Last week was my eldest's 10th birthday and with it the fun of organising one of our 3 annual kids parties! As he is my eldest, his birthdays have always been the benchmark by which other birthday parties are organised in our household and as the eldest, he usually has the clearest opinions on what he wants.
I know that organising birthday parties is not for everyone, but I have to admit that it is one of the parts of parenting that I enjoy the most. I really love marking the milestones each year with something that fits with each of my children's interests and personalities. My daughter's birthday is just before Christmas so lends some particular challenges with everyone being busy and it being cold and dark, and my youngest's is slap bang in the summer holidays and so usually involves the park, or for the last two years, lockdown garden celebrations. My eldest's birthday celebrations in October have, therefore, tended to give me the opportunity to be a bit more creative than the others have so far.
When he was very little we went for the big church hall, 20+ kids parties, but we soon realised that this tended to cause overwhelm for him and myself! I loved organising his second 'Story Book' themed birthday party that involved a complete Very Hungry Catapillar buffet and his fifth 'Roald Dahl' party with chocolate factory, BFG dream jars and Matilda reading corner. However, it soon became aparent that a successful birthday party didn't need this level of complexity and the stress that inevitably followed. Instead, we now favour a smaller party with only a few friends to entertain.
When he turned six he invited four friends to join him at his Spy Party. We collected the children from school and walked them to our house via a series of puzzles and games. When they arrived at our house they had to climb through a laser maze made of string before entering a room filled with balloons containing padlock keys. Once popped they found all the keys and had to unlock a series of padlocks locking a chain around a box. Inside was a spy kit each as a party bag. For anyone looking to reduce the stress and mess of birthday parties, I highly recommending going for an after school timing.
His eighth birthday party was a personal favourite. We filled a church hall with a selection of cardboard boxes that we had collected, along with some rolls of masking tape, felt tip pens and scissors. The children were then challenged to create whatever they wanted out of cardboard. The creations were amazing and the children had so much fun. This affordable and easy to organise party was a real lesson in how keeping it simple is the best plan.
This year, as he turned ten, he had clear opinions on what he wanted to do. We usually start discussing the 'theme' in August and this year we had to narrow choices down between a Nerf gun party and escape room. We eventually settled on an escape room (mainly because of the overwhelm thing and also because I didn't fancy spending the afternoon stood in the woods in the rain!) and I managed to find one in Bath that was suitable for children. He chose 4 friends who he thought would enjoy the challenge and we had fun helping them solve puzzles and work out clues. In reality, it was probably a bit too much of a challenge for ten year olds, but they had fun nonetheless.
So, what next? My daughter's party at Christmas is going to be a 'Bedtime Story' party. We will have a few friends over after school and invite them to come in pjs and dressing gowns. A few bedtime stories and a Christmas movie along with hot chocolate and popcorn should do the trick.
I am keen to do a sleepover party but my daughter is definitely not old enough to cope with it yet but when she is old enough I definitely think that she would love it. Maybe turing 11 will be the time for my son to have his first 'proper' sleepover. When I was a kid this involved a lilo in the lounge. Now, there are some amazing options to make a sleepover party something really special.
In the summer holidays, Natalie from Little Nights In was kind enough to lend me one of her sleepover set ups. My three kids loved the Movie Night theme and had tons of fun watching movies and eating popcorn in the kitchen. The beds are so cute and can be themed to suit any interest. I think this would be a perfect party for any of my kids. My daughter would particularly love the Pretty in Pink theme. At just £30 per bed (minimum numbers apply) this would fit nicely into my £150 birthday party budget too. There are lots of little extras that you can add to make the party even more special, including sweet stands, giant games and even themed invites. Check out www.littlenightsin.co.uk for more information.
Natalie has just started her business to give her more flexibility around raising her gorgeous little boy so it is really lovely to see another fabulous Mum in Bath in Business working hard to build her name in the local community. Do give her Facebook page a like and remember her when you are next planning your children's parties.
Natalie is very kindly offering Mums (and More) in Bath members a 10% discount on bookings. Simply mention 'Mums and More' when you book. Book a sleepover before the end of November and you will also get a FREE popcorn or sweet stand with your sleepover!
What has been your favourite kids birthday party? Do you enjoy organising them or would you rather hire someone to come and take the stress out of it for you? Let me know in the comments below.