How to plan the perfect kids’ birthday party in 2021!

Two children with party hats and balloons

It’s the one day of the year that has to be perfect and memorable for your child – their birthday. A birthday party is a great way to celebrate.

We have some tips and ideas to take the stress out of your birthday party planning. Whether you are hosting a few toddlers at home or looking for a venue and activities, it takes planning. We have teamed up with some great party businesses to give our Pennywell Farmers something extra special.

Whichever option you choose, involve your child as much as possible in the planning. It is all about them, after all. 

Planning a birthday party at home

Party gifts

This is often the best option for toddlers and younger children as they are more confident and happy in their own space.

  • Decide on the date and time of the party. Check that it doesn’t clash with any other commitments such as an activity for an older sibling.
  • Be realistic about how many children you will be comfortable with in your home.
  • Send out the invitations about two weeks before.
  • Plan the order of the day, eg. games, entertainment, food etc with rough timings. Resist the temptation to cram too much in. Small children can be completely overwhelmed when there is too much going on.

Planning a birthday party at a venue

Noah’s Barn, Pennywell Farm

Choose a venue that is well suited to your child or has something that you know your child will enjoy. Sounds obvious but it’s sometimes tempting to do something that has worked for someone else or just to book something that you know is available. 

  • Before you book, make sure you know exactly what is and is not included in the price. For example, party food may be included but you may have to pay extra for a cake or drinks. 
  • Think about how many children you can supervise and check the minimum and maximum number the venue will accept. 
  • Send invitations three weeks before and include clear instructions of how to get to the party venue and when you need the RSVP. 
  • When you pay your deposit, take a contact number for the person that will be responsible for your birthday party on the day.
  • Confirm numbers with the venue a few days before the party.

Birthday Party Games

Keeping it simple is the key. The old favourites are still popular with little ones. Pass the parcel, musical statues, musical bumps and Chinese whispers are all good fun and simple for all ages to join in. Try not to overthink it.

Make sure that you have a supply of small gifts for the winners. 

Birthday Party Food


If you are hosting the party yourself, the food doesn’t have to be too complicated. Small children will have many likes and dislikes so keeping it plain and simple is fine.

  • Things like mini pizzas, sausage rolls, cheese straws, sandwich triangles etc are fine for the savouries and you can buy them in or make them yourself. Fruit kebabs, carrot and cucumber sticks go down well but are best served before the party food. No child will choose them if they are next to the cakes! 
  • Simple cupcakes and fairy cakes can be decorated to look special or you could try ‘Sparklers’. These are breadsticks with the ends dipped in melted chocolate, followed by hundreds and thousands. Kids love them and as only the ends have chocolate, they are not too sweet.
  • Another idea is to provide a party box for the food. The boxes are inexpensive and can be matched to the theme (if you have one) of the party. Five items inside with a nice napkin can look really special. 
  • For drinks, the days of fizzy pop and hyper children are behind us. Water, squash or juice are fine, served in paper cups. 

The Birthday Cake

Birthday Cake
Birthday Cake

Whether homemade, shop bought or bespoke, the birthday cake will be the big event of the day. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece as it can be decorated and once the candles are lit, any cake will look special. Don’t forget to buy the candles and holders and make sure you have something to light them with. 

Bangin’ Bakes, run by baker Amber Bushell specialise in bespoke birthday cakes and cupcakes. They are based in Torbay and will deliver within a 5k distance or you can collect. Bangin’ Bakes offer something extra special for Pennywell Farmers when they order a birthday cake. See offers below.

Ben’s Bakes will deliver freshly baked cakes straight to your door. There’s a huge range of celebration cakes to choose from. The great news is, if you’re disorganised or if your home made cake turns out to be disastrous, order before 3pm and they will deliver a birthday cake the next day!  Ben’s Bakes also offer something extra special for Pennywell Farmers. See offers below.

Party Bags

These are optional but are ideal to take a slice of birthday cake which saves mess at your table.  Add a few small items like a balloon, pencil and a glitter tattoo or paper glider – job done!


If you don’t like the idea of keeping the children entertained, you can always book an entertainer to take some of the strain. It can give a focus to the party and calm things down. Remember though, the job of the entertainer is to entertain, it’s not to look after the children or exercise mini crowd control! 

Mr Phil

Childrens entertainer, Mr Phil promises to deliver a 2 hour, stress free party. There’s music, balloons, bubbles, games, and prizes to be won, from the moment the children step into the room. The show involves all the children but the  birthday child gets to be the star.  Circus skills, magic and big, big laughs. 

A short break for you to bring out the food and Mr Phil will lead “Happy Birthday” as you bring out the cake.

Mr Phil offers something extra for Pennywell Farmers booking a party! See offers below.

Billy Wiz

Billy Wiz

Billy Wiz’s birthday parties are fantastic fun with a spectacular one hour magic and puppet show aimed 100% at the children. Enjoy a room full of laughing children with huge smiles and magical memories to last a lifetime. You will be able to let your guests know about your fantastic party with FREE Billy wiz party invitations. 

