Birthday party hoopla

Birthday party hoopla

Joined: October 4th, 2005, 5:01 pm

May 1st, 2012, 7:37 pm #1

Hello! I am a longtime user of this forum and while I don't post often I do respect the opinions and advice of the members.
My DS will be 5 in June and I am considering throwing him a "friends" party--this would be the first and would be separate from the family party we have. The friends would be his pre-school classmates (12). To cut down on the expense I'd like to have it at home, possibly outside if the weather permits. If the weather does not permit, we would be inside. My house, while comfortable, is not huge and would be crowded if all 13 kids attended with a parent. Do any of you have experience throwing b-day parties at home and have some "do's" and "don'ts" you could share? Suggestions for games or activites?

Also, DH does not believe in "friends" parties, and in some ways I feel the same. DS will have a family party, cupcakes at school, a friends party, and (because his birthday falls on a Thursday) some sort of token acknowledgement of his actual birthday. While I love DS dearly, I feel somewhat overwhelmed with all this birthday hoopla. Does anyone out there keep birthday celebrations simple?

Many thanks,

Mel-PA
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Joined: August 21st, 2006, 3:29 pm

May 1st, 2012, 8:39 pm #2

MelPA,

It's lovely to see you -- been a long time!

I can tell you what we did for my DS's first "friends" bday party, which we also held at recently at age 5. Ours included just 2 invited kid guests (out of 3 we invited ... also his "whole" preschool class, but a smaller group!) but also 3 parents total plus one older (7?) and one younger (2) sibling. Anyway I gave DS the option of (a) inviting everyone to our local public (indoor) pool, which is nice and allows such things or (b) having everyone over to our place for waffles one morning. He chose (b). We had folks over from about 9-11 one weekend morning and the entertainment consisted entirely of (a) preparing (we had a bunch of berries, whipped cream, and syrup) waffles; (b) squeezing fresh orange juice (we have a small hand squeezer; parents helped; and (c) opening a few gifts and generally horsing around. It was actually quite lovely. We prepared the waffles during the event but in retrospect I'd either make them before or if I had a group the size you're describing just buy pre-made waffles (eggo or similar) and warm them up day of. We managed it, but with a large group of kids (or even a small group, ahem) a hot waffle iron could pose a hazard.

DS did have a bday cake as part of a family event but not at the waffle party. I got all the berries, etc., ready the night before -- not much work.

Weather was bad our day, so it was good it was a small group. We were snug but not squished in our home.

One of DS's preschool friends also recently had a party; they rented a large picnic shelter at a local public park, served bagels, cream cheese, fruit, and cupcakes, and had an assortment of sporting gear handy (mostly balls, also some kid-height basketball hoops). It poured but the shelter was large enough it worked fine -- the kids just played around at one end and food was at the other.

HTH. We are working hard to avoid the hoopla, too.

Best wishes,
Alex
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Joined: June 20th, 2006, 2:07 am

May 1st, 2012, 9:17 pm #3

Hello! I am a longtime user of this forum and while I don't post often I do respect the opinions and advice of the members.
My DS will be 5 in June and I am considering throwing him a "friends" party--this would be the first and would be separate from the family party we have. The friends would be his pre-school classmates (12). To cut down on the expense I'd like to have it at home, possibly outside if the weather permits. If the weather does not permit, we would be inside. My house, while comfortable, is not huge and would be crowded if all 13 kids attended with a parent. Do any of you have experience throwing b-day parties at home and have some "do's" and "don'ts" you could share? Suggestions for games or activites?

Also, DH does not believe in "friends" parties, and in some ways I feel the same. DS will have a family party, cupcakes at school, a friends party, and (because his birthday falls on a Thursday) some sort of token acknowledgement of his actual birthday. While I love DS dearly, I feel somewhat overwhelmed with all this birthday hoopla. Does anyone out there keep birthday celebrations simple?

Many thanks,

Mel-PA
Parents don't have to accompany their child unless you feel you might want help then ask 1 or 2 parents you like to stay and help.

We always end up having 3 celebrations for our kids which I find amusing (unless I am tired then it's not so funny. lol) one on my side, one on DH's side and again with friends (and cupcakes/cake in class so officially 4 celebrations. and I wonder why my kids act like they are royalty. lol) Life would be easier if we could host but our place is small; no dining room even.

oh gosh and don't forget the actual day when we celebrate just us. holy cow, maybe that's why I don't think too hard on this stuff, it's rather embarrassing how fêted my kids are.

