How to Host a Birthday Party Both Kids and Parents Will Love

We all want to give our children birthday parties they’ll really enjoy and remember. But aren’t the best parties the ones where the parents also have fun? Especially if you’re the parents hosting!

Here’s how to hold a Birthday party that satisfies everyone:

Keep it simple and focused on the children

It sounds obvious, right? But a lot of parents focus on the decorations and making the table look amazing when really I don’t think children care too much about that bit! The best party I’ve entertained at was organised by a dad who did no decorations and simple food in a box. He set it all up in 2 seconds then came and played with the children and got stuck in with their Oglee Poglee fun! Younger children especially love it if they see their parents getting involved too.

When it comes to themes and activities, chat with your child and see what they’d really like (rather than guessing based on what friends have had or wanting to do something more impressive). What do your children really enjoy? What do they get lost in for hours? Whether it’s crafting, playing football or imaginative play – any interest can become the basis for a party!

Prepare ahead

Try to cut out your stress by getting prepared well in advance. It doesn’t matter whether you’re keeping it simple or you are planning a immersive theme – have a plan, have the help you need, and try to have thing sorted so that on the day you can enjoy really focus on the children.

Get your child involved beforehand

Children love to be given a sense of responsibility and to be part of the excitement and build up to their party. Let them be as involved as possible. Encourage them to pick the party theme, come up with activity and decor ideas and then help you set up on the day.

Talk with the entertainer

If you’re booking any suppliers or entertainment for your party, talk to them in advance and ask for any tips to make the party run as smoothly as possible. What do they need from you? Is there anything they need from the venue layout? Is there anything else you want to know from them too, it’s always best if you know exactly what to expect on the day so you’re not having to rush around helping them find electricity sockets or having to re-jig furniture to make space for their set-up.

Pick the right venue

The right venue can really boost the fun factor, so think carefully. What sort of space do you need for the party you have in mind? Do you feel comfortable letting 20 children descend on your home or will you need a nice village hall or similar? Again have a chat with any entertainers and see what they’d need and if they have any local recommendations.  Our blog post on Finding the right party venue also has some top tips.

Keep the parents refreshed

If you’re expecting parents to stay while the children celebrate, don’t forget to have the fridge well stocked for them too. Food and drink always makes any small talk easier!

What are the best kids parties you’ve been to? We’d love to hear over on Instagram.

Plus, if you liked this blog post you may also like our blog post about bespoke birthday parties: Martha’s Bespoke Birthday Party

What Is an ‘Invitation to Create’?

Eager to create more creative moments with your children? There’s a good chance you’ve come across the term ‘invitation to create’ on Instagram, Pinterest or craft packed parenting blogs – but what does this popular term mean? And how does an invitation to create benefit our kids?

The good news: it’s easy to understand. An invitation to create is simply an environment that ‘invites’ young children to get involved with a creative activity – whether that’s exploring sensory play, a cut and stick craft, painting, a heap of new materials to experiment with – the opportunities are endless.

The aim is to simply capture a child’s imagination and provide the materials for them to engage their natural creativity and problem-solving skills.

Why should we set-up invitations to create?

So often, adults set up craft activities for children with an intended outcome – perhaps with specific instructions to follow and a specific ‘product’ in mind to create. While there’s no harm in this within a mix of creative activities, this sort of adult-led crafting restricts our children.

An invitation to create intentionally allows children the means to create ‘how they see fit’ respecting their innate creativity and allowing them the opportunity to use their imagination fully. It’s always fascinating to see children using their natural creativity and exploring materials in ways we could have never expected!

Creative play has other huge developmental benefits too. It can boost both fine and gross motor skills, aid in basic maths skills (like geometry, sorting, and measuring) and offer an outlet to express emotions and strengthen mental wellbeing.

Setting up an engaging invitation to create

There are no strict rules to setting up an ‘invitation to create’ but if you feel overwhelmed by the idea of offering your child an open-ended creative task, here are a few tips to presenting a creative opportunity they will learn from and enjoy:

• Make it hands-on
If your idea of getting creative is currently restricted to paper and pens/paintbrush, think again. To let our children, get the biggest benefits from being creative we need to allow them to use their whole bodies – particularly their little hands and fingers! Think about how you can set up an invitation to create that lets them manipulate materials without tools and to explore new textures and materials.

