Executing a child’s birthday party well is a bit like trying to get all the colours to line up on one side of a Rubik’s Cube. Just when I think I have all the elements in place I look down and there it is: a red square glaring at me from a sea of yellow.
I’m trying to balance the usual party stuff:
- budget (small)
- food (providing healthy options as well as ones that kids will actually eat)
- a fun activity or activities (that will keep them busy for longer than 30 seconds)
- inviting all their friends (while not leaving anyone out and sticking to our budget)
- finding a place to have the party (that can accommodate all the kids and the activities without costing $600 for an hour and half)
Okay, birthday parties stress me out.
Fun and active birthday party ideas
So when I see parents doing it well, I’m inspired. And the parties that inspire me tend to be the ones that are sane, affordable and doable; like the one my son went to in June. It was a sports-themed party for one of his best buddies.
The parents, who unlike my husband and I, have great confidence in both their sports skills and child wrangling skills took their group to the park (affordable venue: check), armed with cut up veggies and water for the group (healthy food option: check). The kids played soccer and baseball and then came back to the dead-end behind their house to play some hockey and have a dance contest (fun activities: check) which was followed by pizza and ice cream cake (kid-friendly food options: check).
It was simple and so much fun. Although it was shocking to find out how many of the 6-year-olds know all the lyrics to the song “Sexy and I know it”.
Still, my hat goes off to our sporty friends for being able to pull this one off on their own without hiring someone else to spearhead the games as we did at our own son’s sports birthday party. Once we had the budget (small), guest list (small), venue (my parents’ backyard) and food (fruit, chips and cake) sorted out, the sport activities represented the red square on the Rubik’s cube that was messing everything up.
We didn’t think we had it in us to keep the group entertained and focused so we called in some reinforcements and in the end – as I sat on the deck with a few of the grown-ups enjoying a cool drink and lovely, relaxing conversation, while the kids had fun in the yard – it was clear that for us the extra expense to get some help was well worth it.
Clearly there are ways to give your kid a special party without making yourself completely crazy. Just as my son started planning his next party minutes after this one ended, I’m also making notes for next year.
Have you had any success hosting active birthday parties? Let’s help other parents by building a list of ideas.