Party Planning for Kids of All Ages

Want to throw the perfect kids’ party? Not all parties are created equal – your child’s age is one of the most important considerations as you plan a party.

Kids Party Planning

Here’s a guideline for basic party planning tips at any age:

Party Planning for Babies (ages 1 or 2)

First, the basics. How many guests should be invited to a very young child’s birthday party? Babies become overwhelmed easily, and some can’t tolerate large crowds or groups of unfamiliar faces. Of course you want to celebrate your little sweetie’s first birthday milestone with lots of people, but it’s best to keep the festivities to immediate family and close friends. If you invite people who baby recognizes and with whom she has regular interaction, it will be less overwhelming and your baby could be less likely to become agitated or overstimulated.

Second, choose the timing strategically. The last thing you want is a cranky baby while you’re trying to celebrate this event. After all, those photo ops just won’t be the same with a screaming-faced baby! Plan your party that avoids your child’s usual nap times, and definitely make sure that the festivities are finished well in time to have some winding down and quiet time before bed. Unless your child is a morning napper, mornings might be a good time to throw a celebration because your baby will feel fresh and ready to party.

Party Planning Tips

The next consideration is where the party will take place. If your home can accommodate the number of guests you’ve invited, it might be the best environment for a party because it’s where your baby feels most comfortable. Also, if your baby is crawling or toddling, you know that you can put her down and she is in a baby-proofed space, which allows you more ability to enjoy the party and socialize with your guests. If you don’t want to have the party at home, a baby-friendly casual restaurant might be a good option.

Finally, what food does one serve at a baby’s birthday party? Finger foods that are suitable for both children and adults are always a good option – things like small cheese cubes, cut-up fruit or mini-sandwiches are easy and enjoyable for everyone. If you have a few small children or babies in attendance, try to avoid any foods that might be choking hazards (nuts, grapes, cut-up hot dogs, popcorn, etc.).

The best part? Cake!! Everyone loves to see a baby smooshing cake into her face for that first delightful bite. That’s why some parents make or buy a “smash cake” – a small cake designed just for baby. Therefore, there’s one cake for celebrating (and eating) and another just for smashing.

For more tricks for planning a one- or two-year-old birthday party, check these useful tips from Babycentre and Babble.

Party Planning for Preschoolers (ages 3-4)

The rule of thumb for a preschool party is to invite one guest for each year of age, so a three-year-old could invite three friends and a four-year-old could invite four friends, for example. At this stage, parents will usually accompany children to a party (and you should encourage them to do so, because otherwise you become the default child care provider while you’re trying to entertain).

If your preschooler has older siblings, you might consider allowing each sibling to invite one special guest. If you can keep the guest list to close family and friends, it will help keep your numbers low, which will make for a more organized party.

Some preschoolers are still taking afternoon naps, so a morning party would be ideal for this set, too. Even if your child is no longer taking naps, others might miss one if the party is during the afternoon hours, which increases the likelihood of toddler meltdowns.

You don’t need to feel obligated to serve a whole meal to the preschoolers and their parents. Instead, cake and snacks would be more than sufficient. Preschoolers can still choke on small foods, so try to avoid the common hazards but serve food like finger-sandwiches, cut fruit or veggies or chips. If you want to serve something more substantial, pizza is an easy option that most preschoolers will be happy to eat.

It’s a nice idea to have plenty of snacks or pizza available for the parents, too, along with soft drinks or coffee.

Kids Party Planning Tips

Even if you’re only having a few children, a handful of preschoolers can raise a ruckus anywhere. If you’re fortunate enough to have a big backyard and nice weather, all they need is a few outdoor playthings and they will be happy. But, if that’s not an option, a kid activity like a toddler gym or gymnastics studio might be a fun and affordable venue.

For even more inspiration, visit Storknet, PBS, AboutParenting and


Party Planning for Ages 5-10

Once your child starts school, he is probably more likely to have formed his own friendships and have specific ideas about what a birthday party entails. When discussing a guest list, the “one guest per year of age” rule can still hold. Or, if your child wants a few more, make sure that the list is designed to include close friends and not exclude any children, in order to avoid hurt feelings and social stigmas. If your child has a small handful of close friends, it’s probably better than attempting to invite the whole class.

By kindergarten, most children no longer require afternoon naps. So, an afternoon party can work just fine – but, be sure to have a definite end time so that children are picked up and can head home well before bedtime. At this age, parties should be kept to two to three hours.

