Now that I’ve had some time to recover from throwing two birthday parties for my children, I wanted to share the ways I used technology to help manage the planning and design for these events. My husband always tells me I go too crazy for our kids’ parties… and he’s right. I definitely went overboard trying to plan and trying to run with a theme. But that’s where my tech strategies came in handy!
First of all, I had to let the kids pick their themes. I do my best work with just a little guidance, and the kids gave me princess (for the 5th birthday) and Paw Patrol (for the 3rd party).
My next stop was Pinterest. I created boards to collect what I found for each theme. I learned that having a “To Check Out” section in each of my boards helped me to collect, and then I would move pins to other sections: Food, Games, Printables, Not This Time. I do want to point out that I gave myself a few months to research this year – mostly because I spent a lot of time on my daughter’s party last year, then threw together a party for my son in a few weeks, and I still feel guilty about it (even if he has no idea).
If interested, you can visit my boards:
I discovered that I really like collecting ideas, especially for printables. Others have designed, and often decided to share for free, lots of things you can print to use for your party. We found food labels for the princess party, Paw Patrol games (Nickelodeon had some great stuff on their site), and coloring pages galore!
My next tool is Google Sheets. I actually shared a template for my party RSVPs sheet with a friend: Birthday Party RSVPs template (you’ll be prompted to make a copy). I write a list of everyone we want to invite, then try to reduce the list to a manageable number. I have Sheets run a tally of how many people I’m looking at, separating adults and kids since I’ll be looking at goody bags for kids. I have a sheet for thank you tracking (note, we sent all of 3 thank you’s for the one party… The rest are still waiting…). I will also add a sheet to track food and supplies. I also use a Google Doc to collect ideas and work up a draft timeline for the party itself. I like the afternoon snack time parties so I don’t have to provide a meal – I always think it will be cheaper. I use Google because I can share the Sheet and Doc with my husband and the grandmothers who miraculously still help me plan and throw these parties. Being able to share something we can all update is very helpful.
One last tech tool I use is a shared Amazon wish list. I’ll put a bunch of people thematic supplies on that list, and take notes on my supplies sheet about comparison prices at other places (Target, Oriental Trading, Party City). I share the list with my helpers (grandmas).
I think that covers my main assistants when planning my kids’ parties. I would love to say that I won’t need so much help next year since I won’t be throwing a crazy themed party again, but who am I kidding? I’m so good at it now!
I’ll try to add some photos of our party setups…