How-To Guide: Throw the Perfect Playground Birthday Party (2022)

by christine knight-thomas

How-To Guide: Throw the Perfect Playground Birthday Party (2)

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  • birthday party
  • simple craft
  • finger food
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  • playground
  • cake
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  • party supplies
  • outdoor space
  • cupcake
  • food
  • take home


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Were you lucky enough to have a spring or summer, or even early fall baby? That is, do birthday-month temperatures accommodate the budget-friendly option of having a birthday party in the park or at a playground? An especially good choice for the toddler set (because, just add cake and friends) a party at a public park can be a real cost-saver, loads of fun and even, with a little planning, easy to pull off. Here’s our guide to throwing a NYC park birthday party with ease! If you are looking for even more outdoor birthday party ideas, we’ve got lots here! (And hey, if you do want to buy a cake, we think these are NYC’s best!)

How-To Guide: Throw the Perfect Playground Birthday Party (8)

Choose Your Birthday Party Park Wisely

You can have a party at any NYC public park. You’ll want to suss out your options carefully before deciding on the perfect location. Look for a playground with age-appropriate equipment and a fence that locks securely. You’ll want the playground to be big enough to hold all the kids at the party, but not so big that you can’t see where your kid is at all times. If your party is in the summer, look for one that will be at least partially-shaded at the time of your party. (For both you, and the kids.)

A few other things to consider about your venue: does it have tables you can use? Are there bathrooms? A water supply? Does it have sprinklers to cool kids down? How busy does the playground get? And one very important detail to consider: how far away from is the playground from your home? Don’t forget that you’ll be trekking there and back with a lot of stuff, so the closer the better.

How-To Guide: Throw the Perfect Playground Birthday Party (9)

Have a Rainy Day Backup Plan

You can never rely on the big party day being sunny and dry, so get your rainy day plan in order. Can you hold it in your home in a pinch? Is there a room in your apartment building you could use if needed? If not, you might want to consider a rain date. Either way, make sure you tell your guests your backup plan, and let them know as soon as you can if you are switching dates or location.

How-To Guide: Throw the Perfect Playground Birthday Party (10)

Get a Permit for Your Party

If you plan to have 20 people or more in a NYC park, or want to reserve a specific area, you’ll need a Special Events Permit. The permit is easy to get and costs $25. Just head to this page on the NYC Parks Department web site,create an account and apply online at least a month in advance. Be advised: permits are not issued on major holiday weekends.

How-To Guide: Throw the Perfect Playground Birthday Party (11)

Playground & Park Party Decorating Tips

Obviously it’s a lot different decorating a shared outdoor space than your home, but it can be done. Print out (or buy) a birthday banner and tie it on the playground’s fence. Attach balloons behind the table so people can find you. Turn the food into decorations with cute cupcake toppers (which can also be stuck into other food, like fruit). Gift bags also add color and festivity to the area, as do little stuffed animals placed on the table (which make great take-home gifts for kids who get particularly attached to them by the way!). Here’s a lesson we learned the hard way: spend a few dollars on balloon weights—or make them yourself using rocks and decorative bags—to keep items that might blow away (plates, napkins, tablecloths) in place.

How-To Guide: Throw the Perfect Playground Birthday Party (12)

Playground Party Extras

Consider bringing some fun things for kids to play with around the party area like balls, chalk and bubbles. Michael’s is great for inexpensive options or a simple craft if you’re feeling ambitious. Activities a key for keeping little kids occupied so you and the other parents don’t have to chase them around the playground the whole time. If there’s a sandbox, bring a few buckets and shovels. Buy enough of one simple craft or activity so that it can serve as the favor, which is nice and simple and lightens the load of what you have to carry back to your place.

How-To Guide: Throw the Perfect Playground Birthday Party (13)

Playground Birthday Party Food

Don’t get carried away with food, unless you’re having it delivered. Carefully assess how you’re going to get everything there first. One easy idea is to host an afternoon tea party because you can get away with simply offering cupcakes, fruit and crackers. Finger food is the easiest to supply and the easiest for busy parents to grab and eat with one hand. Even easier (to serve and clean up)? Individually-wrapped snacks like mini bags cheddar bunnies, fig bars, etc. For slightly older kids (and parents) many places will deliver pizza to parks. Call the nearest pizza place and ask—chances are they’ve done it before.