• Make it messy
Most kids love getting messy! Whether it’s exploring the different ways to use paint, using plenty of gloopy glue or shaking glitter and sprinkles about the place – it’s all part of using their creative freedom fully. To keep them engaged for longer, set up their invitation to create in a space where you feel happy for them to make a mess and let them go for it.

• Make it ‘grown-up’
Another way to really capture their imagination is to give them a sense of responsibility as they create. Using real tools like wood, nails and hammers is a great one! Or simply trusting them with scissors, glue and tape to use however they want without limit.

• Make it obvious
While you don’t want to be completely prescriptive, it’s important that your invitations to create are clearly defined. This means setting up your craft activity and giving your child a quick explanation of how the materials ‘could’ be used (this is not the same as describing what the final piece will look like). The fun is then watching them as they explore and add their own creative twists!

• Use other people’s ideas!
You don’t have to think everything up yourself. Pinterest is full of amazing craft ideas (see our Kid’s Craft Prompt board). Our blog ‘Brilliant Kids Books to Encourage Creative Thinking’ will introduce to some inspiring craft books too.

Oglee Poglee’s pre-filled craft party bags are a lovely example of quick and easy ‘invitations to create’ you can gift your child at any time and unleash their creativity. Which one would most capture their imagination?

10 Attractions to Engage Their Imagination

When the kids head back to school, term time madness can leave you wondering how you’re going to squeeze in any creative adventures as a family. Especially if they’re not eager to sit down at the kitchen table and get crafty together. Here’s a round-up of 10 top attractions to engage their imagination without them even noticing! Perfect for family days out.

Institute of Imagination, London
The Institute of Imagination in London is relatively new and looks really interesting. It was launched as a charity creating space for children and young people to re-imagine the world with a whole host of workshops throughout the year which are great for engaging your young inventors and engineers.

The Science Museum, London
We love a visit to the Science Museum if we’re in London. It’s packed with interesting exhibits and hands-on learning opportunities with exhibitions changing regularly. It’s free to enter but you can pay extra for the temporary exhibitions and IMAX cinema.

Techniquest, Cardiff
Always on our list of places to visit when we visit family in Cardiff, Techniquest is another interactive science museum with lots of things to do from toddlerhood onwards.  We love building dams in the water play area and the planetarium.

Discover -Children’s Story Centre, London 
Discover is the UK’s first Children’s Story Centre, a dedicated space for children and their families to enjoy playing, learning and making up stories together. Step inside and you can wander through a world of imagination and encourage your kids to create their own stories.

London Glassblowing, Bermondsey, London
Having previously worked at the London Glassblowing studio I can highly recommend it as a great place to take a family trip and watch the makers at work. The gallery is also packed full of colourful glass from the world’s finest contemporary glass artists.  Oh and don’t forget to pop to the Fashion and Textile Museum which is opposite.

Colourscape
Colourscapes are walk-in structures of colour and light.  Over 35 have been made and now tour the country.  Click the title link for their tour locations.   Walk through a maze of colour, see how it changes the colours you wear and maybe even discover a whole orchestra in the middle.  A real experience for the whole family to enjoy together.  We loved it and so did the grand parents.

Cockpit Arts, London 
Cockpits Arts is also a lovely visit if you and your children are into your crafts. Home to craftspeople and designer makers,  it holds twice-yearly Open Studios which lets you see behind-the-scenes.  See how a milliner makes a hat, how potters throw a bowl and jewellers shape a bespoke ring.

Kidzania, London
An amazing invitation to imagine and play awaits at Kidzania in London. Kidzania is a fully themed, child-size city for kids to roleplay in. They can take on the role of pilot, cabin crew, firefighter, fashion stylist, doctor… There are 60 activities in total meaning there’s so much to explore and get immersed in. Open to ages 4-14 years old.

The Children’s Play Village, Warwick
For a smaller indoor roleplay world, The Children’s Play Village is a themed indoor play area where children and parents can make treasured memories playing pretend together. Themed areas include a tea room, hair salon, post office, theatre and supermarket.

