Nothing beats being a kid at your own birthday party. If we had to pick the next best thing, though, it’s probably the feeling you get when your child experiences their own party. It’s a chance to connect, celebrate, and engage in some fun activities that don’t happen every day. Although the party is technically for the kid, it’s a great chance for parents to socialize with other parents.
Since we don’t believe kids’ birthday parties need to be complicated in order to be awesome, we’ve come up with a simple how-to guide that’ll help you plan the big day. In this article, we’ve boiled it down to the basics to help you get the wheels in motion without having to sweat the small stuff. Denver boasts a host of activity venues that will make the party planning easy, but even the simplest party requires a bit of planning.
How to Plan an Unforgettable Kid’s Birthday Party
Depending on the age of the boy or girl, they may have a few ideas of where they want to host the birthday. Some kids might have a favorite venue they’ve attended before, or they might have a new venue they’ve been waiting for the perfect timing and group to attend.
Choosing a Venue
The first things you should do well before the date of the party is choosing a venue. You’ll want to start looking for a venue early on – as bookings can be limited in space and fill up quickly. We generally recommend locking down a venue four to six weeks before the birthday if you have particular date and time that will work best.
Choose a Day and Time of Day
A crucial step that’s often overlooked: keep in mind what time of day works best for the age group you’re entertaining. If you are having a party for young children, such as toddlers, a good time is right after nap time. For kids who are in preschool, a party during lunchtime works well. Older kids are more adaptable, so you can choose the time that works best for you. Depending on the time of year, older kids might have sports in the morning or afternoon, so you’ll want to do your best to plan around those
You also don’t have to keep the party going for hours at a time. In fact, young children who are toddlers or preschool age do best with shorter parties of an hour or two in length. Kids in school might do well with a party that longer. If you’re hosting the birthday at a birthday venue, they’ll generally keep the total length to less than two hours.
Building a Guest List
If your child has a best friend, you want to be sure they are free before choosing a date for the birthday party. This is going to be essential since this is the person who your child will be the most excited to see at their celebration.
You’ll want to consider the age and what activities will be happening at the party. For instance, a large number of kids might be a good choice for team games at a four-year-old’s party, while a sleepover for an eight-year-old might work best with only two or three guests. The events at the party might lend themselves to bigger or smaller groups, and it’s ok to plan accordingly.
Sending Out Invitations
The rule of thumb is to send out all invitations about three weeks before the day of the party – even if they’re via email – to give parents adequate time to plan ahead and clear the date. Some schools allow children to distribute invitations on the property, but it’s best to avoid this if all of the children aren’t being invited. Invitations can be designed on paper and mailed, or keep it simple with an email or even a text message. Websites like evite or Paperless Post can make an invitation sent via email feel a bit more formal
Most important information for the invitations are location, date, drop-off and pick-up times. If the child needs to bring anything to the party, make sure you indicate that, too. Let parents know if you will be serving a meal, and let parents know if they’re invited to hang out for the festivities.
If you’re hosting the birthday at an outside venue, most will require parents to sign waivers for their own child. If a waiver is required we suggest including that in the invitation so that everybody is ready to participate. Many waivers can be completed electronically, while others will be required to be printed and signed.
Choosing Food to Serve
Sometimes, you may be having the party at a venue where food is included or purchasing food through them is required. While this can cut down on how much planning you need to do in terms of food, it’s also something to keep in mind while budgeting
Will there be a meal?
For those that enjoy baking, a homemade cake or platter of cupcakes can give an offsite a taste of home. With the number of cool bakeries and cupcake shops popping up, even “store bought” baked goods can be totally amazing and filled with local flare. Let’s be honest though, when it comes to cake, kids aren’t known to be particularly picky. While a group of “foodie” adults might scoff at a Kroger sheet cake, kids will usually scarf it down and come back asking for seconds.
Deciding on Party Favors
Party favors are a fun way to let every child take something home to remind them of the party. Candy and small trinkets are inexpensive but popular options as favors. You can also choose to go with something more substantial like a book or a game for kids who are a bit older. If you have a theme for the party, choose something that fits into it.
Another option is letting the children make party favors on their own. Decorate the favors and let the kids take them home when the party is over. Some options include posters, paintings, and crafts. If you have an entertainer at the party, their supplies and props can act as favors. For example, a magician might offer each child a simple magic trick kit that can be taken home at the end of the day.
Scheduling Party Activities
Paying attention to pace is important at a Denver kid’s birthday party. An easy way to do this is by breaking down the party into 15-minute sections with a different activity each time. Give entertainment 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the age of the kids, and allot another 15 minutes or so for opening gifts, eating lunch, and serving cake. If something isn’t going as planned, it’s okay to drop it and move on to the next thing.
To keep things rolling, make sure you keep the schedule with you and refer to it as needed. Start things off smoothly by ushering kids to a crafts table or another activity when they arrive and then get everyone together as more people show up. If the children are young, keep games and activities simple so that nobody gets frustrated. Older children will want additional stimulation, so organized sports and activities are an excellent choice.
