I love putting together party favours. It's always nice that kids get to bring home something from the party, but putting together a party pack can be mind boggling, especially if you have guests of varied age group. I often like to customise my party packs, catering for different age group and gender, but this is usually not necessary.
A few rules of thumb when putting together your party packs to keep both children and parents happy:
Candies and junk food: Know who your guests are and their parents' rule on candies and junk food. I know most parents of young children often dislike or forbid their children from consuming them, so keep those junk food at bay. For older kids, I think a few pieces of chocolates should be fine, but again think "will I allow my kids to eat 'em" before including them in your party packs.
Noise makers: They can either liven up your party or annoy the life out of you (and other parents), especially when the party is over. I would normally stay away from giving out noise makers. Perhaps you can substitute these with balloons.
Fun and practical: I'm sure you don't want to find your party favours in the bin as soon as the day is over, so make sure they're stuff the kids can appreciate and use. For younger kids, stickers, bubbles and crayons are popular items which kids adore. For older kids, stationery, activity books and craft kits make great party favours.
There's really no fixed rule on how much a party pack should cost. I've done party packs for as little as RM5 each to more elaborate ones costing more than RM20 per pack - all keeping to above rule of thumb of fun & practical. All you need is some creativity and a good eye for bargain!
What's a party without party favours? For me, putting together the party packs is just as fun as throwing the party itself. I just love finding all those cute little knicks knacks and can't help thinking how happy the kids will be when they get them. Perhaps it's more to satisfy my love for shopping for little kiddy stuff, but who's complaining? :p
Party shops can be expensive so I normally stay clear of them unless there's something specific I really really want. There are many places in KL these days in which you can find cute little things that are just perfect for those party packs. My advice is not to wait till the last minute. Keep your eyes open whenever you're out shopping, you'll never know when you find that treasure box of a shop.
H's Carnival Party: mini prizes for redemption
Here are some of my favourite joints. Please do share if you stumble upon any other places that is a must to visit!
Mr DIY. Don't be mistaken by the name of the shop, it's not your typical hardware store. Lots of toys, stationery and gift items - all at very affordable prices! There are many Mr DIYs around the Klang Valley but I've only been to the one in SS2 Mall, and know of another in Tesco Extra @ Mutiara Damansara.
Kaison @ Paradigm Mall. Stumbled upon this place when my friend wanted to go in to grab some artificial flowers. It's never crossed my mind to go into this shop cos I've always thought that it's a flower shop. Well I was pretty impressed with the stock of party, stationery and gift items they have. All at extrememly reasonable prices!
Fun N Cheer. All kinds of knick knacks from China. Depending on the items you're buying, some stuff may not be of such good quality, but mostly decent for the price you're paying. I've seen a few around KL/PJ, but I've really only been to the one in Kepong. If you intend to buy more (i.e. one dozen and up), do ask them to direct you to their wholesale outlet. You'll get a much much better price (as high as 50% off)!
Petaling Street. Lots of wholesale toys and gift stores in the area. I can't really remember their names but they're all along the same street (pretty much). If you buy a dozen or more of the same item, you can normally ask to buy at wholesale prices.
For ideas on what to include in kids' party packs, watch out for my next post!
H is very much into magic these days. I suppose it's a boy thing. Although it's only Feb (his birthday is not until July), H has already indicated that he wanted a Magic Party for his 5th birthday. We're not planning to throw him a party this year, perhaps his school will allow him to celebrate his birthday in the classroom / canteen with his friends. I'll just call in a magician, and get some cupcakes and ice-cream. That should be sufficient to keep the kids happy and entertained :-)
Here's a list of magicians I found in KL. Have yet to try them out so can't really comment on how good they are, but will be happy to hear your feedback before I engage one.
If you fancy a clown magician, here's the list of providers I contacted last year for H's Carnival Party.
