Parties in Devon

A birthday is a momentous time in a child’s year.

After all it’s the day when they are likely to be showered with gifts, attention, cards and a pile of treats.

Unlike Christmas, a birthday is unique to them, when they become centre-stage, which depending on your child’s nature, may overwhelm them or they may absorb all the attention with glee.

Nevertheless, we all want to make our children feel special on their big day, and this heightens the importance of the birthday party.

As a result, many parents adopt a multi-faceted role where they become party planner, supreme cook, lively entertainer, room decorator, present giver and childcare supervisor. That’s quite a list, which, unsurprisingly, can seem a little daunting.

Yet, there are many alternative options that will help to lighten the load.

Outside caterers can be used, charismatic children’s entertainers can engage a room full of children for a couple of hours, and party bags can be supplied by an outside provider.

Local attractions also offer party packages and take care of all the arrangements making it an appealing option for many time-constrained families.

Currently, there are strong trends in pamper and makeover parties; Nerf, Laser Quest and science parties; and action related parties such as trampolining, go karting, outdoor pursuits, dancing, climbing – even assault courses.

Yet, parties are as individual as each child, so to assist you in the decision-making process, we’ve included a mass of ideas and tips on this party page.

Remember to keep returning to this page for when it’s your turn to arrange a party… 

 

 

 

Party Check List

 

Sending invitations - Don’t leave it to the last minute to issue invitations. Send out invites approximately three weeks before the date of your party. The invite should contain all the information the guest’s parents need to know.

 

A Piñata - A relatively recent addition to the party circuit but these days no party is complete without one. The Piñata is a papier mache shape (often a donkey as they originate in Mexico) containing sweets.

The Piñata is hung up and the children take turns at bashing it while blindfolded. It’s a lot of fun, but be warned, stand back once it splits and the sweets come out. Piñatas are available from many supermarkets. You can also order them online.

 

Entertainment - If you hire someone, be sure to call them a day or two before the event to confirm they are coming.

 

Party Bags - The contents of an individual party bag may seem relatively cheap at first but by the time you multiply it by a classroom of children, the sum quickly adds up.

Finding an affordable alternative suddenly becomes a desirable option. Sweet tables, where jars of confectionary are lined up, similar to a candy cart, enable the children to fill their party bag with a small treat before returning home. Alternatively, sweet cones are a popular option. These are cheap and easy to make, and look like a piping bag filled with sweets.

 

Sorting Food - Keep it simple and non-fussy. Just make sure there’s plenty of crisps and enough birthday cake for everyone. Provide your guests with plenty of water, you can get individual small water bottles from supermarkets for little expense. 

 

 

 

 

Making a keepsake of the occasion

Make the party extra memorable for your child by making a keepsake that can be etched with the names of the party guests. Get a Teddy Bear, a canvas, or a group photo signed by the children attending the party. In years to come this will be a cherished gift and remind your son or daughter of their childhood friends. 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Needing party inspiration?

Search for the Primary Times Pinterest pages for quick and easy inspiration. Find everything from face painting designs to quick party hairstyles for the restless child.

 

 

 

 

 

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

Torquay Alpine Ski Centre

Tel: 01803 313350

info@skitorquay.co.uk

www.skitorquay.co.uk

Torquay Ski Club can provide plenty of thrills to any child’s birthday party. Children will be able to enjoy the thrill of whizzing down the slopes on the Ringos and there’s a chance to ski and snowboard too. Ringo parties last from ½ hour to 1 hour.

Skiing sessions last for 1 ½ hours and are suitable for children aged 6 years+. Parties include tuition and equipment hire. Snowboarding parties are also available for children aged 10+. Guests are able to bring their own party food and there is a room for hire at Torquay Ski Club if needed. You can find Torquay Alpine Ski Club at Barton Hall, Kingskerswell Road, Torquay, TQ2 8JY.

 

 

A Touch of the Wild

Tel 07929 613284 

www.atouchofthewild.co.uk/birthday-parties

Fun and excitement in the woods is in store at a Touch of the Wild birthday party! A Touch of the Wild provides Forest School Birthday Parties for boys and girls, at Grammarcombe Woods near Exeter.

With its exclusive birthday package your children can spend hours playing, exploring the woods, building dens, lighting fires – and so much more! (Not to mention toasting marshmallows around the campfire). Weekend parties are perfect for kids aged 4 to 14, and weekday parties are ideal for pre-schoolers. Birthday parties start from £165 for up to 15 kids and run for 2.5 hours at a secret camp!