Lego Discovery Centres, Manchester & Birmingham
If your kids are big Lego fans, they’ll love the new discovery centres which make a more creative alternative to Legoland. The ultimate indoor Lego playground, you’ll find 3 rides, 10 LEGO build & play zones, a 4D cinema & much more.

Do you have any places you love to engage their imagination? Do email us and let us know.

National Trust gardens are always a popular choice too as the kids have plenty of space to run around while getting engaged with history and nature.

If you liked this blog you may also like our article: Brilliant Kids Books to Encourage Creative Thinking

Crafting on the Go: How to Get Creative Outside the House

Crafting and creating needn’t be something you keep to days spent at home. We try to encourage our children to be creative wherever we go, particularly if we’ve got some time to fill while travelling or on holiday. Here are 10 ways to get creative outside the house:

Sketching & doodling

Keep it simple with a sketchbook and pens/pencils for observational drawing or just doodling whatever comes to mind. You can get out pen and paper wherever you go: car journeys, museums, park walks, beach trips. Ask your children to look around them and do their best to recreate something they see or encourage them to completely fill the page with abstract shapes and figures.

Rubbings

Get up close to nature with crayon rubbings. Place a piece of paper over an interesting texture (such as tree bark, a rock, a drain cover) and use chalks, crayons or pastel to reveal an imprint.

Collage/scrapbooks

Making a scrapbook is a lovely way to treasure memories and unwind through creative process. All they’ll need is a glue stick, pens/pencils and their imagination. What will they want to stick inside? Flower petals from castle grounds, sugar packets from their favourite cafe, entrance tickets from the theme park? There are no rules.

Water painting

Pack an extra water bottle and some paintbrushes on your next day out and you’ve got the materials for water painting on any interesting canvases you find. It could be a big blank wall or a long pavement, water painting is a fun and easy way to get making outdoors without leaving a permanent mark.

Chalks

Another way to make a mark outside, pack your chalks. Great at the playground or on trees in the forest for washable graffiti.

Paper planes & boats

Any craft that results in a toy you can play with is popular in our house. Paper planes and boats are easy to make and if you haven’t packed any paper with you, they can be made in all sizes out of flyers, brochures, receipts, tickets, and takeaway menus.

Lego

If you’re looking for a mess free creative activity on the go, how about filling one side of a lunchbox with Lego figures so they have a safe carry case for their constructions. Magnetic tiles are another fun option.

Pen & Paper Games

When they’re not in the mood for sketching, there are loads of pen & paper games you can play as a family. Perfect for over a restaurant dinner. See our blog on creative Pen & Paper games here.

Playdough

A pot of playdough with accessories (pom poms, sequins, googly eyes, lolly sticks etc) is a really easy and compact creative activity you can take out too.

Watercolours

A palette of watercolours is an easy, low-mess way to get painting outdoors. Great for taking to a National Trust garden or to the beach. To save paper flying away in the breeze, try painting on paper plates which are thicker and easier to manage without a table or easel.

Stickers

Perfect for preschools, stickers are a fuss-free way to enjoy some downtime while unleashing their creativity. Offer them a mix of shapes and characters they can use to create stories and scenes.

Playground dens

Have you ever taken your own fun extras to a quiet playground? Cushions, blankets, a play tunnel? It adds a whole new dimension to their favourite outdoor play spaces as they can create dens in a new setting.

Which of these creative ideas do you think your child would most enjoy? Tell us over on Instagram, we’d love to find out. Plus, why not share this blog with other creativity loving parents and help unleash their child’s creativity this summer.

10 Exciting Invitations to Create This Summer

The easiest way to keep them entertained this summer? Help them get lost in the beauty of their own imagination. Here are 10 exciting invitations you can set up to encourage them to imagine, create, problem solve and have fun:

Cardboard targets

Mix crafting with active play by giving your kids the tools to make their own garden targets. All they’ll need is a large piece of cardboard, coloured markers and scissors (you may need to help younger ones). Simply get them to mark and cut out holes that can be used as targets for water pistols and footballs.

