Author Topic: Help with my party planning - please?  (Read 2460 times)

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workerbee

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Help with my party planning - please?
« on: May 02, 2012, 02:55:04 PM »
We are having my son's 4th b-day party this weekend. I just wanted to get some feedback on whether there's anything missing, or if anyone has suggestions about how to make everyone comfortable! I've tried to keep it simple - we're just having it at a playground at the local park (with a pavilion/shelter that I'll decorate with some balloons/streamers).  So far it's looking like we'll have about 13-15 kids (with parents).

Time: 3-5pm

Food:
Fruit tray
Veggie tray w/ hummus
Chips & salsa
Cupcakes!
Cooler with bottled water and juice boxes

For favors, I picked up a bunch of sand/water/outdoor play toys in the dollar section at Target - I have them all in a big bin and was thinking the kids could each pick one.

I don't have any games or activities planned b/c I kind of figure the kids will play on the playground while the adults chat. I'm packing some balls and some sand toys (there's a sandbox). Am not doing sidewalk chalk as there were some restrictions on it.

It's supposed to be hot on Sat (80's), but the playground is nicely shaded. I'm planning to take some sunscreen just in case, as well as some hand sanitizer.

Is there anything I'm missing? Should I have a planned activity just in case the kids get bored? What about the adults - anything I can do to make them more comfortable?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!!

Smitty

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Re: Help with my party planning - please?
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2012, 03:00:24 PM »
I think for kids that age you don't need any set activities. For the menu, I might include a little more protein - help soak up the sugar from the fruit, juice boxes and cupcakes. String cheese or rolled up coldcuts or those little minigo cups for kids, for example. Everything else sounds great!

MrsCrazyPete

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Re: Help with my party planning - please?
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2012, 05:45:41 PM »
POD to the string cheese-yum! I don't think you need a planned activity, other than the cake/presents will be at x o'clock.

The only other thing I might suggest is a big first aid kit. That's a lot of kids with potential for scrapes, stings, etc.
Sell crazy somewhere else, we're all stocked up here.

Roe

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Re: Help with my party planning - please?
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2012, 06:29:59 PM »
I think the activity is the playground area. 

As for menu, it does sound a bit "light" to me but then in my culture, it's not a party without a big spread so take that into account. ;)

jpcher

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Re: Help with my party planning - please?
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2012, 07:22:55 PM »
I think the activity is the playground area. 

As for menu, it does sound a bit "light" to me but then in my culture, it's not a party without a big spread so take that into account. ;)

I'm thinking that it's "light" because the party is planned between lunch and dinner so all that is needed is snacks.

I agree with the string cheese and maybe cut up small cubes from a salami roll along with crackers. I know that you said you had chips, but on a hot day, salt is important for little ones . . . so maybe just a variety of chips?


Activities? You'll be fine. What 4-yr old doesn't enjoy a playground?

Oh, and I POD the first-aid kit.

Ceallach

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Re: Help with my party planning - please?
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2012, 07:39:05 PM »
For favors, I picked up a bunch of sand/water/outdoor play toys in the dollar section at Target - I have them all in a big bin and was thinking the kids could each pick one.

These sound great, but I'd think very carefully beforehand about how this is going to work so that it's organised on the day.  What order do they get to pick in?  Is it a free-for-all?  Do they get them at the start or the end of the party?  Will there be a kid who gets to pick last and is stuck with whatever is left, or is there plenty that there will be leftover?   

It doesn't need to be over-engineered, my concern is just around preventing any tears and tantrums.    ;)   As adults we forget how important these small things are to kids!   (I was always the anxious kid who worried that there won't be enough for everybody!)
"Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something"


cicero

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Re: Help with my party planning - please?
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2012, 02:51:01 AM »
sounds fine, a few thoughts:
i would have *some* activities planned, or at the very least - have a schedule planned. you are having a lot of kids and you should have some kind of structure, otherwise at that age they tend to get a bit wild. (which is fine, when you have one or two kids running wild, but you don't want to have to deal with 13 of 'em)

simple schedule like:
*arrival (give them a 15-30 min window) - free play while everyone is arriving, music.
*~ 30 minutes: simple games like pin the tail, blind man's bluff, duck duck goose. or maybe even a small treasure hunt if you can get it set up.
*cake, food, more music. if you do gift opening -now would be the time. if not - a cool israeli custom is that every guest "blesses" the birthday kid. you need to keep an eye/ear open to make sure it doesn't get out of hand (and if it does -simple redirecting works "ok johnny that was lovely, now it's tricia's turn") but it's really cool what some of these kids come up with.
*gift for guests - i would wrap them or at least "hide" them in a big sack and let the kids choose blindly.
*Food - i would also add more substance. even mini sandwiches (like PB&J or cheese etc cut into quarters).

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MacadamiaNut

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Re: Help with my party planning - please?
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2012, 09:23:03 AM »
sounds fine, a few thoughts:
i would have *some* activities planned, or at the very least - have a schedule planned. you are having a lot of kids and you should have some kind of structure, otherwise at that age they tend to get a bit wild. (which is fine, when you have one or two kids running wild, but you don't want to have to deal with 13 of 'em)

simple schedule like:
*arrival (give them a 15-30 min window) - free play while everyone is arriving, music.
*~ 30 minutes: simple games like pin the tail, blind man's bluff, duck duck goose. or maybe even a small treasure hunt if you can get it set up.
*cake, food, more music. if you do gift opening -now would be the time. if not - a cool israeli custom is that every guest "blesses" the birthday kid. you need to keep an eye/ear open to make sure it doesn't get out of hand (and if it does -simple redirecting works "ok johnny that was lovely, now it's tricia's turn") but it's really cool what some of these kids come up with.
*gift for guests - i would wrap them or at least "hide" them in a big sack and let the kids choose blindly.
*Food - i would also add more substance. even mini sandwiches (like PB&J or cheese etc cut into quarters).

