Party Planning Timeline

We have hosted 1000’s of kids birthday parties over the last decade and have developed, over time, what we consider to be the perfect kids party timeline. This is specifically what happens on the day of your party from when your guests arrive to when they leave.

Kids Party Planning Timeline

A 2 hour party in total is a great amount of time to spend with friends and family without feeling too overwhelming and marathon-like. Longer parties and slumber parties are certainly a great idea if you have guests over 8 years of age, but not always necessary. Below you will see limited time where you need to directly supervise and run activities yourself but just enough time to do official party things like welcome your guests and cut the cake. We highly recommend this timeline, but of course completely understand if you choose to invite your guests to stay longer for more friend bonding time.

2pm: Guests start to arrive

As you know, not everyone will arrive on time, give your guests some time to arrive and settle in before any official entertainment starts. If they are young and not so social as yet, a sit down activity they can do independently works well, think colouring, simple arts and crafts, dress ups in party themed clothing (assuming you have some spares your guests can borrow) or it might look more like – welcoming older children into your home and offering them a drink as they chat away and make their own fun. Background music is always a good idea.

2.30pm: Your Dancing Queen character arrives

To set up at 2.25pm starts the “active” part of the party with the dancing and dance related games. Here is where you can be chatting away to other parents, taking photos, enjoying the entertainment as a spectator, prepping food for the finish of the entertainment or just generally relaxing (read: drinking wine).

3.15pm: Party food and faces

The Dancing Queen character sets up a small application station close to where the children will be eating the party food. She takes one child away to the station and applies the face paint or make up while the rest of the children are enjoying the party food. We want to eliminate the children from standing in a queue waiting for their turn so we recommend a sit down lunch. We find serving food at this time works incredibly well as children are hungry after the dancing and are ready to eat, this helps eliminate lots of left over party food too.

3.30pm: The Dancing Queen character concludes the faces and exits the party

The kids are at the point where the ice has been broken long ago and they are more than comfortable interacting and playing or chatting away independently. Throw some of your own party music on now that your Dancing Queen Character has taken hers away to keep the party atmosphere going.

3.45pm: Birthday Cake and Happy Birthday song to the birthday child!

Ask every guest at the party to stop what they’re doing and gather around the cake; this is the highlight of the party – I mean CAKE! The cutting of the cake is the conclusion of the party and signifies to your guests that the party is wrapping up and it is nearly time to leave.

4pm: Party concludes and children are collected

If you are having trouble coaxing your guests out the door, we suggest you start packing up/cleaning the party area; they will surely get the idea!


Above, we outlined our Option 1 dance party timeline. If you’re having an Opt 2 or 3 party and 1.5 hrs of entertainment, there is even less time that you need to be engaging your guests. Imagine 15 minutes to welcome your guests and 15 minutes to cut the cake and wrap up the party, rather than 30 minutes.

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5 Last Minute Party Planning Tips

The last few days before your child’s party can be hectic to say the least. Here are our top 5 last minute party planning tips to help make your party prep that little bit easier.

Kids Party Planning Tips

Create a Checklist

It only takes 5 minutes to write a checklist of everything that is left to do. This will put everything running around in your mind on to paper and will become a whole lot more manageable. We highly recommend having a to do list for the day of the party too, just so you don’t leave your cute jelly cups in the fridge and find them that evening and realise you forgot to serve them to your hungry guests.

Keep the Decorations Simple

Pick one small area as the focal point to really drive your theme or colour scheme home; generally the food table. “Pimp out” this one table only, don’t go crazy and feel like you need to decorate the whole room. Create the party ‘WOW’ factor in this one area to save you time so you can focus your efforts on other party elements.


Make sure you have enough space to fit all of your guests with their arms outstretched and fingers just touching. We recommend an area about 5x5m; this really does vary depending on how many guests you have. Some great spaces around your home – your lounge room with the furniture pushed to the side, your back deck or patio area. We love outdoor parties, but don’t forget to provide shade and a flat piece of grass. Things to consider: the weather, pesky ants and bindies, slippery wooden floors, rugs that are easy to trip over.

House Rules

To help your party to be a success, we suggest setting out some ‘house rules’ with your child. To keep the party contained to one area of the house ask your child to stay out of their bedroom while their friends are over. Don’t forget about pets, do they need to be cared for on the day or given a dedicated area while the party takes place? Get the birthday child excited to meet their DQ character!!