Stanley Foo (Big Baby Clown - 012-2106729): RM400 for 1hr 30 mins of clown mingling, magic show and ballon sculpting
JPE Events(Inderjeet - 012-3111928): RM500 for clown show; RM400 for mingling/balloon sculpting clown (3 hrs)
Mike (Cha Cha the Clown -019-2623557): RM500 for 1.5 hrs of entertainment, consisting of comedy magic show, 3-4 games, balloon sculpting and dancing; RM350 for junior clown with magic show, games and balloons for 1 hour
Allan & Friends Studio (Allan - 03-42515188): RM450 for comedy magic & puppet show with few games & balloons (1.5 hours)
MKKG (Mark - 012-6979205): RM550 for comedy magic show & balloon sculpting (45 mins to 1 hr)
School's almost out and I thought it'd be nice for H to give something to his teachers as a token of appreciation. I found these really great and creative ideas while googling for inspiration. Simple enough for a weekend DIY, H can definitely help too!
Tea-rrific Teacher. Fill a reusable cup with thank you notes and individual instant tea packets and top with a cute flag topper. Download straw flag printables here.
You Were Mint to Teach.Wrap up a container of Mints with printed or scrapbook paper, twine and a small note of thanks. Simple and inexpensive, but effectively says “thank you” for being a wonderful teacher.
Thanks for making me wiser. Owl theme for "wrapping" the teacher gift. Simply cut angles from the top corners of a small treat bag and fold down, staple once filled with goodies to secure. Add eyes made up of circle punches and a rounded chest freehand cut with scissors.
Owl miss you. Made to fit around Hershey Miniatures Chocolate Bars. Great for handing out to classmates on the last day of school. Download PDF printables here.
For a Popular Teacher.Who doesn't like popcorn? Pop some in your kitchen, bag them and add a tag and you have an excellent treat for a popular teacher. Download PDF printables here.
One Smart Cookie. Fill up a box or bag with homemade chocolate chip cookies and attach a mini notecard that says, "Thanks for making me one smart cookie". Download PDF printables here.
I was asked recently by a friend for suitable party venues to celebrate her son's birthday. If you don't want the hassle of throwing a party at home, here are some options.
Jungle Gym @ BSC. I blogged about this earlier. The good thing about Jungle Gym is that they don't charge for guests under 2 years old. They are also flexible about you bringing your own food (they only provide food for the kids). Basic package starts at RM38 per child (includes simple finger food, minimum 15 guests).
Kizsport. This is my other favourite. I've only been to the one in Bangsar Village II. What I like about Kizsport is the toddler friendly zone so your little toddler guests won't feel left out. Their packages do not include food so you have to bring your own or organise separate catering. Basic package starts at RM36.90 per child (no food but includes party pack, minimum 15 guests).
Kids E-World @ Gardens. Can't really comment on the play area as I've never been there. The basic party package starts at RM20 per child for the use of the party area and playland. You then need to choose the meal plan from them (cannot bring your own food). Meal plan starts from RM25 per child and RM32 per adult.
Others: Yu Kids Island @ Curve and One Utama, and J Kids @ Tropicana City Mall. Don't have the party details but personally I don't quite fancy the moving play systems. I much prefer those play structures you can climb like the ones in Jungle Gym and Kizsport. But that's just me.
Kids friendly cafes / restaurants
Marmalade. Food is good, ambience is good (make your photos look great even if you're a not so good photographer). There's a small play area for kids. If you don't have a big contingent, you can just make a reservation and ask for tables near the play area and do à la carte style. Otherwise you can book up the party area (i.e. a section of the restaurant) and do a buffet style. Minimum spend for booking up a section of the restaurant is RM2,000.
FitFor2. We've eaten there a few times, food is so-so but the place is extremely kids friendly. There's a small play area as well as a changing area for kids. There's also a studio you can use if you need an open space for party games. Catering for kids start from RM10+/child (minimum 15 children).
Chili's. Kids eat for free so what's there not to like... hehehe. Good for small parties but can be tricky if you have a big crowd since you can't make reservations and they won't seat incomplete party.
TTDI park. Have a picnic party by the stream. Just bring your mat and picnic basket. We did a party here for Little C's 5th birthday. The kids loved it - well how often do you get to play by the stream right? Only problem is that you need the weather to be on your side.
Lake Gardens. I guess this is another FOC option. I've been wanting to take the kids there but have been procrastinating. There's a nice big playground and a lake, and of course large empty fields for the kids to run about. Not sure if they still have those gazebos and picnic tables.
One thing I learn from doing kids parties for young kids, they're just happy to play, play and play! And they don't even need organised games. Venue, decor, food etc. are secondary, really. So don't stress yourself out too much :-)