An easy drink is juice boxes in bulk, or bottled water. The economical (and environmental) choice is of course to bring a pitcher and fill it up on site. (Bring cups if that’s the case.) Also recommended is some water, seltzer, etc. for steamy adults. FYI: If you’re celebrating in the afternoon and you’re thinking about providing parents some adult beverages, that’s not allowed. (i.e. it’s illegal.)

For sweets, offering cupcakes instead of a cake eliminates the need for forks and plates, which is helpful. If you think your kid will be heartbroken without a cake, make a small one for the big song-and-candle moment, and do cupcakes, etc. for the rest. (If you don’t own a cupcake and/or cake carrier and collapsible display stand, it might be a good idea to get them. Even if you’re not super PTA mom, they come in handy, and will prevent infuriating and heartbreaking mishaps with baked good in the future. The stand is just cute and will take your party game up a notch.)

How-To Guide: Throw the Perfect Playground Birthday Party (14)

Playground Birthday Party Music

You’ve gotta have some tunes! Try this one for a lot of “happy”, or this one to get kids dancing!

How-To Guide: Throw the Perfect Playground Birthday Party (15)

Boring But Important

There are several things you don’t want to be caught without and others that will be nice to have. Make yourself a “go-bag” of these essentials and just-in-case items.

Garbage and recycling bags (those trash cans in playgrounds get full, fast.)
Paper towels
Wet wipes
Band aids
Scissors and tape

How-To Guide: Throw the Perfect Playground Birthday Party (16)

Transportation To and From the Party

If you don’t have a car or don’t want to hire a car service, you can get creative with transporting your party supplies. One idea: load up your stroller with the party goods. Your child can be put in a carrier if they’re not old enough to walk the distance on their own.

— Christine Knight

photos:Kristy May Photography unless otherwise credited.


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Search more like this

  • birthday party
  • simple craft
  • finger food
  • juice boxes
  • music
  • photography
  • playground
  • cake
  • permit
  • party supplies
  • outdoor space
  • cupcake
  • food
  • take home

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What is the best time for a birthday party? ›

8 pm is a good cut-off point for your child's party. Friday is always a preferable day as you don't have to worry about getting up for school the next day. We think that an 8-11 year-old's birthday party should last from 2-3 hours. So if you're going for a weekend, 2-5 pm is a good time slot to avoid mealtimes.

How do you throw the best kids party ever? ›

How to Throw the Perfect Kids' Birthday Party
  1. Examine Your Budget. The first step to throwing a successful kids' birthday bash is to assess your budget. ...
  2. Find a Theme. ...
  3. Decide on Guest Numbers. ...
  4. Choose a Venue. ...
  5. Create a Party Timeline. ...
  6. Design the Perfect Party Invitations. ...
  7. Organise the Catering. ...
  8. Book Entertainment.
Mar 21, 2021

How do I host a kids birthday party? ›

7 Tips to Survive Hosting a Kids Birthday Party
  1. You Need a Plan. ...
  2. Don't Make the Party Too Long. ...
  3. Pick Activities that Fit the Kids' Ages and Keep Expectations Low. ...
  4. Provide Simple Snacks. ...
  5. Pick a Location for the Party That Fits the Age of the Kids. ...
  6. Plan Gift Opening at the Right Time.
Jan 4, 2018

How do you write a birthday party essay? ›

  1. Plan the date and time for the party.
  2. Choose a theme for the party.
  3. Decide whether to get a venue.
  4. Plan the food and drink.
  5. Plan the entertainment for the party.
  6. Plan who will be invited to your party.
Jan 11, 2022

How do you plan a children's party? ›

  1. Make and decorate the birthday cake or pick up a pre-ordered cake.
  2. Confirm the people who have offered to help are still available.
  3. Gather the decorations for party venue or make space in your home.
  4. Prepare and make the food ahead of time.
  5. Pack party essentials including charger, candles, lighter.
Jan 24, 2021

How do you plan a perfect party paragraph? ›

Here are the steps to planning an enjoyable party.
  1. Step 1: Location, location, location. ...
  2. Step 2: Choose a theme. ...
  3. Step 3: Set financial boundaries. ...
  4. Step 4: Select the day and time. ...
  5. Step 5: Prepare invitations. ...
  6. Step 6: Plan the food. ...
  7. Step 7: Plan the activities. ...
  8. Step 8: What music will you play?
May 15, 2017

How do you make a party Unforgettable? ›

10 Amazing Tips To Throw An Unforgettable Party Without Any Stress
  1. Create a Guest List. ...
  2. Remember to Send Invites to the Guests. ...
  3. Decide on a theme in advance. ...
  4. Make Proper Arrangements. ...
  5. Order Your drinks in advance. ...
  6. Make a Checklist. ...
  7. Plan a budget and Follow it. ...
  8. Choose a Food Menu.
Jun 9, 2022

What makes a birthday successful? ›

In my experience, it's usually bringing everyone together to sing Happy Birthday. Everything else can be flexible. By letting go of the “should's” and “have-to's” and focusing on the really important aspects of the party, you might even find yourself having fun too.

