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The A2 Magic Guide to Planning
Successful Children's Birthday Parties
parties are a huge event in a child’s life! A great party will
provide your child with the gift of cherished memories for years
to come. Jeff Wawrzaszek has delighted thousands of children’s
audiences with his Birthday Party Magic Show. Here, you’ll
find a treasury of valuable tips and suggestions that he has
gathered over the years to help ensure the success of your child’s
Planning a birthday party can be lots of fun, especially if
you get your child involved. There are plenty of things kids
can help with. Choosing a theme, making a guest list, putting
stickers on invitations, helping to choose party supplies and
making the goody bags are just a few suggestions. If your child
is 4 or older, getting them involved in the planning and decision
making is a great way to make them feel important, build self-esteem
and create excitement for the big event.
Below are several steps and considerations for planning your
child’s birthday party. Taking a few minutes to read them may
not only give you ideas as to how you may get your child more
involved in the planning, but will also keep things running
smoothly every step of the way.
the Party Date
things first...consider the possible dates and times, as well
as the location and the number of guests you’d like to invite.
Once you have a couple of dates in mind, make sure there are
no conflicts with family schedules, sports or other commitments.
If your child has a best friend or two that just have to be
there, check with their parents to see if they would be able
to make it. Finally, if you are considering hiring a magician,
clown or other children’s entertainer, call for available dates
and details first.
Setting the Time
you’ve nailed a date down, decide on the time. Birthday parties
usually run between 1½ - 3 hours, with most averaging 2 hours
in length. Choose a time of day when your child is normally
at their best. If you don’t want to provide lunch or dinner,
consider a time when cake and ice cream will suffice.
a Party Location
the vast majority of birthday parties are held at home, there
are other great places to hold a kid’s party. If you have limited
space or don’t like the idea of having to clean up after the
big event, or if you’re just looking for other activities to
do, a remote location may be the answer. Here are some suggestions
for great places and activities to consider for your child’s
Dance Studio, Bowling Alley, Child Care Center, Classroom,
Play Arena, Children’s Theater, Community Center, Craft Store,
Family or Fast Food Restaurant, Farm, Firehouse, Gym, Miniature
Golf, Nature Center, Swimming Pool, Park, Petting Zoo, Pizza
Parlor, Playground, Pottery Studio, Recreation Center, Skating
you have a monthly community magazine that publishes a calendar
of local events, check to see if there are any special activities
that you can take advantage of on the day of your child’s party.
the group to a manageable size. I’ve entertained at thousands
of birthday parties, and most tend to include 8-15 kids. If
you are inviting the whole class or a larger group, enlist the
help of a couple of teens or adults to keep things running smoothly.
Below are suggested guidelines for additional help.
year olds, 1 helper for every 3-4 kids
5-8 year olds, 1 helper for every 5-6 kids
9-12 year olds, 1 helper for every 8 kids
a Party Theme
your child is 4 or over, let them help you choose a party theme.
Limiting ideas to a single theme helps put the focus on many
other aspects of the party as well. Consider their interests:
What do they love? Who are their favorite characters or heroes?
What games do they like? What kind of party do they want to
have? A trip to your local party or dollar store will give you
plenty of ideas of what is available in the way of invitations,
decorations and table supplies.
the invitations have been mailed or delivered, it’s time to
plan the party. “The A2 Magic Checklist for Planning Successful
Children’s Birthday Parties” is a handy page that will help
you keep track of what needs to be done. A copy of the checklist
is included further down on this page.
Breakers, Games and Party Activities
some ice breakers ready to get the party started. Kids generally
don’t all arrive on time. Usually there is a 10-15 minute frame
of time when they’ll be arriving. A craft or an activity that
they can easily join in on is a great way to get things going.
Select several party games and activities that are age appropriate
and geared to the skill levels of your invited guests. You can
find plenty of game ideas online or at your local library. Plan
more activities than you think you’ll need. Some may run faster
than expected, and others may not be of interest to the kids.
Generally, the best types of games for birthday parties are
non-competitive games or games where everybody wins. If you
are playing team games, stay away from having captains who choose
team members. This may help to eliminate any hurt feelings for
the last ones picked. If you are handing out prizes, it’s usually
best to have a prize for everyone.
can be lots of fun but may be the cause of some potential accidents.
Watch just about any episode of America’s Funniest Videos and
you’ll see people getting hurt, ceilings crashing down, something
getting broken or nobody being able to break open the piñata.
If you are using a standard piñata, exercise a little caution.
There are some special piñatas that will eliminate all the above
problems. They have several ribbons attached to the bottom.
One is attached to a trap door that will open the piñata and
let the prizes drop out. Kids take turns pulling ribbons. The
ribbon will either be pulled out or, if they’ve selected the
correct one, will open the piñata.
