Welcome back to the Real Parties series here on Frog, Goose and Bear where we’ll be taking the ‘daunting’ out of DIY parties by interviewing fellow everyday Mums for their party planning tips and tricks. Today I am interviewing Simone from Great Fun 4 Kids. Simone has 3 kids aged eleven, nine and six, so she’s put on more than a few parties in her time! She hails from NZ and will always be the number one party Queen in my book. Simone is super generous with sharing every aspect of how she puts together her fantastically fun parties over on her blog and her tips that she has shared with us today are absolute gold my friends, pure party-prepping gold.
Simone – Great Fun 4 Kids
How far in advance do you start planning a party?
My kids almost always start thinking about/dreaming of their next year’s party while we are still sweeping up from this year’s but I have a rule that they can’t start talking about their party until the person’s party before theirs has been (they are all spaced out four months apart). Usually they have a pretty good idea what they want well before that though, so I take note of it, and start up a Pinterest Board to collect ideas once they are pretty clear on their chosen theme – which could be six-nine months ahead! The choice of the theme almost always comes from them, sometimes with a gentle nudge from me or suggestions from their siblings. Once the theme is decided, I can grab any on-theme bargains when I see them, so gradually start collecting things, thereby spreading the cost and the workload.
What are your top 5 party planning tips?
1. Plan Ahead – if you know what theme you are having well in advance you can pick up bargains and collect useful items, thereby spreading the cost and reducing the stress
2. Make a Pinterest Board for each party you are planning. Collect ideas there; you probably won’t use 90% of them but you will start creating the look and feel of what you’re aiming for; this helps clarify the “vision” for the party. Get the birthday child involved in the planning of their party. Get them to sit with you while you search for ides online; ask them what THEY want (for food, for games) and get them to help with the preparation wherever possible.
3. Have a DIY mentality and keep it simple. There’s no need to hire professional face painters and entertainers, instead drag in funny family members, other parents, older siblings and kindhearted friends to help run the party on the day. Keep the games simple and adapt old favourites to the theme.
4. Have a written plan. Create a word doc where you list everything you need to do, get, buy and make. Have another list for the menu, one for the decorations, one for the games. In the final week before the party break down everything you need to do into each day leading up to the party. Tick things off once they’re done, then relax until the next day. And have a rain plan!
5. Use the party inspiration you find online but don’t be daunted by it! Realise that many of the parties you see on Pinterest etc are created by professionals for photography shoots with models, not by mums on limited budgets for actual real-live children. Don’t be discouraged; find ideas that are do-able, and have been created and used successfully by other mums and remember that what really matters is celebrating your child and creating a moment for them to have fun with their friends.
Out of all of the parties you’ve planned, which one was your favourite and why?
It’s so hard to pick a favourite! I think if I had to pick just one, it would be my youngest son’s fourth birthday Peter Pan Party. I love Peter Pan (not the animated Disney version, the original story) and so we had tremendous fun turning our backyard into Neverland. Every member of our family dressed up as a character from the story; the games were old favourites adapted to fit the theme and it didn’t just look amazing was really really fun. Magical, in fact.
Where do you draw your party inspiration from?
I love finding ideas on the internet, Pinterest etc, and reading blogs (like Emma’s) by other party mums, but most of my inspiration for party ideas comes from what my kids are into at the time, and then I try to adapt that to make a fun, original theme.
What is the next party that you are planning at your house?
Our next party will be my daughter’s 10th birthday Slumber Party. I’ve set myself a challenge this year to create all my parties for under a hundred dollars each, total. The décor will be using vintage sheets and blankets, patchwork fabrics and things that make you think of bedding (with a few stars maybe thrown in); we’ll be making pizzas, having a dessert bar, toasting marshmallows round the fire then snuggling up to watch movies. Sounds so simple but just wait, it will be fab. After that My son’s twelfth birthday will be The Hunger Games, where I’m planning to make a giant cardboard cornucopia filled with water bombs, water guns etc, give them all a “life” wristband and then let them battle it out. Should be loads of fun for that age!
Thanks so much for being a part of this series Simone! You really are the Queen of Parties!
Simone’s blog, Great Fun 4 Kids is full of amazing party ideas. She’s such a generous soul and has made it very easy for you by collating all of her party posts on to the one party loving page where you’ll find pics of all her kids parties as well as how-to’s and tutorials and even free party printables. You must check out her ‘not-so-plain’ party on a budget challenge that she has set for herself this year. As well as her blog, you can find Simone on instagram, facebook, pinterest and twitter.
Every fortnight on a Friday morning here at Frog Goose and Bear, I’ll be asking a different party loving Mum the same five questions and sharing their party pics. In between that I’ll be sharing photos and details from parties that I’ve been involved in recently. If you’d like to share your party tips & tricks and be interviewed as part of this series, I’d love to hear from you too!
I also know that lots of you have some awesome DIY party ideas yourselves so, as a way of continuing to inspire each other, we’ve started posting DIY party pics on instagram under the hashtag #diypartyfun. You are welcome to tag new or old party pics on instagram or to post pics to my facebook wall and if you are not on either of those platforms and you’d still like to be involved, you can email me your diy party pics if you like. Every Monday morning, here on the blog, I’ll be posting my favourite pics that you have all shared!