Planning a child's birthday party can be stressful, especially if it's your first. But it can also be an exciting, special time with your child who's about to turn seven! Involving the birthday boy or girl in the planning stage is a great way to make it a birthday to remember - at seven, most kids will enjoy having a hand in planning the big event.

If you're not sure where to start, here's a step-by-step plan for you to follow to help make your child's birthday party a success!

Birthday Party Ideas - CupcakesCredit:

Step 1: Choose the Location

The most important decision to make in advance is the location of the party - your options will vary depending on the season, and on how much your budget allows. If you choose a venue away from home, make reservations at least a month in advance. Many locations may require a deposit to hold the space for you.

Outdoor Events: Fun Ideas for a Birthday Party

If the weather is right, hosting your child's birthday party in an outdoor setting can be the perfect option. Popular destinations for outdoor parties include a local lake or swimming pool, a local picnic area, or a theme park. Kids spend the first hour engaged in the planned activity, then break for refreshments or birthday cake and gifts.

If you opt to throw the party at home, you might rent a bouncy house, organize a treasure hunt, or hire a clown. Outdoor parties for kids are ideal if you have plenty of space - seven-year-olds have lots of energy, especially when they're with a group of friends! 

Keeping the Party Indoors: Birthday Activities for Kids

If you'd prefer to be out of the sun or weather, you can also host a fantastic indoor celebration. You'll find lots of ideas for birthday activities at local businesses - movie theaters, bowling alleys and pizzerias often offer a party plan for a fixed price.

Home parties can be less costly, but usually require more time for planning and preparing. When you plan a party at home, you take on the task of decorating as well. Choosing a theme can be a fun - start with your child's favorite toy, character, activity, or even favorite color for inspiration.

After you've decided on a location and theme, you can begin to prepare for the big day. Remember - and this is important - it can be as easy or as elaborate as you make it!

Step 2: Send Birthday Party Invitations

Birthday Party Ideas - OutdoorsCredit: on sending the invitations two weeks before the event. A great idea for invitations is to let your child write them out, if he or she is able. Kids at this age take pride in helping, especially when it means inviting their friends to a special birthday party! Another tip: buy thank-you cards at the same time - you'll be glad you did.

How many kids should you invite? A good rule of thumb is one guest per year of age. So if your child is turning seven, invite seven guests. This is plenty to make a party, but not so many that it's overwhelming for you or your child.

What goes on the invitations? Be sure to include these essentials:

  • Name and age of the birthday boy or girl
  • Party activites: If you are planning a special activity like swimming, gymnastics, painting or a costume party, parents will want to dress their children appropriately. It's also a courtesy to inform parents whether you'll be serving a meal as part of the party.
  • Location: Include address and telephone number
  • Date: Include both the day of the week and the date, and be sure to specify start and end times so parents will know when to pick up their child.
  • RSVP request: Include phone and/or email and date by which they should reply. Be aware that not all parents will respond, and the ones that don't respond may still attend.

Step 3: Plan Food for the Party

Should you serve food? That depends on the time of day, which could very well depend on the venue you've chosen. If you plan the party at lunchtime, you'll probably be expected to serve the children lunch before birthday cake. On the other hand, if you'd rather focus on the activities and not serve a meal, plan the party for mid-afternoon.

Step 4: The Birthday Cake

Birthday Party Ideas - CandlesCredit: you make your own cake, or buy one? The birthday cake, like the rest of the party, can be as simple or complex as you want to make it. If you're comfortable in the kitchen and have the time, an elaborate masterpiece cake can be a pleasure to bake and decorate. It can be fun to design your own cake and decorate it in the theme of the party - and this is another instance where kids love to help!

If you'd rather devote your time to other aspects of the party, you can leave the cake to the professionals. Order a special cake or cupcakes from a good bakery and plan to pick it up the morning of the party. A decorating tip: having his or her name "written" on the cake is a sure way to delight the birthday child!

Step 5: Prepare Party Favors

Prepare a small bag of treats for each child to take home. This is another opportunity to use your party theme - you can buy stickers, pencils, notebooks or small toys to match almost any theme. Candy is a very popular item to include in party favor bags, but be aware that not all parents may be delighted with this choice.

Label each bag with each guest's name - and have a few extras on hand, too. Handing them out as guests leave will ensure they won't be a distraction during the party.

Step 6: The Big Day

Decorating can be done either the day before, or the morning of the party. Of course, how much decorating you need to do will depend on the location, whether it's inside or outside, at home or at a local business. If you've chosen a theme, stick to it. Tablecloths, tableware, party hats, streamers make great festive party decorations. Don't forget the balloons! Kids love to take home a balloon at the end of the party - just make sure you reserve a special bunch for the birthday child.

Now that you've got a plan, relax and take it one step at a time - if you're relaxed and prepared, your child's special birthday is sure to be a great success!