There are lots of advantages to using a party venue – no clean up, little prep work to do, someone else hosts, and they might provide the food for you – but if booking a party venue isn’t an option for your family, these tips will help you host the perfect party at home.
The perfect party at home is often perfectly… imperfect! The best parties free flow with a mix of fun ideas. Have a few tricks up your sleeve and a basic plan and let the rest fall naturally into place.
If budget allows, bring the entertainment to you! You can hire a magician, puppeteer, face painter, fairy, pirate, superhero, or even a petting zoo or reptile show to come to your home and keep the kids busy.
Pick a Theme
Themed parties are great for kids. They set the tone of dress-ups, party games, and gift ideas. Popular theme ideas include:
Frozen – Frozen parties can be such fun. Keep the kids entertained making Elsa and Anna crowns and see our Frozen party tips for a tutorial on homemade indoor snowballs for a snowball fight!
Peppa Pig – Peppa Pig is a sweet choice for younger children. Peppa eats lots of healthy food and plays fun games like musical chairs. Find artificial flowers at a discount store to create an English country garden theme at home.
Minecraft – keep the kids busy crafting their own Minecraft sword, or mining for treasure in homemade cloud dough. Our Minecraft themed party ideas include tempting party food, games, and décor ideas.
Other themes suggestions include:
Plan Simple Games
If the kids are bursting with sugar-high energy, focus their attention on a simple party game. Go old-school with a DIY “pin the tail on the donkey”, or musical statues and chairs, or let things get a little crazy with some fun balloon games. some of these classic games require little preparation and can be announced and organised in seconds. Others require planning in advance.
We tried-and-tested 15 incredibly fun balloon party games to suit kids of all ages. Have you heard of “Round ‘Em Up” or “Roaches”? They’re so much fun the adults will want to get involved too!
Taking the party outdoors can make preparation and clean-up a little easier and allows parents to retreat into the house for a few moments peace and quiet when needed!
A garden carnival is a festive way to celebrate a birthday. Your carnival can be as simple or elaborate as you want. Set up games tables and cover them with bright tablecloths and make fun carnival-style signs on poster board. Bubble machines and carnival music will add to the fun atmosphere.
For games, decorate empty cans and stack them in a pyramid for a knockdown game; make a ball toss with empty jars and ping pong balls; create a bean bag toss with hula hoops; or set up relay races and sack races. If you haven’t much time, look online for places that hire giant backyard games, like Connect-4 and Tic-Tac-Toe, or check out local toy shops to see what they have.
Hot dogs, popcorn, fairy floss, and chicken fingers are perfect and easy carnival food.
Staying up late
Sleepovers – or stay-awake-overs – are great fun for older kids. Host a movie night under the stars with a projector, white bed sheet, beanbags, and popcorn, followed by a camp out in the back garden, or a games tournament or pamper night indoors.
The party host is often so busy organising the fun, topping up the food, rounding up kids, and repeating directions to the bathroom that they often don’t get to enjoy any of the party at all. Share the burden and take a little time out.
Ask for volunteers – if parents are staying, or if you can snag a couple of trustworthy adults, don’t be afraid to ask for help. You’ll find plenty of people are eager to manage a bit of crowd control.
Delegate a quiet spot – for you and for any kids that are overwhelmed by the noise and bustle. Before you disappear to catch your breath and gather your thoughts, ask one of your volunteers to take charge for a moment and redirect any kids that might come looking for you!
Go with the flow – things might not go as planned, but look around at the happy faces! If everyone is having too much fun to come and play a game or eat the sausage rolls while they are still warm, don’t worry – it means the party is already a huge success!
More DIY party ideas
Find all the tips for the best lolly bags, parties for babies, toddlers, tweens, and teens, party food ideas, costumes, decoration, venues, and so much more here:
This article was featured in Issue 52 of our printed magazine, June/July 2022.