Create an Instagram worthy party table without spending a fortune!

Here at Party Box by Design, we love a traditional home birthday party and believe that fun, above everything else, should be at the centre of every children’s party. What’s more fun than creating a fabulous themed birthday surprise for your child, with love, and without spending a fortune.

Mrs. B, otherwise known as Becky (Mum of three), does just that at least three times a year. From a penguin theme for her daughter, Imogen, to a tractor party for son William, and Harry Potter for eldest daughter Lydia, Mrs. B has shown she can turn her hand to any theme, but it’s her recent Toy Story themed party for William that really caught our eye.

Mrs. B is a great example of choosing a theme and keeping things simple by concentrating on one area to make a big impact. Buy a few, well-chosen themed items, and then use what you have and make what you can. You really don’t have to spend a fortune. A fabulous looking table makes a great centrepiece and is an ideal backdrop for taking photos but remember the real fun comes from the little touches, the party games, and spending time with friends and family.

Tableware is a great starting point for any theme, and pretty much everything can be built around it. It also lays the basis for the colour scheme. Mrs. B used a Toy Story themed tablecloth along with plates, cups, and napkins, and made everything else to match – even that fabulous cake!

We don’t want to give away all her tricks, but here are a few tips to get you started. You’ll be amazed at what you can create!

The eye-catching backdrop is made from backing paper, (the stuff teachers use to back display boards with), the clouds sketched by hand and cut from ordinary paper, and the lettering printed off and stuck on. If you’re not confident sketching, just google cloud templates, and you’ll be sure to find something to give you a little help. Fabric is also great for making backdrops as it’s pretty inexpensive and hangs well. You don’t have to be a master seamstress; just hand sew a simple top pocket, using any kind of stitching, and thread through some string to hang your backdrop with. If the long edges need tidying up, you can hand sew a pocket on each side too. Free apps like Canva are fabulous for creating lettering, logos, and images for both your backdrop and other items on your party table.

A balloon garland is an easy way to add height and colour. Balloon garland kits are available from places like eBay, and Amazon and if you’re only making a small garland, they are pretty easy to do. Mrs. B’s garland was put together from balloons in the theme colours and balloon garland tape (both were bought separately; neither cost a fortune). If, on the other hand, you’re looking for big structures or placing balloons outside, we’d definitely recommend leaving it to the professionals, but it won’t be cheap.

Mrs. B describes herself as an amateur baker but looking at that cake, and the many others she’s created, we’d say she’s far from amateur. What a centrepiece! But here’s a little secret, as this party took place during lockdown, only the bottom layer is cake. What a fab trick! If your baking skills aren’t up to Mrs. B’s standards, we know ours aren’t, Tesco has an amazing range of themed cakes. If the cake is your centrepiece, add some height like Mrs. B as that really makes a difference. Make a themed stand for your cake to sit on and add a cake topper.

Printed food labels, themed toys from the kid’s toy boxes, and fun food, including Rolo Woody hats, complete the look.

We think Mrs. B did an awesome job, and we know you can too. Time to get creative!

For more inspiration, follow Mrs. B on Instagram and check out her blog.
http://www.instagram.com/mrsb_mummyofthree
http://www.mrsbmummyofthree.co.uk/

Post-Lockdown Birthday Parties

OK, so we know lockdown isn’t over yet, but we like to plan for the future!

If your child’s birthday falls from July onwards, you’re probably already wondering how you can celebrate! And of course, there will be many of you who’ve postponed parties and want to reschedule.

With social distancing looking like it’s here to stay for a good while yet, it’s fair to assume that all social gatherings, including children’s parties, will be a little different to how they were before and will take even more thought and planning.

Just one week before lockdown was announced, we held a party for my 7-year-old nephew. It was a close call as to whether his party would go ahead but in the end most parents were happy for their children to attend. Armed with disinfectant and hand sanitiser, it’s the cleanest kids party we’ve ever been to!

For parties post-lockdown, much will depend on the rules laid out by the government but with talk of garden parties being allowed soon, we thought we’d get a head start and give you a few of our top tips!

Close Friends Only
There will almost certainly be restrictions on the number of people allowed at gatherings for many months to come, so cutting down the invite list to close friends only won’t be quite as awkward as it was before, especially if at previous parties you’ve felt compelled to invite the entire class! There’s nothing to stop you holding a Zoom party the next day for a larger audience.

In or Out – Shake it all About!
If the weather permits, having a gathering outside will make social distancing so much easier and it looks like garden parties may be added to the list of things we are soon allowed to do. Set up a treasure hunt or host a “bring your own” picnic.
If it’s raining, a garden party can still be fun; invest in a good quality gazebo and take cover!
Whether inside or out, make sure you set the party table with lots of space between each person.

The “No Share” Buffet
Buffets as we know them are no more! Individual portions are the way forward. At my nephew’s party my sister served individual crisp packets in a range of flavours, boxed raisins, individual fruit skewers, and wrapped chocolate bars and they went down really well. Themed paper plates, cups, and napkins are a must, along with a disposable themed tablecloth. It’ll make clearing up a whole lot easier too! And don’t forget to personalise your straws with either names or initials so everyone knows which drink is theirs.
Individual cardboard lunch boxes are also a good idea and can be personalised to match the party theme.
Add a wrapped wet wipe, in addition to a napkin, next to each place setting.

Socially Distanced Games
How about making an activity the main event, such as “make a bear”, where everyone can get involved but remain a social distance from one another. Teddytastic is just one company worth checking out. Their make a bear activity pack is delivered to your door and includes a bear of your choice, stuffing, a wishing heart, a birth certificate, a colouring sheet and crayons, and a surprise gift. Order one for each child and they will have something to take home with them too!
https://www.teddytastic.online/make-a-bear
Games can still be part of the fun but perhaps a treasure hunt or musical statues would be preferable to pass the parcel to avoid children sitting very close together and passing their germs around in a circle!

