Planning a birthday party for a 4 year old

So this year I succumbed to the peer pressure and I hosted a party for N’s 4th birthday.  It will be his last birthday at nursery and we invited all of his little friends.  I was slightly terrified.  Despite being an events manager for 8 years, this was my first kids’ party and the thought of entertaining 20 pre-schoolers for 2 hours filled me with a fair amount of trepidation.

When I asked N what kind of party he would like he said ‘fireman, dinosaurs…and princesses’.  Hmmm not sure about merging those three!  After a bit of negotiation, we decided on a fireman theme and I got to pinning ideas on a Pinterest board.

I booked our local community hall and a bouncy castle from Arc Bouncy Castles to fill up some of the space.  I also figured it would be a good way of them all burning off their energy!  I absolutely recommend Arc if you live in the West Midlands – they were on time, their online booking system was really convenient and the bouncy castle was fantastic value.  And obviously the bouncy castle was a huge hit with the kids!

 After my trawls on Pinterest, I decided I wanted to have a craft table to entertain the quieter kids and also break up the high-energy bouncing.  I found a free printable for fire chief badges and made one for each child.   As they arrived, I suggested they might like to colour in their badge and stick it to their fireman hat (sourced from a Asda for a bargainous £1 each).  This was a great ice-breaker and got the kids warmed up to the theme.  I also printed off lots of Fireman Sam colouring sheets as an extra activity for those who were feeling creative.   

The main activity on the craft table was jam jar lanterns.  It was really easy to organise – all I needed was some PVA glue, some paintbrushes, jam jars and ripped up bits of orange and red tissue paper.  The kids then painted the inside of the jars with the glue and stuck the tissue paper to it.  I sent everyone home with an LED tealight and, once dry, the jars made quite pretty fiery lanterns!

 
Next I turned my attention to the theming and decoration.  I headed straight to Party Pieces and ordered some fab Fireman Sam balloons, table covers and hanging decorations.  Rather than go full-on fireman, I got some great value packs of plain red tableware (table covers, paper plates and cups, and sandwich platters).   Party Pieces also sell helium canisters and this was lifesaver when it came to blowing up 30 balloons!

The hall I hired was pretty large so I wanted a few more props to fill the space.  I found a pop-up fire engine tent at Argos for £20, I pimped up our Cosy Coupe with a red plastic cup and a vacuum hose so it resembled a fire engine, and the boys and I painted a large piece of cardboard so it looked like a house on fire.  I cut out window-shaped holes, stuck on some tissue paper to look like flames and got the kids to throw blue balls at the holes to “put out the fire”.  We also printed out a large Fireman Sam image and played pin the hat on the fireman. 

Next up on the to-do list: party food!  Continuing the theme, I went with everything that was red or yellow.  So there were platters of ham, cheese and jam sandwiches, strips or red and yellow pepper, cherry tomatoes, hula hoops (red packaging!), pots of ready made raspberry jelly, mini babybels, and cups filled with strawberries, melon, red grapes and marshmallows.  I put the non-perishable items into red party boxes (again from Party Pieces) and then tied a helium-filled balloon to each box.  This made the table look pretty and also cut down on the chaos and mess of a standard party buffet where everything is in the middle of the table.   The boxes then doubled up as party bags, so each child took their slice of party cake home in their box. 

 When it came to the cake, there was only one lady for the job!   Vicky at Victoria’s Sponge made this epic cake and it tasted as good as it looks!
 

All-in-all, the party was a success!  N had a great time and one little girl told her mum it was the best fireman party EVER!!!  Phew, I’m glad it’s over for another year… 

 

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