This store requires javascript to be enabled for some features to work correctly.

The Ultimate Party Planning Checklist

Red jelly or green jelly? Cheese and pineapple sticks or just pineapple? Pass the parcel or pin the tail on the donkey?! There's so much to think about when hosting a children's party but we're here to help make your party planning that bit easier!

When you're planning to host a childrens party, party planning is always key. Everything will seem so wonderfully simple and easy if your party planning goes smoothly. This does simply mean that there needs to be some consideration for the party planning... but don't despair! All you need to do is make a quick checklist, and follow the steps.

We think there's a few different stages to creating the perfect children's party, so we have created a simple party planning checklist for you to print out and tick off as you go along and we've also explained each stage in detail below to help along the way.

Click on the party planning checklist below to open to get your free printed copy.

  • 1. Pick a theme!

    If you're going to have a themed party, it's a good idea pick the theme right at the beginning. You can then tweak each of the checklist points below to make them perfect for you.

    Choosing a theme for your little one's party can be so fun! There's so many different themes to choose from, and it's a lovely chance for the little host of the party to explore their imagination and pick something that they love. Perhaps their favourite animal can inspire an exciting jungle themed party, safari adventure party or a sealife party! The little guests of the party can then come dressed as their favourite animal, too! Or, maybe their favourite children's story characters can inspire an enchanting fairytale party with lots of fairies, princesses and castles. We've got lots of themed party ideas to make that day extra special - click the buttons below to have a browse!

  • 2. Now you need to pick a venue!

    There are lots of different venues to choose from, and many are designed specifically to host children's parties. However, hosting a party at home or at a family member's home can be just as exciting, or even more exciting if you plan it well! When choosing a venue, think about how many little companions and family members you'd like to come and how old they are.

    This will help you decide whether a trip to the jungle gym or a tea party would be better, for example! Activities such as lazerquest or any other team-based games can sometimes be slightly restrictive as the amount of people on each team can be limited, whereas a garden party allows you to invite as many people as you like - depending on the size of your garden, of course!

    The theme that you've chosen for the party will also play a part in your choice of venue - deciding on a venue that fits the theme will enhance the fun and give you more scope when it comes to choosing activities that suit the theme, too! If your theme is a seaside adventure, then dressing up in lobster and shark costumes may be a bit restrictive when it comes to putting the lazerquest vest on, for example!

  • 3. The next step is making a guest list!

    This is a lovely chance to invite the little ones' friends from school, playgroup or any clubs they attend so they can all get to know each other and enjoy each others' company in a environment that's different to the one they're usually in. This will give them the opportunity to play together and learn new things about their friends, which will really help develop their confidence and social skills.

  • 4. Next, it's time to make the invitations!

    We've written a whole page filled with ideas and tips on how to make the perfect invitations - click here to have a read! This is a wonderful chance to get creative and the children can have lots of fun personalising their very own invitations! This will make your little one feel involved right from the beginning and is a lovely opportunity to pull the arts and crafts out of the cupboard and have fun sticking sequins, colourful pipe cleaners and cotton wool onto paper.

  • 5. Now, it's time to plan the munchables and drinkables!

    Planning the party food and drink can be really fun and can compliment the theme of the party wonderfully! Whether you're planning on buying your food from the supermarket or if you've got time to bake it, there are lots of ways to make it theme-specific. (Image from 'Food Fun' at

    We have included lots of ideas for munchables and drinkables for different party themes (you can click on these below), but whichever theme you're going for, there are lots of ways to put a spin on your party food to make it fun, tasty and unique.

    Cutting traditional party foods into shapes that suit your party theme is a quick and simple way of making the food look fun and exciting, without needing to spend hours thinking of new food to try. A cookie can quite easily become a tiger for a safari adventure party or a spider for a creepy-crawly party - it's all about the icing!

    Sometimes it's all about what you call them - chicken drumsticks can easily become parrots' legs and chicken nuggets can quickly become nuggets of gold for a pirate party - all you need to do is add name tags to the plates and everyone will be joining in the imaginative food fun.

  • 6. Next, it's time to plan and invent party games!

    This is a great chance to ask your youngster what sort of party games they'd like to play and what types of activities they think will be fun. Of course, they're likely to think of totally eccentric ideas first - that's what makes their imagination so special - but they will most likely also think of games and ideas that you can quite easily transform into a game or activity of some kind. Many ideas will be based on games they've played at friends' parties or activities they've enjoyed at school, but if your youngster has certain hobbies and interests, playing games related to these hobbies will make lots fond memories for your little one and their friends.

    When making accessories for the games, think about the age of the children coming to the party and what kinds of activities they'll be able to join in with and enjoy. If they're very young, an activity that involves making friendship bracelets may be a bit fiddly, for example, but decorating their own party hats would be simple yet creative and fun.

    We've got lots of party game ideas and activities for each of our themed parties - and if you're choosing a theme that we haven't included, you can easily tweak them slightly to make them suit yours! Click on the links below to have a browse through our ideas!

  • 7. Now, it's time to make and prepare the party games!

    Once you've chosen your party games and activies, it's a good idea to make and prepare them a couple of weeks before the party. This way, if you forget to pop some materials on the shopping list, you've got plenty of time to pop out again and finish making the games in plenty of time. Depending on the activities and games you've chosen, charity shops and local independent fabric or accessory shops are little gems for finding special pieces that don't cost the earth.

    You may like to keep some of the games and activities as a surprise for the day itself, but making a few of the games together can be a wonderful time to chat and bond with your little one while getting creative! Some games and activities won't need much preparation beforehand - for example an arts and crafts table would simply involve laying out the materials, beads and glue on a table on the day of the party! - Easy!

  • 8. Now it's time to shop for drinkables and munchables!

    The fresh food is best to be purchased just a day or two before the party, but you can stock up on the long-life food or food that can be frozen a week or two before the party, so you've got less to think about nearer the time. This way, you know you've got everything you need to fill up those tummys, and this also gives you plenty of time to try out those inventive themed food ideas before the morning of the party - this is very useful if your ideas are particularly challenging! We've got lots of tips and hints for making sure your party food is ready before the big day.

  • 9. Time to decorate!

    Decorating will make the party come alive! Depending on the theme you've chosen, you can either buy accessories and decorations from a local shop or, an cheaper and more creative way of decorating, is to make your own! We've included lots of ideas for decorations in each themed party, and like with all other points on the checklist, you can alter them to make them perfect for your chosen theme! Making the decorations can be a fun thing to do as a family, or it can be a complete surprise for the youngster on the day!

    If you're having the party at home, putting lots of decorations in the party area will it extra exciting, and a few decorations throughout the home will enhance the fun even more! Customising decorations to include your little one's name and words to suit the theme will make it really special and a day they won't forget.

  • 10. Prepare for the little companions' arrival!

    Having a quick tidy up will make you feel ready and refreshed for the party and will give you plenty of clear space for the different games and activities that are going to take place later. Making little party favours to give to the invitees as they walk through the door is a lovely gesture and will set the party off to a fun and exciting start! These party favours can include little treats that are related to your theme - so if it's a princess party, the little box can include their very own pretty crown that they can wear and then decorate in one of the activities later.