Posts Tagged ‘bouncy house’

Since I posted about planning for a birthday party to you all, I thought I’d share the final results. The weather was beautiful, the kids had a blast, and so did we. There is nothing better than seeing my daughter and her friends laughing and playing. It’s satisfying to know the hard work paid off. We had no less than three children crying because they didn’t want to leave. I call that a success!

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This has been a hectic prep week. My daughter turned four a few weeks ago and now that we’ve had a breather from the holidays it’s time to celebrate her birthday. As a kid, my parents always had parties for me. Sometimes I’d just have friends over, other times we’d go out for pizza, and one time they took all of my friends to see a play of Pinocchio. These days there are even more fun things to do.

I want Lilah to feel special on her birthday! What she wants most of all is to have her friends over to our house. She’s comfortable there and can be herself. I love a good party, so we decided to make it adult friendly too. After all, this is a chance for me to meet many of her friend’s parents.

So what do I need to plan for?

How many kids?
My daughter would invite her whole school. Obviously that is not an option so I let her choose 4 (her age) from her current school. If some cannot make it then we will add more. We kept the number down since she also has past school friends, family friends and the like.

Somewhat dictated by the number if kids/adults. You can have parties at gymnastics centers, pizza places, the park, or just about anywhere these days.

How long?
Some parents just want the party to last a couple hours while others are up for something longer. We’re having it at our house and we’re inviting the adults so we’re leaving it open ended. Note: Don’t start your party during nap time if your child or their friends still nap.

Use Internet or hand out invitations? At Lilah’s school you can leave invitations with the child’s name near their sign in/out sheet. I put copies of our Evite in an envelope with a hand written note asking them to contact me if they’re interested in attending.

What is the theme (if any)?
Lilah is not girly girl and most of her friends are boys. She chose a CARS theme but also liked Diego and SpongeBob. Princesses, pirates, cowboy, safari, and beach parties are all fun too. Some parents go all out with balloons in theme shapes, pinatas and other decorations to match. If you’re keeping it more casual then some plates and napkins with the theme is more than enough.

Entertainment: To jump or not?
Absolutely (weather permitting) – For me there is no getting out of a jumper/bouncy house since she requested this last year (and throughout the year). Most rental companies have panels that fit into the jumper that can match your theme. Sometimes getting a smaller bouncy house with a slide can be more fun for the younger kids. No room or bad weather? Try a party game – though pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey was all the rage when I was young, there are many modern options. Click on the (party games) link for ideas.  

Goody Bags:

Many people have prepared goody bags in advance. I find this difficult to do if there is a wide age range of kids. I’ve  had enough parties that I can take left over goodies and add new items such as balls, cars, rings, bracelets, etc.  I put them in a big bowl with a goody bag next to it. Each child can choose what they like. This helps too because the parents are part of the process.

Kids just want cake but adults like to be fed (if you want them to stick around for long). Luckily, my husband is always willing to grill up some hamburgers, hot dogs, sausages, and veggie burgers. Pick up some potato salad and chips and you’re all set. Either provide some single serving low sugar juice boxes, bottles of water, or chocolate milk or make-up a large batch of whatever you like and have cups handy.

source: bettycrocker.com

Whatever makes the little one happy! Some like cakes, others like pies. I may try a ‘pull apart cake‘ – the tops are cut off of cupcakes, they are decorated as one cake but you can pull the separate cupcakes out so there is no messy cutting and serving.

You won’t walk far in our house without tripping over a toy. We requested no gifts on her invitation. Some will bring them and we’re happy to get them but their presence is present enough.

The Birthday Girl

All that matters is that your child feels special on their birthday. It doesn’t take much. The party is the setting but it’s their friends and family that matter most. Make sure that you enjoy yourself too. You shouldn’t make yourself so stressed out that you can’t play alongside your child. 🙂

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I was back in California recently for my nephew/godson, Otto’s, 6th birthday party! It was at a fun bouncy house (who doesn’t do them these days? They are so much fun!) and my sister said that she had to keep an eye on two kids whose parents dropped off their kids. I thought this was interesting because most of the birthday parties I go to in New York, the parents come and stay and watch over their own children. It made me question, what is the appropriate age to drop off your kid and is it a burden to the parent/host of the party or is it a good way for any parents to get a 2 hour break (sounds good to me, right?)?

It seems that beginning in pre-school, EVERY weekend is packed with birthday parties at gyms, art classes, sports facilities and more around town. At most birthday parties, upon arrival you just release the children and watching them go! When my sister was recently looking after two kids (from different families) at Otto’s party, it made me wonder when it is appropriate (or preferred) for a parent to drop off their kids and return an hour or two later to pick them up. At her party, the majority of the kids who were attending (around 40) all had some sort of chaperon or parent there for them.

Growing up, I remember carpooling to parties with other neighborhood friends. Usually one parent would drive us there and then our own parents would come to pick us up. My parents loved it! It allowed them free time to do what they wanted while I was off having a good time. Today, it seems to me that parents feel like they are expected to come to a birthday soiree (and to be fed too!).

Personally I think it is fine to have parents attend and watch over their kids. I think the appropriate age to drop off a child is if they are potty trained and have been left alone before with a babysitter for example so that they don’t have separation anxiety and leave the parent/host in a lurch. Let us know your thoughts! We would love to hear them.

Here are some pictures of my sister and Otto, Otto with his crown, and Otto’s brother (my youngest nephew) Wade playing in the bouncy house!

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