Just before your guests arrive…

Turn on some background music. This ‘kicks off’ the party atmosphere and helps your guests feel instantly comfortable in your space. We will use our own music while we are at the party, so start yours up again when we leave.

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Party Entertainers: How to pick the best one for your party

How to decide on the right party entertainer for your child’s party…

Kids Party Entertainer

Let’s start off with the benefits of having an entertainer at your child’s party:

  • It is so much easier and more convenient for you to have someone at your child’s party taking care of the entertainment.
  • Entertainers take care of all the activities that will keep your guests entertained and engaged for ages while you are free to concentrate on other aspects of your party i.e. food
  • Having an entertainer frees up time for you to actually enjoy the party, interact with your adult guests and take photos and videos of all the fun.
  • Entertainers ensure the birthday child is spoilt and feeling very special and celebrated.


Ok, but how do you pick the right entertainer for your child’s party?

First and foremost, consider referrals and recommendations from your friends and family.

Consider the quality of the company’s presence on social media and online. Are their website, Facebook and Instagram accounts up to date? This shows that the company is constantly serving their current and prospective clients with the most relevant information.


Contact the company and ask these questions…

What is the background and experience of the entertainer who will be attending your party? You want to ensure you can rely on your entertainer to engage and excite your guests. Someone who is confident and experienced at interacting with children and a fabulous dancer (or actor or painter or whatever style of party you have chosen).

Are the photos that feature online what can be expected at the actual party? Ours certainly are, make sure you ask this questions so you know what and whom you can expect to show up on the day of your child’s party and how they will be dressed and groomed.

Does the entertainer have a Working with Children Check and Public Liability Insurance? This is important to keep your child and guest’s safe.

What is something that sets this party company apart from others? Well I can only answer for Dancing Queen Parties; we have a high ability to engage and entertain your guests because we only use high quality and experienced dance entertainers to host our parties. We give away beautiful merchandise prizes that kid’s are excited to receive. We provide you with our best kids party planning tips, straight to your inbox, in the lead up to your party to help you execute an awesome party for your child.


At the end of the day…

We advise you to follow your instincts and go with someone who connects with you and the vision you have for your child’s party.

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7 Most Popular Kid’s Party Foods

We have seen so many delicious and beautiful party foods over the years we have been hosting our dance parties. Which is a testament of all the hardworking mums and dads who try their very best to create THE perfect party for their child.

To save you a bit of time trawling Pinterest and, we have done the research for you and bring you the most popular and truly great kids party foods.

kids party food

Donuts – Donuts galore. Krispy Kreme’s, cinnamon donuts and apple donuts (read our healthy donuts blog here). We LOVE the idea of decorating your own donut; provide your guests with plain donuts, icing, lollies, sprinkles and choc and caramel sauce and set up a ‘donut decorating station’.


Choc Top Marshmallows – Dip your marshmallows into melted chocolate and cover in sprinkles. Very sweet but very lovely and usually presented on a skewer. Featuring at lots of parties for our youngest clients. Try this idea with banana pieces.


Pizza Delivery – That’s right! Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Pizza Capers, you name it, we’ve seen it and we’ve seen it work incredibly well and conveniently for lots of parents. Order delivery for a time that suits you and your entertainer and let Pizza Hut take care of the food while you enjoy the party!


Popcorn – Fresh popped and portioned into kid sized servings – presented in fun cardboard boxes, cute paper bags or plastic bowls. The kids love the smell of popcorn cooking, but this can easily be prepared before guests arrive. Set and forget.


Cupcakes – So cute! So yummy! And the perfect accompaniment to an amazing dessert table set up. You could always do a ‘decorate your own cupcake’ stand similar to the donuts above ^. Kids love the novelty of personalisation and can really show off their creativity.


Fruit Skewers – Bite sized pieces of fruit on skewers. This one works best in summer when all of the best fruits are in season. And that is our top tip; use in season fruits for the sweetest, yummiest skewers. For extra indulgence add marshmallows, a drizzle of melted chocolate or a chocolate dip.


Personalised Drinks – This is the number one drink solution we have seen. Pop top drinks with name labels on them, or labelled disposable cups. Try hand written names with a permanent marker, a printed label taped to the bottle/cup or a sticky name label from your label machine. So many options!! And so very convenient to ensure everyone can keep track of their drink and no one ends up sharing germs.

Customers homemade food

‘Wedding Cake’ – Homemade by mum.



