Best birthday party venues for kids
There are some years when holding your child's birthday party at home isn't practical or even desirable - a dozen eight-year old boys generally need more space than the average backyard will allow to enable them to burn off all their birthday party excitement!
But not being able to have a whole birthday party extravaganza at home doesn't mean that you can't celebrate your child's birthday with friends and family. In fact, there are many different ways you can throw a birthday party away from home.
If you can't hold a birthday party at home because of space issues, there will be many venues in your local area which are available to hire on an hourly basis - and most of these are surprisingly affordable. Ring around but generally, the best places to try are:
Church hallsThese spaces are often perfect because they usually have a kitchen and toilets attached, and plenty of space for kids to run around.
Community hallsMuch like church hall, these usually have the amenities you need, although community halls often house equipment for the community (!) so you may have slightly more limited space.
Daycare centresMost privately owned centres aren't interested in hiring out their space out of hours, but some council-run centres do hire out their premises.
Surf clubsThese are great empty spaces that are relatively bullet-proof when it comes to boisterous kids.
If you want to throw a birthday party but don't want to be responsible for the entertainment, consider hiring an entertainer for part, or all, of your birthday party. Many entertainers bring party favours and/or prizes with them, so make sure you ask exactly what you'll be getting for your money when you book. Entertainers also charge for their time so you can save some money by booking them in half an hour after the party starts - this first half hour is almost always taken up by guests arriving, present giving and general party excitement when nothing structured really has to be planned.
MagicianHiring a (good!) magician has always been a safe entertainment option for a mixed-sex party. Most party magicians do a show rather than games, so before you book, ensure that your party audience will be old enough to sit still long enough to enjoy the magic
FairyHaving a fairy party almost seems like a right-of-passage for little girls - so it's important to get it right! While you can very successfully throw a fairy party without having a Head Fairy, hiring a professional fairy to take over party proceedings is money well spent for most mums who don't relish getting out a pair of wings!
CharactersIf you've a Spiderman-obsessed child, nothing will make him (or her!) happier than having Spidey turn up at his birthday party. Character entertainers usually make a grand entrance and then keep the party guests busy with suitably themed party games and activities.
SportsSports parties are a great option if you want to hold your birthday party in a park and you're inviting kids who need to do a lot of running around! Party organisers will come with the equipment necessary to play structured games.
DiscoDisco parties are great fun for kids who love to sing and dance. The disco entertainer will turn up with their own sound system and will usually also have groovy disco lights and extra microphones and stands for a sing-along. To ensure a successful party, make sure the entertainer knows how old the party guests are and what type of music they like.
Party venues and activities
Depending on the age and sex of your party guests, there is a huge variety of appropriate venues and activities you can book for a birthday party. One of the great benefits of choosing an activity for your birthday party - aside from not having to be responsible for the mess! - is that your guests will be kept busy for the entire duration of the party and you'll be able to relax a little and enjoy a more supervisory role as opposed to the Chief Caterer and Entertainer role you have to take at a birthday party at home.
Birthday party venues you may want to consider include:
- Indoor play centres
- Ten pin bowling
- Swimming pools
- Art and craft workshops
- Rock star studios
- Circus studio
- Indoor climbing
- Cooking venues
- Ice skating
- Dance studios
- Build-a-bear workshops
- Bollywood dance studio
When you book a venue for your birthday party, ensure that you enquire about catering options and the availability of space to hold birthday party proceedings. Some venues have separate party rooms, while others are able to reserve seating for your party.
This article was created by Ella Walsh for Kidspot - New Zealand's parenting resource for birthday parties.
Related party planning articles
- The complete birthday party timeline
- Printable birthday party invitations
- 3 tips to take better photos
- Birthday party tips and tricks
- How to host the perfect slumber party
- Best party theme ideas