Hi! I can't wait to here what other people respond with! For many years I did bday entertainment (in LA and surroundng areas) at kids parties and I've been to every possible kind of environment. So, here are some of my tips:
1.) for your space...Can you move some furniture (coffee tables etc) out of a living room and put chairs etc. along a wall for parents? If you can create an open space in the middle for the kiddos that's always great.
2.) If your living room and kitchen are joined, expect the parents to hang out in the latter and the kids in the former.
3.) Go to Lowe's or Home depot or Uhaul and get the sticky plastic floor covering (usually near the paint section). It's about 1 1/2 feet wide and comes in roles. It sticks to the carpet on one side and looks like seran wrap (sp?). It comes right up afterwards and you can even recycle it where they recyle plastic grocery bags. Put this over the carpet where the kids will be if you want to protect it. OR put it over the floor where you have a project area set up.
0-45 min= kids arrive, centers and eating
45-60ish= Music games or other party game
between 1 hour and 1 1/4 hours = Bday cake
For the rest of the time, you can do presents if you want to, or you can let them have some free time. They'll be sick of organized stuff by this point. The last 15-20 minutes will most likely be spent making sure eveyone leaves with their stuff (shoes, jackets, crafts, etc)
For 5 year olds, the party shouldn't last over 2 hours. Since the parents may be traveling to get there, don't plan anything formal for the 1st 1/2 hour, just have the food ready (*since your space is small, you might consider easy finger foods so people don't have to sit down to eat)and let the kids play while the stragglers arrive.
You can set up some "centers" (a la elementary school)
2.)Center 1: You can make a "mural" or Giant BDay card (poster board or extra large roll of paper) spot for the kids to decorate with crayons, stickers etc... then you can put this in his room after the party! You can print his name/age in the middle. Another good idea for this is to get some face paints (ideally the water based kind. My favorites look like tongue depressors dipped in paint) and put each kid's hand print on the card too.
3.) Center #2: If you have an adult helper there, have a "tatoo" parlor with dino tatoos. The kids can line up and get one (or do face painting here if you feel really creative).
4.) Center #3: Digging for dinos: Put some plastic dinos/dino eggs etc in a moderately deep box and then fill it with something not too messy (i.e. not sand). Let them reach in and dig up a toy dino to keep.
5.) Center #4: Dinosaur hats: You can get the visors at a craft store and let them put their names on it and decorate it with dino stickers, or spikes or wings or whatever. (cute photo op!)
1.)Limbo is hilarious. I let the kids go however they an (even crawling) under a balloon stick (but a rope works okay too), then have them jump over it when it's really low. Have the holder cheat, of course, so they can all get under and over!
2.) Freeze dancing is also fun. You can use any music for either of these so you don't have to buy a horrible bday party cd... but if you do buy one, get one with the YMCA on it (and Shout too) because it's really cute to see them do it and the parent can giggle too.
1.) Pin the tail/wings etc on the dino
2.) musical chairs...
3.) I've done a "blindfolded non-pinata" a couple times too in a small space. Basically you cover the eyes of the older kids with blind folds and then sprinkle prizes and candy on the floor and let them crawl around and pick them up. Use a bell or whistle to let them know when to start and when they can stop.
4.) Shoe mix-up: two team. Put everyone in each team's shoes in a pile. When you say "go" they have to find their shoes and put them on. Then also have to help their teammates do the same. The first team with all their shoes on wins. (this is also a great game for "coats & mittens" and works like a charm if you do it at the end of the party to make sure eveyone has their stuff on and is ready to leave). Of course, at this age you must definately give out a 2nd place prize too!
Let me know if you have questions! Though I still do parties, I'm moving more towads a new service. As a filmmaker, I'm creating a service that makes Bday DVDs of kid's parties (we either film it with our professional-grade equiptment, edit and produce the dvd, or we use your footage to make dvds). I've been making "Grand parent" videos for a while now and people seem to love it!