Billy Wiz adds some extra magic for Pennywell Farmer bookings! See offers below.

Dare to be different

While many venues offer the full package, you can choose to go somewhere that you know your child will enjoy without having to book the whole shebang. Organise a picnic party in their favourite park or go to a venue where you bring your own food. You can also add some extra ideas to a party at home. 

Venues and organisers

Pennywell Farm

Piglet with a cream cake
Pennywell Farm

Pennywell offers you the best of both worlds. Entertainment is provided with animals, activities and rides but there is no fixed time schedule or package. The birthday child will arrive to find their name on the birthday board at the entrance and will be given a special birthday rosette. From there the birthday child and their guests can enjoy all that Pennywell has to offer. You can buy food on the day or bring your own picnic party food – either way, there is plenty of space for you. 

Tickets must be purchased via the website. Just remember to email Pennywell to let the team know the date you are coming. They will also need the name and age of the birthday child to welcome them properly. 

Noah’s Barn at Pennywell Farm is available for private hire.

Mini Glampers

A girls party from Mini Glampers Devon
Mini Glampers Devon
A boys superhero party from Mini Glampers Devon
Mini Glampers Devon

If you prefer to be at home, this is a fantastic idea for a birthday sleepover, Mini Glampers Devon offers the perfect sleepover party package for their special day. Indoor A-frame tents in a variety of themes that come with all the extras. They are delivered, assembled and collected so you don’t have to do a single thing. There are 14 magical themes to choose from and more to come. 

Mini Glampers Devon, offer something extra special for Pennywell Farmer bookings. See offers below.

Bouncing Crazy

If you have the space, why not host your party in the garden? You might want a couple of gazebos just in case the weather turns British but children love to be outside. They can picnic and play, keeping all the mess outside. Bouncing Crazy have a great range of inflatables to hire, making sure that every child will sleep well. Anything from a disco dome to a  princess castle can be delivered to your garden. 

Teeny Teepee Sleepover and Outdoor Cinema Parties

Stylish sleepover and cinema parties, delivered to your home. The sleepover teepees are designed with children in mind and can be themed for boys or girls. New for 2021 are Teeny outdoor cinema parties, bringing movie nights to life. 

Teeny Outdoor Cinema Party

Book a Teeny Teepee sleepover and there’s an extra special something for Pennywell Farmers. See offers below.

A Touch of the Wild

Go Wild in the woods with A Touch of the Wild parties with campfire lighting, woodland games, den building, natural crafts, campfire cooking and much more, all at their secret woodland camp. Have a play in the woodland playground and let them take the hassle out of children’s parties by catering too! Suitable for 4 years+, at weekends throughout the year. At Grammarcombe Woods, Ashcombe, between Exeter & Teignmouth.

Top 10 Tips

However or wherever you plan your party, here are our top tips:

  1. Try to find out if your child’s best friend is free before you send out the invitations to the other children.
  2. Send invitations around two weeks ahead of the party, or three if you are booking a venue. 
  3. If you are catering at home, offer healthy choices of food before the sweets and cake make it to the table. 
  4. Have a budget and stick to it. It doesn’t have to be expensive to be memorable and it isn’t a competition.
  5. The first ten minutes can be the most stressful. Shy, over-excited children all arriving at once and you trying to be the perfect host. Prepare an activity ready for your child to do with their guests that you don’t need to supervise. Puzzles or colouring is fine while everyone settles in.
  6. Make a note of who gave which present. A  nice idea is to take a picture of your child opening each present. You can send it to the giver of the gift as a ‘Thank you for coming to my party’ card. 
  7. Put back a couple of spare party bags for unexpected guests or siblings. 
  8. Small children may have parents that prefer to stay. To keep them happy, have some crisps and dips ready for them. They won’t expect to be fed but will appreciate a snack and maybe a cup of tea. 
  9. Don’t Forget to Have Fun! Don’t worry about the party, keep it festive and light! Put your family first by getting them involved and enjoy the moment. 
  10. Remember to keep a bottle of wine in the fridge for when it’s all over!

Exclusive offers for your party 

We have some lovely businesses who have offered something extra special for our Pennywell Farmers birthday parties. Simply quote, ‘Pennywell Extra’ when you book.

Bangin’ Bakes

A free tray of delicious cupcakes with every celebration cake order. Quote ‘Pennywell Extra’ when you order.

Billy Wiz

Bonus 15 minutes of party games, including prizes with every one hour magic and puppet show. Quote ‘Pennywell Extra’ when you book.

Mini Glampers

Free themed party bag for every child party guest. Quote ‘Pennywell Extra’ when you book.

Mr Phil

A free spinning plate for the birthday child. Quote ‘Pennywell Extra’ when you book.

Teeny Teepee Sleepover Parties

FREE cupcakes for the birthday party. Quote, ‘Pennywell Extra’ when you book.

This story appeared on June 7, 2021

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