 

The Bear Trail

Tel: 01392 881780

www.thebeartrail.co.uk

There’s guaranteed birthday fun for children of all ages at the brilliant Bear Trail. Come rain or shine, you know your party will be packed with amazing thrills and muddy spills as you and your friends tumble through tunnels, scramble under nets and fly down zip wires at this fantastic obstacle course.

Party packages start from £3.50 per child. Take your own food, or choose from a range of pizzas at the Bear Cave Café, which your party group can enjoy in the indoor eating area.  There’s free entry for the birthday boy or girl for groups of 10 or more and, a special offer - one adult free for every six children.

 

Anna Banana

Tel:  01803 658094 or 07778 426653

anne@stairwaycoaching.co.uk

Professional magician and ventriloquist Anna Banana brings a unique, energetic approach to Children’s Entertainment. Anna has a wealth of experience and was recognised by the International Brotherhood of Magicians for excellence in magical presentation, winning a top award.

Anna performs with her family of colourful, zany puppets taking children on a truly, magical adventure with non-stop giggles along the way. Her shows are designed to suit Birthday parties, Schools, Christmas specials and large- scale events.

In addition to her fun-filled Magic and Ventriloquism shows, Anna, who is a trained dancer and actress/storyteller, also features dance parties for children, with bespoke choreography to a favourite piece of music or artiste. Other options include Indian/Bollywood workshops with a combination of dance and storytelling, Disney, Street Dance, Drama workshops and many more. Everything can be designed for party fun or, if required, with an educational slant.

 

Go-Kart Party 

Tel: 07703 719 402

www.gokartpartysw.co.uk

If you are looking for a party that is really different, great fun and hassle free then look no further than a Go-Kart Party. Nathan and his team offer boys and girls of 4 -10 years an opportunity to drive battery powered go-karts around an inflatable circuit.

The parties are fully hosted and fun games such as laser tag, cops and robbers, cone dodging, racing and reversing will give the children an experience they will never forget. Kart speeds and games are tailored to the age and ability of the kids so whatever the age, the kids will have an amazing time. Just check the 5.0 average review score on Facebook to prove it! Available indoors in numerous leisure centres and sports halls across Devon, or even outside at your home, Go-Kart Party is accessible all year round at avenue near you.

 

Cofton Holidays

Tel: 01626 890111

www.coftonholidays.co.uk/facility/childrens-party-venue

The balloons are up and the cake is baked – all that left is for you is to sit back and relax whilst they enjoy the premier children’s party venue in South Devon.

With super splash pads and fantastic fountains – Cofton’s indoor pool is the perfect place for children to let off some steam! After the fun in the pool it’s time to refuel! The party starts with a choice of hot food or a buffet set in Amelia’s Pantry, followed by a choice of ice cream sundae, all served on a decorated table with a foil helium balloon for the birthday boy or girl. If the kids still have energy to burn, head downstairs and make the most of the awesome amusements and games arcade! For children up to the age of 8, the soft play area is the ultimate play zone.

Included for only £9.50 per child; swimming session (4:1 children to adult ratio), children’s meal & ice cream sundae, squash, party invites & decorations and use of the soft play area (aged 8 and below).

 

Dinosaur World 

Tel: 01803 298779

www.torquaysdinosaurworld.co.uk

Young dinosaur explorers can visit Torquay’s Dinosaur World for a birthday party to remember! With fun games and activities as well as dinosaurs to see and play with, it’s suitable for children aged 2 years+. Whilst there, the children can spend up to 2 hours roaming the dinosaur trail to see magnificent full size and scale dinosaurs, discover incredible fossils, and even sit on a deadly dinosaur.

All party goers get a free mini bag of real fossils too. Parties are available every day during normal opening times, or you can have sole use of the exhibition with a private party. Birthday parties are priced at only £4.95 per child, with all adults attending free of charge – minimum numbers apply.

 

i-Bounce

Tel: 01626 332241

www.i-bounce.co.uk

One of Devon’s newest attractions, i.Bounce Trampoline Park at Milber, Newton Abbot, is a wonderful spot for a child’s party.

Parties, ideal for children aged 5 to 12 years old, include 60 minutes’ jump time, 40 minutes free use of the party room after the bounce time (bring your own food), grip socks, a group photo, an i.Bounce t-shirt for the birthday child and a free 60 minute jump revisit for the birthday child. As well as wall-to-wall trampolines, guests will love the experience of dodgeball, trampolining and launching themselves onto a Giant Air Bag.

 

Honiton Pottery

Tel: 01404 42106

www.honitonpottery.co.uk

If you are thinking of booking a less hectic and more productive party – Honiton Pottery is a great place to go! Pottery painting is a fun experience that will give children a sense of pride and achievement.

