So, we have survived my daughter’s 7th birthday party! A couple of months ago, I decided to
mistakenly ask her what she wanted to do for her birthday: a lovely family day out at the beach? A trip to see Disney on Ice? Going to a pottery studio? No! A pizza party at home with a few of her friends, party games and, most importantly, a pizza cake!
‘Can we handle that?’, I asked myself. The stress of sorting out the house, organising food and entertainment for a group of sugar-fuelled, Katy-Perry-loving girls? In the past, it would have been easy, but nowadays things are trickier due to how quickly tiredness creeps up on me and stops me from having the energy to shop and organise. But yes. I was going to do this – with the help of my husband and some clever planning. The more that I looked into it, the more that I realised that party organisation can be done by a spoonie parent who doesn’t want her little girl to miss out. It can just take a bit of research and time.
Use the Internet
The internet is your best friend when it comes to organising children’s birthday parties – from ordering food to planning the party bags, it can all be done with a few clicks of the button. This year, I decided to forego the usual party-bag plastic that parents everywhere detest and ordered a set of puzzle books from The Book People, which worked out at 80p per book. A book and a cone of sweets (pre-made and bought from Ebay) were well received by the girls. Last year, I did the more traditional party bag – but I didn’t have to trawl through the shops – instead, I searched google for a company that offered pre-made, customisable party-bags and ended up getting some that the girls loved. The internet is also the place for party game prizes, cards, wrapping paper and free invitation templates to print out.
Keep it short and sweet
Run around, party games, food, activity – bam! Done. 2 hours was just the right amount of time for the kids to get sufficiently sugared out, have a couple of squabbles (what is it about 7 year old girls?!) and be ready for home – and me ready for a cup of tea and a nap.
Keep it simple
We ended up having a ‘pizza party’ this year and made it clear on the invites what it was. This made it easy to keep the food simple – we had the girls decorate their own (shop bought) pizza bases and served them with a simple mix of crudités, breadsticks and fruit. Pudding was shop-bought ice-cream cones or rocket lollies and biscuits. The cake was a a joint effort by me, my son (never toI too young to learn how to bake!) and my husband. Last year, however, we bought a packet cake mix to keep it simple. Keeping it simple may also mean buying a shop bought cake… whatever feels right to you and your energy levels is the right thing to do. Kids love cake whoever made it!
If you don’t have the energy for parties at home, have someone else do the hosting. We have had a party at a local soft play in the past – food sorted and no mess to come home to. There’s also bowling, ‘nerf wars’, swimming parties, cinema parties – anything that keeps the kids amused and, if you can sit down for most of the time, that is an extra bonus.
Keep ’em busy
Despite the weather being cold, it was dry, so we were able to chuck the kids outside with a couple of packets of coloured chalk and had them ‘decorate’ our paving for us. A good way to spend 20 minutes of the party whilst us grown-ups tidied a bit and had a sit down whilst slicing up the cake. Other ‘keep ’em busy’ activities include:
- blasting out music for a ‘disco’
- decorating bags/T-shirts with fabric markers
- making simple paper crafts such as fans, flowers or animals
- decorating store-bought sponge cakes/cookies
- making clay models
Nothing helps more than an extra pair of hands, so if someone offers to stay, say yes! Handing out sweets to the kids who can’t quite manage to hold still during musical statues, putting on temporary tattoos, keeping juice topped up, slicing cake – my husband and I managed well by ourselves this year as the kids were a bit older but, in previous years, having other adults around ensured that the parties ran smoothly. Older kids can also help to bake the cake or decorate the room ready for the party.
Plan nothing for the rest of the day
I prefer to have parties that end by 2pm-ish – that way, the rest of the afternoon can be spent resting if need be. Our daughter spent the rest of the day playing with her new toys and activities, whilst we relaxed with a cup of tea. Dinner was left over party food and the kids were early to bed.
Having kids’ birthday parties at home can be exhausting, but I was determined to have one this year – simply because I am not sure how long that I am going to be able to do it for. Our daughter is already planning her 8th birthday party – a sleepover – so I am hoping that is going to be an easy chuck-a-movie-on affair (I can but live in hope!)
I would love to hear if anyone has any tried and tested party ideas for spoonie parents that I have missed out 🙂