Every party that we plan, we see as an immense privilege. Children often count quarters of their age and look forward to a party for months. The pressure is on, as this will hopefully be a special memory that will last a lifetime! So we’re here to help, read on for guidance.
Each child is different and tailoring to their needs will help make their day truly magical. Be prepared to adapt on the day, if something is going down well, do more of it! Children have short attention spans, so keeping the pace and energy high and cramming in as many games as possible would be our top tip. You will be amazed at how many games you need for an hour with 20 five-year-olds!
Picking a Venue
A few things affect your decision when choosing a venue; budget, time of year, guest list and number of attendees. If your budget is large, choosing from a few of London’s beautiful hotel ballrooms would be really spectacular but not for everyone! The most popular is the good old village/church hall but get in there early as they book up months in advance. If you’re wanting an intimate affair, host at home, but be prepared for lots of mess. If your party is in the summer, a park is a great option but do check with the local council if you can erect gazebos and host parties. If at all possible, find a space large enough for adults and children to be entertained in separate rooms, as all parents will stick around during a 5-year-old party, and tend to make just as much noise as the children!
We can always help suggest venues but in the meantime, here are some of our most popular venue spaces in London for a 5 year old birthday party:
Perfect timings for a 5 year old birthday party
A party should be no longer than 2 hours, definitely with a break in the middle for tea.
Weekdays can be great for parties as venues often have better availability. You may not have a full house though as some parents might be working and chilren could be going to afterschool clubs or other activities. Also, children can often be very tired after school at this age.
Weekends are often more popular though more expensive when hiring a venue. Weekends are ideal for party throwing as it means parents are free to stay for the party.
If you are planning a themed party, designing a bespoke invitation is a wicked way to get the party started. If not, creating a WhatsApp group with the details is an easy way to manage RSVPs. If your guest list is large, an Excel spreadsheet may just be your best friend. When thinking of who to invite, no more than 30 children would be the ideal size and then rally round friends and family to help out - the more the merrier.
Perfect Playlist for 5 year olds
Music is the easiest way to create an atmosphere. Something we suggest at Sharky & George as a nice touch to ask guests to add a song they like to the playlist. Another great way to incorporate the theme is through dancing games, which go down as an absolute treat with this age group. Music from recent films and popular TV shows, parents also appreciate old school bangers (disco never disappoints).
Old school bangers:
- Who Let The Dogs Out - Baha Men
- I like to Move it - will.i.am
- Jump Around - House of Pain
- Don’t Stop Me Now - Queen
- Mr Boombastic - Shaggy
- Move your feet - Junior Senior
- Boom Shak-A-Lak - Apache Indian
- Pink Panther Theme - Henry Mancini
- Stupid Love - Lady Gaga
- Bingo Bango - Basement Jaxx
For themed parties, you can create a bespoke playlist, invitations, themed decorations, tableware, cake, party bags, mascots and suggest everyone comes in fancy dress. Our fave theme suggestions for 5 year olds:
Party Food & Drink for Children
Always break in the middle of the party for food. Tea can be a fun way to incorporate the theme and we have found that following party food trends on social media is great for inspiration. Personally, Birthday Tea is a great opportunity to get nostalgic and bring out the old classics. Here is a list of Sharky & George HQ’s faves:
- Fairy cakes
- Jelly & Ice cream
- Chocolate fingers
- Fairy bread (100s & 1000s on buttered white bread!)
- Party rings
- Jam tarts
- A cheese and pineapple hedgehog!
- Hula hoops
- Pom bear crisps
- Mini cheddars
- Cocktail sausages
Party food can be a lot of faff and if you're wanting stress-free party food, you can't go wrong with Pizza. Other things to consider is;
- Jugs of water
- Nothing in wrappers (avoids unnecessary plastic and is also tricky to open for little ones).
- Themed cutlery and tableware, we suggest wooden and paper so they can be recycled.
- And finally, avoid fizzy drinks otherwise you’re going to have everyone jumping off the walls!
Ending tea with a big old sing song for birthday cake is a must too. A couple of things to remember for the cake make sure you’ve prepared a lighter, candles and a cake knife. We’d recommend cutting the cake and handing it out at the end of the party so that after tea children can head off to play more games, plus they are often full up and need to burn off some steam!
Food & Drink for Adults
For adults, graze boards are an absolute winner, so everyone can pick throughout the party as often or as little as they’d like. Or a classic afternoon tea with sandwiches and scones…and lots of tea.
Balloons and decorations
Two things to bear in mind: Be careful of helium balloons in village halls, we’ve had many awkward conversations with caretakers due to unicorns, spiderman and lego characters getting stuck...and if you’re planning on using weighted balloons make sure they are out of reach of small children. Other ways to add impact; balloon arches, glitter curtains and themed backdrop.
Children love lots of little things, but it’s best to avoid things that will end up broken and in landfill! Party bags that are part of an activity are a great shout. For example seeds and a plant pot for a sunflower competition.
If you would like extra entertainment, here are a few more suggestions. This age group are not the best at sitting down and watching something so we recommend something interactive such as:
- Petting zoo
- Face painter
- Roaming balloon modeller
Simple. Hire Sharky & George, you won’t regret it. We have 15 years of experience throwing parties. The Sharky & George party team are the best in the business. The team are not filled with cheesy entertainers but cool older siblings with an infinite amount of games up their sleeves. The party team are fun, energetic, and confident. Whatever your child is into, our team has the games to keep them and their friends engaged. The thing that sets us apart is the atmosphere at an S&G party and that every child goes home having the best time, not just the birthday child. We bring all of the supplies needed for the games and our team is ready to help during tea, set up and pack down. The team are experts in getting shy children involved, engaging the more rowdy guests, managing latecomers and even having loads of tactics to dry any tears quickly.
Other top tips
- Ask parents for any allergies
- Be aware of any behavioural needs of the children attending
- Be ready to welcome latecomers
- Be ready for tears
- This age has small attention spans so keep the games simple
- Lots of dancing games
- Not too much sugar, but it is a party after all some using sweets as your currency does help
- Make sure everyone is involved
- Have an ice pack at the ready
- Parent contact sheet
- Be mindful of encouraging competition, treating everyone as a winner keeps morale high!