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Children's parties

(18 Posts)
ponygirl Fri 12-Dec-03 22:51:30

Hi there. I've just booked our local community hall for my ds1's 5th birthday party in a couple of weeks and given out the invitations (19!) so I'm committed, but frankly I'm terrified. I'm doing it because everyone else does (I live in a small-ish village) and most importantly ds1 was desperate for a proper party. My brain has now gone a total blank on games/food etc. My nightmare is 20 children sitting on the floor saying "I'm bored I want to go home". Any tips on party success? Thought about getting an entertainer but can't really afford it. Help!

BadHair Sun 14-Dec-03 15:17:29

Pass the parcel is always good, with a small present (bag choc buttons etc) inside each layer so everyone gets something. Statues (music stops and everyone has to stand still, and if you move you're out)? What's the time Mr Wolf? Simon Says? Musical chairs, or Musical Cushions for the health and safety conscious?
Woudl go for lots of music but don't worry too much about a theme. You could do fancy dress with a small prize for the best costume, but depends on how competitive the other kids and their mums are.
For food, it kind of depends on what your ds and his friends like. Mine are up for butties, crisps, snack type stuff, jelly and ice cream, and of course cake. You can make all this much more healthy than it sounds, and if you rope in other family and friends they could all help with the food so you don't end up buttering 80 slices of bread at 11pm the night before! Or you could ask at the church hall in case they have someone who caters - some do.
Good luck whatever you do, and hope your ds has a great birthday.

zebra Sun 14-Dec-03 15:57:54

Ooh! Chance for me to have a small moan. Not sure about 5yo, but was at a 4yo Bday party today... they played the game where the children run around while music plays and then have to sit down on whatever chairs remain when the music stops? I don't know if that's musical chairs or something else... Anyway, I have officially decided that I hate that game for children under... maybe 6 or even 7/8. Because the 4yos & under definitely don't understand the rules, and just get upset when they're told to stop running around. Just have to get that off my chest!!!! I can't help if the Statues game could be the same unless all the children really understand the rules, it's not fair.

Pass the Parcel is very good, Simon Says is good. Serve savoury foods before cakes/biscuits, if you can. Some sort of treasure hunt is good -- I put flags around our garden with each party guest's name on it; that way, each child had to hunt a little harder and longer to get a prize, but also, each child definitely gets a prize, but only one prize (they got to select from a bag of goodies). I know a friend copied the idea for an indoor party, and I think she just did little labels or something instead of flags.

I hate organising children's parties, too, btw. Good luck!

fairydust Sun 14-Dec-03 16:27:55

my sil had one last week - and they got a bouncing castle for an extra £30.00 which kept all the kids well entertained

Oakmaiden Sun 14-Dec-03 16:42:13

Oooooooooh, thanks very much - you have just reminded me that I promised i would phone and arrange ds's birthday party today - he will ask me when he gets back from his Grandma's. Better go and do it!

Oakmaiden Sun 14-Dec-03 17:32:52


For my son's 5th birthday we hired a hall and a bouncey castle (and a ball pit, actually). It was great - the children just entertained themselves. Anything for an easy life! (Except for the days I spent before hand in the kitchen preparing nutritious delicacies to tempt their palates....)

pupuce Sun 14-Dec-03 18:22:28

Read this thread which was running silmulatenously.

ponygirl Sun 21-Dec-03 20:56:49

Thank you so much for the tips everyone! I now have 21 coming (gulp!)... Zebra - I know what you mean about musical chairs/statues etc. My ds played it at someone else's party and I cringed all the way through waiting for the tears. Nobody got upset though, they just looked bemused. My ds is quite keen to have that one, but then he's got quite a strong competitive instinct! I'm going to prepare for lots of games in case there's too much time and think we'll finish up with a bit of a disco thing: loud music and sparkly lights. For some reason they've been doing YMCA (words and actions!) at school so they should be up for (particularly when the sugar rush kicks in...).

JanH Mon 22-Dec-03 10:28:54

re musical bumps etc - you don't actually have to have an overall winner - just say each time the music stops who was the first one down and let them all carry on again. They just enjoy the jumping about and crashing to the floor.

