Today marks the Monday after 4 weeks of constant talk from my 10 year old about her birthday party. It came, it happened, it’s over and needless to say – I’m so proud of myself. I know that you’re not supposed to really toot your own horn – but I did this one right and I was smiling on the other side of it rather than cowering in tears in some corner regretting the aftermath and the mediocre response to all of my efforts.
I must admit that I try not to go “over the top” with what I use at the kids parties, but I stick with my budget – embrace the theme, pinterest my heart out and then find the cheapest and most effective way to pull it off. Can I say that after reading Cindy’s post about her prep process, I was relieved to read that I wasn’t the only one that prepped weeks in advance and also paced myself around what needed to be bought and prepped.
So this time, I decided to take it to the next level and adjust a few things that I knew always spun me out before. I say this, because as much as I’d love to say that we prepare our spaces as a family, my precious husband works his butt off and is often out and about on the day, so I often ride solo. He’s great at speedy cleaning and making sure everything is “sorted” before a party, but in terms of décor, prizes, games etc – that’s all on me. I most definitely am not complaining, I love doing the work and the prep because it’s what I like to do.
So with that knowledge these are the things I adjusted to make my life easier.
- I made sure that the families that were invited knew that it was only the child invited and if they wanted to stay – they would have to entertain themselves and preferably, have not other littlies with them. To bring more clarity to this….
We have a rule that the age you turn is the number of friends you can invite. So it kinda worked when the were little to have 4 friends with their families with them.
Now she turned 10, just two of the families invited (on their own) have 5 children……. 10 kids with their siblings would have been 40+ kids alone. So I made very sure it was just the kids. This eliminated a whole lot of extra tid bits for other littlies.
- I adjusted the time of the party. Since my kid is older now, later evenings aren’t so bad. So instead of starting at 2 or 3, we opted for 4. This was fantastic because a lot of the families were able to drop and go out still and when they came to collect it was 7 and time to go home and rest.
The bonus for me was that I had the WHOLE day to prep and get my ducks in a row. It made for a much more chilled day. I could ice the cupcakes without sweating, set up the games in advance, I could decorate peacefully AND I slept in…… nothing like a good sleep before a day of balloons, cake and kids.
- I baked the day before instead of cramming it in on the morning. I did biscuits and cupcakes the day before. I used to think that it’s important to have it fresh for the day – BOO HAAGI! Air tight containers were invented for a reason and it completely worked.
- Have a social side kick. My mom is great this way. This time I asked her to come a little earlier, just to help me iron out things that I could just see I might not get to. E.g. cutting up strawberries for the waffles, drying up any extra washing…. Etc Also, if any adults arrived earlier, during or later – If I had my hands full with the kids, she just swooped in and conversed and entertained. My hubby was there as well, but having the extra social side-kick really makes sure the gaps are filled. (also making sure that my 2 year old stayed alive. Lol) this helped for me to completely focus on the child being celebrated.
I know it’s not a lot, but you’ll be amazed at how big of a difference these small things changed the whole dynamic of my party prep and event. I would say, as a “blogging” form of advice – look at what you want to achieve and make sure that you give yourself the room to be able to do those things by preparing for them. I’ve done the laid back approach and unfortunately I didn’t like that my child sat at the dinner table and was very “shoulder shrug” about what she thought.
Besides ‘how to’ adjustments, I noticed that kids do NOT need the “stuff” for the party. The games I did were super simple but because they were organized, dynamic and interactive – they absolutely LOVED them. So much so that my 7 year old (who wanted to do an outing for her birthday, coming up) changed her mind and now wants to have it at home with awesome games.
I honestly thought that this would be the last one for my Aislyn, but after chatting with my mom about it – she made me realize that when you make “age appropriate” games, it makes the party that much more fun and memorable.
Yes, it’s a little more PT but when you have a 10 year old boy get a little teary because he’s enjoying himself so much, then I reckon it’s the way to go.
I’m all for learning and doing things that make my children think their day was the absolute best! And that they can’t wait until next year.
Last tip, I don’t let them pick a theme until 1 month before the party because I do not want my ear chewed off by nagging and changing of minds for 6 months prior. Plus, I can only plan one party at a time – it gives me the breathing room to regroup before the next one.
Here are some pics I posted on Instagram of our celebrating our 10 year old Aislyn. (by the way, I did not bake the cake. We are regulars at ordering through Tessa’s Bakery. The kids get a budget and have to pick their cake according to how much they can spend and it’s the grandparents’ contribution to their day. Thank you Pappa & Gran-D)
I didn’t get a good pic of the one game I made, but the games I set up were as follows…
- Boys vs Girls “ball transfer” game. They had to run to the umbrella, put their heads on it and make 10 full turns around it and then run to the crate of balls on the other side. They then pick one up and then run all the way back to the starting point and dump it in the empty crate. The first team to transfer all of the their balls – wins. It’s super funny to watch then zigzag from the umbrella to the crate of balls.
- Truth or Dare. I had pre-written 6 dares, and 6 truth questions. They were all age appropriate and no funny business so that we didn’t leave anyone feeling awkward. But they loved them. Silly things like “did you brush your teeth this morning?” or “Stuff as many marshmellows in your mouth and say something” They love it.
- Balloon prize pop. I got a set of cheap water balloons and blew about 30 of the them up. I put number cards in them (rolled up so that they’d fit) and pinned them to a board. The kids got to throw darts at them and if there was a number inside it was allocated to a prize and if they hit a dud, then they had to try again. I kept it real and allowed some to win more than one prize and others walked away with nothing. What was amazing is that the kids that got more, shared theirs with those that didn’t win. (without me saying anything, because I felt they’re old enough to understand winning and losing – tender hearted moment!)
- Hide and Seek with a twist. I split the teams into boys and girls again. One boy and one girl from each team had to go and hide while the rest all counted. then they had to run off and find the opposite gender and bring them back. It worked like a charm.
- Using a spray bottle. They had to spray Styrofoam balls off the 3 stands. the team that all had a turn and sprayed all of their balls off, won.
- This game, we didn’t get to, but it would have been a list of 12 movies theme songs and they would have had to take turns to listen and guess the movie that the song came from.
I hope you enjoyed the explanations and tips. They really helped me with my day and I really had a good time prepping, doing and cleaning up afterwards.