Archive for the ‘Children’s Party – General’ Category

Kapow – Our Superhero Party

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

My son turned 7 in September and had decided long ago that he wanted a Superhero party. We chose the venue – The Guide Headquarters in Nightingale Road, Guildford, a venue I know well as I hold my Wonderful Wednesday sessions there. I then began collecting various party ware to set the scene.

I am a great fan of picking out strong colours from your theme and adding to some themed partyware. I feel it makes the decor look cleaner but it is also a cheaper option. We decided to go down the Superhero Pop Art route and for the party table I used some red catering roll I had left over from an art and craft activity and then adding some Superhero wrapping paper that I found in Primark. We then used blue plates and cups from Poundland and some superhero pop art confetti, napkins, popcorn boxes and bat straws purchased from Delights.co.uk.

Superhero Party table

Superhero Party table

As a take home gift we had superhero balloons that we stuck an eye mask to which the kids loved.

Superhero balloons

Superhero balloons

My son is also a big fan of Doctor Who so when we saw that Lakeland were doing Dr Who bake and partyware we snapped up these Dalek cupcake cases that went down a storm.

Dalek Dr Who Superhero Party Surrey Cakes Cupcakes

Dalek Dr Who Superhero Party Surrey Cakes Cupcakes

Fortunately, it is not just me that likes dressing up for a party. My son dressed as batman and all his friends came as a colourful array of superheroes. Also my husband dressed up as The Joker and my Dad as the Penguin and served as villains throughout the party that the children could boo and defeat.

The Joker and the Penguin

The Joker and the Penguin

For the games I told the children that the Joker was threatening to stop all birthdays from happening and that we had to stop him. The children warmed up by doing an obstacle course and lots of active games, we played parachute games with an inflatable spiderman and played Superhero to the Rescue! We had a joke telling competition to beat The Joker and a Penguin Race with beanbags and the party finished with a disco to celebrate The Joker’s defeat.

Paracahute Gmes

Paracahute Gmes

It is a great colourful party theme for both boys and girls. For more details of our Superhero parties in Surrey, Berkshire and Hampshire visit our party page

Crafts Parties in Surrey, Berkshire & Hampshire

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

If you are looking for something a little different for your child’s next party why not consider a craft party? At Act One Adventures we can offer craft parties for a wide variety of themes and make them suitable for both boys and girls.

Last Saturday I did an Animal & Sea Creature Craft Birthday party for 2 5 year olds in Epsom, Surrey. As the children arrived there were sea creature masks out to decorate with glitter glue, sequin shapes, tissue paper and feathers. The children made some really sparkly creatures that they modelled with pride.

Sea Creature masks

Sea Creature masks

Next the children made some great paper bag animal puppets. It was lovely to see the children really get into the crafts and have some lovely things to take home with them as a memento of the party. The children were also able to chat as they were doing the crafts which was lovely. Many people worry that there will be a lot of mess involved with a craft party but I always choose activities where any mess can be contained and I clear it up at the end. it took me less than 10 minutes to clear and pack away at the end.

Getting Crafty

Getting Crafty

After the crafts we played a selection of Act One’s favourite party games including duck duck goose, parachute games, musical freeze etc finishing with a parade and photo opportunity for parents of all the lovely art work.

Act One Adventures can tailor the craft to any theme – popular ones have included Princesses and Pirates but animals, under the sea, beach, minibeasts, dinosaurs and a birthday theme can all work well for both boys and girls. I am currently preparing for a jewellery and keyring making party.

Princess arts and crafts party

Princess arts and crafts party


Cupcake Craft

Cupcake Craft

For more details of all our parties please contact joanne@actoneadventures.co.uk or view our Party page

Beach Party

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Finally we have some lovely weather and I’m sure lazy days on the beach are on lots of people’s agenda. The Beach can make a great theme for a children’s party at any time of the year and last weekend I did an indoor beach party in the lovely village of Ifold on the West Sussex/Surrey Border.

The mum who was hosting the party had come up with lots of imaginative ideas to theme the party including using sarongs as tablecloths, buckets and spades to serve up the party food and also toy boats as serving dishes, buckets as party favours and a chillout corner with parasols, beach mats and towels. There were also sandwiches and cheese biscuits shaped like fishes and star fishes and then decorated with fruit net bags to represent fishing nets. These were a simple, good value but effective detail. She also made some fabulous beach themed cupcakes and main birthday cake which all tasted as good as they looked.

For games we played keepy uppy and over and under with beach balls, limbo- ed, beach dressing up races, beach party disco and lots more. All the children came dressed in their favourite beach outfits making it a cheap fancy dress option for parents. This party can work well inside or out and at any time of the year as the sunny theme can brighten up any party in mid winter.

