Planning a party can be tough! There's so many moving parts that need to come together at once, and you want your child to feel special on their big day.
1- Choose the Location
First things first, you have to choose where the party is going to take place.
The big question: Do you want to have it at your home, or at a venue?
At home parties can be a lot cheaper, but remember that unless you have a party planner then YOU are the one responsible for organizing all of the food, cake, decor, games, music, goodie bags, and of course the dreaded clean up. Some parents seem to be naturals at throwing parties, I on the other hand am not. But I have pulled them off successfully by sticking to a plan!
You might also be interested in hosting your own party at a public venue like a park. In Victoria, many public picnic areas can be reserved for a group so that you have picnic tables, sheltered areas, and access to washrooms, playgrounds, beaches, grassy spaces, etc. depending on the location you choose. Reserve early to ensure you get your preferred date.
Lastly, there's heaps of awesome local businesses who provide party space and included activities for kids' parties. Here's our complete list of party venues in the Greater Victoria area who all offer a variety of package options, from DIY to the all-inclusive packages. You'll want to book well in advance (we recommend at least 1-2 months prior) to avoid the disappointment of not getting your preferred dates and times.
2- Book Your Entertainment
If you've booked in at a venue who offers their own birthday party packages, you'll likely skip this step as they typically plan the entertainment, whether it be laser tag, swimming, dance lessons, etc.
If you're hosting at home or a public space, you may consider bringing in some entertainment to help make the day extra special. Here in Victoria there's lots of come-to-you options, from entertainers like magicians, clowns or princess visits, to flippin' fun with inflatable bouncy castles, to game rentals like hamster balls and sumo suits.
Since lots of entertainers and party rentals get booked for other types of parties or community events, we recommend booking at least 1 month in advance.
3- Hand Out or Send Invitations
Ok, you've got the venue and date set. Now it's time to make sure we get the people to the party! Once you've talked to your child about who they want to invite and they've made their list, you'll want to get the invitations ready.
1- You can purchase pre-made invitations at the store, or sometimes a venue will have invitations available.
2- Have your birthday child do some arts and crafts and make them personalized invitations.
3- Use a free email-invite tool to send them out and keep track of RSVPs.
Remember it's good to give at least 3-4 weeks heads up to parents so that they can plan accordingly.
4- Shop Decor & Party Essentials
Adding colourful decor or themed supplies can turn your space into a dream birthday for your child.
Before the day of the party make sure you've got your shopping list complete. If you're hosting the party at a venue, make sure you've checked what type of decor or party supplies are allowed (some places have rules). Also check if they supply certain things (many will supply plates, cutlery, goodie bags, so that you don't have to worry about it).
Here's a checklist for you to ensure it's covered:
1 - Decorations you'd like, such as streamers, banners, balloons, confetti, birthday hats, noise makers.
2 - For eating you want paper plates, plastic utensils, cake knife, napkins, table cover.
3 - "Thank you" goodie bags, filled with things like stickers, tattoos, candy, small toys, anything fun!
4 - Cake or cupcakes, of course! Don't forget to grab the candles and matches.
5 - Snacks, food and beverages of choice for your guests.
I love to hit the dollar store for the bulk of these items, as it's all in one place and relatively cheap (most of it gets tossed after the party, so might as well save a buck).
I've been loving doing cupcakes lately as it's just a lot easier and less messy. You don't need plates and cutlery, kids can just grab one on their own, there's lots of benefits. That being said, themed cakes can be tons of fun and leave the kids in awe.
There's lots of great bakeries in Victoria that can accommodate special requests, or even Thrifty Foods is an awesome option! Thrifty's even does FREE cakes for 1st birthdays (they're pretty good too).
5- Plan Games & Activities
If you're booked in at a particular venue like a theatre, recreation centre, studio, etc. They usually always have the activities baked in to their package so that you don't have to worry about it.
If you are needing some inspiration for fun activities to do with a big group of kids:
1 - Piñata
2 - Scavenger hunts
3 - Pin the tail on the donkey
4 - Musical chairs
5 - Relay races in the grass
6 - All out dance party where you have to stop when the music stops
Kids love to have fun, and they're good at it. I try not to stress too much with having complicated games. Sticking to the good old fashioned ones we all know and love have always made for a seamless event. It's easier to get the kids on board when there's no complex rules and they will have fun no matter what :^)
6 - Music
Background music can make all the difference, especially if you have a child who loves to boogie. Make a playlist ahead of time that has enough songs to last the whole party, that way you don't have to play DJ among all the other multi-tasking you'll be doing that day.
Incorporate songs you know your birthday child loves!
Running low on time? If you have a music streaming account with Apple Music, Spotify or other music services, they have a large array of pre-made playlists for you to search through.
7 - Have Fun
Don't let the stress of making sure everyone else have fun ruin your own. Roll with the punches, be present with your child, and have fun!
Ideas of Awesome Victoria Businesses Providing Kids' Parties
Ones Who Can Come to You
Games2U - Offering mobile activities such as Human Hamster Balls, U:Launchers, Bumper Balls, Video Game Theatre, Laser Tag, Booger Wars and Foam Machine Party, inflatables and more, they truly bring the games (and the fun) to you. Prices vary depending on the games you want!
Engineering For Kids - Have a child who just loves building things or exploring how the world works? Engineering for Kids will bring a hands-on fun filled party to you with all supplies, and they take care of the set up and clean up. Prices at time of writing are $250+tax.
