Birthday party help - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 12-02-2009, 04:18 PM - Thread Starter
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We have a small house, an almost 6-year-old son with a winter birthday and no money to have the party elsewhere.

Last year we had his party at a bowling alley, but it was expensive and we can't do that this year.

This will be our first time having a real 'kid' birthday party at our house.

He is allowed to invite 6 friends. So far what we have planned is 'make your own pizza' at the kitchen table, where we pre-assemble individual-sized crusts with sauce and put out an array of toppings which the kids can choose from. While the pizzas are baking we planned to do some variation of 'pin the tail on the donkey.' Obviously cake, or cupcakes. I'm going to have some food and wine for the adults (maybe some trader joe's appetizers, cheese and crackers, veggies and fruit--for kids and adults, obviously). Any other suggestions? A juggler (I have an aquaintance who would probably come for cheap). A face-painter? (don't know where to find one of those!)

I'm terrified of a wild herd of 6 year old boys running amok in my house! What should I do with them that will be fun and not too destructive?

Thanks, Jessi
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#2 of 15 Old 12-02-2009, 04:56 PM
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I'll think about your other questions, but I just wanted to say that in our area, six-year-old parties are generally considered drop-off unless the invite says otherwise.

I would definitely have a bunch of go-to activities planned, even stuff like Simon Says. I have a six-year-old boy, and they DO have a lot of energy!

p.s. I def wouldn't spend money on a face painter. Only one kid at a time, and it's not really entertainment. If you have space for the juggler and he has an act aimed at kids, that could be fun. I don't think you NEED entertainment, though. What about a treasure/scavenger hunt with picture clues?

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#3 of 15 Old 12-02-2009, 05:13 PM
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but what about a create your own ice cream sunday instead of a cake? May be cheaper, definitely fun.

How about a three legged race, egg toss, (again my not have room in your house). spelling basket ball with prizes (eraser in a small waste basket). Kareoke set.

good luck
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#4 of 15 Old 12-02-2009, 05:53 PM
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Remember, you don't NEED to do anything. Believe me, 6 six-year old boys will find plenty of ways to keep themselves entertained without having scheduled activities. Other people's toys are the greatest thing in the whole world. I think your plan as-is sounds good.
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#5 of 15 Old 12-02-2009, 06:00 PM
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I'd just do what you already have planned and let the kids play for the rest of the time. No need to spend the money on the face painting.

I really like the build your own ice cream sunday thing instead of the cake. I might need to steal that for dd's next birthday.

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#6 of 15 Old 12-02-2009, 06:03 PM
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I agree with 6 yo's you don't need to plan much at all. The pizza thing sounds fun - but isn't even necessary, IMO. You could order, make homemade ahead of time, or cook a frozen pizza and they'd be happy. I'm sure the kids would love to make their own, though.

Definitely do specify on invites if parents/siblings are welcome or expected - or if drop-off is fine. 6 seems to be an in between age for parties. Some parents may not be comfy leaving their kid unless they know you well, and others may not be the slightest bit interested in staying the whole time.

Really, though, they will have fun eating a snack or light meal, singing happy birthday and having cake/ice cream, and watching your DS open presents. All that takes up a bit of time as it is - and any open time, they will find ways to keep busy (playing w/new stuff, your DS's toys, in his room, playing with balloons if you have them, and so on).

One more thing, IME, if you invite 6 children - chances are only half of them will come so your home might not be as noisy as you are thinking (though, you could be surprised, so plan for all 6).

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#7 of 15 Old 12-02-2009, 08:44 PM
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Classic children's party games that work indoors:
  • Pin the tail on the donkey (you already mentioned this one)
  • Hide-n-seek (this does mean you would have kids getting into everything though)
  • musical chairs
  • Charades/Pictionary
  • Simon says (some one else mentioned this one too.)

Other activities:
  • Decorate your own cupcake
  • pinata
  • Get someone to put on a magic show (you'd be surprised how simple many tricks are. You or your DH, which ever of you is more of a performer, could probably learn some from a book. {disclaimer on book, the book I picked up some magic from is long out of print so I just linked to the first one I found.})
  • Art project, like decorate a bird house

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#8 of 15 Old 12-02-2009, 08:50 PM
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I think it's great that you have some activities planned. Could you send the boys outdoors? Our most successful home parties were less structured and the kids just had fun seeing the child's toys and room and playing around. Here in New England it's chilly now and I'm not sure where you live but if you asked the boys to dress warmly there are probably some fun outdoor things they could do which equals less noise and less cleanup!
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#9 of 15 Old 12-03-2009, 04:59 PM
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Like some other posters have already mentioned, I wouldn't count on the parents staying. By 4, no parents stayed at my kids parties.