What can children learn from a party?

Monday, February 18th, 2013

Having fun with your friends is what parties are all about.

Parties are all about fun right? Well of course but I am also constantly amazed at how much learning also goes on a party without the children even realising. Parties are a great way of enhancing a child’s social skills. For the birthday child there is learning how to greet people and how to cope with a lot of attention and for guests there is understanding that at times the world is not all about them, something that is not always easy when you are small, but that their friends can take centre stage and they can have just as much fun allowing this to happen.

At my parties I try to avoid elimination games as the children can get bored very quickly but parties are a good way to reinforce the concepts of taking turns, sharing and winning and losing – all important skills to carry our little ones forward in life.

Food is an area that parents worry about at parties. Will the children just choose all the unhealthy treats? In my experience I am always pleasantly surprised at how balanced children’s choices are, they will always choose some fruit and veg along with the treats so it is a lovely way to reinforce a balanced diet and get children used to making independent choices. It also provides an opportunity for children to get used to eating and enjoying food in a social environment.

It is often said that the best way to learn is through fun and you can’t have much more fun than at a party.

Cost Effective Party Theming

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

If your child is into a particular character there is always lots of party ware you can buy to complement your chosen theme, but it can work out expensive and can be a bit overwhelming to have all themed merchandise at a party. I am privileged to be able to see many clever ideas that parents come up with to theme their parties without breaking the bank. Here are some of my favourites.

Balloons and streamers can instantly brighten a room and if you pick them out in the colours of your chosen theme (i.e Pink and Purple for Princesses, red and black for pirates, red and blue for Spiderman …) you can instantly accent your theme cost effectively. I love this balloon bunting that I saw at an outdoor Princess party I did last year.

Fab balloon bunting

These baloons and streamers were themed in the colours used in the Ben & Holly logo for a party of the same theme. It turned a boring hatch into a focal point at this party and you could easily change the colours to match your theme. For example would look great in red and blue for a Spiderman or Superhero party.

Pretty baloons and streamers

I always love seeing some of the children’s toys used as decoration. This row of princess slippers was a lovely touch at a Princess party.

Cinderella shoes

And these lovely Princess Hats are great fro the children to wear at the party and then take home. They are made out of a simple party hat with 2 lengths of fabric stapled on – easy but very effective.

Princess Hats

At my son’s Cars party a couple of years ago we placed some of his Cars toys and road signs down the centre of the table and made a racetrack table runner out of black paper and white paint. Simple but effective.

Race track runner

All of these ideas can be achieved on a budget and easily mixed in with a few pieces of more expensive themed party ware. Would love to hear of any of your ideas.

Managing Behaviour at Parties

Monday, February 11th, 2013

Take a group of excited children, mix with lots of party food and what is the result? Even more excitable children! The energy that children have at parties is incredible and to be admired but it is easy for this energy, when mixed with party treats, to turn a birthday party out of control unless you are well prepared and know how to manage the energy effectively. Here are my top tips for using this energy so that everyone has a great time.

1)One of the main reasons that energy can turn into challenging behaviour is boredom. It is easy to assume that putting a few toys out and allowing the children just to play will be enough at a party. Although this may be fine for 15 mins or so children (particularly small children) will start to get bored and look for other things to do. Make sure you have a fair few activities planned, whether this be some craft activities and/or some party games.

2)Taking turns – although obviously learning to take turns is all part of growing up, think about the amount of children you have at the party and how long it will take for them all to have a turn at say Pin the tail on the Donkey or at hitting a Pinata. With these activities I would say they work best up to 15 children but if you have more you could have two on the go or just have another activity planned that the children can do whilst waiting for their turn.

3)Elimination Games – Games like Musical Statues are perennial favourites but for very small children the concept of being “out” is a hard one to comprehend and you may find that elimination games can quickly descend into chaos as children reappear into the game. And let’s face it being out is pretty boring anyway. You can easily adapt games like musical statues so that no-one has to be out. Maybe when they freeze you could give the children a task to complete like who can stand on one leg the longest or who can pull the funniest face, and give a little prize each round (even just a sticker) to the best one. Everyone can still join in and be having lots of fun.

4)Too many distractions – Small children find it hard to concentrate on games if there are lots of other things around so put toys and craft activities away before starting games so that you have the children’s full attention.

5)Hire a professional – If the thought of managing all that energy is giving you palpatations there are plenty of party entertainers who have lots of experience in keeping little ones engaged and having a good time. They will easily spot when activities need to be changed, when more active or more quiet games are required and generally keep the party moving so that no-one gets bored. If you do hire an entertainer then do listen to their advice about potential distractions etc.