POD to all of of this along with the other suggestions made by previous posters. It's only two hours but that can seem like a long time if it's not structured at least a little.
Paperweights, for instance - has anyone ever established what, when, and why
paper has to be weighed down? ::) ~Don Aslett

Roe

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Re: Help with my party planning - please?
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2012, 09:25:21 AM »
I think the activity is the playground area. 

As for menu, it does sound a bit "light" to me but then in my culture, it's not a party without a big spread so take that into account. ;)

I'm thinking that it's "light" because the party is planned between lunch and dinner so all that is needed is snacks.

I'm sure that's why but in my family, it's not a party without a full meal.  (culture)  LOL.  ;)    To be honest, I've never gone to a party with only snacks.  If we know we have a party to attend, we skip meals so as not to cause offense at the party by not eating.  (again, culture)

It's interesting to see how others do it. 

workerbee

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Re: Help with my party planning - please?
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2012, 10:50:14 AM »
Thanks for the responses - and I didn't mean to "abandon" the thread! :) Yesterday was a busy one.

Yes, I deliberately planned the party from 3-5 so as to be "between meals," but I totally get how the food might seem...sparse. I was a bit worried about that.....I'm living in the U.S. south, and am used to my in-laws putting out massive amounts of food for the smallest gathering. To be honest, it sometimes bothers me how much goes to waste.

There are going to be a LOT of people there, though. We're up to 19 kids, each with (at least!) one parent, and a smattering of little sibs as well. I will definitely pick up some string cheese, and will provide another few bowls of chips, etc. I try to keep things reasonably healthy (like not offering candy at all), just b/c that's important to me, but I'm also aware that nobody wants "healthy" cupcakes. LOL :) I was trying to think of another 'snacky' thing....maybe those yogurt squeezers?

And I appreciate the comments about having some sort of structure.....this was in the back of my mind, so it helps to have it validated. I'm thinking something like:
3-3:30ish - arrival and playtime
3:30ish - some kind of game......any suggestions??
4:00- cupcakes
4:45 - pick favors and prepare for departure

workerbee

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Re: Help with my party planning - please?
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2012, 10:52:45 AM »
For favors, I picked up a bunch of sand/water/outdoor play toys in the dollar section at Target - I have them all in a big bin and was thinking the kids could each pick one.

These sound great, but I'd think very carefully beforehand about how this is going to work so that it's organised on the day.  What order do they get to pick in?  Is it a free-for-all?  Do they get them at the start or the end of the party?  Will there be a kid who gets to pick last and is stuck with whatever is left, or is there plenty that there will be leftover?   

It doesn't need to be over-engineered, my concern is just around preventing any tears and tantrums.    ;)   As adults we forget how important these small things are to kids!   (I was always the anxious kid who worried that there won't be enough for everybody!)

I do get your point! I thought there would be plenty, but with so many people accepting the invitation, it looks like we'll have just enough to go around......and I am worried about everyone wanting the sand buckets and no one wanting the kites, etc!! I was thinking they'd all be able to pick something on their way out, but it does mean the last kid to leave gets last pick.........

Any suggestions on how I could handle this better????

audrey1962

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Re: Help with my party planning - please?
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2012, 10:53:45 AM »
Maybe something with peanut butter? When I was a kid, it seemed like many of us didn't like cheese, that was for adults, but we all liked peanut butter. (Of course, you know your kids best).

ETA: unless there are nut allergies of course
« Last Edit: May 04, 2012, 11:37:45 AM by audrey1962 »

ShadesOfGrey

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Re: Help with my party planning - please?
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2012, 10:58:39 AM »
I just went to a 5 year old's party at a park, and no structured games were needed. There was, however, a parachute to play with. It was mayhem!
Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning. - Maya Angelou

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. - Maya Angelou

jpcher

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Re: Help with my party planning - please?
« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2012, 09:08:49 PM »
And I appreciate the comments about having some sort of structure.....this was in the back of my mind, so it helps to have it validated. I'm thinking something like:
3-3:30ish - arrival and playtime
3:30ish - some kind of game......any suggestions??
4:00- cupcakes

4:45 - pick favors and prepare for departure


While I do understand the idea of structure . . . I cannot imagine getting 19! 4-yr olds together and organized for some kind of game within a half hour.

Leave the game out . . . there's a park to play at and a lot of people to mingle with.

Make sure you have the snacks and food laid out before guests arrive. Let them all do their thing for an hour (nosh at the table or play) then do the cupcakes at 4:00 as planned.


Honestly? For this large amount of guests, 2 hours is not enough time for a party like this. You'll be surprised how quickly the time passes.

workerbee

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Re: Help with my party planning - please?
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2012, 12:31:55 PM »
So, the party was a success!! Despite the fact that it began pouring down rain RIGHT at 3pm.......lovely. :o Luckily there was an indoor space nearby, so we shifted the food and decorations there VERY quickly. Unfortunately that meant we were still setting up as the first guests began to arrive, but everyone was very understanding.

I decided not to have a planned game. With the change in venue, though, we had to come up with something for all those kids to do! Turns out nineteen kids + a whole bunch of party balloons = hours of fun. :)  The kids had a blast running around and chasing balloons, while the adults chatted and nibbled on the food.  We had cupcakes at 4pm, and then the sun came back out so we were able to move the party back outside to the playground!

I did add cheese sticks to the menu, as well as some of those pre-packaged "fruit" snacks -- both were a big hit with the kiddos.

Thanks for all the advice! I'm going to call this a success and be glad that it's over.  ;)