Potion making

Potion making always goes down well at Oglee Poglee events. You can use whatever child-safe ingredients you have around the house and garden. Water, cereals, herbs, pasta, oats, paper, leaves, paint, sequins, mud – set up pots and plates with spoons and cups and they’ll be off!

Nature brushes

Help encourage creative thinking by presenting your child with the chance to make their own craft materials from things they can find in the garden or at the park. Twigs, leaves, flowers, pine cones, seeds – show your children how to use string to wrap them together and make natural paint brushes or simply dip in paint to use as stamps. A great way for them to experiment with different textures and techniques.

Iced paints

For a cool crafting activity in the heat, try frozen watercolour paint ice cubes. Really easy to set up and an interesting sensory experience for little painters.

Cardboard garden dens

What about more cardboard fun in the summer sun? Take a load of old cardboard boxes out in the garden along with pens, paints and MAKEDO construction screws and let them build whatever they like.

Miles of tape

Kids love tape! Washi tape, masking tape, sellotape, duct tape – it doesn’t really matter what you’ve got lying about the house, they’ll find something to do with it. We suggest letting them have a roll or two outside and inviting them to get creative in the sunshine. They could cover sticks to decorate with coloured patterns and create wands, or wear a strip of double sided tape down their clothing and collect natural embellishments from around the garden!

Messy Play

Invite them to make a mess this summer – they’ll be delighted to be given your permission! At Oglee Poglee, we know how important messy play is to creative development and a couple of our favourite messy activities include chocolate mud baths for animal figures and cloud making with foam.

Sandcastles

Bring the beach home with a set-up for sandcastle building. You’ll need a sandpit or large tray, sand, buckets and spades (or pots and spoons), and any other potential finishing touches you have available – flags, shells, pom poms, building blocks, coloured paper. Don’t think too much about what these resources could be, just set them up and let your child decide.

Builders yard

If you’re feeling brave, kids love the chance to get creating with real ‘grown-up’ tools. Offcuts of wood, a saw, hammer and nails… They’ll love the chance to make their own structures and sculptures (under your supervision of course).

Natures glitter

Encourage your children to look at nature differently with buckets of nature glitter – aka dry soil and sand. Set-up a crafting opportunity with paper, paints or paint sticks, or glue – and show them how to add a sprinkling of soil or sand to create a fun textured effect. A lovely simple idea to get them crafting in the garden.

If you liked this blog post you might also like ‘10 Easy Creative Games with a Pen & Paper’.

Don’t forget our pre-filled craft party bags make a fun invitation to create too, perfect for out in the garden on a picnic blanket.

What to Put Inside their First Art Box

Children are born creators, and they love being given a sense of responsibility – so what could be more exciting than being given their very own art box full of tools and materials to craft whenever they like!

Here’s what to include in their first art box:

Quality crayons

Even the youngest creative can have a go with crayons! They’re safe, uncomplicated and can be used for drawing, colouring, and interesting rubbings. We recommend going for a high pigment brand (like Crayola or Lyra) so you get a nice clear mark without too much pressure.
Chunky crayons are also a good choice as they reduce the risk of being snapped by over enthusiastic artists.

Colouring pencils

Pencils are the go-to for older children but there’s no reason a toddler can’t start out with pencils, under supervision. Pencil use helps them practise their pincer grip from an early age. Great for illustrating, sketching and colouring larger shapes in.  A pack of graphite sketch pencils is always nice too. Ideal for observational sketching and to practice letter-like mark making.

Sharpener & rubber

Don’t forget a simple sharpener and rubber to keep their pencils sharp. Pre-schoolers will love being trusted with the job of sharpening their pencils, and it’s a great activity for fine motor development.

Felt-tip pencils

Perhaps another obvious choice, but not to be overlooked. Felt-tip pens are great for drawing on cardboard and other craft materials where crayons and pencils just won’t show up. Perfect for adding detail and personality to creatures and characters they’ll inevitably make.

Watercolour paint

Every art box needs some paint! Watercolours are brilliant for providing paint possibilities without the instant mess of poster paint or finger paints (as they’ll need water to ‘work’).  For a fun technique to captivate little minds, try drawing secret shapes and messages with a white crayon on white paper. Then let them try a magic reveal by using their watercolours over the top.

