Planning winter parties can be tough, especially in snowy CT, MA, RI, NH! Kaleidoscope’s artist provide face painting, balloon twisting, and other entertainment all year round so we’ve seen what works (and what doesn’t) a few hundred times over. Here are our favorite tips and tricks clients have shared with us for hosting awesome birthday parties during the cold months.
1. Think about venue
Often times, having your child’s birthday party in your home is the most cost-effective way to handle the event. But for people with small homes or apartments (especially if you live in a city like Hartford or Boston), this might not be an option. If you’re thinking about renting a hall, consider calling some restaurants and asking about private banquet halls. You can often find halls for free when you use their in-house catering–even if you just want pizza! This way food is taken care of (which you needed anyway) and you have a large space for the kids to run around in. If you’re planning on a venue like this, just double check that the rest of your plan (like face painting or crafts) is okay with the venue. Some may have stipulations about certain activities, although it’s pretty rare.
2. Have adult helpers.
Grab a family friend, an aunt or Grampa, a few extra parents… it somehow seems kids’ energy grows exponentially when they’re in a group. Having a helper to keep an eye on the little guys will be a big help, and if things go well you’ll have someone to talk to!
3. Keep the kids busy
Once the kids arrive, you can let them run loose with balloon twisting swords and climb the walls, or you can find some ways to keep them entertained enough to keep from causing too much chaos. Because you can’t banish them outside, here are some of our favorite winter-themed ideas:
- For November or December parties, you can always write letters to Santa! (Or, in late March, the Easter Bunny!) This is pretty cheap and easy, plus you can teach kids some real-life skills like how to label envelopes, that letters need stamps (they can even design their own!), and how to address and sign letters. Just let them loose with crayons and paper and see what they come up with!
- Play with your food! One of our favorite games is a marshmallow-sculpting game. Get a few bags of small marshmellows (the ones the side of your thumbnail, not the itty-bitty cocoa ones) and a box of tooth picks. Using the toothpicks as connecting pieces, kids can connect marshmellows in the shapes of houses or letters. At the end, they can eat their sculptures with some hot cocoa. You can also let them decorate their own cupcakes instead of the traditional birthday cake.
- Let them pick their own games. Kids are loaded full of games from school and summer camp (from Seven-Up and Simon Says to Mafia and Wax Museum) so see if the birthday child has any favorites they want to play with their friends.
- Get entertainment! Face painting and balloon twisting can take up a few hours of the kids time, and you’ll be surprised as to how many of them will stick around and watch their friends get their turn! Our face painters and balloon twisters also know how to interact with kids, and keep them engaged for the time we’re there. Kaleidoscope now also offers caricatures, which is a great alternative to goody-bags or other take home gifts!
4. Plan a back-up quiet activity
Plan a movie or short cartoon if your party is going to be more than two hours. If the kids get a little too excited (might have been those marshmellows) have a back-up for them to watch. Shut off the lights and close the blinds (a little darkness will help even the roudiest ones calm down a bit) then play half-an-hour episode whatever the birthday child wants!
5. Think about clean up
If you don’t want to spend the rest of your night cleaning glitter or glue off the carpet, you might want to skip the messy crafts. You also probably don’t want to open the windows into the Connecticut-cold, so try not to use paints or other crafts with odors. This may seem obvious to a lot of parents, but our face painter and balloon twisters have seen it all.
6. Just let them go crazy! (Outside!)
If all else fails, release the hounds. Make sure in the invitations all parents know to send kids bundled up, even if you’re not planning to let the kids out. That way, if they really just want to run around and play with each other, you can set them free. As long as you’ve planned for this possibility, it can go over fine!
7. Consider entertainers! If you’re looking to start planning your party, feel free to get a quote from us on entertainment. Face painting, balloon twisting, and caricatures are great year-round activities. If you’re looking for specifically-winter-themed entertainers, we have plenty!