Mummy Monday: Kid’s Parties
I’m planning a 4th birthday party for Bunny and have been taking notes at other parties I’ve been to, so that I can try and get it right. It all seems like a bit of a minefield really! Where? Who to invite? How long? What to do? What music? What food? What games? The list is endless.
From the parties I’ve been to in recent months, I’ve decided that hiring a hall with lots of space for the children to run around is key. A couple of parties have been in people’s living rooms and it’s been squashed to say the least! Add sugar and various e-numbers to the mix and you’re looking at a recipe for disaster and some very tense parents as they watch their children run riot over one another.
Once space is sorted, it makes it easier to be less frugal with invitations. Bunny is still quite fickle about who she is friends with, so I no longer have to worry about inadvertently excluding someone from the party that she happens to be playing with that week. If parents then choose (or need) to bring siblings, this isn’t an issue either. It also gives more scope to the activities that can be included.
One thing I’ve noticed about four year olds is that they think with their stomachs, especially where cake and crisps can be found. So having junk food in abundance is critical and there is little point trying to engage the children in many activities if they know there is food to be had as that will be subtly calling their names the entire time. I reckon on an ice-breaker game to get all the shyness out of the way followed by a couple of quick party games and then food. After that, they should be so full of beans and excitement, that any games or activities will go down a storm.
So to party games…
An ice-breaker could be a dance-off of some sort to get the kids going, followed by speed pass the parcel (one going one way, another going the other way) and then musical statues or bumps.
After the food, there’s time to be more creative, perhaps with a treasure hunt or even a crafty type activity. As I’m planning to go with a bit of a theme, I’m thinking something along the lines of decorating a hat.
I am going with 2 hours for the actual party as this seems plenty from what I’ve seen. Both for the children and for their poor parents, stuck in child hell! It also takes the pressure of trying to fill lots of time off a bit too: ice-breaker, a couple of quick games, half an hour for food and then an hour to burn up the sugar high.
Bunny isn’t into pop music yet so I’m sticking to songs she sings at nursery and nursery rhymes. There’s something a bit odd about seeing lots of little girls dancing to “Hey! Sexy lady!” and similar. Maybe I’m being a bit precious there but I know she likes the children’s songs!
As I mentioned earlier, food needs to be junk. That’s what kids want at a party! So, crustless sandwiches, various crisps, some mini cakes, maybe some finger fruit or veg (grapes, cucumber or carrot sticks), cocktail sausages and, of course, squash! And the main event of an amazing birthday cake. The biggest challenge for someone like me that really struggles with presentation!
The last consideration when it comes to food that has been missing from most of the parties I’ve been to, is to have something for the grown ups to eat and drink too. There’s nothing worse than being stuck in a hot, noisy room with nothing to drink for a couple of hours. It also serves as a bit of an ice-breaker for parents that might not really know each other yet.
The final item of importance are the party bags. Kids expect them, and if they’re anything like Bunny, will take great pleasure going through the tat goodies, on the way home. I think it also serves as a way to avoid any of the ‘not wanting to leave’ tantrums that accompany most child-focused events.
So, to summarise. Lots of space to run about, lots of junk food, fun music, simple, quick games and not too long seem to be the recipe to a decent pre-schooler party.
Watch this space (and wish me luck)!