Athos celebrated his 6th birthday over the weekend with a party for a few friends. We played lots of crazy games (including a raucous round of Limbo where the parents got so into it that the kids lost interest and left….). Will post about some of the more engaging activities subsequently.
For now, I just wanted to share some thoughts on organising a kids’ birthday party. This is my 4th, with no doubt more to come, so here’s some of what I’ve learnt along the way:
- Involve the child in designing the party as much as you can. The invitations, the guest list, the menu, the program, the decor, the goodie bags – any or all of these can be a great opportunity for the child to learn about what goes into organising a party, about making decisions, about how much (or how little) things cost. Not to mention a great opportunity for any parent to understand their child better. I’ve realised, for example, that Athos likes his parties small – 5-7 friends – and that he’s very thoughtful about his guests. (Pink icing for the girls, he said.)
- Start the party with a less structured activity like drawing, so that early kids have something to do, and late kids don’t feel like they’ve missed out on the program.
- Have more games/activities than you think you need. Kids are unpredictable, and you might sense partway through a game that it’s not working out. Having enough options on standby is a great help.
- Have more prizes than you think you need. Some kids are poor losers and making sure there are consolation prizes, no matter how small, can help. A little nuancing can also go a long way – why say “winner” and “loser” when you can say first, second and third prize!
- Have a plan but be 100% prepared to ditch it. The idea is for everyone to have fun, and the plan must serve that aim. I had 6 games in a particular order, but we ended up playing them in a completely different order. Then when we played game #3, only 3 kids were interested and the rest wanted to play with toys. I decided it was perfectly ok for the party to split into 2 groups. Game #6 happened only at the end of the part (after the cake!)