A typical party in the Honiton Pottery studio lasts for 2 hours, or 1 ½ hours for ‘younger’ children, and includes hot food or something tasty from the dessert menu such as ice cream sundaes, knickerbocker glories or pancakes and a tasty homemade milkshake – there are 70+ different flavours to choose from.

Alternatively, there is a mobile painting party service where everything is delivered to your door or party venue. All party packages can be tweeked to suit your requirements. Honiton Pottery was Runner Up in the Best Craft Activity in Devon in the Primary Times Awards 2016.

 

Party Pieces

Tel: 01647 61359

www.partypiecesltd.co.uk

Party Pieces is an established and much loved company run by drama graduate and actress Ruth Lawrence.

Ruth has drawn on her wide experience to devise an original formula for party entertainment aimed at children from 3 to 10 years, where she and the children bring different stories to life through imaginative play; music and dance; themed games; dressing-up and face painting; puppets and prop-making; treasure hunts, parachute games and much more.

Schools and pre-schools love Party Pieces too. Party Pieces will enthral and amuse, captivate and charm. You can relax and the party will be one to remember!

 

Pecorama Play Station

Tel: 01297 21542

www.pecorama.info

Specially created for Pecorama, the Play Station is an indoor train themed play area with innumerable features including a 3-metre-high racing slide, twin lane Astra slide, a 5.5-metre-high spiral slide, cargo climbs, spinning floor, spider’s web, climb-throughs and much more.

Birthday party packages include lunches and teas taking place in the Garden Room Restaurant. Special group rates are available for school and preschool bookings. Birthday Party packages are available at £8.75 per child, the cost covering two hours play and the birthday lunch or tea.

 

Quay Climbing Centre

Clip ‘n’ Climb Party Tel: 01392 422559

Indoor Roped Climbing Party Tel: 01392 426850

www.quayclimbingcentre.co.uk

Birthday packages include a session in Clip ‘n Climb or an instructed Taster Session on the roped walls, followed by a birthday feast in the party room where you can choose from a traditional party buffet or from the pizza menu.

All meals come with unlimited water and squash and an ice cream to round off the celebration! Party packages cost just £19.95 per person. Clip ‘n Climb sessions are suitable for children aged 4+, Taster Sessions are suitable for children aged 7+. 

 

Escot

Tel: 01404 822188

www.escot.wildwoodtrust.org

Wildwood Escot has everything that is needed for an unforgettable party. Its ‘Really Wild Party’ option provides three hours of action-packed activities.

Party guests have full access to the park, woodland and wetlands at Wildwood Escot, giving them an 'up close and personal' introduction to the natural world.

Forest adventures may include swamp walks, den building, shelter building, campfires, fire sculptures, woodland walks and loads of fun. Find Wildwood Escot in Ottery St. Mary, EX11 1LU.

 

TLH Leisure - Aztec Leisure 

Tel: 01803 400200

www.tlh.co.uk/aztec-games

Part of the TLH Leisure Resort hotel group, Aztec Leisure is a stunning family leisure facility with a large indoor games arena, 25m indoor pool, dance studio, bistro and more.

Children up to 8 years can enjoy the Soft Play whilst older kids will love 10 pin bowling, dance parties and indoor archery. All ages can try a Dip ‘n’ Dine party with swimming fun in the indoor pool. Party meal options include traditional hot or cold buffet options served in either Aztec Games or the Aztec Bistro.

 

World of Country Life

Tel: 01395 274533

www.worldofcountrylife.co.uk

At World of Country Life, ‘Appy Angus and all his animal friends are on hand to make your child’s special day full of fun.

The Party Package has so much included - the children can get up close to the animals in the Pet Centre, feed a lamb, walk a goat, take a ride on the Deer Train Safari, enjoy the Hawkridge Birds of Prey display, take in a show at the Barnyard Theatre and watch one of the hilarious animal racing events.

Once the children have built up an appetite, everyone can head over to the Pirate Ship Party Deck to enjoy a Birthday Party feast. There are different food options available and World of Country Life’s park mascot ‘Appy Angus will be on hand to help with a birthday cake ‘sing-a-long’ - he loves to be in the photos too!

 

Haven Banks

Tel: 01392 400150

www.haven-banks.co.uk

Haven Banks Outdoor Education Centre, in Exeter, offers a wonderfully exhilarating birthday party experience.

Run from its state of the art facility on Exeter’s historic canal and riverside, the birthday child can choose from one of the many water or land based adventurous activity options.

Party packages can include any of the following options: canoeing, raft building, sailing, windsurfing, archery, caving, artificial caving, coasteering, climbing and mountain biking. Haven Banks birthday parties can be tailored to your exact requirements of activities, facilities and duration.

