Determine what kind of a party you plan to throw. Allow your child to have input in this step. Ask him what kind of party he wants, and get him on board with the theme. Be creative, and don't let an unusual theme request deter you. It’s true that there are ready-made items featuring a variety of themes available, but you may make your child's party even more memorable by engaging him and putting it all together yourselves. For example, if your child loves dinosaurs, throw a dinosaur party. Put together a fake “dig,” and bury plastic bones in the backyard or sandbox. Have a display table where guests take a scientific look at leaves, rocks, fossils and other outdoor items that you and your child have collected together. Make sure each child comes with or is given a flashlight, a disposable camera, a magnifying glass and other appropriate items.
Plan your decorations. If you can't find decorations in the theme you've chosen or if you find them to be too expensive, make some yourself. Often, you can find suggestions online, in magazines or in craft books, and you can make most decorations for a very reasonable cost. Just remember to give yourself plenty of time. If you're making them, you want to have time to get them just right, and if you're buying them, you want to have time to order anything that might be unavailable in the store.
Get the invitations ready. You can purchase ready-made invitations, but consider putting something original together yourself. Use your imagination, and do something different. For example, you might put together personalized buttons for your child to hand out before the party with a short invitation written on it. Or if you have access to a digital camera and can print pictures quickly, you can buy small, magnetic picture frames, and put the invitation in the frame. Have the children bring the frame to the party, and then take a picture of each child to send home as a party favor.
Prepare the food. Depending on the age of the child, finger food or food that is not overly messy is the best. Pizza is always a good idea, but you can also serve food that goes along with your party theme. For example, for your dinosaur-themed party, you could crumble up some sugar, shortbread or even chocolate cookies and bury some gummie "dinosaurs" in the "dirt." Again, be creative, and use your imagination to put together a menu no one will forget!
Put it all together. Do as much as you can in advance, and get another adult to help you if possible. Avoid inviting too many children. A good rule-of-thumb is to invite the same number of children as the age of the birthday child. For example, if the party is for a 5-year-old child, don't invite more than five children to the party. Also, don’t overload the kids with too much stuff to do, and make sure it all stays fun. Finally, make sure each child gets to go home with some type of party favor.