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Tips ‚n‘ Hints

In this section we want to share with you some general tips ‘n’ hints which we hope will make the lead up to your party, be it a birthday party for your son or daughter or a party for some other special occasion, much smoother and less stressful. The most important thing to remember is that it’s an occasion to enjoy so try to be relaxed. By planning ahead much of the stress you may feel at the thought of organising a party can be eliminated – this includes thinking of all the items you will need for the party and seeing what and how much can be completed in advance.

Many children know months in advance how they want their party to be and can already be excited knowing who they will invite, what the party theme should be and so on. A birthday party is one of the really special and exciting occasions during the year for a child whatever their age and it’s important that they be included in the organisation; for example, choosing the party theme, making invitations, perhaps helping with the party decorations or by putting the party bags together.

We hope that you find the following example of a party countdown timetable helpful. Firstly you need to decide when you are going to have your party and how long it will last. Generally speaking the younger the children the shorter the party. Even for older children don’t make the party too long, around 2,5 – 3 hours is about right.

Party Planning

8 weeks ahead
  • Think about where you want to hold the party. Having a party at home may require additional organising for example, furniture may need to be moved to ensure there is sufficient room for party games. Dependent upon the number of party guests you may need to borrow or hire tables and chairs.
  • If you decide or know that you want to hold your party away from home you need to think about the party venue in plenty of time. Party rooms and venues tend to get booked weeks if not months in advance. Find out when on the actual day you are able to gain access to the room to decorate it, what is provided – are there kitchen facilities and how long you are able to stay.
  • Your party does not necessarily have to be in a party room – other venues such as museums, various sports facilities, cinemas or the park are all places where great memorable parties can be held. Often where you decide to hold the party determines the party theme, the type of activities / entertainment you will have or the games the children will play.
  • Decide if you want to have a children’s entertainer. Children’s entertainers are very popular but they too tend to get very booked up so it’s advisable to book them around the same time as you book the party venue.4 weeks ahead
4 weeks ahead
  • Decide upon the party theme.
  • Decide on how many guests you want to invite – this depends upon the space you have available, what help you are able to have from friends and family in managing the party on the actual day and of course on your budget for the event. If you are having a party for a toddler it’s a good idea to invite the parents of the guests to stay. Make a guest list.
  • It’s a really good idea to have additional help at the party – enlist help from family members or friends.
  • Buy or make and send out the invitations. It can be helpful to add a date on the invitation by which you want a reply as to whether the invited guest can / cannot come. If you are having a themed party decide on whether the guests should come in Fancy Dress, for example, pirate, fairy, knights, princesses, monsters...
  • If you will require additional tables / chairs ask friends and family if they have any that you can borrow for the party.
2-3 weeks ahead
  • Plan any games for the party – pick those which are appropriate for the age of the children and for the space available. Make a list of the games you want to play and what you need to have for each game. It’s a good idea to have a ‘warm-up’ or ‘icebreaker’ game at the beginning of the party particularly if not all the children know each other. Games can also be organised to suit the theme of the party for example a treasure hunt at a pirate party. Some games require children to work as a team or in pairs. Should you have an odd number of guests an idea is for the children to take it in turns to act as a judge or Umpire. It’s also a good idea to have some inexpensive prizes available and to ensure that each guest has the chance of winning one. The winner can take a ‘mystery’ prize out of a bag and have a ‘lucky dip’. If you have a party with boys and girls it can be better to have a bag of prizes for each.
  • As children get older they may be more interested in a party where there is an activity involved such as making pizzas or cooking cupcakes, making or painting a model, having a beauty and jewellery making party, ten-pin bowling, a movie night and sleepover rather than having games.
  • Buy tableware including plates, cups, napkins and table cover; it’s always a good idea to have a few extra cups and plates just in-case. Will the children need cutlery to eat the food?
  • Buy balloons and other decorations such as banners, garlands and streamers. Don’t forget to buy helium for foil balloons as these will not float with air. Decide whether you will need balloon sticks, stickers or ribbon for securing the balloons.
  • Choose the music for the party - nursery rhymes for younger children and perhaps the latest chart music for older children.
  • Decide on what food to serve at the party and make a shopping list.
  • Decide on the birthday cake – are you going to order a special birthday cake or make one? Don’t forget any cake decorations and candles that you will need. Musical candles are always popular and don’t forget matches to light the candles.
1 week ahead
  • Buy any non-perishable ingredients for the food, any fruit juice, extra kitchen paper, wipes, bin bags etc.
  • Buy any party-bag / going home presents and buy any prizes that you will need. A going home present will remind the children in the days after the party what a great time they had particularly if your choice of gift is in some way related to the theme of the party.It’s a good idea to set a limit on how much you want to spend on these and it’s also easier to give everyone the same in their party bag so that there are no comparisons and inevitable squabbles and upset.(Though the gifts for boys and girls at a party will be different). Ideas for gifts can include pencils, rubbers, pens, stickers, tattoos, hair slides, balls, yo-yo’s colouring books, badges, magic tricks, finger puppets ........
  • Ensure that your First Aid kit is fully stocked in case of accidents at the party and that you have the contact numbers of the guests’ parents in case of emergencies.
2 days ahead
  • Call any people who have not responded so you have a final list of who will be coming and how many you need to cater for.
  • Complete your final shopping for the party. Ensure you have plenty of drinks for the children – they tend to get very hot and thirsty with all the excitement, fun and games.
  • Bake the birthday cake and make any other cakes / biscuits.
  • Make up the party bags – enlist the help of the birthday child to do this.
  • If you are going to have a Pinata, fill this ready and decide where you are going to hang it.
1 day ahead
  • Buy all the perishable food items.
  • Decorate or collect the birthday cake.
  • Prepare the party games and prizes.
  • If you’re having the party at home decorate the house, leave balloons until the actual day but helium ready filled balloons can be bought in advance.
Day of the party
  • Prepare any fresh party food e.g. fruit.
  • Take all equipment, party items to the party room and decorate the room (if not at home).
  • Blow up balloons – it’s much easier and faster if you do this with a balloon pump.
  • If holding the party at home, decorate the front door with a poster, balloons or other decorations so that your guests know that they are at the right place. It also provides them with a nice ‘Welcome!’
  • Put a sign on the toilet door and lock, if possible, all rooms / areas which are out of bounds for the party guests.
  • Set the table and decorate.
  • Prepare the party music and have a camera charged and ready.
  • Last but not least have FUN!!!!


