Last week we talked about how to throw a party at home without driving yourself crazy. Just for arguments sake, let's say that you weren't convinced. Here are some tips for picking a place outside of the home for your kid's next party. The first decision in choosing a kid's party venue is whether you're just looking for a place to have a party, or if you want the place itself to be the party. Children can quickly get overwhelmed. If you are planning a party with a clown, musician, magician or other kid's entertainer, you don't want to throw the party at a place like a children's museum or playland that comes with it's own entertainment. Instead, look to your local park district or community center, or YMCA.

Talk to your chosen performer about his or her recommendations. These entertainers get around and know the best (and worst) venues. Also make sure to talk to your performer about his or her needs in terms of space, electrical outlets, etc. Many restaurants have party rooms. Even a restaurant that you wouldn't take a kid to normally may be surprisingly accommodating for a party that's taking place during off-hours (really, what else do they have going 10-12 on a Saturday morning?). If you are considering a place like a children's museum or playland, make sure you fully understand their policies regarding outside food, number of guests, and for how long you can have the room. Make sure to ask how many other parties are going on simultaneously and if the place is open to the public. If the venue tends to be crowded, you may want to consider making a bright colored shirt the party favor. Hand the shirts out at the beginning of the party and make sure each kid in your group wears one. Large nametags can also be made and brightly colored (easy to see) yarn can be used to hold the nametag on. Even if you're having children of several different ages, the venue should be chosen with the age of the birthday kid in mind. When it comes to a party, older kids often don't mind the chance to regress a little and play like a younger child.

What are your tips for finding a great place to hold a kid's party?