Paintbrushes

Don’t forget the paintbrushes! It’s always best to invest in a quality set to avoid the frustration of brush hairs left on their artwork.

Self-inking stampers

Stampers are available in sorts of shapes and symbols, giving children the instant satisfaction of creating an image with one movement. Self-inking stampers save on mess as they come with a lid and don’t require a separate ink pad.

Papers and card

Give your child a mixture of papers and card that can be used as the basis for endless masterpieces. Plain white paper is a must, but you could also include: coloured paper, coloured sugar paper, coloured tissue paper, metallic paper/foil, wrapping paper, card, and envelopes.

A sketchbook

What child doesn’t love being given their own notebooks and pads just like yours? For younger children you may want to go for a cheap and cheerful option they can scribble their way through. While older children may appreciate an artist’s sketchbook with watercolour paper.

Stickers

Stickers provide hours of entertainment on their own! But left in their art box they’ll soon become robot buttons, monster eyes and important finishing touches for their latest work of genius.

Ruler and stencils

Plastic stencils can help guide your child’s illustrations and aid in the creation of shapes and structures they can’t quite manage free-hand. A ruler is a basic art box essential too.

Pompoms & Googly Eyes

For those who can be trusted with small parts, pomp oms & googly eyes are a fun addition they’ll love! Great for popping on both 3D sculptures or adding to pictures.

Scissors

If the idea of handing your child their own pair of scissors makes you nervous, you’re not alone. But there are plenty of safe kids scissors on the market, designed for as young as 3 years old and designed to only cut paper – meaning other belongings are safe too.
The more access to scissors your child has, the faster their scissor skills will develop and the more confident you will both feel.

Glue

No kids’ art box would be complete without something for all that sticking! PVA is great for bulkier collages and 3D crafts while a glue stick will do just fine for scrapbooking and adding lightweight details to paper. For best results, choose a reputable adhesive brand (like Pritt) as supermarket sticks often lack holding power.

Does your child have their own art box? We’d love to see them with it in action. Tag us in your Instagram pictures using #ogleepoglee

Why not pop a pre-filled craft party bag in as a surprise treat too!

 

We Won! Best Children’s Business in Hertfordshire

We are thrilled to announce that Oglee Poglee won “Best Children’s Business” in the 2018 Muddy Stilettos Awards.  Thank you so much to everyone that votes for us, it really does mean a lot.

What a weekend to win on!  There was a royal wedding and a 70th Birthday celebration for my mum so I was surrounded by friends, family and Champagne most of the weekend which made in extra special.

In true winners style I would like to thank a few people who without their support Oglee Poglee would just not work.  Mainly my husband and children who put up with cardboard everywhere, sequins stuck to their socks and long nights in front of the TV helping me to cut out paper shapes or box up orders.

I also have a fantastic team.  Clare, Helen and Rebecca make all the party bags whilst Jo and Bizi entertain children at our parties.  They are an amazing bunch who bring so much to the company and put up with my creative ramblings and mad moments. I couldn’t do it without you all.

Another big mention is to Rachel for her amazing Pr, everyone at the Design House for their graphic work and our new website, the team at Neal Brothers Packaging who like cardboard as much as me and last but not least Maxine and Saskia who have brought my marketing and web copy into the 20th Century at last.

Thank you for making 2018 an amazing year for Oglee Poglee

Brilliant Kids Books to Encourage Creative Thinking

When it comes to unleashing our kids’ creativity, sometimes we need a little inspiration. These brilliant books are packed full of ideas to stimulate young minds and encourage creative thinking:

Red Ted Art: Cute and Easy Crafts for Kids

Looking for a fun way to spend time with your children that doesn’t require hours of preparation? This craft book is packed with easy to set-up creations that you can make from bits and bobs from around your house – time to raid the recycling box! Ideas include everything from friendly pencil topper characters to loo-roll animals charming stick men and their own ride-on hobby horse! Find this book on Amazon now.

Tinkerlab: A Hands-on Guide for Little Inventors

Another fab crafty resource, this hands-on book of ideas from Tinkerlab features 55 creative suggestions for kids that love to invent. Designed to encourage their natural curiosity and help them explore and problem solve through sensory play and experimentation. Suitable for ages 2 years plus. Find this book on Amazon now.

