How to Throw a Child's Birthday Party at Home

April 2016

It’s time to celebrate the most special person in your life and you want their birthday party to be perfect. There are so many options to throw a fantastic party at any venue imaginable, but having one at home can be a wonderful experience that allows more participation from your child. Parties at home offer more control over the event than you have at a rented venue, and can be as simple or elaborate as you want them to be. The most important thing about throwing a birthday party at home, is that it be a reflection of the child being celebrated!

Pick A Theme:

This can sometimes be the most difficult decision. What does the birthday boy or girl love? It’s important to make sure the party reflects the child and that they are involved in the planning from the start. Children’s interests can change quickly, so it may not be a good idea to pick a theme too far in advance – especially if there’s a big movie coming out before the party. Instead of focusing on a specific character or story, check out general themes such as the circus, zoo, or a wide array of superheroes and princesses. Other great themes that lend themselves to lots of options include “under the sea,” magic, science, dinosaurs, sports, art, fashion/dress up, tea parties, outer space, pirates and making food (cupcake or cookie decorating, build-your-own sundaes or pizza). Books and movies can make great themes, but don’t get too specific if it will be more limiting than inspirational and fun.

Decide On Activities:

A schedule is important for structure, but don’t try to do too much. Be realistic — something is bound to go less-than-perfectly, and the timeline will never be adhered to strictly. Activities can be simple or outrageous, depending on time and budget. Some options include:

DIY Photo Booth

  • Create or buy props and take silly photographs of the party goers.
  • Kids love to play dress-up! Use a blanket, sheet or themed wrapping paper as the background.


  • Painting picture frames, play-dough, sidewalk chalk and fingerpaints are things most kids love (warn the parents so they dress the invitees appropriately)
  • Use butcher paper as “tablecloths” and set out washable markers, crayons and colored pencils to let kids draw to their heart’s content
  • Let kids decorate plain white t-shirts to take home with fabric paint plus embellishments


  • Classic games for groups, altered to match the theme if possible. Make a set of Old Maid or Memory cards based around princess or superhero characters or a book series (Use a villain from the series as the Old Maid!)
  • Entertainer – magician, princesses, superheroes in costume, storyteller

Buy Supplies:

If using a theme, try to incorporate it into every part of the party. Some things to include are

  • Invitations and thank you notes for parents
  • Food and drinks, plus plates, cups, napkins, utensils – especially the birthday cake!
  • Decorations or things to make them
  • Items related to the games or crafts planned
  • Party favors – either a craft made at the party or a pre-made goodie bag

Other Things To Consider:

  • Reach out to family, friends, teachers or babysitters to help provide additional supervision and with activities. The more adults, the better! Have appropriate food and beverages for them.
  • Have a basic first aid kit ready for the inevitable skinned knee
  • Ask parents well ahead of time about their children’s allergies and any dietary restrictions
  • Keep the group to a size you and your child are comfortable with. This varies from child to child. Some children are thrilled with their entire first grade class being at the party; others just want a few of their besties on hand to celebrate.

The most important things to remember are that the birthday child should be center stage on the day of the party, be involved with the planning, and most importantly, have fun!