Party Guide

Updated for 2024

Your child’s birthday - it’s the one day out of the 365 that is extra special to you and your child, so naturally, you want to make it a memorable day!

To help you decide what to do for your child’s party, what party treats to buy or what entertainer, venue or local party supplier to use for your children's party in Norfolk we’ve added some top tips for you here...

 

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So, what are the latest Children's Party Trends?

 

Science and Slime Parties
Science and Slime parties engage young minds with a combination of thrilling demonstrations, wacky experiments and plenty of hands-on activities. Many science party companies run age-related, interactive games so children can concoct exciting things such as gooey DIY slime, amazing bubbles and colour-changing potions. Enormous fun and educational too.  Find slime-making recipes here

LEGO / Plastic Block Construction Block Parties
The ever-popular construction toy provides a perfect birthday party theme for curious and creative children of all ages. If your child has a reasonably sized stash themselves then you may not even need to buy any more blocks. Should you want to purchase more supplies, however, stores such as Wilko have their own LEGO-compatible blocks that can be used. Games and activities can include block vehicle building and racing, scavenger hunts and tower building amongst many other ideas. Check out our LEGO ideas Pinterest board.
 

Swimming Pool Parties
A number of swimming pools across the region, particularly smaller and private ones will offer the opportunity for small groups to hire the facilities and equipment for the exclusive use of partygoers. These will often come with allocated sanitised changing facilities and depending on the venue, you may be able to hire a room afterwards to continue your child’s celebrations.
 

Circus & Funfair Parties
Roll up! Roll up! Party hire and prop hire companies often have sets of circus or funfair equipment that can be borrowed for an unforgettable party experience. Sets usually include juggling balls, rings, diablos, spinning plates on the circus side as well as traditional games such as ‘ hook the duck’, tin can alley and target shooting range for a fun fair experience. You can also add your own touches with face painting, a children’s entertainer or whatever you see fit. Find more ideas on Pinterest here.
 

Cinema Parties
Many independent and larger chain cinemas can help you to arrange a private screening of a child’s favourite film is available on request by hiring one of their screens. Failing that, you can always take a small group to a traditionally scheduled screening.
 

Outdoor Parties
Whilst it may be true that you cannot rely on Devon to make things easy to organise a child’s birthday party outside, there are still plenty of options available to you but you may want to keep an indoor backup option available. Forest schools often offer party packages with a vast array of nature-based activities facilitated by their staff which may include bushcraft, den building, campfire cooking and more
Alternatively, if you want to do everything from scratch, you could do activities at a local park, beach or your favourite woodland abiding by any rules and restrictions in place.
 

Computer Gaming Parties
Video game, console and coding parties bring birthday celebrations well into the 21st century and have become hugely popular party options among boys and girls. The games can be put into an inclusive multiplayer mode enabling youngsters to challenge each other in a fun way. The choice of games is vast – choose from singing and dancing games, or football and Minecraft games, for example.
 

Festival Parties
If your youngster is a music and camping fan, why not curate their own festival for them? Best organised in your own garden or private land, you can have lots of fun making it bespoke to your own needs or interests. There are lots of scopes to be as creative as you like, even making invitations to look like tickets and homemade VIP passes to be given to guests on arrival
For music, why not involve your child in creating their own special party playlist with tunes that they love to dance to and play party games to or use any children’s musical instruments that they may have to make their own band
To create a comfortable outdoor space, use cushions, rugs, throws and any teepees, gazebos or tents that you have lying around or can borrow from friends or hire. Children can create their own bunting or other crafts either before or after the party and enjoy hair braiding, using biodegradable glitter to customise how they look. Find more ideas at the Netmums website
 

Sports Parties
There are lots of local companies that provide sports-themed parties at a venue of your choice to meet most interests as well as the most popular options such as football and multi-sport. These sessions will be geared to your child’s age and contain energetic and fun games and activities themed around the sports of your choosing.
 

