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Throwing the Best Birthday Party at Home during Winter

Throwing the best Birthday Party at home during late Autumn and Winter, can be pretty tricky.
The temperature is much cooler, the weather is unpredictable. Long were the days (it seems) the patio doors were wide open, watching our little ones running in out, smothered in sun cream enjoying fun in the sun.

Now the nights have drawn in, its dark before 5pm - but you still want to throw the best party of course to celebrate your Little ones birthday and just because you cant guarantee the weather doesn't mean you cant plan the best party indoors.

I have a November baby. I like parties at home. They are personal, at a given - more work but so rewarding when they go well and you see everyone having a good time.

After a great celebration this year for my daughters 2nd Birthday, it has inspired me to pass on tips to consider when throwing the best Birthday party from home during these cold months.

I had 17 adults attending and 8 children ranging from 12 months to 7 years. Not a bad age gap huh?

Main points to consider:
  • Ages/stages of children
  • Food/Drink
  • Activities and their suitability
  • Theme
  • Recent or upcoming events to link in with your parties theme
  • Treat bags
Ages and Stages of children. 

Do you have crawlers? Walkers? What are the ages of the children you have coming? Carefully consider if you have something for everyone. They typically say that small parts are not suitable for children under the age of three. Make sure any activities with small parts are out of reach of younger children and are fully supervised by an adult.
Remove ornaments from low levels to avoid any accidents. Have a toy box with a few toys in and take all other toys upstairs out of the way. The little ones will have so much going on you don't want lots of additional toys here there and everywhere not being played with, and that are potential tripping hazards.

Activities and their Suitability

For Little N's 2nd Birthday Party I wanted to make sure I had something out for every child. Here are the activities we had:

Play Dough
I really do love play dough activities, especially adding different textures as I love watching little imaginations run away.
On a black tray I put out some dried peas, lentils, pasta shells, spaghetti pasta, red/gold/green glitter, cut up pipe cleaners, confetti stars, cut up straws and sequins.
The little ones all gathered around this table and spent a good 45 minutes decorating and experimenting. They enjoyed in particular the longer items which they pushed into the soft dough. I did also put out play dough tools, but they were that keen to decorate they didn't really use the tools which suprized me. As some were finishing and began to walk away to find something else to do, Little J began to stack the dough. He re-jigged some of the materials before saying he had made a Birthday cake for Little N. Highly recommend this activity. But it does need to be supervised by an adult.

Sensory Boards
This was made in mind for the youngest of the children however was a hit for all children (and the adults). I used some zipped bags and added hair gel with sequins/glitter/confetti. In the other bags I added Primary Coloured paints that when explored and mixed together would go on to create different colours. Aswel as colour mixing the paint also parted as you moved your hands around on it so was also great for mark making. I then stuck them down using sellotape onto a magnetic whiteboard. I made sure it was stuck down securely.
The children gathered round exploring it with their hands and fingertips. Little A (20 months) decided to take her shoes off, asking for help to take her socks off she bagan to explore with her feet. Everyone copied her idea, they were all giggling with each other at the cool sensation of their feet!

A sandpit
Yes we do have a sandpit in our house. We have laminate floor through our house so we don't have to be too picky about messy play and activities as its easy and quick enough to get it all cleaned up. This sandpit was great for the crawlers who are pulling themselves up. The pit is sturdy so they enjoyed climbing up and exploring the sand.

Sparklers and Fireworks
There has been lots of celebrations lately with Diwali and Bonfire Night so I wanted to include this in the theme for the party. We brought lots of sparklers which were a hit for all of the children and we had a great firework display. You cant beat wrapping up warm, going outside and watching a firework display. Weather permitting but great fun if there is a dry spell during the evening.

Have lots of balloons around, children go mad for balloons! The crawlers sat picking them up and rubbing their finger tips all over them. The other children did a balloon toss, and kept hitting the balloons over to each other. Adults also picked up the balloons and we all counted to three before releasing them for a balloon shower.

I also brought down Little N's tent, she helped fill it with her favourite teddies and balloons. Tents always go down well and the crawlers in particular loved crawling in and out.

Firework Biscuit Decorating
Messy Little Monster
A great creative activity for all children! I adore this colourful firework biscuit decorating activity! I will definitely be making some of these with Little N! The Little ones would really enjoy doing this together!

Treasure Hunt
Messy Little Monster
Such a great idea! You can print out any object party related/interest related or have real objects which you can hide around your house and have the children work together searching for them!

Every Star is Different
Boxes! Whether you paint and decorate them to fit in with your theme or children's interests, or whether you leave them as they are, children will play for hours and hours with cardboard boxes! This is a fab idea for indoor play!

Chicken Babies
I have seen this done a few times! Create a maze using string or long strips of paper for the children to work their way through. The older children would love doing this!

Teach Mama
Bracelet making for older children would go down a storm!

When planning your party food, remember any allergies and dietary preferences of your guests. Save parents the job and do a platter of sandwiches for children with the crusts cut off, grapes cut in half and so on. Also take into account where you position foods on the table. If foods aren't suitable for children move them towards the back so you don't get any little ones helping themselves to food they shouldn't be eating. Be sure to include a variety of drinks too.

Here are some great ideas for catering for your guests:

A collection of 10 Finger Foods, perfect for the younger audience.

For Adams 2nd Birthday Party they did a most fantastic farm yard themed party food table! Follow the link for a step to step guide on how to create a set up like this yourself!

Here is an extensive 100+ list of cake decorating inspiration. There are that many ideas, I don't think you will need to look anywhere else!

Danya Banya
A great touch! Cheese Monsters made from Babybel.

Danya Banya
Sprinkle sticks. So simple to make and they look so effective! You could even set this out for the children to have a go at doing themselves! This is definitely on my to do list!

Treat Bags/Jars
It is important also to think about the children's ages, when setting out to make up treat bags.
If, like me, you have a variety of ages attending tailor the bags to meet the individual needs of each child and mark the bags up.

I added toys, sweets, chocolates, hair accessories, water pistols, bouncy balls and bubbles. Not all of these were suitable for all children however so I added what I could to each bag.
I ordered these bags from Amazon, pack of 12. I decided on a lovely bright orange but they do come in any colour.

A great idea for treat give away's for your guests. 
Using plastic jars/tubs create a jar full of colourful goodies. You can take into account any colour theme you have for your party and incorporate it into your goodies. The bows add a lovely finish!

Every Star is Different
Why not let the children decorate and make their own party bags? This would also come under activities.

East Coast Mommy Blog
Complete with a free printable why not send your little ones home with some snowman soup?

East Coast Mommy
Or give them the contents to make an edible snowman once they get back home?

Teach Mama
I love the design of these bags! Head on over to Teach Mama to find out what was inside.

Learning Through Play
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