The Gifting Process
You might be curious whether it is best to have the child open gifts while the party is happening or whether you should wait until the guests have left. The answer is that it depends. In some cases, kids like to see the birthday kid open the present they brought them, especially if they had the chance to pick it out. But at the same time, guests can get bored watching a kid open dozens of gifts.
If you want something that falls in the middle, put the guests’ names in a hat and let the birthday kid pick one out. Then, let them open the gift of the person whose name is pulled out. Kids can also become excited and forget their manners, so make sure you have explained to them how to thank their friends for the gifts in advance. For young kids, opening gifts after the party may be the best option to avoid chaos. Take photos of the child opening each gift and then send those out with thank you cards.
Ending the Party
Once the party is done, make sure your child thanks all of the guests before they leave. This is also the appropriate time to make sure every child has their party favors and any other items that you want them to go home with. Then you can clean up and enjoy spending time with your child and bonding as you finish out their special day.
The Top Locations for Kid’s Birthday Parties in Denver, Colorado
One of the largest considerations when planning either a girl’s or boy’s birthday party is where it should be hosted. While you could have a party at home, that leaves you spending the evening cleaning up after what was likely a long day. Luckily, there are tons of great venues for hosting a birthday party in Denver for kids of all ages. Below, we’ll share a few of the top options for kids, no matter their age or interests. So take a look and decide which is right for your child’s party.
Archery Games Denver
5405 W 56th Ave, Unit D, Arvada
Kids of all ages enjoy being active, competing with friends, and having a good time – especially on their birthdays. At Archery Games Denver, all of those things are provided in a family-friendly venue. The game consists of tagging other players with arrows to eliminate them from a game. For birthday parties, groups get private tables and can bring in their favorite foods, including a tasty birthday cake. It’s a fun experience that you won’t find anywhere else. Both kids and adults can play games against one another and create memories that will last a lifetime.
700 Water St, Denver
If there’s one thing that almost all children love, it’s animals. When you host a birthday at Downtown Aquarium, the kids can take in more than 500 species of animals along with underwater exhibits. This venue comes with a restaurant that sells all sorts of treats, offers the chance for kids to touch an actual stingray, and lets them really engage their imaginations while learning new things. In addition, this venue provides Under the Sea storytime on Wednesday mornings, which can segue into an exciting birthday party that kids and adults alike will love.
7562 S University Blvd Suite GG, Centennial
For small tots celebrating a birthday, Kids Wonder is a remarkable space. It’s designed to help with kids’ intellectual, emotional, physical, and social development from birth through eight years old. It’s open every day for kids to play however they want and the location has tons of room to play and run. It works well as a birthday venue and comes with trampolines, inflatable slides, ball pits, wooden toys, and more. For events like birthdays, a private room is available where the party can take place before the kids enjoy playing the day away.
8601 W Cross Dr. Unit B6-1, Littleton
Designed as a space for kids who are eight or younger, Kids Dig could be an excellent venue for a child’s birthday in Denver. The main feature of this space is a sandbox with 825 square feet of sand. It’s themed to look like a quarry with large murals showcasing earth moving equipment to help your kids feel like they are working in a real construction environment. This location has a special space for children who aren’t potty trained and a carpeted area for babies without sand. Even adults can jump in and have fun as long as enough space is available.
Little Monkey Bizness
14693 Orchard Pkwy, Westminster
Young birthday boys and girls can have a blast with friends by visiting Little Monkey Bizness. It’s designed to give kids aged eight and under a space where they can explore a playground in a safe indoor environment. There are slides, obstacle courses, and inflatable jumps for all. Even the smallest tots have a special area where they can explore and play with kids of the same age. This venue offers several birthday packages to help you celebrate. You’ll also have access to a party host to help you from start to finish so you can focus on your child and all the fun they get to have.
Play Street Museum
9370 S Colorado Blvd A-2, Highlands Ranch
Play Street Museum is a fantastic location for a young child’s birthday party. It’s an educational space that encourages kids to play while taking in new knowledge. Kids can hang out at the campsite or treehouse and play while parents join in or hang back and watch as the children learn something new. This is a museum that is based on interactivity, so it brings out the imagination in kids. There are several birthday packages available, including the option to bring your own food or have the whole afternoon catered for the little ones.
American Paintball Coliseum
5095 Peoria St, Denver
Great for older kids who want some independence, American Paintball Coliseum could be the perfect spot for a birthday. Kids can play paintball indoors or out, try a game of laser tag, play with airsoft, and much more. When you host a kid’s birthday party at the venue, you can be sure everyone who comes will have a ton of fun. What makes this spot stand out is that it offers a variety of activities for people of all ages. Those who prefer to play video games have access to a virtual reality arcade, while those who are active can switch between sports for a day of fun.
