I’m the oldest of 6 meaning my Mom threw me the best parties (because I was the first!) and has done almost everything under the sun with my siblings. I’ve also attended A LOT of parties and could see the stress in the parent’s eyes or get to see them enjoy themselves with their kid (which is ultimately the goal). Almost every parent has the moment when they want to be super mom and invite the class and decide to go all out for this party then the next year they dial it down and have a small family gathering. So, what’s it going to be this year?
The Big Party
You decided to invite the class! Congrats! Here are some tips when planning.
- DON’T HAVE IT AT YOUR HOUSE
Unless you have a giant backyard and an outdoor porta potty, I’d recommend finding a large indoor or outdoor venue (see indoor party options here) where there are set boundaries for the kids and let them be entertained. This also ensures the party starts and ends at a set time and makes sure all the kids are picked up and no parents are late by 30 min to 2 hours (yes it has happened!). Parents also usually stick around to help watch which is a bonus!
- Cheap, fast and easy food
Get a slab cake, a few bags of chips, a veggie tray, 2 24-boxes of juice, maybe some cans of pop for the adults and don’t forget to ask the location if they provide the plates and utensils. Don’t waste time getting a fancy cake (it’ll be forgotten the chaos) or going all out with decorations. You have a lot of kids and a limited amount of time.
- Hire entertainment
Either have it somewhere that the entertainment is provided (etc skating rink, pool party, arcade) or hire someone to do it for you unless you are FULLY committed to entertaining the ENTIRE TIME. With that many kids, if you don’t have their full attention the whole time, it can become an absolute madhouse pretty quick! Children’s entertainers are literally trained on how to keep the attention and occupy the kids while you welcome late comers, get the cake ready, comfort the homesick child and of course snap some pics. I attended the Canadian Clown Convention where I spent an entire day just learning tricks to keep kids on their toes! And if you have added help, you can enjoy it too! I love doing the parachute games and roping in the nearby parents to ‘help’ in the game.
Your kid is only turning 3 and you just want to invite the neighbours and cousins. No problem! But don’t forget these things..
Because it’s a family/friends gathering with more adults than children, the party will last longer and people will expect appetizers or some kind of munchies. With larger parties, parents don’t touch the food until offered but for smaller ones, break out the Rachel Ray cookbook and surprise your guests! Get the AMAZING custom cake that is totally just for the wow factor.
- Have activities for them to do
Less ‘entertainment’ more ‘activities’. I’ve been hired to simply face paint while a movie is playing or when the kids are done swimming in the pool. Maybe you break out the Slip N Slide or do a spa day. Just make sure they have something to do or they will be bothering you with their friends asking what to do next!
- This is your chance to theme the party!
With fewer kids (I’m talking like 10 or less) it is much easier to have themed parties. Decorations are appreciated, you get time to take pictures of the cake, you can plan out the activities and ENJOY them too. With fewer kids running around, the kids act out less and aren’t as rambunctious. They want to hang out with their friends and enjoy the party.
Of course, there are inbetweens of this but I wanted to showcase the extremes and what to fully expect. Sometimes I go to a class party and the parent wasn’t expecting it to be that crazy! Or you have the other extreme where my mom is throwing all the food in the oven because she didn’t realize the parents were staying and the party had been going on for 3 hours!
So I hope that helped you better understand what to expect at each type of party and prepare you for what to come! Don’t forget, Tickled Teals is an insured Clown of Canada – trained in entertaining kids!
– Tealia (Tickled Teals the Clown)