Party planning shouldn't always fall solely on the grown-ups in the house. A festive gathering at home will, by its very nature, involve the kids one way or another.
Help them to feel invested in the party by getting them involved in the party preparations.
These 4 kids party planning ideas can help you get the necessary pre-party prep work done and ensure everyone is party of the party process and is invested in successful outcome.
It's really handy to have place cards for any kind of sit-down dinner, even an informal one. Place cards eliminate the uncomfortable where-do-you-want-everyone-to-sit dance. This is a definite enlist-the-kids project.
Use first and last names (John Smith), titles and names (Dr. Musto), or simply nicknames (Grams and Gramps) for more intimate affairs.
Place the cards on top of or in the napkin's center. Better yet, place them on the tablecloth at the exact center of each place setting.
Have kids create leafy paper placemats. They're perfect for fall gatherings. Start by gathering a variety of leaves of different sizes, shapes, and textures.
Position white paper placemats over the leaves. With a peeled crayon, lightly rub the top of each place mat until the outline of the underlying leaf appears. Repeat with other leaves and different colors of crayons until you have a festive pattern.
Cover the paper placemats with plastic and enjoy. You might want to make some for the grandparents, too.
Even if you're not eating a sit-down meal at the dining room table, a centerpiece is a lovely decoration. You can tie it into your theme!
Get your kids to help brainstorm ideas. Whether you prefer flower centerpieces or fruit, or a simple yet festive clear bowl filled with ornaments, your centerpiece is one of the most important pieces of your table setting.
Create or order yours well in advance, and, if you ordered it, pick it up the morning of your party. As the name implies, place your centerpiece in the exact center of the table. Place your brand-new white candles at each end of the table, halfway between the places of the host and hostess and the centerpiece. (You already knew that the host and hostess sit on opposite ends of the table.)
Casual parties are often outside, or else they eventually spill outside, so make sure your patio and patio furniture is clean. Kids can help with patio cleaning - get a full list of age-appropriate patio chores for kids here.
If you're barbecuing, make sure the grill is clean and that you have plenty of charcoal or propane. Position the grill in a corner where kids won't be running by. (But choose a spot where there's enough room for the Dads to hold court over the flames.)
Have a great party!