What is a piñata?

Traditionally a piñata was a clay or papier-mache figure, usually a star with seven points, that was decorated with bright coloured paper and was filled with sweets and small gifts. They were mainly used during religious celebrations. Today piñatas are usually made from card and come in a wide variety of designs, shapes and colours – cartoon characters, treasure chests, pumpkins, unicorns etc.

History of the Piñata.

Piñatas have a long history, (ca. 14th century) and are generally associated with Mexico though an earlier version was used in China as part of New Year celebrations. Today piñatas have lost much of their religious connection but instead are an important part of children’s party celebrations.

How to use a Piñata

Piñatas are great fun and can make a special and memorable final party activity / game before all the party guests head home. Additionally, all the children will be happy because everyone wins in this game as all the children can collect the sweets and gifts. Once you have bought or made your piñata you need to fill it with the sweets and small gifts that will be released once it has been broken open. Suspend the piñata from a rope or hook in a central area with plenty of space around. The children should be able to reach the piñata with the stick / piñata basher. When it’s time to play the guests take it in turns to be blindfolded and then hit the piñata with the stick / piñata basher. As each child takes their turn the excitement builds to see who will be the one to break the piñata open so that its contents fall to the ground. Sometimes, with younger children, an adult may need to help to give the piñata a good whack to break it open.

Traditionally children used to sing a song as they played the game:

Dale, dale, dale
No pierdas el tino
Por que si lo pierdes
Pierdes el camino
Ya le diste uno
Ya le diste dos
Ya le diste tres
Y tu tiempo se acabo


Hit it, hit it, hit it
Don’t lose your aim
Because if you lose it
You will lose your way
You hit it once
You hit it twice
You hit it three times
And your time is up


For younger children pull-piñatas are available – these are much easier to use with the guests taking turns to pull one of the ribbons suspended from the bottom. Only one of the ribbons will release the goodies from inside. You can find a range of piñatas and piñata accessories (blindfold, stick / basher, fillers and other small gifts) in our shop.

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