Does the notion of planning a child’s birthday party at home strike you with terror? It was Mini’s 6th birthday party recently. We had decided we’d do it at home. We have the space
and she gets a real kick when people call to the house so it seemed like a natural choice. Except of course, having to be responsible for other people’s kids puts me in a state of mild panic. And I had never organised an event for kids before. What would they do? What would they eat? How would we manage?
First things first, I insisted that the Frenchman organise a Saturday off as there was no way I was doing it on my own. In the end, it was a success. The kids were happy, Mini was ecstatic-there is a gorgeous video we have of her when the cake is coming out and twenty(yes, 20!!!) kids are singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to her. I don’t think I’ve ever seen another human being in such a state of utter joy. So it was worth it just for that alone! Here are some things we learned about what works for throwing a birthday party for a small child at home and what not to do!
What we learned:
1. Maybe don’t decide to invite your son/daughter’s entire class-in my defense, there are only 15 in the class!- plus kids from the estate.
2. Don’t pick a theme that’s not readily available in shops, say PJ Masks. Do be saved by creative people on Etsy and pay a few euro to get downloadable theme designs.
3. Don’t order costumes for your own children from a seller in China and feign mild shock that said costumes never show up.
4. Do read this very helpful post from Office Mum about hosting your own child’s birthday parties where she describes having a running order as key. Don’t ignore this and decide to wing it.
5. Do pick activities that will hopefully keep them busy. I bought some plain masks online and got some cheap pillowcases in Penneys which I cut in two to use as capes. Head to the craft shop to buy feathers, blank masks, stamps and markers so they can decorate their own masks and capes. Don’t undo all your good work here by also buying tiny stickers that the children can’t take off without adult help and also cheap glue that goes everywhere. Also Do be wary of adding glitter to the list cos nothing says house proud like every surface being covered in a layer of sparkling shitty glitter.
6. Don’t lose an evening sewing socks with no matchers together to make bean bags to throw at the baddie when perhaps you could have picked up some cheap already made equivalent at the pound shop. Do print out picture of baddie and stick to the top of a basket ball hoop like so so the kids can ‘get the baddie’.
7. The day before the party, come to the shocking conclusion that perhaps designing masks and capes won’t fill the two hours you have allocated for the party. Do plan for a superhero training obstacle course out the back (but pray for good weather!) using items you’d have to hand such as bean bag, play tunnel, chair, hula hoops. It actually doesn’t have to be all bells and whistles. We forget how good are kids are at using their imaginations sometimes!
8.On the day, DON’T tell every parent that it’s fine for them to leave.
9. Don’t resort to begging the last remaining parent to stay as the full horror of what you’re about to embark on becomes clear.
In the end, we were saved by two things-the last minute decision on my part to have an obstacle course outside and the good weather. Pelting the baddie with the homemade sock beanie bags was the number one part of the day. As it was, my house was trashed but I shudder to think what the place would have looked like if all 20 kiddos were housebound for the two hours.
So in conclusion, in order to throw a successful party for your child at home:
- Make sure you have plenty of adult helpers on hand.
- Plan some activities.
- Opt for basic food cos small kids really aren’t fussed-chips, sausages, smarties, crisps, Mi-Wadi orange and birthday cake. That’s it.
- Hire a cleaner for the next day.