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  • When did I begin planning parties? 
  • How did I learn to plan parties for hundreds of children? 
  • What did I do to prevent myself from doing all the work? 
  • Why are planning parties more fun than a barrel of monkeys?

  • Read on! 

    I was about four years old when my sister got a doll for her birthday. All I wanted to do was hold it. Why didn't I get a present? I was not allowed to enjoy my sister's birthday. What did I do? I cried! 

    I was the fourth child born in my family. At the most, there was 2 years between WE DRESSED FOR PARTIES IN THE 1960'S! each sibling in the birth order. (Until my younger brother was born 9-1/2 years later.)  My parents somehow found ways to keep the peace when we all competed for attention. From about the time my sister got her doll, my parents decided that when it was YOUR birthday you would give small presents to everyone. This was in the days before anyone gave prize or snack bags at birthday parties. This was neat! Now when it was someone else's birthday, you got a present! When it was your turn to buy the gifts for everyone, you got to go to the store (the five & dime), and you learned about budgeting, and the joy of giving... Hey, we were kids; of course there was the "you give me something nice & I'll give you something neat too..." In our house it made each birthday seem like a "little Christmas".  I would look forward to someone else's birthday almost as much as mine!

    My Mom was a very creative elementary school teacher.  Maybe she introduced all the neat "party games" we played...For instance; there was always a candy hunt, a memory game and dress up relay games.  Other games included pin the tail on the donkey and musical chairs.

    Now I have three beautiful children of my own. After my daughter was born, I became a member of the local Pre-school PTA (Membership averages about 300 families). My son was about 2. I joined to get him socially involved with others his age, and I needed to bond with other moms! Besides the play groups and the children's activities, the parties were a big draw. The Parties Coordinators planned three parties per year (Halloween, Christmas, and a Spring Theme event), then there were also the other "party like" events; "My son & I" and "Daughter & I' and "See & Do Fairs" that were planned.  Members were always needed to help with these events. I pitched in where I could. I was so impressed with the parties that I planned my first event for my son for his 3-year-old birthday. It was a Barney Party. I planned games & decorated the cake. My husband (bless him it was a hot August day) wore the Barney costume. However I soon found out that planning my own children's birthday parties did not give me the necessary qualifications to coordinate the PTA Mega-events. 

    In 1995, I volunteered to coordinate the parties for the following term.  The first party was the Halloween Party.  I accepted an idea from a veteran member and decided on the theme of "safety town".  Although the party was scheduled for late October, initial planning began in the summer.  This party was a learning experience from these beginning stages to even after the party.  For the most part, the overall theme, decorations, activities, and refreshments chosen for this party were wonderful.  It was an enjoyable & educational time for the children, we had participation from the community, and we had only one little problem during the event.  Well for a BIG party, anything little easily can get out of hand.  But mistakes were made and I learned from those mistakes.   I learned that year how to delegate, or break up a party into committees or jobs. I found out what type of theme works best when planning an event for over 200 families (or even just 100 children).  I learned so much, in fact,  I began keeping notes so that future coordinators would benefit from everything I learned.  By the end of the term, I felt I had planning parties down to an art.  Since then, I have developed the following party sub-committees:  Crafts,  Decorations,  Food,  Games,  and Sign-in.  In 1999, I had coordinated or assisted in coordinating parties for 4 Halloween Parties and most of the other events. When we moved, I was told that someone had stated at a meeting; "without Kathy" ... "Parties will never be the same".  (Thank You for the compliment!)

    I do want parties to be fun for the children and for the coordinators!  I would hate to have all that I know and all that I've learned not be used. So I began taking my notes from the parties I planned, and put together this site. I have included basic themes and information to get you started.

    Do You Need More?
  • step by step planning activities,
  • how to stay on budget,
  • how to choose a theme,
  • More ideas for
    • Games,
    • Crafts (printable patterns!),
    • Prizes,
    • Decorations,
    • Name tags, and
    • Menu Items (Recipes!)

    These additional items are very useful to PTA, PTO, and other organizations that need to put on big grouped events.  If you wish to obtain this information, please purchase a membership to this site. You will receive an ID & Password that will allow you to access even more information.

    I will also continue to add as many new ideas & themes to this site as they become popular.

    If you have any comments or suggestions or things to add, you may also e-mail me (Keep those compliments coming!)

    Thank you for sharing your ideas!

    Ó Copyright Kathy's Kidstuff 1999 - All Rights reserved.