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Pre-school birthday parties – sedate or charge around style?

As most of our pre-school friends are NCT friends, or similarly were born at around the same time as N, it means December and January are a veritable blur of birthday parties.  I’ve decided that we’ll just have a birthday tea for N around his actual birthday and invite his youngest nephew over (note, must invite him over asap) as the weekends either side of N’s birthday are already filled with other birthday parties.  Plus the last 2 years it’s been snowy and there’ve had to be lots of birthday party cancellations, so doing a party later in the year stands a better chance of happening…oh, and hopefully I’ll be able to do a picnic and let them just play outside for the couple of hours!

But there’ve been lovely parties we’ve gone to and N’s had a great time at all.  It’s funny seeing how he interacts though depending on the different location and type of party.

Cosy Coupe car chase

We’ve been to 2 at a local leisure centre function room – lots of soft play toys, bouncy castle, and toddlers running around.  With those parties, he’s leapt straight in with no problems.  Strangely, the quieter party he was dragging me round from place to place, not really willing to go off on his own.  Most of the children there were the same ones as the previous parties, so it was a bit odd.

The latter party was a rainbow themed craft party.

They had different craft tables set up for the children to make and play with different things, as well as a ‘photo booth’ dressing up idea…cue me dropping my polaroid instax mini camera I was lending to them for the party only an hour beforehand (thank god for sellotape to hold it all together!).  The children loved putting on the accessories and posing so they had some lovely photo memories to take away from the party.

photo booth fun

N enjoyed making a colourful pasta necklace (worn to nursery the next day as well as post the party)

how to make coloured pasta

making a pasta necklace

He iced a biscuit…and ate it straight away

icing and decorating biscuits

He was in his element at the Play Dough table – big fan of that, so I’m thinking we might have to get some more tools for him to use with his.  He usually just wants to chop play dough with a knife and fork!

chopping play dough

They also had a t-shirt decorating table which was a lovely idea.  N wasn’t too fussed about that one, so I think he did one tiny scribble and that was it.  So no fancy artwork to share with that.  But definitely a good idea for parties.

The food was amazingly set up, rainbow pizzas, jellies, little pots of individual goodies for each child to take so keeping everything neat and tidy.  Think Bento Boxes for children with little cases of hula hoops and popcorn alongside the sandwiches.  Colourful fruit kebabs prettied the food table up as well.  The cake was a lovely creation as we all come to expect from the mum, as she’s a cakemaker creator by trade.

rainbow party food ideas

It was amazing at how sedate the party was for 3 year olds.  I would have made sure there was plenty of running room and active games as a few needed the opportunity to run around, but mostly it was a gentle party with lots of sitting down activities and moving round.  Very relaxing for the parents taking their children.

It was extremely different to the next party which was lots of activity, playing, driving and running around by what seemed like hundreds of children.  I was impressed at how calm it was despite the numbers, and how brave my friends were inviting that many.  I know I’ll be trying to keep N’s to a maximum number of 15.  When you have children, plus parents, that’s a lot of people to keep entertained.

N was a big fan of the food (when is he not?).  Obviously all the riding of vehicles around the hall made him hungry as he went back 4 times to the food table, and ate all but a small bit of sandwich.  No food waste with N!

I’m going for the lazy easy option for N’s 3rd birthday.  The party will be later in the year once the weather’s improved (I’m thinking May) and when I can hopefully just let the children run riot in the garden and potentially have a picnic.  For his actual birthday (or the Saturday), he’s invited his youngest cousin to tea.  Now all I need to do is decide on the meal and cake…although I’ve been informed it has to be chocolate!

What are your tips for failsafe pre-school birthday parties?

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    1. It wasn’t my doing. N’s own party would definitely be more of a chuck them in the garden and let them argue over the outdoor toys. What I’d love is for my sister in law to bring their old shetland pony up to the farm for some rides, but trying to coordinate a party on a weekend that they wouldn’t be riding would be a nightmare.

  1. What a great party – so much for the kids to do creatively. We all have December birthdays here and most are between Christmas and New Year. Monkey had a pirate party here, it was chaos this year with a load of nearly 4 year old and theirb younger siblings. One of my friends always does her twins party as a half birthday in June – loads of fun in the garden – that works well. Another friend created an obstacle course around her downstairs rooms, the kids had to find some treasure at the end of it – torches. Then they had to use the torches to find pieces of a treasure map jigsaw that she’d made. Put all the pieces together to find where the chocolate coins were stashed. It was brilliant. The kids had so much fun.

    1. Treasure hunt’s a good idea. We could do that on the farm – my only concern with letting the kids run riot is we don’t have a fenced off back garden, and the dogs roam so parents will have to keep an eye on the kids and we might have to put some of the dogs in kennels if the kids aren’t keen on them. Our neighbour did a dinosaur egg hunt in their garden for their 3yo and that was good fun too.

      So much better to let everyone loose than worrying about too many people being crammed in the house.

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