How to Create a Birthday Party Timeline

When planning a birthday party, there are so many factors to take into account – the decorations, food, desserts, activities, and more. To do lists and frantic party planning Pinterest searches can consume your days leading up to your party, until the day of your event arrives and you realize you never took the time to plan your party timeline.

A timeline can help you narrow down all of your ideas into a list of activities that you can realistically complete in your desired time frame. It will help you to stay on track during your party and to guide your party along for your guests.

After all the hard work and effort that went into the actual planning of your party, we know you want your party to flow well and go without a hitch. That’s why we recommend creating a timeline for your party.

A timeline can help you narrow down all of your ideas into a list of activities that you can realistically complete in your desired time frame. It will help you to stay on track during your party and to guide your party along for your guests.

Before you actually create a timeline for your party, you first need to answer the following four questions about your party to help you set the best possible time to hold your party.

1. How old are your party guests (and your birthday guest of honor)?

If you’re hosting a party for a child under the age of 10, we recommend that you party does not exceed 2 hours. This will help to ensure that your child and their guests stay actively engaged in the party activities. Your party will also come to a close before your child or their guests begin to feel overwhelmed or overstimulated.

You should also keep the time of day you plan to have your party in mind. For children in this age category,  you will want to plan around nap-time. We typically recommend hosting a young child’s party right after nap-time but before dinner (late afternoon).

For a child aged 10 and up, you can extend your party time frame from 2 to 3 hours. At this age, guests are able to control their attention spans and emotional states for a longer period of time. This means you can plan your activities to last longer, or you can have your guests do a greater number of activities throughout the party.

For an older child or for an adult, you will want to schedule your party to avoid any conflicting appointments, such as sports, church activities, or work. The best times are usually on Friday or Saturday evenings.

If you are planning a party for this older group, you will also want to include your guest of honor when choosing your party day and time. That way you can be sure to avoid any conflicts they may have themselves – unless, of course, your party is a surprise.

2. Will you be serving food at your party?

If you are serving a full meal (lunch or dinner), you will want to plan plenty of time for all of your guests to eat! This can happen either right at the start of your party when guests are arriving, or somewhere in the middle once everyone has shown up and settled in. Also, don’t forget to plan some time for desserts and singing too!

3. How many games and activities will you have?

We like to plan at least two games and/or activities for our parties – preferably one of each. For young children, we especially recommend no more than two activities. In general, we like having one game that is short and sweet, and one activity that is a little more engaging and takes a bit more time.

If you’re hosting a party for an older child/adult, you can plan additional activities if you like. You can also extend the amount of time for your main game or activity since your party guests will have an easier time focusing on the activity for longer.

If you’re hosting a party for an older child/adult, you can plan additional activities if you like. You can also extend the amount of time for your main game or activity since your party guests will have an easier time focusing on the activity for longer. When putting on a party for an older child or adult, we like to plan two quicker activities and one longer, more engaging activity or game.

4. Are the people on your guest list generally on time or late to events?

If you know that your party guests tend to turn up late to your events, you may also want to plan a little extra time at the beginning of your party to accommodate for the latecomers. Have some kind of activity that your guests who arrive early or on-time can do while they wait for everyone else to show up, but save your major activities (and maybe the food) for when everyone arrives.

Once you have answered these four questions, you can put together a general timeline for your party. Here is how we recommend scheduling both a 2 hour and a 3 hour party:

This infographic shows you how to plan your party timeline for a two hour party. Recommended for ages 0-10.
This infographic shows you how to plan the flow for a three hour party. Recommended for ages 10+.

Although writing out a general party schedule seems so simple and a no-brainer, very few party hosts do it. We want to encourage you to take a few minutes out of your party planning time to fill out a party timeline sheet that will help you and your party run as smoothly as possible.

Wondering what other party planning aspects you are forgetting about? We know it can be hard to remember everything when it comes to planning a party for your child, your friend, or yourself, so we have set out to create an Ultimate Party Planner just for you!

Currently, our Ultimate Party Planner is in the works – but we will certainly let you know AS SOON as it is completed… because we know that you are going to want to get your hands on it right away.

Our Ultimate Party Planner will come with everything you will need to successfully plan your next party stress-free! Included in the pack you are going to find:

  • 1 General Party Timeline Worksheet
  • 1 Party Planning Budget Worksheet
  • 1 Party Planning To-Do Checklist
  • 1 Guest List Tracking Worksheet
  • 1 Party Menu Planning Worksheet

Best of all, this Ultimate Party Planner will be available to you absolutely free! We simply want to help you plan out your next event in the most stress free way possible. We know what a game changer it is to think on and plan the different aspects of your party ahead of time, so we want to give you the tools we know you will need to succeed.

Coming Soon - A Party Planner that includes everything you need to plan a successful party: timeline worksheet, menu planner, guest tracker, to-do list, and more.

To receive a notification when our Ultimate Party Planner is completed and ready for download, enter your information below!

We hope that you have found value in today’s post about creating a party timeline. If you have any questions about any of our content, our Ultimate Party Planner, or struggles you are facing in planning your own party, please feel free to reach out in the comments below or by emailing us at [email protected]. You can also join us on Facebook Live tonight at 6pm for our weekly party planning Q&A session. We hope you will join us there!

Next week, we will be talking about choosing a theme for your party and how doing so can not only make your party more creative and fun, but also easier to plan! We hope to see you next week and can’t wait to talk to you then!

-Krystal & Jodie

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