We recently went to a birthday party for one of the boys in Pork Chop’s Kindergarten class. My anxiety comes into play when it comes to parties thrown by people I don’t know. However, this party was being thrown by my son’s old soccer coach and his friend’s mom. Though I don’t know either of them very well, it wasn’t so bad because we are acquainted. I was pleasantly surprised to see other soccer moms that I knew.
The party had a hot wheels theme but wasn’t all decked out with Pinterest inspired decorations. It was held at the sub-division’s playground and was easily one of the best (non-family) birthday parties we’ve ever attended. The couple that threw the party obviously had fun in mind! They had food aplenty, which the kids were too busy playing to eat. A half hour into the party, the boy’s dad, aka “Coach”–because he also coaches several sports at the local YMCA, brought out a beverage container that looked like two tires stacked on top of each other. It was filled with bubble wands. Each of the thirty or so kids present, lined up and got a bubble wand. They also played a game revolving around bubbles.
There was a pinata, which is a party staple. However, the parents strategically picked who hit the pinata. Each child had a chance to take a swing…and they weren’t even blindfolded! The pinata lasted until the last kid had a chance to whack at it. It was masterfully done.
A short time after the pinata and cake, the tire barrel thing came out again. This time, it was filled with cans of silly string. Coach had the kids line up quietly. He’s a pretty strict coach, which is great for Pork Chop’s personality, but kids are enchanted by him. Even Pea, who rarely leaves my side when among more than ten people, walked to the other kids and stood in line. He passed out cans to each child and announced that his son, the birthday boy, was the target. Pretty soon, silly string was flying all over the place. I sprayed Pea when she asked me to help her open the top. I couldn’t resist. Needless to say, she emptied the remainder of the can on my black capris. I wasn’t able to take any photos of the silly string fight because I was too busy protecting my camera and running away from my daughter!
The kids finished spraying and everybody cleaned up the silly string. They returned to the playground equipment and continued to play. By this time, I figured the party was winding down. Nope, the barrel came out AGAIN! This time filled with kites for each child. It was a beautiful windy day. There’s a huge field in front of the playground so the parents put the kites together and the kids raced to the fields. A few kites got tangled but for the most part, the kite flying was a success!
By the time the kids were tired from running back and forth across the field pulling their kites along, it was pretty late. We wished Pork Chop’s friend happy birthday and said our goodbyes.
Driving home, the kids excitedly recounted their favorite parts of the party. They had a blast and smiled all the way home. I was impressed with the planning and timing of the party. Since the party was not being thrown at their house, they had brought all of the favors, food, cake, and other supplies with them! Not once did either of the parents leave to retrieve something from home.
In this day of Pinterest and party printables, it was refreshing to attend a child’s birthday party that focused more on the kids’ enjoyment than on the party decorations. (However, I do have to say that the invitation was beautiful and pinterest worthy. The mom is a very talented photographer.) Sometimes, the kids could care less about the decorations. This year, Pea wanted to have a “hello kitty unicorn party.” When I offered her a choice between her hello kitty unicorn themed house party and a party at the local JumpZone! (a bounce house center) she chose the Jumpzone! with no hesitation. Fun always wins. Birthdays are celebrations and though the party decorations enhance the celebration, they don’t make the party.
So the next party I throw, I know I will be focused on the activities more than the decorations. Party favors are great but the memories and good times are worth a lot more to me.
How do you define the perfect kids birthday party? Give me your party tips in the comments!