How to Throw a Kids Party They’ll Actually Love

Post by Kelsey of We Heart Parties

Parties are my love language. I think they are SO fun to throw.

All the desserts and décor and tiny little treat cups and perfect party favors…

But – what matters most is that the guests have FUN. When throwing kids party, it is so important to think beyond the fancy paper lanterns and create fun spaces for them to play.

Après Ski Kids Party

I recently threw an Après Ski themed kids party for my daughter. She’s been skiing twice and loves to hit the slopes like the big kids and adults.

Après Ski Kids Party - Cookies Après Ski Kids Party - Birthday Cake

While the desserts and décor were quite cute, I wanted to make sure the kids had play spaces and games to keep them entertained.

I like to create three separate play spaces, activities or games at a party.

The guests at this Après Ski Party were between the ages of 3-5, so I decided on:

  1. A Warming Hut & Campfire Play Space
  2. A Coloring Table
  3. An Indoor Ski Race

Après Ski Kids Party Après Ski Kids Party Après Ski Kids Party

I’ve always been in love with The Land of Nod’s teepees! Paired with their Plush Campfire Set, it made the perfect “Warming Hut” for chilly little skiers. The kids loved roasting marshmallows and hot dogs over the fire!

The second activity was a coloring table full of snow skiing themed coloring pages. I found all the coloring pages for free online, and the kids spent quite a bit of time here.

Après Ski Kids Party

And finally, we got the kids moving with an indoor ski race course! My daughter’s first ski run was a green called Sweet Pea, so I created the Sweet Pea Race Course.

Each party guest got a turn to slip on cardboard skis and race (shuffle!) around the course.

When they crossed the finish line they were presented with a gold medal.

Après Ski Kids Party - Games

Après Ski Kids Party - Games

These three activities kept the kids entertained throughout the party, and more importantly allowed them to have lots of FUN!

So at your next party – remember to create fun play spaces and activities that kids will love, along with the super cute treats and décor.

All photos by Kyla Coots

Kelsey Graves is the founder of We Heart Parties – a party ideas website. Join the We Heart Parties community by sharing your parties on the site. And follow We Heart Parties on Pinterest and Instagram for daily party inspiration.

Party On: First Birthday Starlight Starbright Moodboard

Written by Becca of CAKE. | events + design

My son Theo turned one earlier this year, and we all know this is a challenging time to host a first birthday party. Rather than fighting the winter and post-holiday blues, we decided to work with them and host a casual evening gathering with a celestial theme. I’m sharing my vision here in a new feature for Honest to Nod called ‘Party On’. These boards will offer inspiration for family friendly parties, featuring items from the Land of Nod that can be practically incorporated into both your event and your home.

I’m also showing off a few pictures and details from the real event. The rest of our first birthday extravaganza is being featured on my site CAKE., so be sure to pop over and see how it all came together.

Party On: First Birthday Starlight Starbright Moodboard 1 – Out of Stock // 2 – Out of Stock // 3 // 4 // 5 – Out of Stock // 6 // 7 // 8 – Out of Stock // 9

First Birthday Theme: Starlight Starbright

Color Palette: Indigo // Silver // Winter White

Invitation: available on Etsy

First Birthday Starlight Starbright Moodboard 1 First Birthday Starlight Starbright Moodboard 2We held the party at dusk, and luckily the weather permitted it to be held both indoors + outdoors. Because of the time, we encouraged the little ones to come in their pjs so they could head right to sleep when they got home.

First Birthday Starlight Starbright Moodboard 3Chilly though it was, we had dessert in the backyard around our fire pit. There was vanilla cake, star cookies, meringues and all the fixings for a classic s’mores bar.

First Birthday Starlight Starbright Moodboard 4 First Birthday Starlight Starbright Moodboard 5 First Birthday Starlight Starbright Moodboard 6We had benches around the fire pit with star pillows and blankets to help keep everyone warm. Sitting underneath the twinkle lights it was all very cozy and campy.