Tricky Magic - What livens up a party more than some mystifying illusions, close up magic tricks, and balloon twisting? Jordano the Great will make your child's birthday extra special and serves the entire Greater Victoria region. Prices at time of writing are $150 including tax for 1 hour of entertainment.
Mad Science Vancouver Island - Mad Science parties bring their interactive shows to you! Their no-mess, hassle-free parties typically last one hour, and are best suited for kids aged 5-12. Kids will have the opportunity to make long and stretchy Mad Science putty, slime, or a bouncy super ball. Kids and be amazed by the number of cool and interactive demonstrations, chemical reactions, and activities!
Nerf Gun Rentals - For an inexpensive and unique party idea.
Cool Party Venues For Different Interests & Budgets
TNT Paintball - Paintball birthday parties are probably the most asked for type of birthday party for kids between 10 and 16 (and adults who are a kid at heart).
Glow Mini Golf - Experience Victoria's first indoor, glow-in-the dark mini golf! All party packages include mini golf, the private party room, popcorn, and soda (minimum 6 people). Parties are based on a 2 hour time frame. Extra options include hotdogs or pizza. Price Range: $12-$15/person.
Inspire Sports - Looking for a fun and active party at one of Victoria's newest centres? Inspire Sports is great for gymnastics enthusiasts or those looking to run around and have fun with 1 hour in the gym with expert coaches and 45 mintues in the birthday room.
Hotel Zed - Not your average venue you think of, but Hotel Zed offers the most funky and fresh kids' parties! You can have a slumber party in one of their suites or cottages and have access to the full pool and ride down the "Zedinator", topped off with access to their Ping Pong Lounge for play time and a great space to have cake and open presents.
Recreation Centres - A great options for pool parties, skating, or special-themed parties led by individual rec centres. Here's a list of the neighbourhood recreation & community centres for you to peruse! Many of these party packages are a perfect lower cost option for having your own party room and activities handled.
BC SPCA - Have a child who loves to make furry friends? When you have your party at one of the shelters, you’ll get to play animal-themed games, take a tour of the shelter to meet some of the adoptable animals, spend hands-on time with some super cute shelter animals.
The MakeHouse - The Makehouse offers fun and unique creative parties to suit any occasion! Parties run Friday evenings or Saturday and Sunday afternoons, starting from 2pm and last up to 2.5 hours, depending on the project you make. Other days and start times depend upon availability. To plan your party, you simply choose a party craft, and they take care of the rest! Price Range: $40/person includes materials instruction and more.
Falcon Gymnastics - Birthday party packages are available for children ages 4–12. Parties are 2 hours including set-up time: 1 hour of gymnastics; 45 minutes in the decorated party room, plus 15 minutes for the staff to clean-up. Also included are invitations, and a free t-shirt for the birthday child. You bring the table settings. cake, and ENTHUSIASTIC children! Price Range: $150+.
Fired Up! Paint Your Own Ceramics - Kids' birthday parties are available for kids aged 6 and up. All packages include a 2 hour supervised party room rental, a special item for guest of honor to be personalized by guests, art supplies, party invitations, clean-up and more. There are several packages to choose from, with different themes and refreshment options. Price Range: $18-$28 per child.
Victoria Bug Zoo - Two hour Birthday Parties include a tour of the zoo, the chance to meet and hold the animals, and time for snacks and activities. Get up close and personal with LIVE giant walkingsticks, alien-eyed praying mantids, hairy tarantulas and glow-in-the-dark scorpions, to name a few.
Langford's Eagle Ridge Centre - With tons of options, they will help you plan your next party. Whether you want time in Playzone, mini golfing, roller hockey, splashing in the splash park, or bowling & pizza at Langford Lanes, they can accommodate your requests.
PISE - PISE parties will get your child movin’! Certified Physical Literacy Leaders will lead a birthday party that your child won’t forget! Kids will spend the first hour and a half playing fun games that teach fundamental movement skills in the gym or on the field, then a party space will be provided where you can serve refreshments and open presents for the last 30 minutes. Parental supervision is required. Price Range: $10/child for 2 hours.
Clark's Taekwondo - Parties at Clark's are more than just dropping the kids off at the fun zone...and letting them run crazy for hours. They're fun, structured events that kids brag about for months after they've ended. Other than the partial arts, parties include games, pizza, decorations, and all the clean up! Parents are welcome to join too. Price Range: $199+.
James Bay Community School Centre - The JBCSC offers the Activity Room with active kindergym equipment, ideal for kids' birthday parties for those up to 5-years old. For older kids, the space can be opened up to bring in any party theme! Call for pricing.
IMAX Victoria - Take your birthday party goers on an IMAX® journey full of surprise and delight. For birthday parties you can take your kid’s birthday party to the limitless reaches of outer space or the depths of the mysterious ocean at a special birthday rate which includes concession treats and a gift bag from the National Geographic Store. IMAX® movies put you in the center of spirited adventure and hypnotic. Price Range: $16.80/person
Victoria Conservatory of Music - If your kids love to sing, dance, and play, make their next birthday a musical one! Let the VCM come to you for a 45 minute fun-filled themed party. Themes include Music Discovery. Music & Creatures, Music, Colours and Numbers, Music from Around the World, and Musical Storytimes. Parties are suitable for for babies to kids up to 8 years old. Price Range: $150.
Don't forget that we have a whole directory for finding birthday party inspiration on ChatterBlock to help you narrow down your options.
Good luck, and I hope your day is filled with amazing memories <3
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