themed Birthday Party

This Ballerina Themed Birthday Party is definitely going on my inspiration board for when Riley has a Ballerina Themed Birthday Party….next year?? She LOVES to DANCE, so we’ll see 🙂

Winnie the Pooh Birthday Party

Winnie the Pooh Themed Birthday Party

Beach Theme Birthday Party

This Beach Themed Birthday Party is great for those kiddies with Summer Birthdays, especially if they are little beach bums 🙂

Paris Theme

This Paris Themed Birthday Party is perfect for the Fashionista in training

"Owl Themed Birthday Party"

I”m sure this Bright Owl Themed Birthday Party was a Hoot!!! I LOVE IT!!!

There are SOOOOOOO many absolutely fabulous themes to choose from that it is impossible to list them all, but a few other fun themes that you should check out are Circus & Carnival, Cat in the Hat, Pirate, Dinosaur, Sesame Street, Mickey Mouse, Safari, Baseball, Barbie

If you already have a theme/color scheme in mind I would create a Vision Board in Pinterest specifically for ideas and inspirations related to that particular theme. Here is the Vision Board I put together for Riley’s Minnie Mouse Party 

Step 3: Venue

Here are a few things to consider when determining where to host your kid’s birthday party

What time of the day will the event take place? You want to make sure you plan to have the party at a time that doesn’t impact “nap time” if they are still in that age group

Will it be a sit down party where you offer a buffet of food or will it be more of a standing/finger food type of party?

Are you going to have a candy buffet, food table, favor table, gift table or special decorations?Will you be providing any entertainment? If so what type of entertainment (Bouncy house, Princess, photobooth, etc)

How many guests are you expecting to attend?

There are so many places to host your kid’s birthday party, from your backyard to playgrounds and indoor play spaces to museums and Aquariums. If you want to be hands off and let someone else do all the work, there are a ton of kid’s birthday party places that host the party for you so all you have to do is sit back, relax and enjoy.

ALWAYS REMEMBER to go and visit the location/venue before booking, as websites don’t always display the best photos or the most recent photos. 

Step 4: Invitations

When selecting your Invitations you want to be sure that they match the theme/color scheme of your party. The invitation is what will set the tone for the party, it’s the “first impression” so to speak and is a great way to get the guest excited prior to the party.

Be sure to include the following on your invitation 

NAME of celebrant
Party DATE
Party TIME

If you’re on a tight budget digital invites are a great option, if you aren’t familiar with digital invites they are invites that are customized with your details at the time of purchase and then sent to you in the form of a downloadable file.  There are so many fabulous Etsy shops that sell digital invites for just about any event, color scheme or theme. I purchased a digital invite for Riley’s 1st Birthday party and it turned out great!! At the time of purchase I included the details for the party and within a day or two I received the customized file that I downloaded and had printed at Walgreens. The invite was 4×6 so I purchased a box of standard envelopes and customized them by adding an envelope liner. It made a huge difference in the look of the invitation; here is a tutorial if you’d like to try it! All in all the total cost was around $22.00     

Oodles and Doodles did a fabulous job of showcasing the options available for printing your invitations and other party printables such as food and candy labels, favor tags, etc.

Step 5: Decorations

Decorations are my absolute favorite part of the party planning process!!! Start by visualizing what you want the overall party to look. Now think about what you are going to need to create that look. For budget purposes think about the things you can make, as well as some of the things you have on hand that you can transform into party decor. For instance Curtain Panels and Shower Curtains make great backdrops; another item that you’re sure to have on hand are sheets, you can instantly dress up a table with a flat sheet. If you don’t have a shower curtain, curtain panels or a flat sheet that goes with your party scheme I would definitely checkout Goodwill, TJ Maxx, Marshalls and Garden Ridge for some fabulous bargain finds!    

Here are a few things to consider when it comes to decorating your party    

  • If you are having a sit down meal you need to consider linens, centerpieces and place settings.
    • For parties that have a large number of guests with multiple tables I would suggest using plastic tablecloths, as well as paper napkins and plates. To create a fun and unique look use print plates and napkins. Place them on the tables just as you would a formal party. To give your tables an upscale look without breaking the bank add a simple table runner or placemats.

Here are a few examples of creative ways to use plastic tablecloths, paper plates, napkins and plastic utensils

mustache tablescape

pink polka dot and stripe tablescape

giraffe tablescape

pink tablescape

  •  If you are hosting a small intimate party where you have one table for the birthday girl or boy and their friends you may want to spend the extra money on a fabric tablecloth and cloth napkins, as well as porcelian plates. Here are a few examples 

pink party with fabric linens

Purple Princess Party Tablescape

tea party tablescape

  •  Create a focal point for your party by adding a Candy Buffet or Dessert Bar
    • My absolute favorite element for any party or event is a Candy Buffet or Dessert Bar. If you want to learn how to create the perfect Candy Buffet for your Kid’s Party check out the post I put together that shows you How to Create a Candy Buffet. 

