To ensure you plan the perfect party for your child, check out our step-by-step planning guide and follow 10 great tips for a successful party.
Try to start planning six weeks before as it will enable you to pull the party together at a relaxed pace. Plus, it means you can purchase party supplies as part of your regular shopping trips, instead of running all over town at the last minute.
Choose a theme
A good party theme provides a framework for your plans and decisions about what kind of invitations, activities, decorations, and food become easier.
One of the biggest factors in selecting a party date and time is determining when your child’s closest friends can attend. It’s difficult to have weekday parties during the school year due to busy schedules so opt for a Friday or Saturday party. Friday gives you Saturday to relax and recover while Saturday gives you all day Friday to prepare. Check the proposed date and time with key friends beforehand. It’s better to select another date than to have your child be disappointed because his or her best friend can’t attend.
Where to have it?
Some advantages to having a party at home include having plenty of time to set up, having all your supplies close at hand and having the party in an environment where your child is comfortable, which is especially important for younger children. Of course, the disadvantages are the cleaning, possible damage, space limitations and lack of built-in entertainment.
Who and how many?
Start with the ‘must invites’, your child’s best friends. If you want to invite additional children add the friends your child sometimes plays with. It’s generally a good idea to invite a few more children than you would ideally like to attend, just in case a couple children have conflicts or are sick the day of the party.
Involve your child as this is a fun project for you and your child to do together. Plus, involving your child in the party planning will ensure that the party reflects their interests.
There are so many fun things you can do, buy, and make that the party can suddenly become bigger and more elaborate than it really needs to be. This means extra work, extra cost, and probably less fun for all those involved. Focus on key things to party fun and when in doubt, put your efforts into games and activities, instead of food and decorations.
Do not spend more than you want or need to. The key pieces of a party; games, activities and fun food can be relatively inexpensive.
Develop your plan and timeline for the party and have back-up ideas in case of a sand storm or a no-show entertainer.
Do as much as possible ahead of time so that you will not be in a panic if you get a cold the week before the party or have a huge work project suddenly dropped in your lap.
Don’t think everything has to be perfect, because it probably won’t be. While it is great to check out party planning books or websites for ideas and inspiration, just remember that your party is real life and not a photo shoot. There will always be something you would do differently if you had it to do over again but don’t dwell on it.
Also help your child be realistic. The build-up of anticipation in the days before can lead to disappointment. Remind your child that he will still have a great time, even if he doesn’t win every game and doesn’t receive every present he wanted.
Take short cuts
Your ‘I’ll do it myself’ list should focus on the things you have to do, either because they are not available or are too expensive, and the things you really want to do because it will be more fun. Find other things you can purchase ready-made or pay someone else to do.
Even with a great plan, things may not go as you thought. Don’t freak out - just be ready to shift gears and go to Plan B, for example crafts in the garage if the weather turns or a video if the entertainer doesn’t show.
It won’t be that long until your child thinks he/she is too old for parties or just wants to be dropped off at the movies with friends - so enjoy the party hats, silly games and cupcakes while you can! And remember, don’t be too competitive with other parties, it’s all about your child and all about having fun.