Kids Birthday Party

Kids always love cupcakes. They can be easier to serve than a cake because you just hand them out, and there’s no cutting and no forks required. You can have a special cupcake for the birthday child, and light candles and sing just as you would with a full-sized cake. If you are serving lunch or dinner, pizza is always a great bet for this crowd. Because parents don’t usually stick around for parties at this age, be sure to ask each parent ahead of time if a child has any allergies or dietary restrictions.

Another good practice is to ask parents for their mobile phone numbers when kids are dropped off. If an emergency or injury should arise, you should know how to contact each guest’s parent.

By this age, kids have their own ideas about where they want parties to take place. They might be into going to a rock-climbing facility, laser tag or even going to a movie. Establish a budget before you begin planning and let your child know that the activity has to coincide with the number of guests, and plan accordingly.

Parenting, Cozi, RealSimple, Moms Who Think, Kids’ Birthday Parties: Taking the Stress Out of Celebrations and How to Throw a Kid’s Birthday Party on a Budget have some more great ideas that can help you plan the big event.

Party Planning for Tweens (11-12)

Things start to become tricky around this age. Your pre-teen might want minimal involvement from you, but you still need to be engaged in the party planning process. Let your child know that she has to stick within a budget and that you need to approve all guests and activities.

Work together to set a guest list. Under 15 kids would probably be a manageable number, depending on the activity. Time of day becomes less of an issue with older kids, but you do want to check the calendar and be sure that it doesn’t conflict with any major school, community or sports events. Tell your tween that the party must have a definitive beginning and end, and keep it to a few hours. If she’s planning on a sleepover, be sure that you set ground rules that she and her friends are expected to follow.


Pizza is still a staple for the preteen crowd. This is a great default food, along with munchies, soft-drinks and cake.

You can work with your preteen to find a venue suitable for the age group – arcades, paintball or a spa party might be fun, depending on your child’s interests.

Want even more to think about? Lots of ideas at TweenParenting, Spoonful,, and How to Throw a Preteen Party.

Party Planning for Teens

When you’re helping to plan a party for your teen, set some guidelines in order to ensure that the festivities don’t get out of hand. First, have a guest list. Don’t allow drop-ins (i.e. “crashers”) because that can lead to unwanted guests. Where the party is to be held can help determine the number of guests allowed. If you’re expecting a lot of teens to attend, it would be a good idea to ask some other trusted adults to help chaperone. One adult for every 15 to 20 kids would probably be a good number to make sure that everyone is behaving properly.

Set a definite beginning and end time, make sure parents know what those times are, and make kids stick to it. In other words, if a parent expects his teen to be at your house until 11pm, but the teen leaves at nine, that teen might be spending those two hours someplace where the parents wouldn’t want her to be.

Teen parties don’t need as much structure as younger kids’ parties. They want to dance, socialize and hang out. You could rent an inexpensive hall or room, play some music and have some food, and it would be the perfect teen party. You could serve pizzas, giant submarine sandwiches, or just munchies and soft-drinks. Alternately you could designate a venue like Dave and Busters that provides food and games without the childish vibe of a regular arcade. Try to avoid the punch-bowl method for drinks and instead have individual-serving cans or bottled beverages.

The Kids are All Right, ParentingTeens and Sonoma Family Life have some more tips for keeping the reins while still having fun at a teen party.

Party planning for kids of all ages


For any party… relax and have fun! You’re creating memories that will last a lifetime!


Want a quick and easy way to make Halloween candy a little more fun? Whether you’re handing out treats from home, or tucking a special candy bar into a loved one’s lunch box this week, we’ve got a way to make it extra special.

Halloween Candy PrintablesHalloween Candy Printables

All you need is a color printer, scissors, a stapler, and tape to transform a simple baggie of hard candy, or a ho-hum bar into a frightening vampire, mummy, or Frankenstein.

Halloween Candy Printables

Halloween Candy Printables

To assemble candy bar wrappers:

  • Print out the candy bar wrappers here
  • Cut out individual wrappers.
  • Fold the topper around the candy bar.
  • Tape and enjoy!


To assemble treat-bag toppers:

Halloween Candy Printables

  • Print out the treat-bag toppers here.
  • Cut out individual toppers.
  • Assemble a sandwich bag of treats.
  • Fold the topper over the top of the bag.
  • Staple and enjoy!

