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The Best Birthday Ever Can be a Piece of Cake

Okay picture this, 5 four year olds in your house for two hours with, cake, snacks, craft materials, games…you’re thinking complete chaos, right? Not necessarily. The difference between an average, hectic, “are-we-done-yet” party and a creative, exciting, “do-we-have-to-leave-now” party is in the planning. Here are the basic steps to help get you started and come out the other end in one piece.

The best times for a party are 1-3 pm or 2-4 pm as there is no need for a full meal. Whichever time you decide on, the most important point is to determine and stick to an “end time” to your party. Wrapping up your party before you, your kids, or your guests become worn out will ensure its success.

Guest List
The traditional guideline for the guestlist is if the birthday child is under age 8, invite as many children as the child’s age. E.g. 4th birthday = 4 guests. However, you may find it just doesn’t work with your family or group of friends. Don’t worry! Your party will still be a success. You will just have to plan carefully and have a few adult helpers to keep the party organised and the activities moving along smoothly.

It may seem easiest, at first glance, to have your party at home, but depending on the season and the number of guests, it may be easier to rent a room at a community centre or hold the party at a local park. You could get even more creative and have it at a swimming pool or the zoo, if your budget allows. You may need to book your venue well in advance. Make sure your reservation is secure before you send out your invitations.

As a rule, kids don’t eat much at parties other than the cake. That being said, you do want to have some fun and healthy snacks available throughout the party to munch on until cake time arrives.

In order to keep your guests entertained, you need to keep them active, without rushing them through an assembly line of party games. A theme-based party can help tie everything together and make the transitions from one phase of the party to the next more natural. A craft, a story and a game like a race or a treasure hunt give a good mix of active and more relaxed activities.

Opening Gifts
For young children, opening presents can be the highlight of the party, but it’s also the part that can go most astray. Remember, attention spans are short, especially for those who are not on the receiving end of the gift giving.

Make sure to have someone keep a list of who has given which gift. It will make writing your thank you cards after the party that much easier.

So, now picture 5 four year olds in your house for two hours with cake, snacks, craft materials, games…you’re thinking piece of cake!

Shauna Farrell and Tami Oudendijk are both parents of pre-school aged children and partners in Fun-In-A-Box. Fun-In-A-Box is a small business developing theme based kits which focus on developmental skills through a variety of fun activities and themed party packages with everything from table ware and complete lootbags to crafts with all the supplies and games to keep kids busy. To check it out go to or call 604-782-4345.
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