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How to host the ultimate kids' party at home

We asked children’s party masters Victoria Pearce and Mark Niemierko to share their insights on how to throw a brilliant kids’ party at home

7 October 2022

Photography: Niemierko
Photography: NOTORiOUS KiDS

Love them or hate them, if you have small children the annual responsibility of throwing a memorable birthday party for your little ones is a reality that most parents face sooner or later. 

And with chaos, mess and tantrums all part of that reality, it’s no wonder so many parents dread hosting children’s birthday parties at home. But, for children, celebrating at home among your favourite friends can be an unsurpassed joy; one that will be remembered for years to come.

We asked children’s party masters Victoria Pearce, managing and creative director of NOTORiOUS KiDS, and Mark Niemierko, founder of eponymous events company Niemierko, to share their expertise and insights with Sloane Street. Both Pearce and Niemierko have hosted their fair share of children’s parties in and around Chelsea, and know exactly how to throw a fun and engaging party that your child will love – while avoiding a total sense-of-humour failure for the hosting parents. 



“Most parents will know what their kids are into, but have a conversation with them and ask what kind of party they’d like,” says Niemierko, who has hosted elaborate children’s parties in Chelsea at venues including Bluebird on the King’s Road as well as in private homes. “Their answer might surprise you. Remember that the party should reflect who it’s for, so don’t try to force a theme on your child!” 

“The lovely thing about party themes is that every child is unique with what they love,” says Pearce. “Party theme trends are always changing, depending on what new movie, book or toy is on the market but I think it’s important that the child’s loves are considered rather than just what is popular that year.”

You don’t need to break the bank when decorating the space. “At one of our most lavish parties, the thing that the kids got most excited about was a £50 cardboard colour-in shed from Amazon that they could all engage with,” recalls Niemierko, who also suggests parents dress up to set the tone of the theme.



“The running order of our kids’ parties is always games, eating, crafts, cake and departure,” says Niemierko. 

Perennial favourites like pass-the-parcel, musical statues or musical chairs are firm favourites, while themed treasure hunts can offer an opportunity to inject a little education into the proceedings. 

Setting up a little craft table where kids can create something in line with your theme is an engaging activity. Set them to decorating regal accoutrements, fairy wings, cutlasses or T-shirts for a while after they’ve eaten. 

“Kids really love to feel included, so giving them all something on arrival in line with your theme is a great way to get them all feeling included from the start,” suggests Niemierko. “You’d be amazed at how excited a 3-year-old can get about something as simple as the lanyards we handed out at a London Underground-themed party. Little high-vis vests, fairy wings, shields or crowns are all great options.”



“If you are hosting the party at home, you want mess-free options. For the children, individual food boxes are perfect and you can tailor the menu and consider any allergies,” advises Pearce. 

Niemierko says, “Sandwiches, a little fruit and some cheese in a lunch box are the easiest options. And always confine the chaos by setting up a separate area for the kids to eat.” 

“We love to create fun and engaging decorated tables for children to eat the birthday feast on and these also add to your theming and décor,” adds Pearce, noting that delivered pizzas are also popular with both kids and their grown-ups. 

Head to Pavilion Road, where bakery Bread Ahead offers the best loaves for sandwiches in Chelsea, and to Natoora for delicious, seasonal fruit. 

Photography: Niemierko

Both Pearce and Niemierko recommend hiring a professional entertainer to oversee the run of the party so that parents can enjoy the experience, too. A magician or fairy princess might only perform for a short period during the event, so having someone on hand who can take charge of engaging with the children throughout the party takes a lot of pressure off parents. 

“We work with Buttons Parties, who provide brilliant entertainers,” says Niemierko. “From the word go, they take charge of the flow, ensuring that all the children – even the shy ones – are included and engaged and happy.” 

“The great thing about this type of entertainment is that the characters are there to host the party for you so grown-ups can sit back and relax,” says Pearce, whose NOTORiOUS KiDS company has an in-house entertainment company. “Our signature entertainment option includes two characters who deliver a bespoke party script and will oversee everything from meeting and greeting, engaging around the food tables, leading the singing of Happy Birthday, to ensuring everyone has a party bag as they say their goodbyes – all in between their focused and engaging entertainment.”

“We advise one entertainer per 10 children and if you have a large guestlist, adding in complementing entertainment such as face painting, crafts tables or a balloon modeller is always a nice idea and can still be tailored to the theme.”

If hiring a pro is out of the question, consider roping in a willing teenage niece or nephew to the role.

Parties can help children connect to one another and allow them to practise conversation


They may only be at your home for a couple of hours, but sparing a thought for the comfort of your grown-ups goes a long way to making it a happy occasion for all. 

“It has been known to happen, but it’s very rare that parents will get stuck into the bar at a children’s party,” says Niemierko. “Set up a tea and coffee station for them and have some Champagne to offer if there are any takers. A few canapés are a nice touch, too.” 



“Think about where parents can park buggies,” advises Niemierko. “They take up a huge amount of space when they are en masse. And have somewhere near the door set up for coats and bags.” 

Additionally, if your guests are very small, having a step so that they can reach the loo is a handy idea. 

Photography: NOTORiOUS KiDS

“A lot of the time, tantrums are about trying to get attention or children trying to get their own way,” explains Niemierko. “There will always be loud or opinionated kids and they need to have an eye kept on them but, on the whole, if it’s safe to do so, I’d advise just ignoring tantrums.” 

“Parties can sometimes be very overwhelming for children and it’s important this is understood. Every little personality will deal with things differently and that’s OK. The birthday child may find it all very overwhelming at first and the same goes for a shy child, allowing them to take some time out, maybe sitting and observing before joining in is a good way not to overstimulate them,” says Pearce. “If there are a few overexcited children pushing boundaries we always ask for their grown-up to step in to pull them aside and bring the excitement level down a notch, or simply asking them to sit aside for a few minutes while they compose themselves and we then ensure we get them involved again when the time seems right.” 



Niemierko notes that there’s more to birthday parties than just fun and games. “Parties help to teach a child social skills. Particularly after the pandemic, when so many children’s social skills were impacted,” he says. “Parties can help children connect to one another and allow them to practise conversation, playing together, patience and how to behave at an event.”



“We always advise gifts are put to one side on arrival and then left to open after the party, otherwise they are just a huge distraction for the birthday child and will take away from them enjoying the entertainment and everything else you may have created for the children on the day,” Pearce wisely advises. 

Niemierko agrees, adding that gift tables are “ostentatious”. “Gratefully receive gifts, then squirrel them away in a bedroom or under a table until after the party,” he says. “That way, you can always use a little gentle bribery to ensure good behaviour for the rest of the day.”

By the way, if you’re looking for an inspired children’s birthday present, Smythson’s first diary for children – My First Smythson – is a truly thoughtful gift that is sure to become a cherished trove of memories.



For party bags, Pearce suggests giving quality gifts rather than smaller items destined for the bin. “The less plastic the better; we have a no single-use plastic policy,” she says. “One quality gift, maybe something that can be personalised or ties into the theme of the party is always a great idea.”

Niemierko suggests gifts including colouring books, themed party masks, jigsaws or small teddies. 

And, above all, remember that parties are supposed to be fun.

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