Halloween Candy Printables

We hope you have a spooky Halloween full of tricks and treats!


Create a Photo Book that Celebrates All Things Halloween

When you have kids, Halloween is not an end-of-October affair. It’s a month-long (or more!) foray into imaginative play, dramatic dress-up, extravagant decorating and magical thinking. In our household, Halloween encompasses at least one-twelfth of the calendar year and probably a much greater percentage of my children’s mental space. Creating a Halloween photo book to showcase all the activities leading up to the 31st underscores the important themes of togetherness, creativity and fun that come out of a holiday with more surface messages of sugar and scariness. Start with Mixbook’s Halloween photo book template, then add in photographs from the following categories all month long. Decorate your pages with stickers and captions to make your Halloween album a personalized scrapbook you’ll want to print for your family, plus friends and family members near and far.

Halloween Photo Book Ideas

The Decorations
If you’re a parent, you have probably had to work hard to stave off decorating for Halloween until October. This year I gave in and put up decorations on September 30th, so there will be a full month of listening to the animatronic crow cackling at everyone who crosses our threshold. I enlisted the kids’ help and snapped shots of them helping to string up everything from skeletons to cobwebs to chronicle the process of transforming my home for Halloween. A series of photographs that capture the decorating process is ideal for a few pages in the opening section of your Halloween photo book.

The Costumes
Just one disguise? Never! Kids have a way of shape-shifting their way through October, morphing their alternative identity along the way with a combination of costumes accumulated over time. Capture the creative process throughout the month, culminating with the piece de resistance on Halloween night.

How to create a Halloween photo book

The Crafts
Go on Pinterest to search for age-appropriate crafts to do with your children in the coming weeks. Whether you work together to create the creepiest monster door in the neighborhood or you put together a menagerie of Halloween-themed Legos out of orange, black, green and white bricks, it’s great fun to snap pics of your kids and their friends and family members teaming up in the name of Halloween.

Halloween Photo Book Ideas

The Treats
If you have little kids, you are likely familiar with the phenomenon that suddenly the most everyday food becomes spooky. Hamburgers are haunted, pancakes are possessed, smoothies are scary. Chronicle the transformation of everyday foods to fiendish fare over the course of the month.

The Carving
Collect photos of the carving of jack-o-lanterns – everything from picking the perfect gourd to scooping out the ghoulish insides and carving a demonic face. Use low-light settings to be sure you capture nighttime photos optimally.

Halloween Photo Book Ideas

The Big Night
Last but not least, chronicle the candy-fueled night of trick-or-treating starting with costumes and make-up, moving on to traipsing house-to-house, then spiraling into candy-trading and sugar-crashing. Remember that quick-fire series photos can beautifully (and often hilariously) capture a progression of events that will conjure up happy times for years to come.

Halloween Photo Book Ideas

Happy Halloween! Keep those Halloween memories un-dead!


4 Fun and Easy Kid-Friendly Halloween Party Ideas

There’s something about a Halloween bash that captivates kids of all ages. License to act goofy and partake in fun activities like getting messy with gourds and working hard to look ugly rather than pretty has broad appeal. So give in to the once-a-year fun that kicks off a season of more serious celebrating with a party that’s spooky or silly complete with ridiculous snacks and crazy costumes.

Haunted House
Whether you hang up a few ghosts, a cackling crow and a jumping spider or you go all out in the spirit of Claire Dunphy on Modern Family, it’s fun to host a Halloween party with a haunted house theme. Send out one of Mixbook’s great haunted-house themed party invitations, then enlist your kids to help decorate with everything from cobwebs and cauldrons to bats and rats. They’ll love coming up with ingenious ways to scare friends and family who arrive unsuspecting. Designate a single area as the scary spot, say the garage or the basement, so that younger kids and parents can retreat to non-spooky zones of the house. For snacks, set out crepe paper wrapped waters or juices to resemble mummies, and serve them alongside some of these amazing non-candy Halloween snacks.

Halloween Party Snacks

Halloween Party Invitations

Halloween Party Invites

Costume Party
Who doesn’t love a great costume party?! Host a party on or around Halloween so that kids and adults alike can embody an alternate persona for an afternoon or evening. Send out Mixbook’s Halloween Polka Dotted party invitation, indicating whether the dress-up code has a specific theme – like Pokemon, Superheroes or Teen Titans – or not. Plan to give out prizes in multiple categories, from ‘most creative’ to ‘most realistic’ to ‘hardest to recognize.’ Set up a photo booth to capture everyone’s alternate identities, then compile the photos from your party in a fun post-even party favor – a mini Halloween Mixbook photo book!

