planning for a non birthday outdoor party

Planning for a non-birthday outdoor party

Yet again, I think I’ve made a mistake in promising to N he could have a party later in the year, after just having a couple of friends round for tea for his birthday.  Well, I said it would be a ‘non-birthday’ party, but really it’s more like a playdate…with what could be turning out to be quite a lot of children.

planning for a non birthday outdoor party

The plan is to have the party in the garden, let the children just play outside, get them to bring bikes if they want, and just generally hoon around.  Then hopefully the weather would be good enough to have a picnic outside, and just make up lunchboxes to keep everything contained, and not end up with excessive waste.  This of course, depends on the weather warming up and staying dry for not only the day, but at least a couple of days beforehand to dry out the ground a bit.  Our garden’s at the bottom of a hill so it gets a little wet when there’s a lot of rain.

My idea had been to do it in May.  Usually the weather’s ok, and it’s before holiday season.  But then I thought about if it rains, and we’d be screwed.  We might have reasonable sized house, but not enough to have lots of preschoolers and parents floating around, rampaging upstairs (I’m presuming the children, and not the adults!) because they always head upstairs for some reason even if I tell them no.  I don’t particularly want to spend loads of time the day before cleaning the house from top to bottom either.

I did debate trying to get the marquee in case of rain, but that’s a faff, and would need lots of people’s help to put it up and then down again.  But then I noticed the OH had already cleaned out one of the barns because the cows are out in the fields.  Whoop.  Ok, so one side of the barn is still full of trailers, equipment, and other farm bits and bobs, but if we can have the garden to play in, and then if it’s not warm enough or dry enough to sit and eat outside, we can always use the barn to eat in.  I just need to borrow the sister in law’s garden table, find the 2 picnic benches and we’ll be well away.  Even if it’s raining, we could still have the barn for the party, and add some music, some games, vehicles and more, and it’d be fine for playing in too.

The only thing I need to get round is the OH.  He won’t be excited by this, mainly because he’ll be working and won’t want little children running around.  Hopefully the barn would keep them contained, and I’d have to make sure parents were willing to hang around and supervise their own children.  Because it’s only ever me doing the party, I obviously can’t manage 20 kids if I’m trying to organise things.  We might need to wait a month or so until the other barn is cleared out too.  The guys always have their charity clay shoot in July, so if I can hold off the party until early July, they might have even done all the cleaning out for me as well as getting plenty of tables and chairs out.

Dunster house wooden climbing frame in progress
Oops, guess this climbing frame needs finishing in time.

It takes so much thinking about, although it does mean I get to write lists and have spreadsheets!

My lists will include:

  • Food & drink – lunch boxes, and then snacky bits for the adults
  • Outdoor toys or games needed (outdoor and barn suitable).  We still need to get the climbing frame built.
  • Décor – maybe some lights, and some bunting will do the job
  • Music
  • Children
  • Oh yes, the worst bit.  The invites.

I did pick up some lovely party invitations the other day, with 20 in a pack.  I decided that would be plenty, until N started ‘writing’ his invite list.  Turns out he’s a lot more interested in inviting people round to play than I thought he would be.  I was imagining maybe 15, but his current list is 24 (I’ve bracketed 3 children as ‘who?’ – one is a different school year, he plays with occasionally in a group, but otherwise never mentions; one I’m not keen on but unfortunately it’d be obvious they weren’t invited; and another I’ve never heard him mention and only know about him because he’d been at another party!).  I’m still aiming for 20 maximum, so I guess there might be a few who can’t make it

The other thing of course is siblings.  I guess having it outside makes it more realistic for siblings where we know there’d be a problem with childcare for them but I won’t be naming them on invites.  It means more work, more food to sort out, and a worry that much older or younger will be either bashed around, knocked over or doing the knocking over.  Not good if it’s in the barn, on the trampoline or climbing frame.

Now I’ve just got to agree a date, get the OH to agree the use of the barn, and make sure N doesn’t start going into nursery and telling all and sundry they’re invited to his party.  Going to 2 different nurseries, and having NCT friends and outside friends doesn’t make inviting everyone at nursery possible.  I may as well start how I mean to go on…become the unpopular mum who doesn’t invite the whole class to a party.

Do you have any tips for a successful pre-school outdoor party?  Do let me know.

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  1. I have loads of party planning post on my blog hunny as I threw quite a big party for MM’s birthday and christening so it was not a traditional party. I used to want to be a party planner so I say make your lists, organize and take things slowly so you don’t feel pressure or stressed out. Delegate jobs out to family and friends everyone likes helping out and feeling involved. And when things don’t go smoothly smile and laugh about it it’s only a party. lol and I bet you will throw a great one. Any questions hollar! I love a good party planning project. In the middle of doing a joint birthday plan for my two this summer in the states. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

    1. Love your party posts Jenny. I have to say mine will be much more relaxed and more like a play date…that’s assuming the weather is dry. Then I’m a bit stuck and will have to have some back up games for in the barn. There’s just not enough room in the house for 15 kids and parents.
      No family to help – OH will make himself scarce and be working. Might be able to get my SIL to help if the cousin comes, but feel a bit cheeky asking. It’s more to keep the kids from roaming that’s the hard thing because the garden’s open. I’ve asked for one parent to stay to supervise for those who aren’t my friends, just because being on the farm, we can’t have kids wandering off and I’ll not be able to keep an eye on them all. I might have to set up a boundary for them.

  2. Doing something like this would definitely give me a nervous breakdown same reason why this June my son’s not going to have a party for his birthday. So I am sorry that I cant give any pointers on how to plan a party like this. But will be looking for updates of this to see how it goes. Good luck and that play equipment would definitely help me thinks. #pocolo

    1. So far, it’s looking quite optimistic that 20 will be a maximum because already 2 can’t make it, and I’ve so far only done invites to those on social media. So I expect it’ll be about 15 in the end. Much more manageable. Mind you, once parents don’t start staying, there’s no chance he’s having anywhere near that many…or I’ll need to start paying the teen nephews to come and manage them for me!

  3. Party bags make my heart go pitterpatter- STILL at the age of 34!!!! I’ve been meaning to have my own birthday party with them at some point! The lunchbags are a great idea to counteract waste.
    Clarinettist eh? Bet you love Tschaikovsky 6!!!! And you get all that E flat clarinet in Shostakovitch!!!x

    1. LOL, my clarinets are currently in the loft along with the sax. But I have managed to get my piano finally from my mum’s house, without the OH chopping it for firewood like he threatened. I’m so out of practice though…I can just about knock out a grade 2 piece!

  4. Wow, 20 kids! I’m so glad mine are older now. My son just had 2 friends for his recent ‘party’ – we went on a cycle ride to an adventure playground a couple of miles away, had a meal out and then a sleepover. I was cruel mum as I wouldn’t let him add a 3rd child to the list!

    1. I’d have always said the same to big parties. But once we’ve got 6 NCT friends (more my friends than N’s really as he doesn’t see them very frequently), 3-4 from 2 nurseries, plus 3-5 friends from outside, numbers creep up. I’m sure not everyone will be able to come so I’m imagining it’ll probably be around 15-16 kids in the end. I definitely wouldn’t have that if parents weren’t staying.

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