I recently hosted a kid party for my 9yo and had it at home for the first time. Usually we dish out the big bucks and go somewhere because our home is small.
I purposely kept things simple because kids keep each other occupied with the Lego and whatever else we have. (besides, I know how chaotic it can get and I'd hate to be all uptight about herding them to the next event)
Our party was this:
treasure hunt, look at loot bags (which was the treasure and yes, even the birthday boy gets a loot bag--keep in mind my kids are royalty).
cake with icecream (yes, there was a spill)
presents
play outside until pick-up (which ended up being watching a video because it was raining and half the kids didn't have rain gear which is fine because everybody knows that kids melt in the rain anyways).
From 1pm to 4pm--no lunch but I did throw some bowls of chips out right after the cake and icecream were done and they pounced on those.
Kept it to juice boxes but one child wanted a glass of water and guess what? it got spilled because he forgot he was holding it and just sort of spilled it out. It was water so I didn't care, could have been worse.

I did do one "event" and it was a treasure hunt (or scavenger hunt, DH and I can't agree what it was called) for the loot bags, which we did right at first. We figured out 5 clues/riddles and had them running all over.
The one thing I'd have done differently was have one clue per child but the kids, being 8/9yo were old enough to handle the disappointment of not reading a clue but one kid was verging on a serious freak out and the others let him read one so that was nice.
At age 5, if you were to do a scavenger/treasure hunt, you can draw maps or visual clues. Hiding the next hint is easy, remember how at Easter when the kids hunt for eggs, they seem to miss the ones placed in obvious sight?


I really liked how simple this party was. No schedule to keep to.
Kids just love playing together and playing with another kid's toys. As long as you have a few balls for outside and some drawing material if you get desperate inside due to rain, it'll be fun (heck, even playdough, get them making snakes). If the boys aren't keen on drawing, challenge them to drawing a monster and if you draw one with huge googly eyes and vampire teeth, well you'll be very popular.

To have the kids eat their cake in my small home, I spread a sheet on the floor in our livingroom and sat them in a circle. It worked really well until I realized they don't all eat at the same rate (I can hear you all say duh from here) and one child just had to stand and pace a bit and he completely forgot that there were plates of cake and icecream all over and kids just don't protect their food like cavemen would. That was the spill but all was good, new slice of cake and scoop of icecream later (and quick clean with a cloth to boy's foot) and everybody was happy again.
I wasn't surprised, I was more surprised that there was only one spill but it was amusing to see my DH marvel at how unaware these boys are. But they are 8/9, what does he expect?? lol

Have fun and bah humbug to your dh who doesn't believe in kids parties. lol. just kidding.

Julie




me:43, DH 44
FSH 26
DS: born by c-sec Apr15'03, 9lbs5oz 41wks gest. (after 4 years of ttc, starting in 1998)
DD born by c-sec Oct 13 2007, 8lbs13oz 39wk gest. (after just under 3 years of ttc)
~~DS was conceived naturally the cycle following a cancelled DE IVF, using my good friend's eggs. She was on the verge of hyperstimming.
~~DD's nat conception I attribute to using OPKs like a crazy nut, eating grapefruit daily and using preseed. also 5 cycles of TCM ending 2 cycles before that lucky cycle.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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Joined: August 30th, 2006, 9:39 pm

May 1st, 2012, 9:53 pm #4

Hello! I am a longtime user of this forum and while I don't post often I do respect the opinions and advice of the members.
My DS will be 5 in June and I am considering throwing him a "friends" party--this would be the first and would be separate from the family party we have. The friends would be his pre-school classmates (12). To cut down on the expense I'd like to have it at home, possibly outside if the weather permits. If the weather does not permit, we would be inside. My house, while comfortable, is not huge and would be crowded if all 13 kids attended with a parent. Do any of you have experience throwing b-day parties at home and have some "do's" and "don'ts" you could share? Suggestions for games or activites?

Also, DH does not believe in "friends" parties, and in some ways I feel the same. DS will have a family party, cupcakes at school, a friends party, and (because his birthday falls on a Thursday) some sort of token acknowledgement of his actual birthday. While I love DS dearly, I feel somewhat overwhelmed with all this birthday hoopla. Does anyone out there keep birthday celebrations simple?

