Saturday, July 11, 2009

Party Bags; To Give or Not To Give

To give or not to give kids party bags, that is indeed the question that hovers in many a parents mind when planning their child’s party. Throwing a birthday party for kids these days is no small feat, in some circles there is much competition and pressure to throw bigger and better events and as a result the cost can spiral. For others the pressure to please their child is self inflicted because lets face it, they are so adorable and we want to make their special day special indeed. But where do you draw the line?

Many of my subscribers have posed this question to me, “where do I draw the line” and in discussing this topic one of the most debatable ‘must have party item’ that comes up is the tradition of giving out kids party bags, also known as a loot bag or goody bag.

My answer is firstly that no-one should feel pressured to provide anything out of obligation to others, and in saying that I am also saying one needs to consider the reason why we traditionally hand out party bags in the first place. By considering this you may find that the gift (as so often said) is in the giving.

As a children’s party expert I take it upon myself to know the origins of many celebratory traditions, but the origins of the party bag remains somewhat elusive, so I will share with you the reasons why I myself always send my little guests home with a special memento of my child’s special day, emphasis on the word ‘memento’.

As already mentioned, the gift is in the giving, and to receive that wonderful sense of delight when you give a gift you must first put some thought into it. A plastic bag full of lollies and plastic junk is I believe the ‘obligatory’ party bag which should be avoided. Of course, if you have no problem with this type of gift bag then give them away to your hearts content. But for those who feel somewhat reluctant to spend money in this way, who feel more lollies is a bad idea or who simply are watching their pennies then the always better alternative is a party memento, something that is a keeper and will serve to remind your little ones guest of the special party they attended.

Here are 3 memento’s I have given out at my own children’s parties:

My daughters’s Disco Party: I burned 10 of her favourite songs onto a disc and made a really cool CD label of her face with a disco background.

My nephew’s Pirate Party: I made paper pirate hats for each guest (not to wear at the party, but to take home afterwards) and during the party took photo’s of each child in their pirate outfit, ducked out the back while my sister was keeping an eye on things and printed them on the computer then pasted to the front of the hat. As each child left my sister plonked their hat on their head at the door.

My daughters Tea Party: We had gone out rummaging around second hand stores and purchased a very cheap tea cup and saucer for each of her guests in which to serve the tea (which was actually hot chocolate, but that’s another story). At the end of the party I washed them up and wrapped them in clear cellophane and a big ribbon and the girls were delighted.

So, next time you’re feeling unsure about whether or not your really have to give out kids party bags, just think how lovely it was of your children’s friends to attend and give them a little something to say thanks for coming that they can treasure…for as long as it stays in one piece.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

5 Easy Handmade Party Invitations

It is easy to come up with some original ideas to make your own invitations. Of course, and invitation doesn’t need to be on paper, you can use things from nature as well as items from around the house, or purchase craft items from the store to get the look you want.

Here are 5 easy PartyMum handmade party invitations that you can make very easily together with your child.

Photograph It:

Write your invitation on a large piece of card and get your party child to hold it in front of themselves with a big cheesy smile on their face. Take a picture, print them on your home computer or through your local photo processing in standard 10 x 15 cm size. Laminate them for extra strength, or glue to coloured card.

Flip Flop It:

The humble flip flop is great for summer pool parties, beach parties or anything with a tropical theme. Pick up some coloured flip flops from a discount store. You can write the invitation on the sole with a marker pen, or use the flip flop as a template and draw around it on a piece of coloured card. Cut out the flip flop shape, write the invite and decorate before sticking onto the sole of the flip flop. You could even use this as a basis for a game whereby each child has to find out who has their matching flip flop by sitting in a circle and asking each other questions with yes or no answers like the game ‘Who Am I?’

Inflate It:

Balloons are extremely cheap to buy and very easy to use as an invitation. Write the invitation on regular 80gsm paper, roll it up into a scroll and insert the invitation inside the balloon. Now blow it up and deliver to your guests with the words POP ME! written in marker pen. It’s even more appealing if you can inflate with helium and tie with coloured ribbon. Imagine your child turning up at school with a bunch of balloons for all their friends to stomp on, great fun!

Age It:

I’m sure you’ve all at one time or another made a pirate map, perhaps when you were at school yourself. Well a better and safer way to get the aged look onto a pirate map for example is to make up a tray of tea, no milk or sugar required of course. Just soak a few tea bags in a tray of water and then drop sheets of regular paper into the water nice and flat. You don’t need to soak for too long, we don’t want the paper to disintegrate. Take out and hang on the line with a peg to dry. You now have the basis for a beautiful handmade party invitation with an authentically old look. Write on it with a fine marker pen in a loopy old fashioned way; perfect for any pirate party.

Puzzle It:

Take your invitation, either hand written, printed or one of those ones you can buy in a pad. After writing, glue to a piece of card stock. On the back create a jigsaw puzzle effect by either drawing odd shapes or mimicking a traditional jigsaw design. Now cut up the invitation accordingly and pop all the pieces in an envelope. Your little guests will need to put the invitation together in order to read it.

Handmade Party Invitations are one of our specialties at The Party Mums, you can get more ideas by visiting our site at The Party Mums Invitations.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

10 Things Every Mum SHould Know When Throwing a Birthday Party for Kids

What better place to start my blog than the beginning of a party, the planning phase.

A really fun birthday party for kids is possible to achieve without even breaking a sweat providing you have a combination of enthusiasm, thoughtful planning and the ability to maintain control over a bunch of rambunctious kids.

There are ten things I consider essential when putting together a birthday party for kids.

#1.Put it on paper; the first and most essential step when planning a birthday party for kids is as simple as making a list! Consider such things as party theme’s, possible dates, the best venue and what you would like to offer for refreshments etc.

#2.Once you have worked out your overall plan for the party it’s time to think entertainment, if you are hiring a professional you will need to book at least 4-6 weeks ahead of time.

#3.Get your birthday child involved; in so doing you create excitement and anticipation as they approach their big day. Word of advice though, don’t make the mistake of saying it’s your birthday darling, you can have any kind of party your heart desires, or you could end up with a petting zoo in your tiny fourth floor kitchen!

#4.Check your child’s best friend can come on the day you intend to host the party. Be flexible if you can by trying to celebrate on a day your child’s BFF can attend.

#5.Now for the rest of the guest list; decide how many you can handle, then ask you child who they would like to invite.

#6.Go out and buy a large plastic container, your ‘Party Tub’ in which to keep adding your party supplies as you buy them and also store the left over’s for the next party.

#7.Now you’re ready to really get the ball rolling with some great invitations. Hand made or printed pad, it doesn’t matter as long as you get them out at least 2 weeks before the day. Please remember to include an RSVP with the reply date, phone number and name of the person to speak to.

#8.Don’t be shy about delegating, it’s a very useful skill if you want to throw a successful birthday party for kids. So ask a parent or three to stay at the party to help, assign tasks, such as serving food, or managing the games so that you can focus on everything running smoothly.

#9.Thinking before baking saves time and trouble so once again, make a list, don’t overdo it and try to have things you can prepare the day before.

#10.Last but not least stay calm. Have a planned schedule of events before the guests arrive, but don’t worry if it all goes hay wire, birthday parties are meant to have at least a degree of chaos, so go with it, have fun and just enjoy them while they’re young.


helloo out there, echo echo echo, hehe.

Well, I figure its time for me to have a blog about all my kids party ideas so this is just a quick hello to get the ball rolling.

Be back soon :)