Keep it Clean
Sanitise everything before guests arrive and again after they leave! Be sure to clean high touch services such as door handles, light switches, handrails, mobile phones, counter-tops, and, of course, toilets.
Position some hand sanitiser dispensers next to the buffet table.
To limit the number of germs brought into your home, we recommend a shoes-off policy. If it’s a garden party, suggest people wear easy to kick off shoes for when they inevitably need to pop inside to use the loo.

Have Your Cake and Eat It!
Never has the idea of a child blowing out candles on a cake, before you eat it, been less appealing!
If you are intending to serve birthday cake to guests then we recommend either putting a layer of clingfilm over the cake before you put the candles on it or have a separate cake for blowing out the candles, let’s call it the photo-shoot cake, and then another one for eating.
We also suggest individually wrapped cupcakes for your party bags.

Temperatures Rising
Most parents regularly check their children’s temperature, but it may be worth reminding parents to check the temperature of their little ones and themselves in the 2 weeks leading up to your party.

Not Your Average Party Bag
Party Bag Online is your one-stop-shop for party bags. Take the hassle out of this time-consuming task that will require you to browse multiple shops, either online or in the high street. You’ll be supporting a small business and providing something a little bit different from the average party bag. They have lots of themes to choose from and can personalise bags for you too.
https://www.partybagonline.co.uk

Strike a Pose!
Don’t forget to take photos. This party, for many reasons, will be one to look back on and one your children will talk about with their children in years to come!

Most Importantly
Have fun making some great memories!

Lockdown Birthday Parties!

Could the traditional birthday party be making a comeback? As lockdown continues, more and more children’s parties are taking place at home in a much simpler way and we think that’s a good thing. Trends come and go but some things are just too good to ever go out of fashion; pass the parcel, musical statues, cheese and pineapple hedgehogs, and jelly and ice cream to name but a few!

If you’re unsure where to start or just want to be sure you have all bases covered, check out our top lockdown birthday party tips!

Party Theme and Decorations
Here at Party Box by Design we love a theme, it’s what we do, but with items difficult to come by during lockdown we all need to get creative!

Check out what’s available on the web. The Hey Duggee website, as an example, has lots of tips to help you plan a Hey Duggee party at home and most of it’s centred around making your items using free downloadables from their site. There are also lots of themed downloadables on sites like Etsy but there’s a charge for them.
https://www.heyduggee.com/make/tips-for-planning-a-hey-duggee-party/

See what you already have at home. If the theme is L.O.L Surprise Dolls and your little one has lots of them, they can be used to help decorate the party table and the house. You might even be able to use them on the birthday cake too.

Raid your birthday box. Most of us have a box with leftover stuff from previous parties that we keep, just in case. Balloons, napkins, and bunting can all be used and modified to fit the theme. It might even be worth taking a look to see if you have any Christmas decorations that could work.

Get crafting! Get the children involved in making things like party bags and decorations. Paper chains are really simple to make by colouring in plain paper, cutting into strips and linking together and it’s a great activity to keep the little ones busy!

The Cake
If baking is your thing or something you like to try with the kids, get them involved in making their own birthday cake, it will all add to the fun!

Alternatively, why not add a birthday cake to your weekly shop along with some candles too, if you don’t already have them. Tesco has a great range of themed birthday cakes including Spider-Man, Peppa Pig, Frozen, and Harry Potter to name but a few!
https://www.tesco.com/groceries/en-GB/buylists/kids-party/birthday-cakes?page=1

Party Games
Get your children involved in choosing party games to play. Pass the parcel, musical statues, treasure hunts and hide and seek are still firm favourites with all the children we know, as are many popular board games too. They may even be inspired to devise their own new party games for their party!

Music 
Make a playlist. If the theme is Moana, for example, download the film soundtrack and be sure to have some tracks saved for the party games!

Presents 
It’s not a birthday without a few gifts but your child’s birthday wish list may be a little harder to come by during lockdown. If you can get what you need using home delivery – great! Be sure to order well ahead of time as deliveries can take around 14 days at the moment. If items are hard to come by, how about printing out a photo, making it into a card, and wrapping it up as a promise to buy it when things return to normal. Finally, homemade presents can be lots of fun. We made pom-pom sheep as Easter presents and they were very well received!

Add Friends and Family Using Technology
It could just be a quick online group chat with their closest friends or a full-on Zoom party, in addition to a family tea at home. If using Zoom or other apps like it, be sure to run a test session with the other parents beforehand to make sure technical glitches don’t stop anyone from joining the fun. Also, be sure that the app you choose does what you need it to. The first 40 mins of a call with Zoom, for instance, are free but for any more than that you will need to upgrade to a paid subscription. As with all apps, make sure you read, and are happy with, the terms and conditions and privacy policy.
Entertainment can be added to Zoom parties. Companies like Sharky and George www.sharkyandgeorge.com have adapted their usual party entertainment offering and taken it online, with great results!

Be sure to also schedule calls with grandparents, aunties, uncles, and cousins to make the day feel even more special.

Invites 
Even if your party only includes those in your household wouldn’t it be nice to send out invites and more importantly for the birthday boy or girl to receive homemade RSVPs? We think so and let’s face it, it’s another great activity to keep everyone busy on a rainy afternoon!

Photos
Don’t forget to take photos. This party, for many reasons, will be one to look back on and one your children will talk about with their children in years to come!

Most Importantly
Have fun making some great memories!