First Birthday Starlight Starbright Moodboard 7We sent each family home with a handmade favor bag that had a special surprise inside – a set of glow in the dark stars for the kids rooms. I designed a little ‘for stargazing’ tag to coordinate with the party invitation.

First Birthday Starlight Starbright Moodboard 8Becca Gorski lives in the SF Bay Area, is a working mother of two, and moonlights as an occasional designer / blogger / celebration maker. You can find her creative ideas on CAKE. | events + design, and her line of merry happy party printables on Etsy.

Wildflower Themed Birthday Party

Post by Tara Berger of One Stylish Party

I’m here to share with you a wildflower themed birthday party thrown in honor of a sweet 3 year old little girl, Alexis Maria who just so happens to be the daughter of my best friend Victoria.

Inspired by the birthday girl’s love of flowers and tea parties, my goal was to capture her vibrant personality with a whimsical and colorful celebration. Once we decided on the wildflower theme birthday party, I immediately set out to find the perfect party props and stumbled upon the Floral Teepee and Flower Love Poster Decal from Land of Nod which served as the jumping off point for the color scheme and party decorations.

Wildflower Themed Kids Birthday Party - 6 For the dessert table, I tapped a few of my favorite vendors to bring the wildflower party theme to life in the form of beautiful edible creations. Desserts included a rustic buttercream cake adorned with glittery fondant flowers, red velvet macarons, wildflower sugar cookies, floral crown cake pops, stacked sugar cookies with fondant flower toppers and homemade strawberry cupcakes with edible flowers.

The ivy backdrop with handmade crepe paper flowers served as the focal point of the dessert table and I incorporated several wooden vintage props to give the table varying heights. Along with my go-to milk glass cake stands, I also incorporated a few ethnically sourced floral trays from The Little Market, which complimented the theme perfectly.

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The tea party table included a gold sequin table cloth with a vintage floral table runner, fresh flowers and an age appropriate place setting for each little girl. The woven rag rug, throw pillows, tassel backdrop and Love Poster were a few of the other elements that helped bring the tea party table to life.

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And last but not least, the teepee play area was a hit among the girls at the party. The Floral Teepee was accessorized with plush blankets, throw pillows, colorful tassels, a jumbo balloon and a custom wooden calligraphy sign that read “you belong among the wildflowers” which couldn’t have been more fitting for the party theme. Outside of the teepee, I included custom floral crowns and ribbon wands for the girls to play with during the party.

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Wildflower Themed Kids Birthday PartyYou’d never know it from the pictures, but on the day of the party it POURED down rain, so we made a quick location switch from a backyard party to a pavilion at a local park. Thankfully we were able to still be outdoors and stay dry and the birthday girl and her guests still had every bit as much fun despite the weather!

Wildflower Themed Kids Birthday Party - 9 Wildflower Themed Kids Birthday Party - 8 Wildflower Themed Kids Birthday Party - 7Photography: Natasha Esguerra Photography / Event Concept and Design: One Stylish Party / Floral Teepee and Love Sign: Land of Nod / Floral Trays: The Little Market | Floral Crowns: Peckled / Wooden Wildflower Calligraphy Sign: Kate Farley Design / Cake: Divine Cakes, Inc. / Cake pops: Bella’s Bakery and Bowtique / Fondant Flower Toppers: Frog Prince Cake & Cookie Design / Wildflower Sugar Cookies: Natsweets / Gold Sequin Tablecloth: Koyal Wholesale / Balloons, Tassels, Paper Flowers: One Stylish Party

Tara is the owner of One Stylish Party, an online party boutique and creative studio featuring designs and inspiration for entertaining in style.

