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Surviving Your Child's Birthday Party Celebration

Here are some simple tips and suggestions for planning your child's next birthday party!

I will never forget looking around my house at the aftermath of throwing my daughter's first birthday party with all of her friends when she was 5. My home looked like a war zone.  I called my mom afterwards and thanked her for all of the parties she did for me growing up.  I had no idea how much work, effort and time go into making a memory for our children.

Some people have "all out" parties every year, and some people have family-only parties; either way, the celebration can be great. Regardless of the party size, here are some basic things to consider for any party.

How many guests should I invite? A good rule of thumb is however many years old your child is, invite that many children (a 5 year old gets five guests, etc.)

How early should I get the invitations out?  Two weeks is an appropriate amount of time. Remember,  offers fun and unique stationary for making invitations!

Decide on the theme: Whatever the theme, be it dinosaurs or princesses, decide early; it will help you in deciding on the invitations, food, games, goody bags and the like.

Location, location, location: Decide whether the party will be at your home, at a park, or a special venue that may cater to birthday parties.  Depending on the ages of your child, there are great opportunities for birthday parties here in Montrose.  host cake decorating parties; Big Mama's and Papa's Pizza hosts pizza making parties; offers ceramic painting parties for all ages; and the hosts private parties for all ages.  Party buses and limo tours are also fun for teens and families.

Choose your entertainment. Is it going to be a bounce house, a petting zoo, a "mad scientist" or a special surprise visit from Cinderella?

Consider your audience: Can the children do a craft or decorate cupcakes, or will there need to be running and obstacle courses? The gender and personality of the children attending can influence your decision.

Munchies. What will you be serving ... lunch, dinner, snacks, cake? Remember to ask parents if there are any food allergies you should know of. Many children have peanut, berry, milk or gluten allergies.

What goodies will fill the goody bag? Goody bags are always the rage, and they are so fun to put together!  My "hot tip" is to go to the toy district in downtown Los Angeles (Wall St. and 4th).  There are fabulous toys there for very reasonable prices, and you can actually get a quality memento that children can enjoy, rather than some candies and stickers jammed in a paper bag in a rush.

Get creative! One of the best parties I've thrown was a marshmallow gun party; I went to the hardware store and got a ton of PVC pipes, connectors in "L" and "T" shapes, little PVC end caps and a PVC pipe cutter. With these materials, kids can make their own marshmallow guns (google: "marshmallow gun instructions" for complete assembly outlines). I took a box of colored sharpies and pipe cleaners and let the kids decorate their own marshmallow guns.  We went to  and gave the kids bags of mini marshmallows. They had a great time running all over the park, shooting marshmallows at each other; the best part is, the raccoons cleaned up for us over night!

The final touch: My final advice is to do "thank you" cards to those who attended the party.  The art of writing a simple thank you has fallen by the wayside.  Teach your children its value by letting them craft the card themselves. 

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