Arts and Craft Parties
Across the region, you will find lots of suppliers and locations that will host craft sessions such as pottery painting as well as art sessions which produce a long-lasting memento of a special birthday party.
Alternatively, you can buy your own supplies from most high street stores such as The Works, WilkoHobbycraft, supermarkets, online or via your local Scrapstore. at www.reusefuluk.org/scrapstores-directory

 

Party Checklists

Make sure you don't forget anything important by using this party checklist.  Click on the links below for more...

For party providers in Norfolk, click here

 

 

Here are some details about  Norfolk party providers and entertainers close to you:

Contents
Jump for Joy
Pensthorpe
Bewilderwood
Dotty Pottery
Bure Valley
Wroxham Barns
Everyone Active
The Bug Parc
Sticky Earth Cafe

Marina Leisure Centre

 

Jump For Joy
Tel: 01603 721872
Mahoney Green, Green Lane West, Rackheath, Norwich, NR13 6JY

www.jumpforjoyplaycentre.co.uk

Parties consist of 60 minutes of play, and 45 minutes for food. Enjoy fresh sandwiches, sausages, cheese, crisps and healthy snacks provided, followed by lollies and biscuits.  Party bags included and gifts for the birthday child. Just bring birthday cake and candles! Jump For Joy is not open to the public whilst parties are in progress.  For adults, a drink and snack bar is available.  Open for Pay and Play Wednesday to Friday 10.00 am until 12.00 pm and 1.00 pm until 3.00 pm.

 

Pensthorpe Natural Park
Tel:  01328 851465
Pensthorpe Road, Fakenham, NR21 0LN.

www.pensthorpe.com/things-to-do/family-fun/birthday-parties/

Make their next birthday a memorable experience with a party at Pensthorpe. Whichever package you pick, your child and their friends can enjoy awesome indoor fun at Hootz House and the option to explore the twists and turns in WildRootz adventure playground. There’s the add-on for food, drinks, cake, party bags and more – making their day extra special. Daytime parties get entry to the park included, so everyone can take on the trails, see the birds and keep their eyes peeled for camouflaged creatures. For full package and private hire options contact Pensthorpe direct

 

Bewilderwood
01603 633033
or yoohoonorfolk@bewilderwood.co.uk for group rates or bookings

www.bewilderwood.co.uk

At the time of writing (February 2022),  Bewilderwood are not currently able to facilitate birthday party bookies but you are welcome to spend the day at the site and if you let them know the name and age of the attendee whose birthday it is, plus the date of the visit and they will place their name on the Birthday Board. They also offer hire of the Boggle Banquet Halls as a space to host your own birthday banquet at £50 each for the day during Norfolk term time (off-peak) or £100 each in Norfolk school holidays (peak) - subject to availability.

 

Dotty Pottery – Norwich and Wroxham Barns

Norwich Tel: 01603 536526

Wroxham Barns Tel: 07442 721126

Web: www.dottypottery.co.uk

Dotty Pottery are excited to announce their second studio, situated at Wroxham Barns! This is a fantastic location for a family day out.

They are offering ceramic painting as well as parties and group bookings. They have a dedicated party room for up to 12 children and the option of Paint and Play parties where you can add on activities available from Wroxham Barns.

The onsite café offers food and refreshments which you can enjoy whilst painting in our studio.

Free onsite parking is also available.

 

Bure Valley Railway
01263 733858

www.bvrw.co.uk/special-occasions

Looking for something different for your next special occasion? Bure Valley Railway offers a celebration package with a fun trip on the railway and a selection of hot or cold food at the Whistlestop Cafe. Take your own decorations and cake to complete your celebration. Visit the website for more information or to book

 

Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure
01603 876310
Lenwade, Norwich, NR9 5JE.

www.roarrdinosauradventure.co.uk

Did you know that you can host an exclusive adventure by hiring some of the attractions at Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure after the park closes.  Enjoy exclusive access for you and your friends for an hour in Norfolk's largest indoor play area Dinomite and then you can choose to add another hour splashing out in Dippy's Splash Zone, scaling the dizzy heights of the Predator High Ropes or meeting Dippy and his friends in person.