A good game is the one where you label the 4 corners - you can do N S E W or put up a picture in each corner. When the music stops the kids have to choose a corner to run to - somebody who isn't looking shouts out the name of one of the corners and those children are out - keep doing it until you're down to 4, they each have to go to a different corner and this time the one shouted is the winner.

One of the times we had a party in a hall we put the food in cake boxes - you can buy them from a cake shop (I think they come in 3 sizes, the medium one was big enough) and then put a ration in each one, we found they tended to eat what they were given so there was less waste, and they could just sit crosslegged on the floor to eat. Easier to cart about in boxes too, but you can take some extra food for the good eaters.

handlemecarefully Mon 22-Dec-03 10:36:10

Pinning the tail on a donkey (or animal of choice) after being blindfolded and spun around just a little?

Sheila Mon 22-Dec-03 11:48:07

Can I ask about timing? I'm planning a 4th birthday party for DS and hope to have around 8 kids - how many games should I allow for in a 2-hour period, allowing some time for eating?

Also what time works best? I'm considering 11a.m. - 1pm or 3-5pm

Really grateful for any advice.

kmg1 Mon 22-Dec-03 21:16:22

Sheila, my boys are 4 and 6 - all the recent birthday parties (4ths, 6ths, and 7ths) have been 1.5 hrs only - that seems plenty. (It also seems to mean people arrive more promptly). Make sure you put the finishing time on the invites. Personally I prefer to have kids in the morning, as they are less tired and stroppy. If you have them over a natural mealtime, then it's more likely they will sit and eat 'properly' for longer. At this age many games may only last 5 minutes, depending on concentration skills. Make sure you explain the rules carefully and slowly, as games may be completely unfamiliar to the kids. I generally 'prepare' 10 games per hour, but expect to not use half of them. If a game is popular, and going well, we keep going and they might play it for half an hour.

ponygirl Sat 03-Jan-04 15:35:55

Thought I'd report back now I've got over the most stressful 2.5 hours of my life! Went well, though we had one extremely disruptive influence who sulked and moaned (loudly) virtually all the way through. The games went really quickly and I had to add more o the spot. We ended up with a bit of a disco which they seemed to enjoy. On the games front, my 83-yr old grandmother came up with a good extension of pass the parcel on new years day where she put a slip of paper in each layer of paper with something they had to do: pretend to play the guitar, hop, sing a song etc, which worked really well and extended the game. At our party, I introduced a second parcel half way through and sent it the other direction, which was a bit confusing (for me particularly) but stopped them getting bored.

I'm not sure I want to do a party like that again, but whatever me and dh thought (he hated it!) my ds1 loved it and was very happy, so it was all worth while. Have already decided to do party at a cinema next year...

Sheila Mon 05-Jan-04 15:14:34

Hmmm - think I will throw money at the problem and hire an entertainer!

dinosaur Mon 05-Jan-04 15:33:17

well done ponygirl

just a thought - if anyone in East London is looking for a party venue, Discover &Story Garden in Stratford is excellent - the DSs went to a very good birthday party there on Saturday

sandyballs Mon 05-Jan-04 15:49:04

Has anyone had a party at a Wacky Warehouse type of place? I was thinking about it for my twin DDs 3rd birthday party in March as they love climbing and jumping on these sorts of things.
The problem is, to get the place completely to ourselves, which I would prefer as they are so young, we would have to have the party on a Sat or Sun morning at 9.30am!!! They play for an hour then eat at about 10.30 - which I imagine is a crappy nugget/chips sort of meal. This seems weird at 10.30 - I'm sure the kids would love it but do you think their parents might moan?

dinosaur Mon 05-Jan-04 15:51:44

most kids get their parents up pretty early in the morning, don't they?

tbh, I prefer doing things with my DSs in the morning as they tend to be on better form then, also I then don't feel guilty if they spend the whole afternoon watching cbeebies!

as for the food thing, if you have an afternoon party the kids eat at about 3 pm which imo is similarly an odd time - but hey it's a party so who cares?

so all in all i think a morning do would be pretty good

charlize Mon 05-Jan-04 16:21:19

Sandy balls are you sure they are open at 9.30am?
I had dds 3rd at a wacky and the earliest party was a t 11am on a sunday. It was quite quiet at this time and only started getting busier at 12 when we went through for the food.
The food in these pubs usually doesn't start till 11.30 , which is why the first party of the day starts at 11am

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