If you are planning your kid’s birthday party at an indoor playground or kiddie gym, here are some useful tips to help your party run more smoothly. Most indoor playground parties are only 2 hours long, so you need to make the most of your time in the party room.
Here is a SAMPLE “Afternoon” Party Schedule for a 2 hour party from 4:00pm – 6:00pm.
Party Planning Tip: Before you start planning your party and enter into a contract with any venue, make sure to read my Tips for Choosing A Birthday Party Package & Venue. It will really help you narrow down your search and help you negotiate the terms of your party contract.
3:30 pm:Your arrival. Even though your party doesn’t start until 4pm, plan on arriving early to help set up and talk to the party venue. This way you can rearrange tables, decorate, set up goodie bags, set up a table for the gifts, organize the music and work out any last minute details.
Party Planning Tip: re-inform the venue that you will be arriving early to set-up. Ask to see a sample layout/set-up of the party room before the date of your actual party. This way you can inform them of any changes or preferences you might have.
Party Planning Tip: Make sure to give a copy of your schedule to the staff before the party starts.
3:45 pm: Tell Guests to arrive before time and start playing. Although guests will not be allowed in the party room until 4:00pm, then can usually start playing before the party begins (which is the whole point of hosting a party at a kid’s indoor gym).
Party Planning Tip: Most people will not arrive exactly at the start of the party and you want to get the most out of your party room. Try to arrange for a table or area outside where all the parents can hang out until the party begins.
4:00 pm: Guests are free to come in and out of the party room. Make sure someone is in the party room to greet the guests and take the gifts (this can either be yourself or someone from the venue).
Party Planning Tip: Set up some drinks and light snacks for the adults/kids in the party room. If you are allowed to bring outside food then provide some basic finger foods like chips, popcorn, veggies, fruit. If outside food is not allowed, then order some chips or finger foods from the party venue. This way hungry children have something to eat and drink.
4:40 pm: (If games are included in your package) Have the Party Host gather all the kids for the games.
4:45 pm: (If games are included in your package) Let the games begin!
Party Planning Tip: Find out if the venue has a built in sound system in the party room for playing iPods or cds. Bring your kid’s favorite music to play throughout the party.
5:00 pm: Gather all the kids & adults and do the cake cutting. Always do the cake cutting before the food is served. This will allow the staff ample time to cut the cake while everyone is eating.
Party Planning Tip: Make sure to bring your own cake cutting knife, candles and matches. If you are bringing your own cake (not provided by the venue), check to make sure that the party venue will provide you with plates and forks for your cake, otherwise make sure to bring your own.
5:10 pm: Get the kids seated and start serving the food. Note: If you are having a morning party, lunch should be served around 12pm. Try not to make it too late. Most kids eat lunch at school around 12 and are usually hungry by that time.
Party Planning Tip: Make sure you tell the Staff that you want them to be around while the kids are being served the food. Pre-instruct the Staff to: (1) Cut & serve the cake, (2) Serve the kids food and offer a second helping for hungry kids and (3) Clean up the dirty plates and cups from the table as people finish eating.
5:15 pm – 5:45 pm: Kids (and adults) eat.
Party Planning Tip: Most adults do not usually eat a lot at kiddy parties because of the odd timing, but it is always nice to have something to snack on. If you decide not to order a lot of food for the adults, have the venue Staff pass out cake to the adults first (that way they have something to eat). The kids can eat cake once they are finished with their meal.
5:30pm – 6:00pm: Kids can continue playing in the party room or outside in the play area. Start passing out the goodie bags to those kids that are leaving.
6:00pm: You will be required to clear out of the party room or pay extra to stay longer.
Party Planning Tip: Find out exactly how much time you have after the end of the party to clear out the room. Most venues (especially on weekends) require you to be out of the room at the exact “end” time of the party, because they usually have another party scheduled soon after.
6:00pm – close: Normally guests are allowed unlimited play even after the party time is over. Try to set up a table outside the party room where the parents can hang out while the kids play.
This is just a sample schedule for your birthday party at a Kid’s Indoor Playground. You can modify the schedule to suit your own party requirements. The most important thing is that you actually have a schedule of events to follow, this way you will be able to maximize your time in the party room and hopefully have a stress free and fun party!
Good Luck & Happy Party Planning!!