How long should birthday parties last? ›

How long should the party go? For the under-3 crowd, an hour is plenty. For 4- to 6-year-olds, two hours works well. Older children can enjoy a two-hour party, or a bit longer, provided there's plenty of varied entertainment.

Should you serve food at a birthday party? ›

The bottom line when it comes the food at kids' birthday parties: Do the right thing. If you don't want to deal with meals, plan your party for a time when there's no expectation (you're safe for a 2 p.m. start, for example). Otherwise, feed both kids and adults ... and do your best to accommodate all of your guests.

How long should a children's party last? ›

Set a time

Deciding how long the party should last can be difficult, and will be dependent on the age of children and the activities planned but as a guide, parties should last about 2 hours. This is long enough for the kids to have fun and not run out of steam or get bored.

How do you throw a cheap party? ›

How to Throw a Birthday Party on a Budget
  1. Keep your guest list small. ...
  2. Make your own invitations. ...
  3. Use free printables to decorate. ...
  4. Pick a theme you already have decorations for. ...
  5. Have the party at your house. ...
  6. Don't party at meal time. ...
  7. Make or decorate your own cake. ...
  8. Use the dollar store for party supplies.
Aug 26, 2021

How do 11 year olds celebrate their birthday? ›

50 Fun Activities for Your 11 Year Old's Birthday Party (2022)
  1. Nerf War. Having a Nerf War is one of the most fun birthday party games you can plan! ...
  2. Truth or Dare. ...
  3. Name that tune. ...
  4. Would you Rather? ...
  5. Pictionary. ...
  6. Movie Night & Popcorn. ...
  7. Cupcake Wars. ...
  8. Fortnite Fort Night.
Mar 30, 2022

How do I celebrate my birthday short paragraph? ›

I celebrate my birthday with great happiness and joy. Moreover, the blessing and wishes that I receive on my birthday are very precious for me. My parents make this day as most memorable day every year since my childhood. Every year it is the most special and the day full of surprises for me.

How do I write a short paragraph for my birthday? ›

My parents celebrate my birthday with great joy and excitement. They invite all my friends and relatives on my special day. My mother bakes a delicious cake and prepares mouth-watering dishes on my birthday. My father decorates the whole house with colourful balloons and streamers.

How do you write an introduction for a birthday party? ›

introduction - Capture the audience's attention with a fun anecdote, little joke or quote. The birthday speech introduction can include thanking everyone for coming and their gifts, thanking the person who asked you to make a speech, and thanking the people who planned the party.

How do you arrange a surprise birthday party paragraph? ›

Paragraph on How to Plan a Surprise Party- by Anand
  1. Introduction: Planning a surprise party is a difficult task but not impossible. ...
  2. Occasion Based Party: ADVERTISEMENTS: ...
  3. The Venue: Deciding the ideal venue is a must for a surprise party. ...
  4. Invitation Cards: ADVERTISEMENTS: ...
  5. Guest List: ...
  6. Menu: ...
  7. Fun Activities: ...
  8. Conclusion:

What should you do before a party? ›

7 Things You Should Do in the 24 Hours Before a Party
  • Make room in the fridge for food and drinks. ...
  • Plan out placeholders for your spread. ...
  • Predict and plan for trash and recycling. ...
  • Prepare an emergency stain kit. ...
  • Empty your bathroom bins and refresh the toilet paper. ...
  • Leave out disposable hand towels. ...
  • Designate a dish pan.
Feb 9, 2017

What do u need for a party? ›

Party Food & Drink Essentials
  • Plenty of napkins & hand-wipes for sticky fingers.
  • Party food boxes / party plates / cutlery.
  • Serving platters / cupcake stands for displaying buffet.
  • Jugs, cups & straws (have extras for helpers)
  • Cocktail sticks or food skewers for kebabs.
  • Birthday candles & matches.
  • Cake plate & knife.
Jan 6, 2020

