Why have kids birthday parties turned into big events costing more than a ‘grown up’s dinner party and taking virtually as long to plan as a wedding?
What happened to good old fashioned kids parties when just a few friends and family were invited over for coffee, cake and a handful of presents?
Planning for my daughters 4th birthday party just recently, I started to question what happened between 1970 and today? Why do we parents feel compelled to host extravagant, large and expensive kids parties? Who in their right mind pays £150 for one hour of entertainment for TWO year olds? We do! I put my hand up – one year I foolishly spent over £300
for my three year old’s Pippi Longstocking party!!!! I could have got a nice pair of shoes for that? A REALLY nice pair!
Who is the party for – us, other parents or the kids? Help me out here, I’m not sure. All I know is that no matter what you spend or do, the one and only thing ALL the kids look forward to is the CAKE – so this year I decided to go back to basics, and keep my 4 year old’s party simple! Apart from the CAKE – as after all that is the highlight of any kids party!
Was I nervous? Yes! Was my 4 year old going to notice that mummy hadn’t hired a venue and entertainer? Was she going to feel let down? Disappointed? Sad? I decided to bite the bullet and planned for a basic party at home. I was determined to spend as little as possible but still make sure everyone had a great time. My husband was horrified and wondered how we were going to entertain 15 kids in our house. So this is what I did. Here is the back to basics party guide:
• Make sure your party is ‘drop off’ – that way you can concentrate on the kids and stop worrying about entertaining the parents. P.s Make sure you ask your closest girlfriends to stay for extra pairs of hands. You’ll need them!
• Keep it as small as you possibly can. Remind yourself who the party is for!
• If you are hosting at home make sure you clear your home of ‘precious’ items, that way you can relax and allow the kids to have fun without worrying about breakage .
• Spend a bit of the money you’ve saved on making your space look cosy, exciting and party like! Decorate with balloons and bunting. Splurge on nice table decorations for the kids…
• Get some nice music ready for when the kids start to arrive and play some nice simple music games. If you don’t have a lot of music, grab a spotify account – there’s literally thousands of kids songs including classics like Hokey Cokey and Simon Says.
• Plan party games in advance and make sure you have one ‘game’ or form of entertainment which requires them to sit down calmly. Classics like Pin the Tail on the Donkey can be found online and printed off.
• Don’t hire an entertainer. Ask a friend with special talents to help . You will always find someone and the kids wont know the difference.
• For younger kids, keep the goodie bag simple: a book, bubbles or one good toy! Don’t waste your money on lots of cheap plastic toys which will break by the time they get home.
• Tell everyone what you’re doing so they know what to expect. Spread the word, and get everyone to go back to basics. Who knows, they may just like it!