 

Wroxham Barns
Tunstead Road, Hoveton, Norwich, NR12 8QU.
01603 783762

www.wroxhambarns.co.uk

Two party packages are currently available at Wroxham Barns - 'Term Time' on weekdays (off peak) or 'Weekend and School Holidays' (peak). They include access to access to the junior farm, a dedicated party room for 2 hours, a lunch box and complimentary return pass for each child. The Weekend and School Holiday package also includes access to the ‘Junior Farm Fun Park’.

 

Jump For Joy
01603 721872
Mahoney Green, Green Lane West, Rackheath, Norwich, NR13 6JY

www.jumpforjoyplaycentre.co.uk

Parties consist of 60 minutes of play, and 45 minutes for food. Enjoy fresh sandwiches, sausages, cheese, crisps and healthy snacks provided, followed by lollies and biscuits. Party bags included and gift for the birthday child. Just bring birthday cake and candles! Jump For Joy is not open to the public whilst parties are in progress. For adults, a drink and snack bar is available. Open for Pay and Play Wednesday to Friday 10.00 am until 12.00 pm and 1.00 pm until 3.00 pm.

 

Everyone Active
The Reef Leisure Centre - 01263 825675/Victory Swim and Fitness Centre - 01692 409370

www.everyoneactive.com

A pool inflatable birthday party will give kids memories that will last for years to come.

A pool inflatable birthday party will give kids memories that will last for years to come.

During one 60-minute session, inflatables will be available to your child and their friends, meaning they can burn energy and have fun.

Inflatable parties are open to juniors only, with the recommended age window being eight to 15 years old. All under-8s must be accompanied by an adult in the water and one adult can accompany up to two children.

The Reef Leisure Centre in Sheringham and Victory Swim and Fitness Centre in North Walsham are run by Everyone Active in partnership with North Norfolk District Council, and Everyone Active colleagues will ensure parents from the local community have an enjoyable, stress-free experience on the day.

For further information, visit reception in either centre or phone 01263 825675 (The Reef) or 01692 409370 (Victory).

 

The Bug Parc
01603 855165
Nowhere Lane, Lenwade, Norwich, NR9 5PD

www.bugzuk.com

BugzUk offers two-party options. Option 1 is for them to visit you at your party destination with a selection of different minibeasts including the opportunity to handle some of them.  The second option enables birthday visitors to visit BugzUk at their Parc in Lenwade as well as spend an hour handling minibeasts and look at over 200 different creatures in 15 visitor rooms before having a buffet party lunch in their butterfly-themed Chrysalis cafe or outside depending on the weather.

 

Sticky Earth Cafe
01263 519642

15 Church Street, Cromer, NR27 9ES.
www.stickyearthcafe.co.uk

Enjoy an art activity/pottery painting session including a special "Party Pack" selection of pottery available with a reduced studio fee for groups of 6 or more children. They can also provide party food and drink and even arrange a bespoke birthday cake if required.

Marina Leisure Centre
01493 289119

Marine Parade, Great Yarmouth, NR30 2ER
www.freedom-leisure.co.uk/centres/marina-centre or marina.reception@freedom-leisure.co.uk

Did you know the Marina Leisure Centre in Great Yarmouth offer parties?

Clip N Climb: Their wall is made up of a number of unique challenges let your party test their limits and dares.

Aqua Play: 1 hour and 15mintues in the leisure pool, where your party can splash and ride the flumes.

InflataZone you can let your party thrash about on their awesome InflataZone challenges and obstacles to excite and entertain!

Party Room you can use for an hour after your activity to add on one of their food packages.

 

Party Checklist

Party Checklist: For Parties at Home

• Decide on the timings and date of the party
• Decide how many children you can comfortably accommodate
• Send out the invitations
• Sort out the entertainment if it’s required.
• Plan in the fun factor or create a theme
• Sort out a music-playing device
• Select party games for the children to play
• Source decorations, party tableware, balloons and party hats
• Purchase the food and drink
• Get the birthday cake

 

Party Checklist: For Parties at a venue

• Sort out party numbers
• Create a small list of your child’s favourite party venues in preferential order
• Check the availability of the venues and if there are any special deals
• Book a date and time with the venue. Pay the deposit
• Get the name and telephone number of the main party organiser at the venue
• Get the party invitations from the venue and send them out
• Sort out the food with the venue and establish whether a birthday cake is supplied
• Confirm numbers with the venue prior to the day