Many thanks,

Mel-PA
Hi Mel,

Disclaimer here: I am fortunate that DD has an August bday so we have thus far opted for outdoor (park) party, which comes with its own entertainment (playground).

She was in FT daycare until starting k this fall, so we went very, very simple. School "party" was me coming to read the class a story and bring a small treat (they discouraged too much sugar, so one year it was mini-cupcakes, another year it was juicepops, and one year it was Oreos at a field trip that I helped chaperone.) The class would sing happy birthday.

At age 4 & 5, we did host a party at the park/playground closest to our home. We supplied drinks, cupcakes. At 4 yo, I also had food for the parents but no one ate it, so I didn't bother when she was 5. I do get enough cupcakes for parents as well as kids. And I DON'T spring for the designer cupcakes at the fancy-schmancy cupcake place. Nope, we order them at the grocery store (pre-order just so I don't have to worry about color, enough, etc) & pick em up day of. As far as I'm concerned, pre-k & kindergartners can't actually taste the difference between grocery store or fancy cupcakes, so why pay 4x the price??

In her k school, the kindergartners celebrate once per month, gathering together to sing happy birthday to all the kids who have birthdays during that month. And the birthday kids get a "prize" - like a pencil or fancy eraser. We will invite a small group of her friends & neighbors over for a low-key party, probably at the public pool. She will have the choice to invite only a few friends -- I've often heard it bandied about that the max # you should invite is the age your child is; so I might give her the option to pick 5 friends to join us at the pool. Because kids have different swimming capabilities, I DO expect some of the parents to be there, but we have a great public pool with a small kids pool & slide (3 feet depth) so I feel pretty safe with that number with no deep end. Since it will be summer, I don't yet know which kids she'll think of inviting - preschool friends, school friends, summer camp friends? But I plan to limit her to 5.

We live in a different city from our families, and we do not throw a separate party for family. One year my parents came up that weekend, and they attended the preschool party & the park party, but that's it.

Some of her preschool friends never had friends parties. Several of her k friends did not either - I think we've only been to two parties this whole year. I know at least one family went to the beach as a family over their kid's birthday weekend.

I think that the family party issue changes depending on how much family live in your area, and what the tradition is. My niece had friend parties from an early age, and when her birthday happened to be on a weekend I could be in their city, I did go, but that was about it.
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Joined: February 16th, 2006, 1:10 am

May 1st, 2012, 10:40 pm #5

Hello! I am a longtime user of this forum and while I don't post often I do respect the opinions and advice of the members.
My DS will be 5 in June and I am considering throwing him a "friends" party--this would be the first and would be separate from the family party we have. The friends would be his pre-school classmates (12). To cut down on the expense I'd like to have it at home, possibly outside if the weather permits. If the weather does not permit, we would be inside. My house, while comfortable, is not huge and would be crowded if all 13 kids attended with a parent. Do any of you have experience throwing b-day parties at home and have some "do's" and "don'ts" you could share? Suggestions for games or activites?

Also, DH does not believe in "friends" parties, and in some ways I feel the same. DS will have a family party, cupcakes at school, a friends party, and (because his birthday falls on a Thursday) some sort of token acknowledgement of his actual birthday. While I love DS dearly, I feel somewhat overwhelmed with all this birthday hoopla. Does anyone out there keep birthday celebrations simple?

Many thanks,

Mel-PA
We had 4 celebrations for each child, but the kid party and family party were combos for Jan/Feb bdays. Plus, we only had 4 kids at the kid party and none from either school (to avoid hard feelings which I won't get into because I had a 3 day rant here last month)

A school friend had a great party in her house--very small center city house-- and it was great. She invited the entire class of 28 + siblings, but only about 10 kids from class came. With siblings, though, about 20 K kids and younger sibs. It was supposed to be in a big park and it rained. So, she quickly set up little tables, sort of stations, where the kids could do different activites. She also used blankets on the floor to set up areas to eat as if it were a picnic. All the spills and crumbs got removed very easily. Great idea if you can't fit a big table. They held the cake for Happy Birthday and the kids stood behind him---great pictures this way.

Good Luck!!!




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Joined: February 16th, 2006, 1:10 am

May 1st, 2012, 10:46 pm #6

All the parents come with their children here. I don't know of any drop-offs, but that is a very regional thing. I would have children of parents I knew well here without them, but not ones I didn't. Plus, the parents you know well would be the ones that helped. You should be able to drop off, but we nobody does.

