Children's birthday parties in Kent
Every parent wants their child to have a magical birthday.
But the amount of pennies in the pot, the age of the child and the numbers of children involved together with the time of year and not least what's on the birthday boy or girl's own wishlist can make planning an unforgettable party somewhat of a minefield.
We take a look at some of the options in Kent for big budgets, small budgets and almost no budgets at all...
If you're keen on minimal workload and an opportunity to set the numbers and therefore the budget yourself - a party at the cinema could be the answer.
You can check the listings to suit the age of your partygoers, issue your own invites for anything from one friend to half the class and organise the purchase of your own popcorn, drinks and snacks.
Alternatively a number of Kent cinemas offer dedicated children's birthday packages which can include a free adult ticket for every 10 children attending, balloons and sweets for all cinema goers and even the opportunity to have a private cinema screening for the birthday child and their guests!
Odeon cinemas in Kent is just one of those offering to organise birthday parties. For its packages click here.
Rather like an outing to the cinema, a birthday visit to the bowling alley can go down one of two routes:
Grab a small handful of friends and book your own bowling lane, enabling you to decide how much you want to spend and how long you wish to spend there, and organise your own outing.
Alternatively take out a dedicated bowling party package, which will include your bowling sessions, food for each child, lanes decked out with balloons and a dedicated party host to take care of everything.
Both Hollywood Bowl and AMF Bowling which have branches in Ashford, Gravesend, Rochester, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells offer children's birthday party packages.
For the latest prices see the website.
Turn up, greet your friends, and see the kids let off steam!
Soft play centre parties are extremely popular with children (and parents!) and it's not hard to see why.
The vast majority of soft play centres offer party packages for varying numbers of children which tend to include unlimited squash for thirsty guests, food, a decorated area in which to sit and eat and often a party host to take care of the event. The most you might need to remember is the cake and candles!
A number of venues are also now offering a variation on the basic soft play party with the introduction of events such as laser storm or laser blaster parties in which laser gun games can be played during exclusive hire of the venue.
For a guide to Kent's soft play centres click here.
Most Kent leisure centres are well equipped and ready with various birthday party packages to suit children from pre-schoolers to teenagers.
From swimming and aqua challenge water assault courses to soft play, trampolining and football in its sports halls there are likely to be plenty of options to fit your child's age, interests or hobbies.
It is worth inquiring with your local leisure centre for its latest party packages when you have a birthday on the horizon.
They've become a big hit with children of all ages in the last 18 months with parks now appearing across the county and even inside Bluewater Shopping Centre!
Flip Out in Ashford and Chatham, SOAR in Gillingham and Gravity in Maidstone and Bluewater all offer birthday party packages which can include a jump session, food and refreshments as well as a number of other additional options.
Check the website of your nearest park for further details.
Kent tourist attractions
We're going to the zoo, zoo, zoo and you can come too, too, too!
As well as offering to take a friend or two on a birthday outing which you organise yourself, many Kent tourist attractions are now offering dedicated children's birthday party packages.
These can include an activity, an animal meet and greet, admission to the attraction and food and/or refreshments.
Hire a hall and plan your own
It's probably the greatest workload when it comes to children's parties but affords you the greatest number of options in terms of choice of party, the number of children you invite and the budget your family has to play with.
Hall hire is often very reasonable from charities or parish councils enabling you to introduce your own party games or craft activities, perhaps hire a bouncy castle, a facepainter or any form of children's entertainer or character appearances from princessses to Peppa Pig.
Without needing to often pay per head - it can also enable you to open up the invitation to a wider group if your child has their heart set on inviting the vast majority if not all of their class.
Refreshments and food, decorations and party bags will all need to be accounted for so it is worth remembering this when working out your budget for the entire party.
It is worth also roping-in a few willing parents or family members to help set up, run and clear up afterwards to make your workload more manageable!
Something at home
Whatever your children's ages, if you don't wish to invite half the school then a small birthday party or celebration at home is always an alternative option to a big party.
For anything from a birthday tea, watching a film with sweets and popcorn, making pizzas or cupcake decorating to playing on the games consoles and enjoying a takeaway - there are various options open to you if you only need to keep a small group entertained.
It can also enable you to tailor the event to your child's age, the age of the children they are inviting and what their interests are likely to be.
The only requirement is perhaps to be organised and specific about the duration to avoid having a group of bored children on your hands!
If your budget is extremely small or your child is just better suited to a small celebration within their own home, providing you can keep control of numbers, it can be a cheap and flexible option.
For slightly more unusual children's birthday party themes and providers in Kent click here.
For the My Kent Family guide to throwing the perfect children's bash, including who to invite, when to do it and what food you could best serve, click here.