                  

Party Game Ideas

Traditional party games always go down a treat. Here’s a list of some of the most classic children’s games:
• Pass the Parcel  • Musical Statues  • Musical Bumps • Musical Chairs 
• Chinese Whispers
  • Blind Man’s Donkey  • Animal Charades  • Treasure Hunt

And here are a few new party game ideas:
The Tray Game • Dead Ants • Doughnuts on a String • Marsh-mallow Bobbing
• Piñata Games
Remember to stock up on prizes to award to the winning children.

 

Party Food Ideas 

• The birthday cake!
• A choice of sandwiches with simple fillings
• Chopped-up vegetables with dips
• Breadsticks
• Cheese straws
• Potato wedges
• Pizza slices
• Mini sausages and sausage rolls
• Cheese and pineapple on sticks (or uncooked sticks of spaghetti)
• Crisps and popcorn
• Chopped fruit
• Mini-sponge cakes
• Jelly Boats are made from scooped-out and quartered oranges.
• Ice-cream
• Drinks: Either orange and blackcurrant squash, fruit water, fruit juice, milkshakes or plain water

 

Birthday Cake 

Quick and Easy Chocolate Hedgehog Cake

(1) Buy or bake a round sponge cake.
(2) Divide the cake into three parts, the middle should be slightly bigger than the two sides, which should be the same size as each other.
(3) Cut a V-shape at the end of the middle piece of cake (this is the hedgehog’s nose). Discard the two smaller pieces. Or eat them.
(4) Cover the middle piece of cake with thick chocolate icing.
(5) Place the two remaining pieces of cake on top of the iced piece, round side up, for the Hedgehog’s hump.
(6) Liberally cover the entire sponge with thick chocolate icing.
(7) Use chocolate buttons or flakes for the Hedgehog’s spines.
(8) The Hedgehog’s eyes and nose can be made using Smarties or similar.

Don’t forget the candles for the cake. They are often overlooked with all the other preparations.

 

Party Bag Ideas

• Books or small colouring-in books  • Glowsticks
• Glitter Tattoos  • Small packs of pencils
• Bubbles  • Balloons  • Stickers  • Small bag of sweets
• Finger puppets • A paper glider  • Decorate your own paper party bag
• Cake Pops  • A piece of birthday cake or a cupcake

 

Party Politics - Invitation RSVP Etiquette

For the party hosts

• Hand out the invites in plenty of time, ideally about 3 weeks before the party date.
• Include detailed information on the invitation such as the date, the start and finish times, the venue’s full address and postcode, and the name, email address and number for them to RSVP.
• Include an RSVP date to help you confirm final numbers prior to the day. You may wish to use words to the effect of: ‘As the venue requires final numbers prior to the party we would appreciate confirmation of your child’s attendance by (add RSVP date). If we do not hear from you by this date we will assume that your child is unable to attend.

As a second measure, about a week beforehand, you may wish to politely chase up parents who have not as yet RSVP’d.

For the guests

• RSVP as soon as you can, whether your child can make it or not.
• If something happens on the day of the party, and your child can no longer attend, let your hosts know ASAP.
• If you are running late, or need to leave early then let the hosts know in advance.
• If you have not RSVP’d then don’t just turn up uninvited.

 

Don't Forget Items!

• Candles for the cake
• Candleholders
• Matches
• Cake Knife
• You may wish to include party bags for unexpected siblings
• Printable directions, including the postcode of the party venue

 

Five Pound Gift Ideas

Does it seem like your child is attending a different birthday party each week? Needing suggestions for generic party gifts that won’t break the bank? If you are super-savvy you will have already stocked up on a number of general items in the Sales, if not, here are some ideas for a fiver:
• Colouring-in sets and basic craft kits
• Travel and Pocket games
• Top Trumps
• Books, jotters or notepads
• Pamper packages filled with hair bands, bobbles and snazzy hairclips
• Nail art kits
• Superhero action figures
• Vouchers

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