My idea is to invite several of his close preschool friends, probably 10 or 15 kids, knowing that some likely won't attend. I suspect 5-7 will be the number.
Adults in attendence will be me, DH, my mom and likely a college student or two from the university in town, more college girls if I think extra eyes and ears are needed.
Our idea is to get a bouncy-house type thing for the backyard (DS asked for that) and a few other outdoor fun stuff (bubbles, fall activities) and just let the kids play. I will figure out food later, that doesn't concern me too much.
Parents can stay or go, doesn't matter to me. We have enough room that I won't be tripping over them.
A few questions -
How long is long enough for a 5 yo party? Is two hours enough? Three hours seems long. Length of time doesn't matter too me, just looking for feedback.
Timing - I was thinking either 11am to 1pm or 1pm to 3pm. Or 2-4....? DS hasn't napped in years and we aren't tied to schedules but I know others are.
Should I plan it over lunch? Or in the middle of the afternoon?
Help! DS has attended one birthday party, which was a casual, low-key affair. I am CLUELESS! Any suggestions are welcome.
Two hours is definitely enough. Since kids usually don't eat a ton when they're having fun with their friends, they basically have and hour and a half to play and 30 minutes to have snacks and cake. We aren't doing any games, just having a splash pool, sprinklers and water balloons. Kids of that age are great at entertaining themselves, especially when there is a herd of them!
Enjoy the planning!! Remember to ENJOY the planning and the party and not get too wrapped up in the details. 5yos are easy to please!
Go with the bounce house. Always a good choice. But also set up one or two other play areas like a craft area and maybe a lego area or something that can be quiet, collaborative, or individual. Set up a snack and or lunch area and then don't try and control the flow. Let go of a "party schedule" mentality and treat it like a big play date with a treat at some point.
Great craft ideas are a beading table with thin copper wire, a very large sheet of high qualtiy paper with oil pastels (limit the color selection a bit and you can end up with a really lovely group work as a present to your DS). I often buy a couple of lego lots off ebay with say, a dozen skeletons plus a bag of accessories. Kids can accessorize their lego as a party favor.
Lunch or no lunch is fine but don't end the party at 12 and not serve lunch because then everyone is there and hungry and parents either need to hussle the kids to lunch and are vaguely restentful or they don't hussle and everyone crashes and leaves in tears.
And please, invite sibilings.
Our parties are gift-free so we never to have to shoe-horn that in and the only big roundup is at the end for the treat du jour.
I would have it after lunch. That way you can just serve drinks and light snacks like veggies & dip, pretzels etc. I'd say 2-3 hours is plenty. One thing you didn't mention is a pinata. You can get them pretty cheap and fill them with whatever you want. The kids went crazy over it at my son's 5th bday party. We also did pin the tail on the donkey (with a little piece of tape). Party bags are fun for the kids to take home. You can get them at the 99 cent store ;)
Mom to a bright & energetic 6 y.o. boy With my sweetie for 10 years now Registered nurse