Boondocks Food & Fun
11425 Community Center Dr, Northglenn
A birthday party isn’t nearly as fun without great food, but a restaurant doesn’t have to be only that. At Boondocks, you can host a child’s birthday party with delicious dishes, tasty drinks, and all sorts of family-friendly entertainment. This venue has special birthday party packages to ensure everyone invited has a great time. The packages include great amenities like a reserved party table, bottomless soda, tasty pizza, and complimentary bowling. Even the essentials like napkins, cups, plates, balloons, and invitations are provided to make the process easier. Young kids and even the older ones will have a blast visiting the venue with friends.
Ubergrippen Indoor Climbing Crag
8610 E 21st Ave, Denver
Lots of kids enjoy being active and having the chance to do it on a birthday while surrounded by family and friends is something that will be remembered. At Ubergrippen Indoor Climbing Crag, kids can spend time in a huge climbing gym with a 40-foot high wall, level climbing, and dozens of lanes of top rope. All in all, there are 12,000 feet of climbing walls and routes to explore. It’s a great place to teach kids how to climb through daycare, classes, after-school programs, and camps. It also has everything you could want for a fun birthday in Denver.
10601 E Easter Ave, Centennial
Kids of all ages will have a blast with a birthday party at Topgolf. It’s far more than just a standard venue that offers golf. Instead, it’s more like a game that combines golf, bowling, and darts into one activity. For food and drink during the party, guests can choose from many delicious options and servers will bring it right over to you. While playing a game at this venue, guests try to hit a golf ball into the center of a target to score points. It’s a unique and exciting experience that kids of all ages will enjoy.
Shredder: Indoor Ski & Snowboard School
4890 Ironton St Unit F, Denver
If your little one has a birthday coming up, why not let them learn how to do something new? Shredder: Indoor Ski & Snowboard School is the perfect choice for a birthday party. Several different classes are available for kids from as young as 10 months old to as old as 10 and beyond. The birthday parties at this venue let guests sled, ski, and ride around indoors while having a whole lot of fun. Kids can also engage in gymnastics, bounce around on trampolines, or enjoy a game of dodgeball with their friends.
Monster Mini Golf
8227 S Holly St, Centennial
Do you have a kid with a birthday coming up? If they enjoy sports and being active, Monster Mini Golf is a great venue for their party. It’s an indoor spot with an 18-hole mini-golf course, laser tag, mini-bowling, a monster maze, and a variety of concession choices. In addition, there is a selection of themed party rooms so you can choose the one that bests fits the personality of the birthday kid. The mini-golf facility also comes with an arcade and a prize center for kids who are less active, so every child can go home feeling like a winner.
452 Sable Blvd, Aurora
Lava Island is a great spot to take an active kid and all their friends for a birthday celebration. It acts as an indoor park with dozens of themed climbing walls, 15,000 square feet of trampolines, and other 20,000 square feet of mazes, slides, and ladders. It’s a fun experience for the whole family and the birthday packages include treats like special themed rooms and fresh food. This venue has activities for kids of all ages and the birthday party rooms are spacious and clean. If you know a birthday will involve a handful of energetic children, this is the perfect spot to let them burn off some energy.
5735 Washington St, Denver
Sometimes, the most important part of a birthday is enjoying some fun treats that kids don’t get every day. Hammond’s Candies is an ideal birthday party venue for an experience that blends fun and education. There are free tours of the factory so the little ones can learn how lollipops, candy canes, and other sweets are made. Thousands of people visit every year to see how their favorite candies have been made since the 1920s. Bring the kids and give them an up-close view of how candy is made and what makes up Hammond’s history. Make sure to choose some sweets to round out the experience.
Space Foundation Headquarters and Discovery Center
4425 Arrowswest Dr, Colorado Springs
Planning a birthday party for a kid who loves astronauts, planets, and the stars? The perfect venue for the party could be at Space Foundation Headquarters and Discovery Center. It’s ideal for kids of all ages with a variety of options to fit your needs. Stop in for an hour or half a day and let the kids learn about science, technology, and space. Kids can view scale model rockets, space suits, images from the Mars Viking Lander, and more. This venue offers a variety of birthday party packages that are sure to delight your future scientist.
Final Thoughts About Denver Kid’s Birthday Parties
Creating a memorable birthday party is important for many parents. There’s nothing better than putting time into planning a celebration that culminates in watching the birthday kid covered in smiles after a day of fun, food, friends, and family. Any of the venues above makes a great choice for creating an experience that will not soon be forgotten. All you have to do is choose the one that fits the child’s personality and get started with planning.
At this point, you should have a fairly good idea of the planning process for a kid’s Denver birthday party. Once you go through the steps, you’ll have no worries and can focus on having a good time with your child. Birthdays should be fun. They should focus on the celebration. When you plan the party well and choose the right venue, it’s sure to be the perfect day you hoped for.