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Birthday Party Ideas & Tips

 

Is this your first time planning a birthday party or hiring an entertainer? We can help. We've performed at around 10,000 shows since 2002. We've got the ideas and experience to make your birthday party a success.


Planning a Kids' Birthday Party

We usually recommend starting to plan your party at least 2-3 weeks in advance, or 4-5 weeks if you're feeling super organized. That is generally enough time to be sure that you get your first choice of entertainer, bounce house, or character, and so that your guests have plenty of time to "save the date" so that you get a great guest turnout.

If you are planning a party on short notice, consider having your party on a weekday. Weekday parties can often mean more entertainer and guest availability, and an after-school party is often easier than you think for kids to attend. During the busiest birthday party seasons (spring and fall), a weekday party may mean you don't need to compete with your birthday childs' friends for that prime 1:00 Saturday time slot.

Birthday Party Flow and Timing

Most kid's parties occur between 10:30 am and 6:00 pm. When planning the timing for your party, think about whether you'd like to serve lunch or dinner to your guests, or just stick with afternoon snacks – that will really help you decide what time will work best for you. Also don't forget to take into account that small children often nap during the day – don't plan your party right at nap time (or you might end up with some cranky guests!)

Here's a sample timeline of a typical, successful birthday party:

9:30 am Your bounce house arrives and is quickly set up by our drivers and inflated. Your kids can not WAIT, and climb in immediately, leaving you free to finish decorating and setting out snacks.
10:30 am This is the time on the invitation! Your birthday child is super excited and peeking through the front window, waiting for her friends to arrive. Nobody is here yet but everything looks beautiful.
10:45 am The guests start to trickle in, and then suddenly your house is full of excited (and slightly shy), well-dressed children and their parents. The kids have a handful of goldfish crackers, and then notice the bounce house. The bounce house fills up, quickly overcoming any residual shyness. Suddenly, everyone is best friends with everyone else and your birthday child is ruling over it all.
11:00 am The entertainer arrives! She makes a grand entrance and the kids forget all about the bounce house in their excitement to see Cinderella / Rapunzel / Spiderman / the Fairy Princess. The kids thought they couldn't get any more excited. They were wrong. They all sit down on the grass, and the show starts.
11:30 am The kids are laughing and having a great time. There has been a magic show (where your birthday child got to look SO cool in front of all her friends) and games. Maybe some bubbles have happened. The entertainer gets the kids organized for face painting or balloon animals, and gets ready to have quality time with each child at the party. Meanwhile, you can serve lunch to the kids who are waiting their turn.
12:15 pm The face painting is done and everyone has a balloon and they're bouncing their little heads off and playing with the balloons and generally running around having a blast. The entertainer gathers all the kids together because it's time for cake! She leads the Happy Birthday song, poses for some fantastic group photos, and keeps control while the cake is distributed. The kids eat their cake.
12:30 pm

The entertainer gives all the kids a hug and waves goodby as the kids are finishing their cake. Soon afterwards, the party wraps up, and everyone picks up their goodie bag on the way out the door (just before the mass sugar crash!). Your birthday child has a nap, and then goes back in the bounce house to jump and think about her fantastic party and, and enjoy feeling loved and appreciated.

4:00 pm The bounce house driver arrives to pick up the bounce house, and your birthday child starts dreaming about what she wants on her birthday next year.

If you're planning a fire or light show, we recommend an evening party. Fire and lights are both much more spectacular in the dark! Check out our Sunset Clock to find out what time it will be dark on the day of your event.

Best Birthday Party Locations

Most parties we attend are in the host's home or backyard. Lots of people turn their garage into a party room for the day, and living rooms (with the coffee table pushed out of the way) also work great for parties with less than 15 kids.

We have also done parties at community centers, dance schools, tea houses, apartment complex rec centers, kid-friendly museums, pizza places and lots of other locations. When the weather is nice, picnic areas at local parks work wonderfully. If you are having trouble finding a location for your party in your area, ask us and we can tell you what venues we've been to in your city.

Food - What To Serve at Birthday Parties

If you decide to have your party during lunch time or dinner time, make sure that you have some sort of meal for the guests. With all of this activity, they are bound to get hungry. If you find that your party falls between lunch time and dinner, than it's best to have lots of finger foods around so the kids and adults can eat when they get hungry, instead of sitting down to a formal meal. It also helps the party stay active.

Some great ideas for finger foods:
1) Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches (use a cookie cutter to make fun shapes!)
2) Pizza
3) Fruit Platter
4) Pretzels
5) Veggie Platter
6) Popcorn
7) Brownies
8) Jello squares

Birthday Cake Ideas

There are many beautiful commercially made cakes available, but if you want something a little more personal (or a little less messy), cupcakes are a great alternative. Cupcakes are very popular at kid's parties because they are small enough for the kids to hold and they have less sugar than a large piece of cake.

One fun idea is to bake the cupcakes inside ice-cream cones instead of cupcake wrappers. The kids love these and can eat them easily with fingers – no plates or forks required!

The best time to serve cake and ice cream is near the end of the party, so your guests don't "sugar-crash" halfway through. Or if you choose to have a tea party as part of your party package, you can serve dessert then, that way all of the kids are already sitting down. And what's a tea party without dessert?

If you do not consider yourself a chef, or just don't feel like cooking, then make a quick run to a wholesale grocery store to pick up some pre-made food trays. They are already made for you and are also in a reasonable price range.

Entertainment

We usually recommend our entertainers to arrive 30 minutes to an hour after the official party start time just so we can make sure that all the guests have arrived. We wouldn't want any of the kids to miss the show just becasue they weren't there exactly at the start time! Also, giving your guests time to "settle in" to the party before the entertainer arrives is a good way to keep them from feeling overwhelmed - it's exciting to meet "the real Cinderella" and it's easier and more fun for everyone involved if the kids are relaxed.

Tipping

Affer your entertainer has done her show and if you feel that she has done a great job, then feel free to tip her if you choose. Tips are always welcome but not mandatory. The "standard" tip amount is 15-20%, just like at a restaurant.

More Questions?

Feel free to contact us with any other quetsions you might have! We do a lot of parties and are more than happy to share our experience with you!