plan the ultimate party

Planning your child's birthday party doesn't have to be difficult. NickJr.com turned to Party Expert Linda Kaye for a step-by-step guide.

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Keep track of your progress with the printable Ultimate Party Checklist.
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Select the Party Date & Time

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Check the calendar and take note of holidays and school vacations.
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Party time should be determined by your child's schedule; it's best to catch your child at his or her peak energy level. Recommended length of a party: 90 minutes.
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Select a Party Location

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Preschoolers feel most secure in familiar environments. So, if selecting a location outside your home, consider a favorite restaurant that also has a private room, the zoo, or any other place that means something special to your child.
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If planning a party in your home, define the party area and pick with your child those toys to share and those to keep out of sight for the party.
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Planning an outdoor party? Be sure to have a rainy day alternative.
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Create a Guest List

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The number of guests should be determined by party-space limitations. Keep in mind that kids parties often include an accompanying adult.
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If it is necessary to cut down on school friends, consider inviting either all girls or all boys.
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You shouldn't necessarily invite your friends and their children unless you are certain your child and their children are also good friends.
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Your guest list should include three columns: telephone numbers, RSVPs, and gifts (with space to check after a thank-you note has been sent).
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Choose a Theme

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Themed paper goods, balloons, and favors are readily available for many of the characters from books, games, TV shows, and movies. It's a good idea to buy paper goods in the theme you've selected now to insure that you will get the quantity you need for your party.
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Nick Jr. Party Planners often include printable party decorations. Plus, Nick Jr. themed paper goods and party supplies are available at the Nick Jr. Shop.
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Plan Activities & Book Entertainment

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Guests typically arrive within the first 15 minutes, so plan a welcoming activity that's easy for kids to join in at different times. Try this: Have kids help decorate a birthday banner with crayons and stickers.
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Next, plan 45 minutes of organized entertainment, games, or other activities. Save the last 30 minutes for refreshments, birthday cake, and handing out party favors.
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Preschoolers' attention spans are limited, so have entertainment that is very interactive. Music and movement activities--such as a guitar sing-a-long and gymnastics--are great choices for this age.
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When working with an entertainer, request that your child be made to feel special and be sure to check references!
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Large costumed characters and clowns can sometimes scare preschool children. Have clowns put on make-up as part of their act and position large costumed characters in a special place so they will seem less intimidating. When hesitant children see the others having fun with the character, they will begin to approach it and join in.

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