Tips For Hosting An 8th Birthday Party

(AD - Gifted) You might think that as a mum of with 3 I would know what I’m doing when it comes to hosting birthday parties, but as my eldest turned 8 last month I was just as disorganised as ever.  This year I decided I would have my daughter’s birthday party at home, invite a few friends and make it easy for myself. The party went brilliantly, but once again I underestimated how much there was to do. I am so grateful for Zuru for saving me time and helping the party be a success thanks to the party pack they sent me including the awesome new Bunch O Balloons self sealing party balloons which inflate in just 40 seconds! 

A girl holding a bunch of pink and white self sealing Bunch O Balloons party balloons over her head and smiling
Celebrating with balloons

Planning An 8th Birthday Party At Home

Planning the party was going so well. I invited the guests a few weeks in advance, planned a few activities and arranged for my partner to have the day off so I could spend the day of the party (a school day) getting the house and everything ready. When the day arrived I wasn't feeling well, I had a hugely messy house to sort out and ended up in the supermarket buying the food a couple of hours before the party was due to start!

I managed it though. My daughter came home from school and said “wow”, the children all left the party having had a great time and my house has no permanent damage so here is my advice for surviving a party at home.

An 8 year old girl with long hair holding a big pink balloon
The Bunch O Balloons come with string attached so you inflate, separate and they are all ready

My 8 year old with a mocktail complete with fruit, straw and umbrella
Birthday mocktails

8 tips for hosting an 8th birthday party at home - disorganised mum style

Getting The House Ready

If the day of the party rolls round and your house is a mess just pack everything up in boxes and hide it in a room upstairs. Out of site out of mind. The only downside is you will spend the next few weeks not knowing where everything is because it’s still packed away in the boxes. My motivation for unpacking the mess has been much less than hiding it away. I knew that parents wouldn't be staying so I didn't have to get the house quite as spotless as I would have tried otherwise!

Decorating The House

By the time the house was clean and the everything set up I had literally minutes to decorate before leaving for the school pick up. Fortunately the Zuru Bunch O Balloons Self-Sealing Party Balloons really did save the day here. We were sent the Party Pump pack which comes with 16 balloons and a refill pack with 24 balloons because the pump can inflate 40 balloons at once.  Check out my video of inflating the balloons, you'll see it took me longer to get it all out of the packaging than to inflate them all. Such a huge time saver. 

Once inflated the balloons self seal (and stay inflated for ages) and they even have ribbons attached to each one. You can separate the balloons, but I didn’t have time for that before the party so I just tucked the strings of each of the 5 bunches behind picture frames so I had super quick and brilliant looking bunches of balloons around the house!

Party Food

Children NEVER eat much food at birthday parties. I thought that as the party was straight after school they would all be hungry. On a normal day my daughter comes home demanding food and doesn’t stop eating for hours. Funnily enough a roomful of 8 year olds ate surprisingly little. A few crisps, biscuits and a token cocktail sausage would have been enough. Even those that wanted to eat left loads because they didn't want to miss out on the fun those who couldn't wait at the table were having. Save money and don't buy much.

Reusable Plates and Being Green

Being at home it was so easy clearing up after the children (didn't) eat. We have lots of those colourful IKEA plates so I didn't need to buy anything for the children to eat off. All the wasted foods on the plates went into our compost bin and the plates and cups straight in the dishwasher. Uneaten food was covered up and put in the fridge. 
Previous parties where we have hired halls there have been several bags full of rubbish thrown away after eating. This time there was such a small about that went in the black waste bin. Even all of the decorations could be recycled or reused.


Obviously you need a cake at a birthday party. It wouldn't be the same without candles to blow out, but how much of the cake is actually eaten when it's sent home loosely wrapped in a paper napkin? More often than not any we get is picked at and then thrown away. In the past I have spent a fortune on beautiful looking cakes and it feels like such a waste. For this party we went for a sweetie cake which cost £25. Some of the sweets went into paper bags for the guests to take home and we happily munched through the rest.

A sweetie cake with the candles blown out. It has lollipops and liquorice around the edge and is filled with sweets
M and her birthday sweetie cake

Go with the flow

I had a few activities planned including painting cups with porcelain pens, but all most of them really wanted to do was play. They even switched off my carefully curated playlist in favour of asking Alexa for whatever music took their fancy. I did encourage them to sit down for a while to do their mugs which they enjoyed (and it gave them something else to take home), but mostly they just created their own fun. Given they weren't interested in any of the games I had planned I was very glad I didn't bother to spend money on an entertainer because they really weren't needed.

