Instax picture of a little girl at a birthday party

Kids’ Birthday Party Planning Guide

Table at a kid's birthday party

Plan your next kids’ birthday party with this planning guide!

Your child’s birthday party can be one of the most exciting events, but as a parent, it can also be one of the most overwhelming. While your kid’s birthday party doesn’t have to be perfect, you want to make sure it goes smoothly and that everyone has a great time. The key to a successful birthday party is planning ahead and enjoying the excitement.

Timeline:

6 Weeks Before

  • Pick a date 
  • Choose a theme 
  • Make a guest list 
  • Decide on a location 
  • Pick digital or tangible invites 

2 Weeks Before

  • Determine party activities/games 
  • Order decorations 
  • Order party supplies  
  • Order food 
  • Create agenda for party 
  • Arrange care for pets and/or siblings 

1 Day Before

  • Set up and decorate 
  • Assemble party favors 
  • Make or pick up cake 
  • Gather materials for games 
  • Wrap birthday presents 
  • Make a last-minute shopping trip (if needed!) 

Day of Party

  • Set up food and games 
  • Put out party favors 
  • Turn on music 
  • Set out notepad and pen for writing down gifts 
  • Rest! 

Sample Agenda

  • 15 minutes: Friends and family arrive 
  • 15 minutes: Free play/snacks 
  • 30 minutes: Organized game/activity 
  • 15 minutes: Sing “Happy Birthday”/cake 
  • 30 minutes: Open presents 
  • 15 minutes: Free play/friends and family depart 

Party Details

Attendees:

  • The more attendees at the party, the more coordination and resources will be needed. The younger the kids, err on the side of less children. Inviting your child’s entire class can be fun but is never necessary. 
  • Decide if the party will be for your child’s friends or family. Also, be clear if families are invited or just your child’s friend.  

Location:

  • Hosting a party at your home is a less expensive option than hosting it at an event space or party room. However, it requires more preparation and cleaning on your end.  

Length:

  • 1.5-2 hours is the ideal length for a kid’s party. The younger the kids, the shorter the party should be. If the party is longer than two hours, be sure to provide lots of entertainment and snacks! 

Entertainment:

  • Games and activities are a hit for kids of all ages. Piñatas, pin the tail on the donkey, and musical chairs are classic birthday party games that never get old! Be sure to provide entertainment as well as unstructured playtime for kids to be silly and play freely with each other.