From venues, entertainment, decorations and foodie fun there are loads on offer in Dubai. Here are some of Connector’s favourites:
Animal Care Centre - Animal Care Centre’s Petting Zoo teaches children how to care and gain a lifelong love and respect for animals. They provide pets to birthday parties, schools and corporate functions. A free photo disk is also available of the children holding and feeding the animas during the party. www.animalcarecentre.ae
Café Ceramique - Paint your own party at Café Ceramique where the kids will love creating their own party bag memento from a choice of ceramics to decorate. There are party packages for every budget. www.cafeceramique.ae
Children’s City - This educational city devoted to children between two and 15 years is where they can investigate, explore, play, discover and learn about the world in which we live. www.childrencity.dm.gov.ae
Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo - Head for Dubai Mall where the Aquarium & Underwater Zoo has a host of party packages to choose from. www.thedubaiaquarium.com
Dubai Bowling Centre - Bowling parties are a fun and inexpensive way to celebrate a special occasion. No matter what the weather may be outside, the kids can enjoy a package that includes disco lights and music, fog machine and back lighting. Located in Al Quoz. www.bowlingdubai.com
Dubai Drums - Let Dubai Drums turn your child’s party into an afternoon of rhythm, fun, music and laughter. Enjoy Djembe group drumming, rhythmical party games and African dancing and singing and watch the tots turn into a tribe. www.dubaidrums.com
Emirates Park Zoo - Emirates Park Zoo and Resort offers an all-inclusive birthday party package that will give your child and their friends a truly unforgettable zoo experience. The basic birthday package includes the entrance ticket, private zoo guide tour and an animal feeding experience. www.emiratesparkzooandresort.com
Fun Corner - Fun Corner provides complete party planning services that cater to children’s birthday parties and events. They can provide bouncy castles, magicians, games and clowns. www.funcorner.me
Funky Monkeys Playland - This popular edutainment centre located on Sheikh Zayed Road offer various services catering to kids’ edutainment such as soft play, kids’ cafe, workshops, arts and crafts and baking. www.funkymonkeysuae.com
Kidville - From planning to execution, let JBR’s Kidville party team bring your child’s dream party to reality. Choose an all-inclusive party package or have the party planning experts create a custom package for you. www.kidville.com
KidZania - KidZania at Dubai Mall provides an innovative platform for children, as they enjoy role-playing professions in a unique and very realistic educational environment. www.kidzania.ae
Mad Science - Mad Science birthday parties entertain children of all ages with exciting, high-energy, interactive shows that come to you. The kids can discover objects that float through columns of air, enjoy the mystery of fireworks, watch as energy lights up a ball of plasma and see in wonder as water takes on an eerie green glow. www.uae.madscience.org
Magic Planet - Magic Planet has a host of party options with packages that include bowling, a climbing wall and Sky Trail. All packages include a kids’ meal, games, music, decorations, invitations, a toy for each child and a Magic Planet card and party host. www.theplaymania.com
My Gym UAE - At My Gym every birthday party is a perfectly planned celebration created especially for your child, with special song and game requests made prior to the birthday party. Their party specialists will ensure that the party features nonstop action-packed activities, games, puppets, songs and more. www.mygym.com
Party Centre - Serving the UAE since 2004 with four Party Centre locations, they are one of the largest party superstores in the world and offer the most complete online and in-store selections of party supplies. They offer a massive range of officially licensed party tableware, costumes, piñatas, balloons, party favours, party bags, blowouts, hats, kits and accessories for kids and adults alike. www.mypartycentre.com
SEGA Republic - Dubai Mall’s SEGA Republic features thrilling attractions and games, from cutting-edge motion simulators and virtual experiences to one of the region’s largest assortment of skill and redemption games. They offer three great party packages for the ultimate birthday bash. www.segarepublic.com
Ski Dubai - Chill out at Ski Dubai where they have numerous party options to suit all ages. From whizzing around on the slopes to hanging out with penguins plus food from St. Moritz Café, they can take care of everything. www.theplaymania.com
Splash n Bounce - Splash n Bounce specialise in parties, events, soft play and party supplies. They can organise a pool or garden party and also have a party store that stocks a huge range of party supplies. www.splashnbounce.com
The Jam Jar - You’re guaranteed a colourful experience with these painting packages complete with canvas, apron, brushes and unlimited paint, and each person gets to take their masterpiece home. www.thejamjardubai.com
Tickles and Giggles - T&G is an exclusive recreation space that offers a fun and safe space where your little one can learn, explore and use his imagination. The children’s boutique is a great place with kids’ spa, salon and soft play area. Located at JBR. www.ticklesandgiggles.com
Wild Wadi - Wild Wadi’s birthday packages offer tons of fun with unlimited rides and some extra surprises for children aged 3 to 12. They can also set the party at fun and exciting locations around the waterpark. www.jumeirah.com