Like you, my kids b-days are in the winter so if we do a party at home, we are stuck inside. In terms of activities, we usually have a theme and then plan activities around that theme. Here are some of the things that we have done:

Pirate Party:
Decorated a treasure chest (small chest that i had gotten at Michaels painted brown and then gave them some jewels to glue on)
Treasure hunt which led them to their goody bags
Pop the cannonball (a bunch of black balloons that they had to sit on to pop)
Hot Cannonball (played like hot potato)
Walk the Plank (a long piece of wood bought at Home Depot set up like a balance beam)
Sword Fight - gave them all a cardboard sword and turned them loose

Medieval Party:
Decorate their own shield (cut shields out of cardboard, gave them foam stickies and paper cutouts to decorate with)
A version of Hot Potato with a medieval theme
Made a tunnel out of cardboard boxes, stuck cardboard swords in it and let them climb through it while people wiggled the swords. This was a HUGE hit!
Rescue the princess - put a doll under a laundry basket and they had to fight off the dragon (DS's dad) with plastic swords to get to the princess.
Feed the knights to the dragon (like pin the tail on the donkey)
Escape from the dungeon - tied a ballon to their ankle and they had to pop the balloon to be able to escape the room that was the dungeon.

I think a few games plus an arts/craft activity would be fine. Hot Potato has been a big hit at every age so far. I agree with the other posters, I would skip the face painter or any other entertainer. I have been to many parties that hired someone to come (magician, clown, balloon blower, etc) and the kids really did not enjoy it that much. the balloon maker was the worst because they had to wait so long to get their balloon.

If you really want 6 kids to show up though, you might want to invite a few more. DS went to a party last year where 6 kids were invited but only 3 showed up. The b-day boy was a little disappointed that more kids weren't there.
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#10 of 15 Old 12-04-2009, 01:21 AM
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We have the same problem. We are paying for the party at the YMCA again this year because I just do not want it in our house.

But, we are also doing a theme: spy party. When the kids show up, they are going to have "physical training": obstacle course, relay race, jumping jacks, etc. Then they are going to put on disguises. We got some equipment for this because the disguises are doubling as the goody bags, but if you have enough dress up clothes, you wouldn't even need to buy anything. As they finish the disguises, word is going to arrive that the cupcakes have been stolen, but some coded messages were left behind. They will have to de-code the messages, which will lead to a map, which will reveal the location of the cupcakes. We haven't had the party yet, but we're very excited about it. I love the pirate and medieval party ideas too.
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#11 of 15 Old 12-04-2009, 01:47 AM
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A juggler who can do a show and also teach them some basic, even just with 1 item, juggling would be great, but you have to have a space for that with no breakable objects. 3 little juggling balls would make a great thematic party favor too.

We've had more luck with the face painting crayons and letting a reasonably artistic parent do some decorating. You can also do some practice first. However, it can be really messy and smear onto clothing and furniture, so it wouldn't be my first choice for an indoor house party. Temporary tattoos would be great fun though, and they just stick on with warm water and don't smear onto clothes or furniture.

If you have access to enough inexpensive digital cameras and assisting adults, an outdoor (or could be indoor) photo scavenger hunt would be awesome and a way to let them burn off steam outdoors. Split them into pairs or groups of three and give each group a list of things to find and photograph; if it's snowed there, a snowman (they can find or make and take a pic), everyone in the group standing on their heads, etc. Give each group different photographs to take. First group to finish their list and return the camera with pics to you gets first choice at choosing juggling balls or something like that.

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#12 of 15 Old 12-04-2009, 10:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the suggestions. For some reason, around here, parents ALWAYS stay. Believe me, I've often wished I could drop my ds off and skip the socializing with a bunch of people I don't know (and often, don't like too much either).

Since 'less is more' is pretty much my motto, I'm glad to hear that it probably won't be necessary to do a bunch of stuff. I think I'll have them do a tiny craft project for "Pin the spark on the transformer' where they can each make their own 'spark' (this is a transformers thing--my dh assures me the kids will know what it means). I'll put out not-too-messy craft supplies.

Then pizza decorating, maybe a 3-legged race and cake.

Then I'll have a bottle (I mean a glass) of wine and try not to look at the mess...
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#13 of 15 Old 12-04-2009, 04:40 PM
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Blow up lots of balloons and have them all around. They will love it and be entertained for a long time.

I definitely would not hire a face painter. It's usually a drag waiting in line and it is not entertaining.

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#14 of 15 Old 12-04-2009, 05:10 PM
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Just a thought.. we rent a room at the local community center for my DD's birthday. It cost me about $45 for the auditorium (that has toys in it becuase that is where all the playgroups are) and the art room (where they are allowed to eat) for 2 hours.
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#15 of 15 Old 12-04-2009, 07:52 PM
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I have 2 DDs with winter birthdays and we haven't had one at home, but have rented:

- gymnastics place
- community centre room
- 'funzone' kinda place (bouncy castles, mini-golf)
- the preschool rents rooms

This year we rented a dance studio and instructor for a hip hop party.

Friends have rented bowling alleys, pools.

Here, the prices are super reasonable otherwise parents wouldn't do them. ~$200 Cdn for 2+ hours, including cleanup, sometimes incl. food.
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