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06:51 am: birthday planning
Teddy and I are attending a birthday party this afternoon, at another gymnastics place (I was going to write "gym," but didn't want to associate "5-year-old's birthday party" with "Gold's" or somethin' - look! your kid can pump iron!). I realized as we were discussing the weekend plans that...


...we need to plan Teddy's party. Unlike past years, Teddy will be having a party with, y'know, kids. So I can't do the "fambly? please come on Teddy's birthday? kthxbye" routine. (Though I plan to also do that. Fambly, please come, etc.)

Around here, people seem to do parties at various venues. Bowling alleys, gymnastics places, etc. We haven't been invited to any pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, musical-chairs, cake-at-home type o' parties.

I thought Teddy was going to go that cheaper, but higher-effort, route until I realized that he was only voting for it 'cause he wanted friends there.

Oops, my bad communication.

So he seems to have settled on the movies, which we'll do a couple of weeks before his birthday (thus the need to plan, like, now). We'll get the "party room" (which I won't see until later today, so this plan could change abruptly) for an hour before the movie with popcorn and drinks (and cake and ice cream, of course). The kids get Go Boxes (popcorn, drink, and candy in an easy-carry box) and the movie, of course. Gotta figure out favors.

We'll see how it goes.

Most of the kids' parties we've been to have NOT involved opening gifts at the party, which I think is an excellent idea. But how long does eating cake and ice cream take? How much entertainment do I have to plan? What kind of entertainment? Is the movie enough, I hope?

Advice from experienced partiers much appreciated.

Current Location: Longmeadow
Current Mood: okayokay


[User Picture]
Date:November 14th, 2009 08:09 pm (UTC)
oh the pressure of being the perfect party-giving-mom! i feel your pain. we did a party at the local indoor swimming pool last year, and that worked AWESOME. honestly, i wanted the party somewhere else so i didn't have to worry about cleaning the house both before and after the party.

i firmly stand behind the no-favors rule. most parents don't want them, they just get thrown away - environmental waste, money waste, blech. if someone judges me for not having favors, so be it (totally my opinion, i'm not trying to say other people shouldn't do it if it makes them happy).

this year we did the bowling alley, because colin is in love with the bowling alley, and pretty much all things bowling. it was a bit stressful, getting everyone's shoes and setting up whose name is on which lane. most parents had to be pretty involved with the kids' bowling, so there wasn't a lot of grown-up chatty-chat time.

i think an hour is a good time frame for a party. i don't know what i'd do for an hour at a movie theater, before the movie. i could imagine that the kids would get bored - is there an arcade or something on-site? could you pass out $2 worth of quarters to each kid and send them on their way? that's a favor, right there!

i totally agree that opening presents at the party is a bad idea. i wish i would have said "no presents please" for colin's party. i felt obliged that colin open them, so the people who gave them could have the warm fuzzy feeling of colin getting excited about them. he wanted no part of it. luckily the parents were understanding.

does that help?
[User Picture]
Date:November 14th, 2009 08:22 pm (UTC)

thanks, yes

I figure some people will be late, cake & ice cream will take, what? 30 minutes?, a few minutes for potty runs, then get into the movie theater a bit early to get their go-boxes and settle down. Scroot!

I thought for favors I might do popcorn bags with a bag of microwave popcorn, plus a couple of movie-related cheapo toys to add to the landfill. But I'll ask my Local Source (Teddy's music teacher, who is the host of the party we're going to today).

Fortunately, I don't care about being the perfect party mom. I'll settle for perfectly adequate. :g:
[User Picture]
Date:November 17th, 2009 02:55 am (UTC)
If I can get 'donations' from my family... or make some money in the new year with my health program, etc. I think we might have dd's 2nd birthday party at MyGym. Every mom I've ever spoken to said their bday parties are phenomenal... they have a party room for cake and presents but they discourage it: use the time for the kids to play and I've heard the activities are awesome! Figured we'd do a late morning party (1.5 hours?) then head back to our house for lunch and let the kids play around the house.

I've heard some moms seek out other kids who have birthdays in the winter: bday parties are something to do on the weekends when it's too cold/icy/snowy to play outside. Ha! I think that's funny.

I think the movie idea is great... and the theaters around here all have arcades. Even a quick game of chase while waiting to get into the theater would take up time/burn off steam.

How about this for a game (to help kill 30 minutes): every parent gets a note card with something active the kids have to do like, Fly like a bird; Stomp like an elephant; Dance party; Tip toe quietly; March in line; Wiggle your fingers; Bob your head; Shimmy; Repeat, etc. The other side of each notecard is a color (or number or an object like Cube, Tree, Sun, etc.). Teddy has a sealed envelope for each notecard. He opens an envelope, discovers the color/number/object and has to politely approach (as opposed to chaos and with volume) each parent to find that corresponding color/number/object. The parent reads (or Teddy reads) what they're supposed to do and the kids all have to do that. Maybe even time it (a whole 15 seconds of each activity) or let the parents 'rate' their activity 1-10, then move on to the next envelope... With enough cards/envelopes, that should kill 10 minutes...
[User Picture]
Date:November 17th, 2009 03:00 am (UTC)
Put 4 party hats down to mark the square and have the kids stay within the square (so they don't run totally around the lobby, unless of course, it's empty and you're comfortable with it). Make sure to spell out the rules (like no touching each other, no yelling, etc.).

Buy a happy birthday stamp and non-toxic ink pad and give every kid a stamp on their hand as they enter the theater/complete the game. Scratch and sniff stickers are good too, but they might also get stuck to the chair in front of them and the theater might not like that.

See, I was a Rec major! :)
[User Picture]
Date:November 17th, 2009 03:11 pm (UTC)


Great ideas, but I'll have to figure out how to use them in the time and space we have.

I figure we'll have <1 hour, which has to include cupcakes and ice cream, plus ordering the Go-boxes. Not a lot of time left for activities... and if I get pressured into the Opening of the Giftage, none at all.

What's even harder is the space, which is *fantastic* (filled with movie promotional stuff, like a 6' Wall-E sculpture thingy), but has no room for anything. It's dominated by a big table.

This is going to be more of a consume-carbs-and-send-'em-back-hyped-to-their-folks party than a burn-calories-and-send-'em-back-exhausted party, unfortunately.
[User Picture]
Date:November 17th, 2009 08:57 pm (UTC)

Re: activities

Sorry, I thought you asked how much time cake and i/c would take and if you'd need to offer entertainment. My bad :)
[User Picture]
Date:November 18th, 2009 01:57 pm (UTC)

I did!

That was before I saw the room, though, which is wonderful but severely limits my options.
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