Kids’ Birthday Parties – Tips and Tricks For Low Stress Adventures


Party planning is stressful.  And party planning for kids is downright daunting! There are so many moving parts (including those non-stop little ones!) and everything has to be age appropriate – activities, food, music and fun. The planning is enough to make a busy parent’s head spin. Here at The Mad Table, we’ve got the scoop on successfully hosting a birthday party that’s loads of fun for your little party animal but low on stress for you.


Choose a Theme

Choose a single, simple theme that reflects what the child likes or enjoys (think favorite characters, movies or television shows, bugs, butterflies, pirates or princesses, painting, music, soccer or other sports activities).

Timing is Everything

Kids have short attention spans and are prone to BIG messes. For children under eight years old, the party should be under three hours. Older kids can have longer parties, but be prepared for more cleanup.

For preschoolers, morning hours (when they’re not yet tired) or late afternoon  (after they’ve had their nap) are best.


Decorate the table using snacks as décor.

Kids love bright and bold colors, so keep that in mind when selecting garlands, streamers, balloons, cake decorations and backdrops for photos.


Keep Them Busy

Create activity stations. Kids can travel to each station at their leisure, but eliminate idle time between activities. Monitor the number of kids per station. Station ideas:  Playdough, ride-on toys, bubbles, crafts, musical instruments, puppets and face painting.

Cover a party table with a paper tablecloth. Let the kids doodle and write birthday messages.

Have kids decorate their own cupcakes. Put out bowls of sprinkles, colored sugar and mini chocolate chips to go with a variety of frostings.  A burlap runner makes for easy cleanup.

Play Games

The classic party games of our youth are still a hit! Try pin the tail on the donkey (or whatever animal) and musical chairs.

Organize contests – like hula hooping, bag racing and freeze dancing – that hold their attention and keep their bodies moving.

PARTY FOOD (*before the party, check with parents about food allergies*)

Food and Snack Ideas

Pizza, mini sandwiches, hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken tenders are perfect for any time of day.

You’ll need snacks and drinks available throughout the party, including juice boxes, water, fruit, mini muffins, pretzels and popcorn/chips. 

And don’t forget to feed the parents!  Always offer a few adult selections, including veggies with dips, nuts, fruit platters and a selection of beverages.

Goodie Bags

Don’t just stuff them with store-bought candy. Send them home with homemade (semi-healthy) cookies and treats.  Homemade trail mix, granola snacks, homemade sweet potato chips, dried fruit. healthy oatmeal cookies and fruit bars. 

Gift them simple yet thoughtful handmade gifts (notebooks, pencil cases, headbands, t-shirts, etc.) that have their names or useful school/art supplies like colorful markers and crayons, fun paper punches and stencils. 

For more tips and tricks on planning and hosting parties for big events or for your biggest and smallest guests, visit us at The Mad Table website.  And be sure to like The Mad Table on Facebook and follow us on Instagram for all the latest news, delicious recipes and fabulous entertaining tips and ideas.