I hope the above tips are useful and help you to create a magical party for your little one.

Top Tips for Themed Parties

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Themed Parties are all the rage and every week I am entertaining at many different themes. Here are a few simple tips to help you continue the theme with food, decorations etc that won’t break the bank and are simple to do.

Dressing up can all add to the theme

Costumes – If you want guests to dress up make sure you put this on the invitations. I have entertained at parties where guests weren’t sure and children can get very upset if they turn up in normal clothes when all their friends are dressed up. Equally some children won’t want to dress up – but they can still join in the fun of a themed party.

Food – Two words – cookie cutters! They are available in so many different shapes these days and can be used obviously to make delicious biscuits. However they are great for cutting out sandwiches too and can make the sandwiches more appealing for little ones to eat. Fruit and Veg can also be made more appetising by creating faces, making cars out of apples, grapes and cocktail sticks or pirate boats out of orange skins and jelly with a paper sail. Finally cakes – there are a wide variety of cake toppers, edible stickers and flags that can be added to cupcakes easily to enhance your theme.

Car Sandwiches - cookie cutters are great to add theming details


Decorations and Tableware – There are vast amounts of party decorations and tableware to buy in all sorts of themes. To save money try mixing a few themed items with plain coloured decorations that match a colour in your theme. If you are having party boxes for the food these can easily be decorated with stickers to match your theme, a great job that the birthday child can get involved with. The internet and in particular Pinterest can be a great resource for finding imaginative ideas. Take a look at my Pinterest boards for some inspiration for many different themes

Party Bags – Again the choice can be overwhelming these days. Sometimes a well chosen item can be a better idea than lots of little things. Look out for books, stationery sets or craft sets in your chosen theme at discount stores and on-line and don’t be afraid to think out of the box – a small seed sowing kit at a nursery rhyme or hungry caterpillar party, a Christmas decoration for a December birthday, a cupcake baking kit for a Hello Kitty party etc will all be used long after the party has ended.

Have fun!

Top Tips for Parties at Home

Friday, September 14th, 2012

As we leave the summer behind and the air starts to feel a touch autumnal, indoor parties fast become the norm (although with the summer we have had this could have been applied all year). Parties at home can be great fun, providing familiar and comforting surroundings for your child and their friends, you can choose exactly the time you want the party and you will instantly know where to lay your hands on all the essential utensils and items needed for a child’s birthday party. You can also take as much time as you like decorating your home which may not be possible at a hired venue. Here are my top tips for holding a child’s birthday party at home.

How many? – To begin with work out how many children you are likely to have attending the party. Most indoor house parties I have entertained at have no more than 15 children present (unless you have a very large house). Also consider the age of the children and whether their parents are likely to stay as this can quite easily double the amount of people in your house

Out of Bounds – First of all decide on which rooms you will be using for the party and then make sure any rooms you don’t want the children to go into are shut off. The same goes for toys – only have out the ones you are happy for all the children to play with and any that you are not make sure they are put away and out of reach.

Clear the decks – If you are planning any sort of party games or dancing then it is important that you allow enough space for this. Maybe allocate one room for this and move back any furniture and clear away any breakables or treasured items.

Food Glorious Food – The thing that stresses most parents out about a child’s party at home is the mess that can be potentially created from food and drink. To save on this worry I recommend having one set area for food, either round a table or picnic style with large picnic rugs or tablecloths covering the floor. Kids love indoor picnics! I also find that the party food boxes help reduce mess as there is no food to be passed around and children can put all their rubbish in the boxes as they go. I also recommend drinks in cartons to avoid the inevitable spillages that cup drinks provide.

I recommend leaving food as late as you can into the party, at least an hour in. Once the children have eaten, particularly if they are having lots of party treats, I find their concentration for games has lessened but their energy levels have increased. It is better then for them to have a short period of more unstructured or more familiar games like pass the parcel, musical statues or general dancing after food which will burn off that energy.

Too Much is Not Enough – When I plan a 2 hour party for children I always have at least 10 or 11 activities or games planned. That may sound like a lot but children, especially young children, can get bored very quickly and it is better to move on from an activity while they are still enjoying playing it then waiting for the children to tire of it and start to stray away. If the thought of planning that many activities fills you with horror then do consider hiring an entertainer as they will be very used to spotting when to change activities and most will be able to adapt their games to fit inside your front room.

Preparation is key – Get as much prepared before the party starts so that you can enjoy the party too. The party food boxes help a great deal with this, but also if you have parents staying maybe set up a table with drinks they can pour for themselves so that you are not stuck in the kitchen making drinks but instead able to enjoy the fun with your child on their big day.

