While they plan events of all kinds, Marcella Kragel and Ina Miller, confess that their favorite parties tend to be the ones they plan for children, especially their own.
In many ways, planning a party for a child is more challenging than planning for an adult. So why do we love them so much? Because they’re an opportunity to be truly creative.
Did you know we each have three kids? That makes six between us—between the ages of nine and two, complete with one set of “Irish twins,” and one set of real twins. In between running our business, our households and raising our kids we’re definitely busy. But every once in a while, there’s a perfect storm and we get to do what we love for those little ones we love the most: throw a kid’s birthday party!
In many ways, planning a party for a child is more challenging than planning for an adult. There’s the pressure of bringing to life whatever theme might captivate your child at that particular moment. And you often have to cater to both kids and the parents who accompany them. Kids’ parties are also much faster-paced. There are activities to do, snacks to eat, gifts to unwrap, songs to sing, cake to eat and only a couple of hours to do it all. So why do we love them so much? Because they’re an opportunity to be truly creative. Fortunately, we live in a city full of delicious bakeries, creative businesses and inspiring locations which make it easy to create memorable childhood experiences that are fun for adults as well!
Birthday Party Planning 101
1. Timing is everything Planning food for picky eaters and adults can be tricky. We suggest planning a party in the sweet spot between meal times so guests don’t expect a meal. Nibbles and sweets will hold everyone over, and make planning and clean up much easier. We love Rainbow Blossom Natural Food Market and Paul’s Fruit Market for healthy snacks and platters.
2. Plan, but not too much Picking one or two activities is a good idea, but try not to make them too complicated. And be prepared for your plans to go out the window when they decide popping the bubble wrap on a present is infinitely more fun than the scavenger hunt you agonized over. We can always find creative crafts at Dee’s or Preston’s Art Center.
3. Plan for all your guests Take parents into consideration with a few thoughtful details. While kids are devouring neon-colored cupcakes, keep a stash of Please and Thank You chocolate chip cookies or the champagne and white tea popsicles from Steel City Pops to pass out to the adults. Don’t forget the savory snacks for adults too. Why not order Green Chili Wontons from Bristol Bar and Grille or Across the Universe platters from Galaxie Bar?
4. Don’t be afraid of a theme. Your child is not the first to want a Rainbow Dash Disco Dance Party (been there, done that). Pinterest is your friend and will provide you with all the inspiration you need. But, be careful. A theme can take over and soon you’re buying every dinosaur you can find in a 10-mile radius! Stick with a few well place decorations, and call it a day. Fun decor sources include The Paper Source and World Market.
Location, Location, Location
Consider these out-of-the-box destinations:
Local Ice Cream Shop – The Comfy Cow is a delicious choice, and has several options no matter what size party you have in mind. Both The Comfy Cow and Steel City pops will also “cater” and bring a fully stocked with a helper straight to you. We also love Homemade Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen and the brand new Louisville Cream.
A Neighborhood Park - Willow Park is a personal favorite, complete with picturesque gazebo perfect for a small gathering. Also consider Hogan’s Fountain Pavilion, The Parklands of Floyd’s Fork or Seneca Park.
Is your child involved in a beloved sport? Wherever they train will usually have some options, and your birthday boy/girl will get to share their passion with their friends. We have hosted or attended fun celebrations at Louisville Gymnastics, Mockingbird Valley Sports Complex, All About Kids, and St. Matthews Martial Arts.
Giving back while celebrating can be the best present of all. Check out Side by Side Studio where not only will your child and their guests create masterpieces to take home, but your money will go to support programs that bring art education to children throughout our community.
What about when you are the guest?
We love gathering ideas at friends and families parties as well. When you are a guest, make sure to show your host you care with a thoughtful gift for the birthday girl or boy. Our favorite places to shop are Carmichael’s Kids Bookstore, Playthings Toy Shoppe and Brilliant Sky Toys and Books.