Also, agree with Susan about simple, cheap and no fuss things for the kids. Save impressive and expensive party fare for the adult parties.... a few decades from now when you get to have them again.LOL




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Joined: May 14th, 2004, 5:42 pm

May 2nd, 2012, 4:09 pm #7

Hello! I am a longtime user of this forum and while I don't post often I do respect the opinions and advice of the members.
My DS will be 5 in June and I am considering throwing him a "friends" party--this would be the first and would be separate from the family party we have. The friends would be his pre-school classmates (12). To cut down on the expense I'd like to have it at home, possibly outside if the weather permits. If the weather does not permit, we would be inside. My house, while comfortable, is not huge and would be crowded if all 13 kids attended with a parent. Do any of you have experience throwing b-day parties at home and have some "do's" and "don'ts" you could share? Suggestions for games or activites?

Also, DH does not believe in "friends" parties, and in some ways I feel the same. DS will have a family party, cupcakes at school, a friends party, and (because his birthday falls on a Thursday) some sort of token acknowledgement of his actual birthday. While I love DS dearly, I feel somewhat overwhelmed with all this birthday hoopla. Does anyone out there keep birthday celebrations simple?

Many thanks,

Mel-PA
We've only done a couple real parties (invites, special location, favors, etc.) for our kids over the years, but usually just end up having a family celebration at home, and maybe they invite a couple friends over. Last year for DS' 6th bday, we rented a waterslide bouncer and all his cousins and a couple friends came over with our families. We ordered pizza and had cake. It was simple and he loved it.

With DD who is 11, we usually let her invite a few friends - maybe 3-4 - and we go bowling, mini golf, or to an amusement park (if we can get cheap tix). Maybe we'll have a small family dinner with grandma as well, but nothing over the top.

I am very uncomfortable with excess in general, and it comes through with my kids as well (for better or worse).

Ann
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Joined: August 30th, 2006, 9:39 pm

May 2nd, 2012, 4:54 pm #8

Hi Mel,

Disclaimer here: I am fortunate that DD has an August bday so we have thus far opted for outdoor (park) party, which comes with its own entertainment (playground).

She was in FT daycare until starting k this fall, so we went very, very simple. School "party" was me coming to read the class a story and bring a small treat (they discouraged too much sugar, so one year it was mini-cupcakes, another year it was juicepops, and one year it was Oreos at a field trip that I helped chaperone.) The class would sing happy birthday.

At age 4 & 5, we did host a party at the park/playground closest to our home. We supplied drinks, cupcakes. At 4 yo, I also had food for the parents but no one ate it, so I didn't bother when she was 5. I do get enough cupcakes for parents as well as kids. And I DON'T spring for the designer cupcakes at the fancy-schmancy cupcake place. Nope, we order them at the grocery store (pre-order just so I don't have to worry about color, enough, etc) & pick em up day of. As far as I'm concerned, pre-k & kindergartners can't actually taste the difference between grocery store or fancy cupcakes, so why pay 4x the price??

In her k school, the kindergartners celebrate once per month, gathering together to sing happy birthday to all the kids who have birthdays during that month. And the birthday kids get a "prize" - like a pencil or fancy eraser. We will invite a small group of her friends & neighbors over for a low-key party, probably at the public pool. She will have the choice to invite only a few friends -- I've often heard it bandied about that the max # you should invite is the age your child is; so I might give her the option to pick 5 friends to join us at the pool. Because kids have different swimming capabilities, I DO expect some of the parents to be there, but we have a great public pool with a small kids pool & slide (3 feet depth) so I feel pretty safe with that number with no deep end. Since it will be summer, I don't yet know which kids she'll think of inviting - preschool friends, school friends, summer camp friends? But I plan to limit her to 5.

We live in a different city from our families, and we do not throw a separate party for family. One year my parents came up that weekend, and they attended the preschool party & the park party, but that's it.

Some of her preschool friends never had friends parties. Several of her k friends did not either - I think we've only been to two parties this whole year. I know at least one family went to the beach as a family over their kid's birthday weekend.

I think that the family party issue changes depending on how much family live in your area, and what the tradition is. My niece had friend parties from an early age, and when her birthday happened to be on a weekend I could be in their city, I did go, but that was about it.
If you really want simple, also consider NO GIFTS policy, and/or a book exchange.

And resist the urge to do party favors -- isn't getting cake & a fun time enough?
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