Show Me a Story by Emily K. Neuburger

It’s easy to forget that not all creative activities require getting messy… Storytelling is a wonderful way to foster imagination and strengthen creative thinking, and this book from Emily K. Neuburger has been designed to kickstart your child’s imagination and fuel their narratives with 40 craft projects to help ‘show a story’. Little children can make use of the visual prompt ideas wild older kids will enjoy the grab bag and journaling ideas too. Find this book on Amazon now.

Artful Parent: Simple Ways to Fill Your Family’s Life with Art and Creativity

Another traditionally arty book for those parents who want to get stuck in and create with their youngsters. The Artful Parents provides suggestions on how to best use materials and resources to deepen creativity, explore new materials and boost self-confidence. It’s also great for opening discussions about art with your kids and learning how to make the most of artwork after its been made. Find this book on Amazon now.

The Nowhere Box

A delightful book with super illustrations, The Nowhere Box is a brilliant one for stimulating their imagination as they follow protagonist George as he escapes from his pesky brothers and ends up in ‘Nowhere’. It turns out Nowhere is an amazing place to be! As well as being great for encouraging creative thinking, it’s a nice book to help children deal with sibling tensions. Find this book on Amazon now.

Herve Tullet Books

I couldn’t pick one favourite from the creative gems of Illustrator Herve Tullet. His books include: Press Here, Art Workshops for Kids, The Game of Finger Worms, The Scribble Book and Say Zoop – to name just a handful. Tullet’s books are full of creative magic asking young readers to go on interesting journeys by following his directions on each page. Browse Herve Tullet on Amazon now.

Sticker & colouring books

Alongside all these creative reads, don’t underestimate the power of a simple sticker or colouring book. Sometimes all our children need to get their creative juices flowing is a simple prompt – a page to colour or a page of stickers to unpeel. I’ve always made sticker and colouring books a staple in our craft cupboard, great for when they’re old enough to pick out a quick activity for themselves. Usbourne do some brilliant sticker books for all ages and interests.

Scratch art books

Another fun hands-on option are scratch art books. Really easy to complete but with beautiful results. These clever books use specially-coated rainbow foil pages which when scratched leave a colourful image. Most scratch art books come with a theme and instructions on how to draw simple pictures by scratching. Find scratch art books on Amazon now.

What’s your favourite book when it comes to helping your kids be creative thinkers?

10 Easy, Creative Games With A Pen & Paper

You don’t need a cupboard full of craft supplies to get your kids creatively thinking and having fun! These 10 simple games require just pen and paper, great for on the go or while waiting at a restaurant:

Art directors

Let’s start with one which is great for children to play with family or friends. Each person takes a piece of paper and has it in such a way that their drawing is hidden from the other players. Taking it in turns, one person gives an instruction (for example, “draw a circle”) and everyone else then follows their instruction and draws on their piece of paper. As each player gives an instruction, art works start to form!

After several turns (however many you like!) reveal your drawings to each other. Each will look completely different, as everyone will have interpreted the instructions differently.

This game can be played by choosing objects rather than shapes and lines too. For example, “draw a book”, “draw a hat” – to create complete scenes.

Scribble art

Get ready to create art with minimal fuss. All you need to do is draw a random squiggle all over the page (with the line creating intersections) then colour in the shapes it makes. Your children can colour it randomly however the moment takes them, or they could try to make an image within the scribble, perhaps a character or animal shape?

Paper puppets

How about bringing a story to life with paper puppets? Simply fold up a piece of paper and add eyes, hair, facial features, clothing – whatever you want to give them character. If you’ve got scissors on hand you can bring even more detail to your creations.

Monster making

This draw-and-fold game is a hilarious family favourite. Take a piece of paper, the first person draws a head, folds the head away and then passes on the paper. The next person draws the body, and folds. The next person draws the legs, and folds… etc. After drawing the feet, it’s time to unfold and reveal your monster creation.

Find the dot

This one works well in an already used notebook or pad – we played it when our drawing book was full on our last holiday. To play, simply draw a tiny dot somewhere in the book and challenge another player to find it. It doesn’t have to be a dot, it could be a tiny star, ladybird… whatever!

