Shopping: party themes with Carole Middleton

Put on a birthday to remember with a well-thought-out themed do

One of the simplest ways to decide which direction your child’s party should take is to pick a theme and run with it. Once you’ve chosen that theme, it’s much easier to make decisions for the finer details, including the food, drink and décor, based on your vision. You’ll also get some great photo opportunities.

• Give guests an indication of your theme from the very beginning. Sending out invitations that Illustrate the theme of your child’s party is a great way to excite your guests from the start. Having a beach-inspired day? Get creative with your little one, sticking on shells and paper starfish.

• Classic ideas, such as circus and farmyard themes, work particularly well for babies and toddlers as they adore animals and bright colours. Equally, more general ideas such as Sky High (pictured left) leave room for a whole mix of decorations, including hot-air balloons, kites, and aeroplanes.

• Dressing up for a party is all part of the fun! You may want to go all out and take on fancy dress, or choose an outfit to complement the theme. Try a cute party dress with balloons on it for Sky High style, or stripy leggings for a circus theme.

• Tying in your food and drink will really stamp some individuality on the day, particularly for the adults attending. Try mini fish and chip newspaper cones for a beachy theme, or a sweetie bar complete with striped paper bags and crowd-pleasing snacks like popcorn and candyfloss for a carnival-inspired do. Remember to check with your guests if they have any allergies.

• There is only a limited number of games you can play with babies, as most are just finding their feet, but try to incorporate your theme into the activities. Include a farmyard-inspired baby-proof play zone filled with soft animal toys, or a coconut shy for a circus theme. Don’t forget the blowing bubbles, too!

Dive in and make a splash with an adorable seaside soirée, or perhaps create a circus-insprired celebration

Under the sea 1. Decorative paper fans, £1.59 each, 2. Paper plates (pack of eight), £1.29, 3. Paper treat tubs (pack of eight), £3.29, 4. Jersey cotton bodysuit, £20, 5. The Miniature Knit Shop wool mermaid tail, £80, 6. Knitted octopus toy, £27,

Roll up, roll up! 1. Marble party balloons (pack of eight), £1.99, 2. Paper party hats (pack of eight), £2.29, 3. Paper circus-animal centrepieces (pack of three), £4.99, 4. Plastic serving trays (pack of three), £2.99, 5. Paper cups (pack of six), £1.49, 6. Frank & Fischer wooden rattle, £16, 7. Cotton baby grow, £21.20,

Baby’s party will reach new heights with this aeroplane theme, or maybe recreate a day at the farm for little animal enthusiasts

Sky high 1. Party balloons (pack of eight), £1.49, 2. Cloud-print party balloons (pack of 10), £3.79, 3. ‘Planes’ cake (serves 45), £120, 4. Paper cups (pack of eight), £1.49, 5. Paper plates (pack of eight), £3.99, 6. Paper bags (pack of eight), £3.99, 7. Cotton-blend thermal leggings, £10, 8. Green Toys aeroplane, £13.99,

Farmyard fun 1. Farmhouse scene paper centrepiece, £4.99, 2. Assorted party balloons (pack of 15), £1.49, 3. Paper napkins (pack of 18), £2.69, 4. Cotton-blend cardigan, £27.50, 5. Wooden duck push-along toy, £8, 6. Carrot cake (serves six), £28.95,

Want more? Take a look at Carole’s ideas for a baby shower