One of my favourite party food memories was at a Charlee Cheerleader party for a gorgeous 7 year old. Mum presented an extravagant, homemade and truly perfect two-tiered blush pink cake and declared that Miss 7 had requested a wedding cake for her birthday.






kids party food and decorations

Made by Gillian at Crumbs of Comfort – Brisbane.

Beautiful Ballerina Cupcakes

Ballerina Cupcakes Made locally in Brisbane.


Homemade Ballerina Party Food items

Food homemade and photographed by mum – Emma Valentine Photography


Can you think of anything else that worked for your child’s party?


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6 Rules for Kid’s Party Invitations

The Who, What, When, Where and Why of Children’s Birthday Party Invitations

Big Kids Party

So much thought goes into creating the guest list for your child’s party. You want to invite everyone that they dream to be there, and of course don’t want to hurt feelings of children who don’t make the cut for the guestlist. If the guestlist is not super straight forward for you or your child, read on for our “Invitation Rules”.

  1. First thing to do is check with your school if your child is under 8 years of age. Some schools or classes have policies in regards to who you can invite to a party and how. You might have to invite everyone in your child’s class, or everyone of one gender, or anyone you like… but invitations cannot be given out at school. Follow these rules, as there is nothing worse than making someone feel left out. Ask your child not to discuss the party at school if there are children who have not been invited – this can be a good learning experience for your child.
  2. How many guests to invite? This amount affects your budget in more ways than one. The bigger the group, the more people you need to entertain, the more people to feed and the more people to accommodate in your space (you might need to hire a community hall if you have a huge group of kids.) But. Lots of guests does make for a FUN and LOUD party atmosphere.
  3. How do I cut down my guest list? Consider having a ‘friends only’ party. Invite your family to something more low key rather than trying to include everyone at the one event. Consider inviting only one gender. And define on your invitation if it is a drop and go party, or if parents and siblings are invited to stay. Siblings are likely to join in if they are there!
  4. When to send? We recommend you send your invitations out about 3 weeks in advance.
  5. Dress code. Add this to your invite if you’d like everyone dressed in a particular way. This is especially important for a themed party. Something along the lines of, “Come dressed in your favourite ballet costume.”
  6. Always have an RSVP date! This will ensure you know whom to expect on the day. It is likely that not everyone will remember to RSVP, so expect to have to chase people up, or be willing to accommodate extras on the day. We suggest having a few extra party bags, prizes and food, just in case.

You can download our character themed invitations for your child’s Dancing Queen Party on our Dance Party Invitations page.

Kids Ballet PartyKids Party Balley Invitations









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5 Incredibly Effective and Simple Party Decoration Trends

kids party decorations

We think party decorations are so important. Here are the top trends:

  1. Choose one table or area to decorate. You don’t have to decorate the whole house or even an entire room. Simply dress up the table that will hold all the food or dress up the table the children will sit at to eat. Pick a colour theme and run with it. We recommend picking one colour and use different shades of that colour or picking two to three complementary colours. Think about the backdrop, table size and height and the colour of the food.
  1. Balloon. But not balloons tied together in groups of 3 like you had at your school formal. We are talking 30+ balloons tied together with fishing wire and hung above your food table (we recommend Command hooks for the job) or laid across the back of your food table. Foil balloons that spell out ‘Happy Birthday’, your child’s name or their age. Visit your local party shop for help or watch the endless YouTube tutorials. Balloons are back in party fashion!
  1. Cute serving ware can dress up your table. White plates, platters and cake stands are very versatile and can go with just about any theme and colour scheme. You will be amazed at the party deco and serving ware range that can be found in Kmart, Target and BigW. We recommend using cake stands and tiered cake stands to create height and interest on your table. Don’t over look cardboard and plastic options; these can be quite lovely and child friendly. A simple neutral tablecloth or a pop of colour works best under your serving ware.
  1. Even though I mention above about keeping the decorations contained to one area of a room. A lovely touch is having something at your front door/front gate. It might be a welcome message asking guests to follow the balloons or tissue paper pom poms to the backyard. It could be a string of paper ballerina’s hung across the front door. It might be a basket full of tiara’s/pom poms/hip hop style gold chains with a note asking guests to pick one before they enter. This really sets the tone and gets children feeling in theme from the get go, before they even set foot in the door.
  1. Balloons on your letterbox will help your guests and entertainer find you! Highly recommended!

Photos featured on this blog are of a rainbow themed colour scheme, with a pop of pink. Every paper item was purchased at Kmart as were the glass milk bottles and straws, spotlight for the table skirt, Typo for the light box and some serving ware from home.

kids party decorationskids party food and decorations


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