Halloween Party Invitations

Pumpkin-Carving Party
Invite friends and family over for an afternoon or evening of pumpkin carving a few days before Halloween. Send out one of Mixbook’s pumpkin-carving themed invitations, indicating whether it’s BYOG (bring-your-own-gourd) or not. Have newspaper-wrapped tables set up for the messy work of cleaning pumpkins, including scoops, bowls for seeds, pumpkin-carving tools, tea lights and matches. Designate one adult to help with each station, including one to wash, dry and roast pumpkin seeds. Have a big pot of mulled cider on the stove along with big mugs for addressing the new chill in the air. Keep it simple with seeds and cider for snacks or put out any one of the snacks listed in this great collection of non-sugar Halloween snacks.

Pumpkin Silhouettes
Halloween Party InvitationsPumpkin Carving Party
Halloween Party InvitationsCarving Party
Halloween Party Invites

Monster Bash
Host a Halloween party that celebrates the best monsters of all time, from Frankenstein to Scully. Send out Mixbook’s Frankenstein invitation, indicating that guests should come dressed as their favorite monster. Set the scene by decorating your entryway with a custom Monster Door and Monster Windows. Serve up Monster cookies, fruit bowls and monster mouths, then play a rollicking game of monster beanbag toss. For a fun kid-friendly craft, have kids make monster party hats. Remember to take lots of pictures and create a fun photo book after the event to remember your monstrously successful party!

Halloween Party Invitations

Halloween Party Ideas

Happy Mixbooking! Happy Halloween partying!


Start Thinking About Your 2014 Holiday Card!

We are thrilled to announce that the Mixbook 2014 Holiday Card Collection is here! Time to start thinking about that one beautiful photo or group of photos you’ll make into a collage and send out to friends and family to encapsulate your year – and spread joy (or humor, or both) far and wide.

Holiday Photo Cards

Always classic, ever stylish, and universally appealing, a simple monogram in a pop of red is a striking counterpoint to a collage of black-and-white photos. By using all black-and-white photos (or converting color photos to b/w) you create an easy way to visually unify photos taken in different light conditions and at different times of the year. Mixbook’s Classic Collage Monogram card featuring a single typographic seal front and center is a sophisticated and fun choice for your yearly holiday greeting card.

Classic Holiday Cards

Perky polka dots take a chic turn when covered in golden glitter. Mixbook’s Glitter and Dots card is ideal for a family greeting that’s fun enough for the kids and stylish enough for the grown-ups. Use the back to share a beautiful quote about wishes for the coming year, or add your own text or more photos.

Holiday Photo CardsHoliday Photo Cards

There’s something about a series of snowy photos that looks amazing set off by a hand-doodled chalk background. The vibe is warm, homemade, artful and fun. Mixbook’s Chalkboard Holiday card lets you showcase several photos in hand-drawn chalkboard frames.

Holiday Photo Cards

Warm and happy by nature, there’s nothing like the pairing of Kraft paper and washi tape to invoke crafty coziness and homespun fun. Mixbook’s Show Merry Mod card creates a balanced composition out of a fun and festive mix of design elements on a neutral background. A grid of photographs on both front and back lets you show off the many moments of fun shared with family this year.

Holiday Photo Card

Gatsby mania was so last year! We’re kidding, of course: Fitzgerald’s work is timeless and Art Deco style is for the ages. We love this modern, minimalist take on a highly ornate design trend that’s leaps and bounds beyond Baz. Mixbook’s Merry Deco card feels clean, fresh and unique.

Holiday Photo Cards

An enchanted mixture of gilded evergreen and other woodland treasures, Mixbook’s Gold Leaves is a fresh alternative to the overabundance of red and green. The scene invokes a Scandinavian winter wonderland filled with natural beauty and wholesome fun.

Holiday Photo Card

Once you’ve chosen a design, let your creative wheels start turning! Go back into the photos from your year and select images that would work well in one of Mixbook’s holiday card designs – you can create many iterations in many different templates till you find the perfect combination of your photography and Mixbook’s beautiful card designs. Mixbook will save all your projects online until you’re ready to order.

But remember, the earlier you order, the more relaxed you’ll be about getting your cards in the mail!

Happy Mixbooking!