1. Create a name tag station.
School-age children can make their own. For younger kids, write their names and let them decorate the rest. Make two tags for each child... one for the back and one for the front.
2. Make a cell phone signup sheet.
If you are allowing parents to drop off their child and leave, make a simple spreadsheet with space for the child's name, parent's name, cell phone number, and allergies. Be sure to save the spreadsheet for post-party playdate planning!
3. Bake cupcakes instead of a sheet cake.
Kids hate waiting for what they consider the Main Event of a birthday party. No cutting is required, AND you can make sure every piece has a flower, piece of candy, or other decoration. If your party is outdoors, you won't even need a plate!
4. Serve up ice cream in a jiffy.
The night before your party, scoop ice cream into small paper cups and then store them in the freezer. It is just the right size for little hands and tummies and will only take a minute to pass out to all the guests.
5. Use the food for decoration.
Depending on your theme, you can probably create a snack tray that adds to the party theme. Need inspiration? A quick search on Google or Pinterest should do the trick.
6. Build-your-own snacktivity.
Let your snack serve double duty as a craft with a make-your-own pizza, decorate-your-own cookie, or create-your-own trail mix station.
For my son's 3rd birthday, we set all the kiddos around the edges of a large sheet and put frosting (with paintbrushes), sprinkles, and candy pieces in the center. After the kids decorated their cookies, we just picked up the corners of the sheet, took it outside, and shook it off — clean-up has never been easier!
7. Use your muffin tins.
Quickly distribute drinks or your paper cup scoops of ice cream without worrying about spills. Fill them with ketchup, mustard, relish, and chopped onions, then add a spoon to make hamburger and hot dog prep fast and easy. They're also perfect for the Build-Your-Own Snacktivity!
8. Decorate water bottles with duct tape.
With so many themes and colors to choose from, you can probably find one to match your party. Replace the water bottle label, or simply tape over it, and you've just added more table decorations with ease.
9. Designate a photographer.
Have you ever attended an event where you spent the whole time taking pictures to capture the memories, only to realize later that you weren't actually a part of creating them because you were too busy behind the camera? Hiring a professional photographer for a special occasion can be worth the expense.
Can't afford to hire a professional? Enlist a fellow mom to be the photographer at your party and return the favor for her!
10. Get free kid-friendly music.
Download free MP3 songs from indie kindie artists at freekidsmusic.com, create a playlist at aolradio.slacker.com, or stream for free iheart.com (type "kids" in the search box).
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➡️ Return to our AWESOME Birthday Issue!