Birthday parties

MAD Academy material is fantastic for parties! View our suggested [Download not found] for inspiration on how you can use our material to create fun filled parties for all ages.

However, a party is a very different environment to teaching in your classes.  Parents do tend to chat around the periphery, sometimes making it difficult to focus the children on what they are doing.

Encouraging participation

It always helps if you give people and children some direction from the outset of the party and invite the parents to join in (otherwise they are not sure if they should). So when you introduce yourself encourage participation, for example:

‘Hi, I’m XXXX from MAD Academy.  MAD stands for Music and Dance and we are going to have lots of fun today with music and dancing.  We like everyone to join in with the fun, so Mummies, Daddies, Granddads and Grannies please do feel free to join in with us as I know the children really love you to!’

You will also need to be very in control of both the parents and the children for the session to work well.  Be nice and smiley, bubbly and bouncy but firm and clear in your requests to parents and children alike. If you need parents to join in with things like the parachute to make it work, then say so!  You can say it quite nicely, for example:

‘We are going to use the parachute now, but we need all your Mummies and Daddies to help, so if you can go and get the big person who came with you, we need them to help us.’

You can then address the parents: ‘We need at least 10 of you to come and help with this for it to work.’

If people still do not volunteer then ask people directly: ‘Hi there, could you help us with this, thanks so much!’

It will give the party a lovely atmosphere when you can get the parents to join in with the children, and the kids love it to, especially for the Hokey Cokey as the parents are important here as they stop the children from falling over and getting out of hand when running in and out.

Consider doing the Hokey Cokey straight after the parachute, as then you have already got the parents in place. You can say: ‘Stay there, I still need you for the Hokey Cokey.  Come on everyone else, I want EVERYONE in the room to do this one dance with us.’

Making the party personal

Always make a fuss of the child who’s big day it is.  Get everyone to sing them a special ‘Hello Song’. Take the trouble to talk to the parents prior to the party and see if there are any special songs they like or music that they are into so that you can include it and personalise the party plan as much as you can.  You can then refer to a piece as being a favourite when you present it.

Using lots of props does help to keep the children very engaged. If you are new to parties, then the party templates we have provided will give you a good start (and they all work well) while you establish your own favourite songs, music and ideas.

At the end of the party, it is great to present all the children with a small gift for taking part.

For one hour parties, sing happy birthday just before the Goodbye song and present the child with their gift.  For two hour parties, seat the children and after they have eaten you can use the suggested activities from the example [Download not found] for the final 30 minutes or so of entertainment.

Tips for Baby Parties

All the parents need to join in from the start
Find out early if they guest are likely to be mobile or not.
If you have a mix of young babies and crawlers/walkers keep older kids on one side of circle and non walkers on other to keep everyone safe. You can even have different activities e.g. have babies playing games with scarves while older ones have hula hoops on either side of the room.
Use classic songs that are known by the parents as you really need them on board all the way through, e.g Wheels on the Bus, Hokey Cokey, 5 little men, Twinkle Twinkle, Wind the Bobbin, Heads Shoulders.


  • duck hats for 5 little ducks went swimming
  • instruments
  • parachute
  • scarves
  • bubbles
  • balls of some description
  • tunnels
  • friction cars
  • peek a blocks or any building bricks do a Bob the Builder build a tower competition (which the older kids love doing too).

There is a class training video on Birthday parties to view here

Class Training Video 7 – Parties from MAD Academy on Vimeo.