Where to Throw a Kids’ Birthday Bash
An easy guide to picking the perfect venue for your child’s special day.
A birthday party is magical. You don’t need to host an extravaganza, pay a fortune for entertainment and decorations, or rent the most opulent venue to thrill your child. Kids simply want to feel special, and know that the day will be filled with friends and surprises.
The Decision: At Home or Away From Home?
There are lots of reasons to have your child’s birthday party at home. Home parties are generally less expensive, and you can schedule them for whatever time suits you. But they can also throw your home into chaos — plus, you’re responsible for all of the entertainment, supplies, food, and cleanup.
A party away from home can be a special treat for children — and parents. When the party is off-site, the entertainment is usually built in, and someone else does the cleaning. These parties are typically more expensive, however, and the date will depend on when space is available. Before deciding, consider how much time and energy you’ll have to devote to such tasks.
Choosing a Venue
Opting to have a party away from home? Great party places are everywhere. Community centers such as the YMCA, indoor playgrounds, nature centers, petting zoos, and children’s museums frequently accommodate birthday parties. Settings such as local pizza parlors or parks are ideal for very young children because they are familiar yet fun.
Take school-age kids someplace where they can perform their favorite activities: Gymnastics and dance studios, paint-your-own-pottery places, science centers, miniature-golf courses, batting cages, beauty salons, and laser-tag centers are all good ideas. You can also take a small group of kids to the movies or to sports events.
What to Find Out in Advance
Check out your top choices in person so you can see the layout of the space and, if possible, peek in at a party in progress. If you pick a venue that handles most of the arrangements for you, make sure you know what’s included in the price: food, drinks, decorations, favors, gratuities, etc. Ask if the site requires a minimum number of kids, and what activities will be included and what restrictions apply. Also, see if a staff person will lead the activities. If a deposit is required, find out if it’s refundable and under what conditions.
Finally, if the facility does not provide food or decorations, make sure you can bring your own, and ask when you can set up. Schedule any food you’ve ordered to arrive during the second hour of the party, as many places don’t have facilities available for warming or chilling.
Visit MarthaStewart.com for: Dozens of Great Ideas for Kids’ Party Games and Activities