 

The Waie Inn

Tel: 01363 82348

www.waieinn.co.uk

In the heart of the Devonshire countryside you will be amazed what you find at the Waie Inn.

Run by a family for your family for 34 years, the Inn is completely child friendly, and has fantastic facilities such as an indoor heated swimming pool, indoor soft play area (Waie2Play), an outdoor play area which includes an all-weather 5 a-side football pitch, zip wire, roundabout and lots more.

The ‘Waie2Play’ party package offers children 1½ hours of fun in the soft indoor play area before they settle down to tuck into some tasty food. There is also a swimming pool party option that allows the children to enjoy an hour’s splash in the pool followed by a hot meal, ice cream and drink.

 

Crealy Adventure Park and Resort

Tel: 01395 233200

www.crealy.co.uk/groups/birthdays

With three amazing party packages to choose from, you’re able to celebrate your birthday in style at Crealy Adventure Park and Resort. Party with Buddy Bear and Blossom and enjoy all the thrills that are on offer at this first-class attraction.

Buddy and Blossom Bear will join the birthday guest and friends for hugs, high fives and selfies aplenty. For the full VIP treatment, The Lost World of Atlantis can be hired exclusively for up to 50 party people after hours.

Partygoers will love the warm indoor fun of Atlantis in VIP style with private use of the four rides and soft play area – an extra-special birthday treat! Finally, the Fast-Track Bonanza is perfect for those looking for an additional birthday thrill. With a special fast track t-shirt for all partygoers, there will be no need to queue for favourite rides or attractions at Crealy.  Discover the birthday packages online.

 

Miniature Pony Centre

Tel: 01647 432400

www.miniatureponycentre.com

The Miniature Pony Centre is a wonderful place for a child's birthday party. Children can celebrate their special day with the ponies and their farmyard friends. Party packages include entry into the Miniature Pony Centre, a free pony ride for children aged 3 to 10, a great birthday lunch in the restaurant and party bags for each child. For every 5 paying children, 1 adult is admitted for free.

 

Combe Martin Wildlife Dinosaur Park

Tel: 01271 882486

www.wildlifedinosaurpark.co.uk

Book a fantastic, fun, stress free themed birthday party for a child aged from 3 to 12 years in the new gigantic Dinosaurus Playzone.

Party rooms are bookable during the weekends in the winter months and every day once the park is open 7 days a week. There is a choice of themes: Minions, Frozen, and Dinosaurs, and a variety of packages are available. All party options include 2 hours of fun and food in the amazing soft play area.

Additional extras can include a unique group animal encounter, discounted entry into the Wildlife Park, or the children can create a sand bottle which they can take home afterwards. All children receive a balloon and the birthday child will get a free gift and card.

 

Riviera Centre

Tel: 01803 299 992

www.rivieracentre.co.uk/leisure-pool/childrens-parties

Pool Party packages at the Riviera International Centre in Torquay have been designed to offer stress free party planning with the best mix of value and entertainment.

The standard package includes swimming for children aged 3-15 years, a free adult swim per 2 children, a designated party table, a cold or hot food buffet, a jug of squash, plus a card and gift for the birthday child.

There is also an option to upgrade to the premium package which also includes invites, balloons, a birthday cake and party bags. All parties require a minimum of 8 children.

 

Planet Play

Tel: 01363 774626

www.planet-play.co.uk

Planet Play is a brand-new play centre in Crediton which has been created for families with children aged from 0–9 years specifically in mind. There is a vast space for fun, adventure and safe play in a friendly environment. Whilst your little stars explore, you can take the opportunity to come back down to earth and enjoy a well-deserved treat from the delicious menu.

 

 

 

Party Checklist: For parties at home

  • Decide on the timings and date of the party
  • Decide on how many children you can comfortably accommodate in your house
  • Send out the invitations
  • Sort out the entertainment if it’s required. Book the entertainer, face painter, bouncy castle
  • 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 such as plain ham, cheese and tuna. Mix some salad leaves into some of the sandwiches – if the children don’t like it they can always take out the salad! Think about supplying some healthy options which are visually appealing and tasty.
  • Chopped up vegetables such as carrots, mangetout, peppers, cucumber with cream cheese or houmous for 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 made from scooped out and quartered oranges. (Halve an orange, scoop out the fruit, fill it with jelly. Once set, cut into quarters)
  • Ice-cream
  • Drinks: Either orange and blackcurrant squash, fruit water, fruit juice, milkshakes or plain water

 

 

 

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 cup cake

 

 

 

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 a 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
  • Candle holders
  • Matches
  • Cake knife
  • You may wish to include party bags for unexpected additional guests or young siblings
  • Printable directions, including the postcode of the party venue

 

 

 

 

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