How do you have fun at a party? ›

7 Ways To Have Fun At A Party
  1. Create a Fake Persona. If you don't know many people at the party, you can choose to become a completely different person. ...
  2. Learn Some Popular Dances. ...
  3. Be the Bartender. ...
  4. Crack Some Jokes. ...
  5. Play Casino Games. ...
  6. Drink Champagne and Play Drinking Games. ...
  7. Eat.
Jan 2, 2019

How do you make a boring party fun? ›

Always keep in mind that it's ultimately up to you to make the most out of a boring party. Ask the host if there is anything you can help with. Try starting up a game of cards or other table game with your friends. Introduce people you know to help start conversations.

How can I make my birthday memorable? ›

15 Ways to Make Birthdays Special (No Big Party Required)
  1. Fill their room with balloons. ...
  2. Do a birthday countdown. ...
  3. Make a birthday present scavenger hunt. ...
  4. Dress them in special birthday attire. ...
  5. Transform their chair into a birthday throne. ...
  6. Or make them an entire birthday castle. ...
  7. Give them the gift of quality time.

What is the most important thing about a birthday party? ›

1. Birthday Guest of Honor. The guest of honor should of course be an important consideration, after all the party is for them! This concept can especially be lost on a young child where the party can turn into a party for the adults and not the child.

Is 10 a special birthday? ›

Turning 10 is a major milestone— not just because it's your first double-digit birthday, but also because it's the first year you can honestly and proudly call yourself a BIG KID. Happy 10th birthday.

How long should a 8 year old birthday party be? ›

This is why two to three hours seem to be a good compromise for children aged 8 to 10 years. 8-10 years old : Of the environment from the afternoon to the end of day, for a party for from two to four hours!

How do you entertain guests at a party? ›

Party Tips to Entertain your Guests
  1. TIP #1: Do Not Plan It All by Yourself!
  2. TIP #2: An Attractive Guest Group!
  3. TIP #3: An Energetic Music Playlist!
  4. TIP #4: Pensive Details!
  5. TIP #5: Delicious Food Servings!
  6. TIP #6: Super Sizzling Cocktails!
  7. TIP #7: A Surprise Element!
  8. TIP #8: Activities for Group Bonding!
Jul 15, 2021

Should you feed parents at a kids party? ›

It can be a lovely gesture to offer food and drinks to every parent that drops their child off at the party. But it's not at all necessary, and chances are most parents won't do it back. So offer some food to the parents that stayed to help out, and if the budget is tight, tea and coffee is perfectly acceptable!

Is 5 a big birthday? ›

For most children, reaching the age of five means one thing – starting school and increasing their independence. This is why the 5th birthday is often considered a milestone.

At what age do you leave your child at a birthday party? ›

Some children mature quicker than others. While some parents may not feel comfortable leaving their child at a party without them until age 8 or 9, some kids are ready at 5. Figure out your child's weak areas and determine if these weaknesses will affect their ability to handle themselves on their own.

How do I drop off a party in Word? ›

If you'd like parents to drop their children off at the party, Rachel Isgar of Please Pass The Manners in El Segundo recommends using a phrase such as “drop-off preferred” or “drop-off requested.”

How do you throw a get together? ›

  1. Commit to a Specific Purpose. Having a clear intention for a party from the get-go will make your gathering less one-size-fits-all or bland. ...
  2. Be Strategic With the Space. ...
  3. Tell a Story With the Invite. ...
  4. The First Few Minutes Set the Tone. ...
  5. If You're Going to Host, Host With Rules. ...
  6. Close Your Event Decisively.
May 14, 2018

How long should a birthday party last? ›

For the under-3 crowd, an hour is plenty. For 4- to 6-year-olds, two hours works well. Older children can enjoy a two-hour party, or a bit longer, provided there's plenty of varied entertainment.

How do teens throw a party? ›

If you are hosting a teen party...
  1. Plan in Advance. Go over party plans with your teen. ...
  2. Keep parties small. ...
  3. Set a guest list. ...
  4. Set starting and ending times for the party. ...
  5. Set party "rules" and your expectations. ...
  6. Have plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages available. ...
  7. Be there, but not square.
Mar 29, 2010

What makes a party great? ›

A warm, relaxed and confident greeting puts people at ease right away. a personalized compliment to make guests feel special and you're already winning. Something to hold: As soon as people have received a warm welcome, make sure they have instant access to drinks and something to nibble.


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