Treasure trail

Rip up your piece of paper into smaller pieces and write clues on each which lead to something around your house – a favourite teddy, a truck, a yummy treat etc. Lay another piece of paper and clue at each treasure item so it takes them on a complete trail collecting things along the way.

The classics

Let’s not forget the classics too – noughts and crosses, hangman, squares – they’re all games every child should learn and enjoy.

I-Spy Illustrations
A bit like the fun grown-up game ‘Pictionary’, I-spy can be played through illustrations too. Look around and pick something in mind before drawing it on paper. Other players must guess what it is as you draw.

Drawing in the dark
For another fun pen and paper game, try drawing in the dark! Each player closes their eyes, one person decides on an object and everyone must try to draw it without looking. Then compare your masterpieces… or muddles, whichever the case maybe.

Do-odle it again
Pick a category of item (eg, leaves, cats, houses, arrows, flowers) and see how many different variations you can doodle. Simple yet surprisingly captivating.

Do you have any other favourite pen & paper games your kids love?

Children’s Parties – Finding the right venue

Your child has big birthday plans; they’ve picked the party theme and you have discovered a brilliant party entertainer, it’s just the venue to sort out!

A party at home is a great idea for small gatherings but what if you have invited a whole class of energetic children? Finding a suitable venue to host a children’s party can be a bit over whelming. As a party entertainer I have partied in lots of different venues from large conference centres to small village halls. All have their pros and cons so here are Oglee Poglee’s top tips for choosing the right venue for your children’s party.

Focus on your top priorities

The venue you chose needs to work for the type of party you are planning. Does the venue need a stage, is a carpeted floor a benefit or a hindrance? Do you want outdoor space for a summer party or a venue with loads of space for a soft play set up.

Plan early

The best venues will get booked up quickly so plan ahead and get your date secured as soon as you can otherwise the choice of venues will be limited.

Good parking

Even if you party guests are local and can walk to your party make sure there is a parking space at the venue for your party entertainer and yourself. You will have a car load of stuff (food, decorations, kids and presents) and there is nothing more stressful then not being able to park when time is precious.

Kitchen facilities

Whether you are planning hot or cold food, a clean well equip kitchen is a saviour. Even the most organised of us can forget the cake knife or the matches so if there are some at the venue it’s a great help.

Tables and chairs

Does the venue have tables and chairs that you can use? Most church halls do and if the venue is also used by a preschool or toddler group there might be children’s sized tables and chairs available.

Cleanliness

Some venues are spotless whereas others have seen better days and could do with a good scrub. If you have really small children that will be playing on the floor a nice clean venue will put your mind at ease.

Costs

The cost of hiring a venue can vary depending on the size of the venue and its facilities. Do check what the hire fee includes when you book to make sure there are no hidden extras. Some hired halls are now asking the hirer to have public liability insurance. Do ask whether it is a requirement when you book.

Space

Choose a venue that can cater for the amount of guests coming to your party. Remember that you need to give the party entertainer some space and also seat your guests around tables to eat. Venues that have two or more rooms can work really well with the party entertainment in one room and then food in the other. Younger children love to run around a bit more so go for the biggest space you can find.

Decorations

If you have big decorating plans do check with the venue to see if you decorate the room for your party. Some halls don’t like you to put anything on the walls. If that’s the case you can focus your decorations onto the party table or go for free standing decorations like balloon sculptures for the wow factor.

How to find a party venue near you:

  • Local Councils normally have a list of local venues to hire including Council owned and non Council owned, so check out their website.
  • A local Facebook group can be a good place to ask other parents for their recommendations
  • Church and village halls offer good local facilities and are a great starting point.
  • Look to see where other local groups hang out. Scout huts, meeting houses and preschools will all use child friendly venues that could be perfect for your party.
  • Alternative venues: If you are looking for something a little bit different why not try a local restaurant or cafe, garden centre, sports club or school. These venues might even be able to offer some catering or a space that will match your party theme.
  • Ask your party entertainer for advice: At Oglee Poglee we are happy to help you to find the perfect party venue, it’s all part of the service. We have explored most of the venues in the local area and so can offer first hand advice and guidance