Milk & Cookies Birthday Party

Hi there! I’m Kelsey Nixon. I host a cooking show on Cooking Channel called Kelsey’s Essentials and I recently wrote my first cookbook, Kitchen ConfidenceMost importantly, I’m a mom to 2 year old Ollie! I recently threw a birthday bash for him celebrating with two of his favorite things – milk & cookies! He’s also a big fan of Elmo and Cookie Monster, so this was an attempt to do something that he really loved, but that didn’t have an overly pronounced character theme. After throwing a big party for his 1st birthday where I made all of the food (and ran myself ragged during the process), I decided to just focus on a fun cake this year and not worry about feeding all of our guests an entire meal. By scheduling the casual party later in the afternoon at the park, this worked really well. No one showed up super hungry, yet they were all happy to have a little something fun to eat.

Milk and Cookies Birthday Party

Once I decided to focus on the cake, I knew immediately that I wanted to do a chocolate chip cookie layer cake. I’d never made a “cookie cake” before, but felt like it seemed simple enough to tackle. I altered my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe slightly to make it more of a bar cookie – meaning that it was a bit thicker and more soft on the inside with crispy edges.

I used a springform pan to make the layers the exact same shape, but you could do the same thing with a standard cake pan as well. For the layers of frosting I used a cream cheese based recipe that wasn’t too sweet. I was worried that the weight of the cookies would be too much for the frosting, but it ended up working out just fine and the tart flavor of the cream cheese layers was a great compliment to the sweet cookies. I assembled the cake the day before since I had to work the morning of the party and ended up storing the cake loosely covered in the refrigerator. I didn’t want the frosting to become too soft causing the layers to shift, but I also didn’t want the refrigerator to dry out the cookie. It ended up working out perfectly, and if I were to make the cake again, I’d follow the same method of completing it the day before and storing it in the refrigerator until party time. I sliced the cake with a serrated knife to make sure that I could easily get through the layers.

The cake looked as good as it tasted and ended up being a great conversation piece for the adults throughout the party – I think everyone went home with a verbal tutorial! You can find the full recipe and detailed directions here.

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When it came to the decorating details, I used many of the same decorations that we had used at his 1st birthday party. We kept the same color scheme and reused a darling garland (similar here) that felt fun and festive with blues and greens. I’m a big fan of Shop Sweet Lulu and think that they do a great job of curating party decorations. I was able to find some additional details like this number 2 balloon  these mini milk jugs  and these paper goods that helped bring our simple theme to life and made the get together feel celebratory. I used Cookie Crisp cereal to fill the mini milk jugs for favors and also used the crispy cereal pieces to decorate the straws that everyone enjoyed with their milk. I also had some fresh fruit as an option to balance out all the sweets. We used this small picnic table to set up a few details and it was awesome. One of my favorite family purchases for summer!

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Milk and Cookies Birthday Party: Cookie Birthday Cake

Milk and Cookies Birthday Party: Stacked Cookie Birthday Cake

Milk and Cookies Birthday Party: Cookie Cake

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We held the party at a playground in Central Park that had a small grassy area where we could all congregate. It was perfect for toddlers because the playground kept them contained, yet the adults were still able to mingle a bit on the grass without having to chase their toddlers everywhere. This parachute was fun for both the parents and kids to play with on and off throughout the afternoon.

Overall, I put in a little bit of effort and felt like we all had a great experience – most importantly Ollie had a blast! Since I wasn’t so concerned about preparing an entire menu, I was able to focus on Ollie and our guests more. It was a much more enjoyable experience this year! Just like any mom out there, I love the idea of throwing birthday parties for my kids that look like they fell from the pages of Pinterest, but I also know that it’s important to be realistic and not overwhelm yourself. This little party felt like a good balance where I focused on a few details (cake, small favors, cookie straws) and let everything else just fall into place.

Milk and Cookies Birthday Party - 2nd Birthday

Happy Birthday Ollie! 2 years old has never looked so good!

Kelsey Nixon (www.kelseynixon.com) is the host of Kelsey’s Essentials on Cooking Channel and author of Kitchen Confidence. Kelsey’s Essentials is also currently airing Mon-Thurs at 3pm on Food Network. Kelsey, her husband Robby, and son Oliver (“Ollie”) live in New York City. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.