You’ve Booked Entertainment
professional entertainment is always a great highlight to any
kid's birthday party. If you’ve hired a magician, clown or some
other children’s entertainer, here are some suggestions that
will help to guarantee great results:
the entertainment to 30-45 minutes. This seems to be the
ideal amount of time for most kid’s birthday parties.
the entertainment for the first half of the party helps
to keep the attention focused on the birthday child. Singing
Happy Birthday and opening gifts is usually best saved for
the last half of the party and after the entertainment.
the goody bags and balloons for the end of the party. Party
blowers and noise makers can become a real distraction for
the kids who are trying to enjoy the show.
equipment, musical instruments and lots of toys can be very
tempting to the youngest guests. Having the entertainment
in an area where there are fewer distractions will help
guarantee a great show.
you are planning to do more than cake and ice cream, it’s best
to keep the menu simple. Pizza seems to be the popular choice
at most kid’s parties. If you are going to get a little fancier,
strawberries and nuts may be best left off the menu, as some
kids have allergies to them. It’s always a good idea to ask
parents when they RSVP about any food allergies their kids may
have. If necessary, you can have an alternative food available
for any guests with special needs.
most kids, the highlight of the birthday party is opening gifts.
Kids love to open gifts, and their friends love to watch the
reaction the birthday child has to the gift they’ve given. Half
the fun of giving a gift is knowing that it’s going to be enjoyed
by the person who receives it.
Before the party, take a little time to talk with your child
about the proper way to say thank you and what to say if they
receive duplicate gifts or something they may already have.
Make sure you have a teen or another adult helper keeping a
record of what your child receives and who gave it. This will
come in very handy when it’s time to write thank you notes.
always a good idea to give the kids a chance to settle down
before going home. All high-energy games and activities should
stop about 10 minutes before the party comes to a close. This
is a great time to get the kids together to pass out the goody
bags and say thank you for coming.
the goody bags for the end of the party. Not only is it a great
way to resign your guests to the idea of going home, it also
insures that nobody misplaces their little treasures during
the course of the party. Goody bags don’t have to be extravagant.
A small favor or gift for each child to take home is a great
way to say thank you for coming. You can find great ideas for
the goody bags at your local dollar or party store. Make sure
you keep everything the same for each child. Customizing gifts
may cause disappointment for some.
the Unexpected and Special Touches That Make a Difference
you’re planning an outside party, have a back-up plan in case
Have a few extra games and activities in mind in case you need
to fill some time.
Have extras of almost everything...favors, balloons, prizes,
food and drinks. Sometimes an extra child or two will arrive,
or something will break or get lost. It’s always best to be
Be sure to have a party bag for the birthday child as well.
Kids love to see their names in print. Putting their names on
badges, name tags and table cards makes them feel important
and helps you keep track of who's who at the party.
The A2 Magic Checklist for Planning
Successful Children's Birthday Parties
is a timeline countdown for planning a great children’s birthday
party. While the suggested time frames are the ideal, great
parties can still be planned by combining and condensing the
time frames on the checklist below to fit the amount of time
that you have available.
Weeks Before the Party:
possible dates, times, locations, number of guests and budget.
you are considering hiring a magician or entertainer call for
details and availability first.
your child has friends that just have to be there, call the
parents and check their availability as well.
the date and time.
or buy invitations and thank you notes designed around your
out invitations, including RSVP date and maps, if necessary.
Weeks Before the Party:
or deliver the invitations.
activities, games and party starters.
a shopping list of groceries and party supplies.
balloon bouquets or any special supplies.
making or buying decorations.
for goody bags, prizes, candles, paper and table supplies.
Week Before the Party:
up with guests who have not responded.
the help of adults or teens to lend a hand on the day of the
Days Before the Party:
to make sure you have film and/or videotape ready.
food, beverages and any other final supplies.
1 Day Before the Party:
or buy the cake.
any food that can be made ahead of time.
goody bags (make a couple extras, just in case).
proof party area.
and organize games and activities.
Day of the Party:
the party location with balloons or yard signs.
food that couldn’t be prepared earlier.
Day to 1 Week After the Party:
and send Thank You notes.
Here is a list of supplies that you may
need to pick up or gather:
stamps, directions to location, thank you notes, napkins, plates,
table covers, table skirting, plastic tableware, cups, serving
trays or bowls, place cards, name tags, straws, centerpieces,
balloons, candles, piñata, yard sign, favors, party hats, favor
bags, candy, pencils, stickers, toys, games.
how A2 Magic can make your child's birthday party amazingly
successful, memorable and fun!
Contact Jeff Wawrzaszek to book your Birthday
Party Magic Show
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