How to create a candy buffet

  • Add a Backdrop, Ceiling Drapes, Balloons or other special decorations, such as a Birthday Banner, Monthly Photo Banner, Welcome Sign, etc 

Here are some Fabulous ideas for decorating your Kid’s Birthday Party

Drape plastic tablecloths

 Photo via Cafe Mom

Balloon Cluster

Photo via 8 foot six

Ribbon Chandelier

Photo via Wedding Chicks

Balloon Chandelier

Cake Table Decor

ONE Photo Collage

Disney Princess Centerpiece

Photo via Tipjunkie

balloon number

Photo via Julia’s Room For Dessert

Hot Air Balloon Centerpiece

Photo via Studio DIY

Fabric Wrapped Balloons

Photo via Poppy Talk

Minnie Mouse Centerpiece

Photo via Etsy

Dance Themed party Decor

Photo via Capturing Joy with Kristen Duke

Lego Banner

Photo via Buzz Feed

Photo Garland Banner

Photo via Hostess with the Mostess

Ballerina Tutu Bunting

Photo via Hostess with the Mostess

Paris Damask Theme Party

Photo via Birthday Express

Step 6: Food

 When selecting the menu keep in mind that your guests are going to be kids, so you want to provide food that a typical kid (even the picky ones) would want to eat such as Pizza, hot dogs, popcorn, grilled cheese, chicken fingers, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, etc.

You can get tons of kid’s birthday party food ideas on pinterest for pretty much any theme, but a quick and easy way to incorporate your party theme into the menu is with cookie cutters. You can find a cookie cutter for any party theme you can imagine. For example with Riley’s Minnie mouse themed party we cut all of the PB & Jelly sandwiches into the shape of Minnie Mouse’s head using a Minnie Mouse cookie cutter. You can also use a cookie cutter for cheese, pizza, cold cuts, etc. I purchased my Minnie Mouse Head Cookie Cutter from Cheap Cookie Cutters and couldn’t have been happier, they have a HUGE selection, so if you’re interested in specialty cookie cutters you should definitely check them out!

Here are a few themed food ideas using cookie cutters.

Star shaped sandwich

Photo via Kara’s Party Ideas

elephant Sandwiches

Photo via Bella Grace Party Designs

Mickey Mouse Grilled Cheese

mickey Mouse Shaped Food

Photo via Catch My Party


My favorite way to incorporate a theme into your food is with Fruit carving displays, I think these are FABULOUS!!! I’ve included a few themed fruit carvings below. You can find a tutorial for each of the carvings below at National Watermelon Promotion Board. You should definitely check out their page, they have so many fruit carvings, it’s pretty impressive!!

Lego Fruit Display Sandbucket Fruit Display Shark Fruit Display Sailboat Fruit Display Purse Fruit Display

Step 7: Entertainment

Kids have a very short attention span, so it’s important to keep them occupied so they don’t lose interest….because when they lose interest, there natural instinct is to find an interest in whatever is around them (aka making a mess). A great way to eliminate total chaos is to provide some sort of entertainment whether it’s party games, . When selecting the type of entertainment you are going to provide make sure to keep in mind the age of the Birthday boy or girl, as well as the age of the guests that will be attending the party.

Here are a few great ways to keep those kiddos busy and having fun!

Paint Activity

Photo via Parent Map

car activity

Photo via Catch My Party

Face Paint

Photo via Paging Fun Mums

Coloring Activity Table

Photo via Apartment Therapy

Paint Fairy House Activity

Photo via Catch My Party

Paint Activity Table

Photo via Catch My Party

If you’re having an outdoor party you should definitly checkout the post that Heather at Chickabug Blog put together showcasing 10 Outdoor Party Games

Outdoor Party Games

Another great way to entertain the kids is to hire an entertainer like a Ballerina that will show them Ballet techniques or a Princess such as Elsa, Cinderella, etc

Ballerina Entertainment

Photo via Capturing Joy

Party Characters

Photos via Character Visits

Elsa Party Character

Photo via Royal Entertainers

Step 8: Party Favors

Party Favors are a great way to leave a lasting impression on your guests; however i’ll be the first to admit, party favors can get pretty expensive, especially if you have more than a handful of guests attending, but one thing to keep in mind is the dollar tree has a great selection of toys that you can incorporate into the favors…You just have to get a little creative 🙂

Here are a few kid’s birthday party favor ideas!

Play-doh Party Favors

Photo via Pinterest

 Baseball Theme Party Favors

Rainbow Theme Party Favors

Checkout this post from ivillage to see more Fabulous DIY Kid’s Party Favor Ideas

Ocean Theme party Favors

Photo via 11 Cupcakes

Fairy Theme Party Favors

Photo via Pinterest

Frozen Theme Party Favors

Photo via Catch My Party

 Until Next Time……….

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