kids garden partyI love a good party! Especially the ones with lashings of jelly and ice cream, fairies and super heroes frolicking in the garden, and party games from yesteryear. These days however, you're not one of the guests, but the party planner, caterer, decorator, entertainer and cleaner upper, so how do you get it all just right?

For many of us, making parties for our kids is just what we do. And it can be a lovely experience and a lot of fun. Take the opportunity to pull out all the stops, to use your imagination, to create, and to be a bit silly. Parties are a great way of bringing friends and family together, of doing something really special and of showing our kids just how much they mean to us. So try to focus on these things as you prepare, rather than just moving through the check list of planning tasks.

Kids love seeing their parents doing special things just for them, and it's great for their sense of security to see the love and effort you put in, so keep them in mind as you plan. Being surrounded by the people they love, being celebrated and adored are all fabulous builders of self confidence and of identity, and are far more valuable than matching napkins. Parties are also important for our kids' socialisation, acceptance and independence.

The best parties are the simple ones, and the ones that make the best memories. Parks and the beach are perfect locations, and if you're brave enough, there's nothing like the back yard, the trampoline and the sprinkler. Keep the word 'easy' in mind when thinking of food. Kids want treats not vegetable platters, so save yourself the work, and lay on the lollies. It is a party after all! Pre-pack goody bags or boxes so that everyone gets the same and the mess is contained. Add some toys, and they'll double as going home presents.

The key to a great party is not how much you spend, but how much fun the kids have. As long as there are smiles, laughter and lots of birthday love, your kid's party will be the best one in town.

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