Jubilee Fun

Friday, June 1st, 2012

I’m sure many of you are planning Jubilee parties this weekend. Here are some of Act One Adventures top ideas for keeping the children entertained at your celebrations.

Top Jubilee Games

Greetings Your Majesty – One child sits blindfolded in the middle while the others sit round in a circle. Choose one child who then says “Greetings Your Majesty” disguising their voice as much as possible and the blindfolded child has to guess who it is.

Keeper of The Keys – The Queen must have lots of keys for all her castles. Again one child sits in middle with a blindfold and a bunch of keys next to them. Choose one child from the circle who has to creep round the circle and into the middle to grab the keys without the blindfolded child detecting them.

Who is one?

20 Questions – There are many royal family masks available to purchase at the moment or you could write the names of the Royal family on paper and stick to peoples foreheads. Each person has to ask questions to help reveal their identity. We have played with the masks and it is hilarious.

10 Second Object – Get the children in groups and then tell them they have 10 secs to change into a Royal Family related object e.g. a castle, a carriage, a crown. The kids love turning their bodies into strange shapes.

Queen may we cross the drawbridge? – The children ask this question to the “Queen” and the Queen answers yes only if you are …. wearing red, like bananas, had toast for breakfast etc. All those that have or are the Queen’s statement can cross the drawbridge (run to the other side of the room).

Queen for a Day – Have out an assortment of dressing up bits and things like sheets, old curtains etc and a couple of willing!?! adults and get the children to dress them up as Queen for the Day. The kids can then play with the dressing up stuff afterwards.

Craft Ideas

Paper Plate Decorating

A really easy and cheap craft to set up for all ages is paper plate decorating. Just put out a load of paper plates, stickers, pictures of the royal family cut out from newspapers/magazines, sequins, feathers – whatever crafty bits you have to hand and let the children create.

But of course the craft possibilities are endless – flags, bunting, crowns, diamonds, Queen and Prince Phillip Paper Plate masks. There are lots of quick and easy crafts that can be set up to keep the younger ones amused.

I hope the above ideas will help to keep your children entertained. Have a great Jubilee weekend!

Fun in the Sun – Outdoor Parties

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Now that the good weather has finally arrived I expect to be taking quite a few of my party bookings outside into people gardens and outdoor spaces over the next few weeks. Outdoor parties are great fun and give a sense of freedom and freshness to any event. They can also make great settings for my adventure parties and also give lots of new opportunities for hiding clues for a treasure hunt. To make sure any outdoor children’s event goes with a swing here are my top tips.

Children outdoor themed partyFeeling hot hot hot – As is the way with our British weather it can go from freezing cold to scorching hot almost overnight. Extremes of heat can be quite difficult for young children to adjust to so make sure if your party is outside that you seek out some shady areas for them to play and sit down in as well as enjoying the sunshine. If your garden doesn’t have much natural shade then look at ways you can create some either by putting up a gazebo or parasol or for very small children, even some big golfing umbrellas clustered together can diffuse the heat a bit.

Water water everywhere – If it is a hot day then make sure there is plenty of water on offer for the children to drink so they don’t become dehydrated. If you are playing quite a few active games it may be necessary to stop regularly for water, but also try and alternate some more active games with a few quieter ones too – things like chinese whispers or keeper of the keys are good for just calming and cooling everything down whilst still being fun.

Boundaries – If you are having the party in a field or park or have a particularly large garden look at ways you can create natural boundaries for any games you are playing so that you can keep control of the game. Make sure if using a field or park area that you know where all the exits are and have parents stationed by these exits to ensure there are no “escapees”.

Music – If you are planning music outside you will either need a long extension lead or battery operated player. Bear in mind that a lot of battery powered players and not very powerful in output and it may be difficult to hear the music outside, so do a test first and make sure you have spare batteries as they tend to eat them up quite quickly.

Best laid plans – It is always a good idea in the UK to have a plan B for any outdoor occasion. I have entertained at events that have started off sunny and then turned to torrential rain. Fortunately the hosts had cleared a space indoors so we could move in and quickly carry on the party. Equally if your party is to be on grass and there has been a lot of rain in the lead up the ground could be very slippy. With lots of children running around the ground can soon get churned up and the children covered in mud. Some will love this but some may be upset to get their party clothes very dirty (not to mention their parents). If you are planning to be outside whatever the weather then do advise your guests of this so they can dress their children accordingly.

Checklist for Outdoor Parties
Shady areas (or ways to create this – gazebos, parasols, umbrellas etc)
Plenty of Water
Suncream and some spare hats
Extension lead or batteries for music player
Picnic blankets – in case ground is damp – the children can still sit down comfortably.

See our Ultimate Party Checklist for all other party essentials and most of all have fun in the sun!