All the children sat down to decorate mugs with porcelain pens which then can be baked to be washable
Decorating mugs at the party for a bit of quiet (er) time

Party bags

No one wants a bag full of cheap plastic that will never get played with, but it's traditional to take gifts home from a party. Our guests took home a bag of sweets, their mugs and a 5 Surprise Unicorn Squad ball. We were sent the new themed surprise balls from Zuru which I handed to each guest as they were leaving and they were so popular even before they opened them. Handily these saved time making up party bags too.

My daughter's had one each to open after the party and I was really impressed with what was inside. The balls open up into segments which contain a unicorn, a few stickers, various accessories for the unicorn and unicorn poop. The unicorn poop is amazing. It’s like a cross between slime and kinetic sand, I’m sure it has a proper name but I don’t know what it is. It’s low mess so it doesn’t get stuck to everything and so therapeutic to play with. It also doesn’t dry out. I love it and speaking to another mum (who I bumped into in Smyths as they had gone to buy more) she found herself playing with it too.

Our unicorns are still being played with weeks later which is a definite measure of success when it comes to these blind bag style toys.

Miniature mugs painted at the party with Zuru 5 Surprise Unicorn Squad capsules on top and pink and white striped paper bags with sweets in
Party bags

Opening the Zuru 5 Surprise Unicorn Squad pink segments each sealed with film. A white unicorn and a separate plastic hair piece for the unicorn are already out.
Opening the Zuru 5 Surprise Unicorn Squad Capsule

The contents of 5 Surprise Unicorn Squad including a unicorn, accessories (in this case a unicorn tail, comb, bracelet and stickers) and some yellow unicorn poop
Inside the 5 Surprise

A close up of an assembled unicorn with a gold horn and shoes
Playing with the Zuru 5 Surprise Unicorn

Present for the birthday child

As it wasn’t her birthday until the next day I didn’t want her to open her presents during or even straight after the party. Having a special gift to play with when the party was over definitely helped with the post party come down. Zuru sent us a Pets Alive My Magical Unicorn which M has loved playing with.

Birthday girl holding Zuru pets Alive My Magical Unicorn and Stable
Zuru Pets Alive My Magical Unicorn and Stable

Side view of a girl feeding the Pets Alive My Magical Unicorn it's carrot just outside it's stable
Feeding My Magical Unicorn it's carrot

More about the Bunch O Balloons Party Pack

The balloons come in stems of 8 which you plug into the pump, and you can choose whether to fill 8, 16 or 40 balloons at a time. Of course we went for 40! The Starter Pack comes with the pump and 16 balloons though so if you want to have 40 (or more) you will need to buy refill packs too. I hadn’t pushed one of our stems in fully so initially it didn’t inflate as much as the others, but until you separate the stems into individual balloons you can put them back on to the pump and further inflate (or even reinflate) them.

Bunch O Balloons are fully recyclable and there are instructions on the packaging and the website to help advise how. Most of the bits need to be taken to your nearest TerraCycle recycling stations (where you can also recycle baby food pouches). TerraCycle process and recycle them into new materials. The natural latex rubber balloons are biodegradable though and can also be cut up and composted.

The pump is £14.99 which I think is great value and it can be reused too. You can use the pump with the refill packs any time you have a special occasion, but it also comes with lots of different connectors so you can use it to inflate anything (that will be handy with our paddling pool next summer). The pump is mains powered and has quite a short lead so it's not suitable for camping or outside use. 

Find out more about these brilliant self sealing party balloons from Zuru here: and watch my video above. If I can do it while in a mad rush then anyone can.

Zuru Bunch O Balloons Self Sealing Party Balloons Starter pack next to the refill pack ready to review
Zuru Bunch O Balloons Self Sealing Party Balloons Starter Pack and refill pack given for review

A girl holding a 5 Surprise Unicorn Squad in front of a bunch of balloons
Happy birthday girl
***Disclosure: We were gifted a bundle of Zuru products to celebrate the Bunch O Balloons Self Sealing Party Balloons available in Smyths nationwide now. All thoughts are my own.***

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